This week there have been two key things on my mind. Happiness and Tik Tok. The reason I’ve been thinking about happiness this week is because, as I pursue a career in human services, there is often a lot of talk about overcoming negative aspects like anxiety, depression and isolation. However, like a healthy diet, it’s important to recognise when things are going well in order to continue those practices and prevent regression. As a side note the reason that Tik Tok has been on my mind is because I am passionate about working with teenagers and this platform that has been emerging is just out of this world. For me, Tik Tok creates an incredible opportunity to channel important messages to teenagers through creativity and humour. If you want to know more about Tik Tok I am not telling you because then teens will hate me for bringing older people on there (assuming that my blog audience are ‘old’ :P). When it comes to happiness, or the ‘pursuit of happiness’, I have found that, through my research at college and on Buddhism, it is an unattainable state and we need to reframe the concept to have a better sense of life and it’s continuum.
There is no point in life where we can have all things ticked off and finally achieve ‘happiness’. Happiness is the state of being happy which is an emotion. Emotions are constantly changing therefor it is not a finish line but more so part of the journey. The definition of happiness is ‘a state of being happy’ which is where I think we can get confused. We think there is a state in our life where we can experience happiness 100% of the time and if we aren’t experiencing it then there is something wrong. The reality is that every high has a come down so how we deal with the swings is imperative to our well-being. One of the biggest keys to enlightenment in Buddhism is known as impermanence, the idea that things are always changing, and nothing is permanent.
We must be present and mindful of whatever it is that we are experiencing in the moment to achieve enlightenment. This means embracing all emotions whether they are positive, negative or neutral. Avoidance is where depression, anxiety and addictions thrive. If you’re wondering where I’m going with this – so am I. I guess what I am trying to say is, through my own experiences and education, throughout my life I used to experience things on a polarised scale. When I was happy I was in utopia and when I was depressed I fell off the radar. It wasn’t until the past year or so that I have really learnt to level my emotions so that I can ride with mindfulness as the pendulum swings. Through this, I’ve finally been able to feel free from addiction, chaos and self-destruction. Notice I said to ‘feel’ free and not ‘be’ free, that’s the understanding of impermanence. Things change over time and at any point something could happen that may throw me off, so it’s of utmost importance to be conscious of my emotions and foundations as life progresses.
If you want to hear more on happiness I will be releasing a short podcast episode this Thursday on ‘The Common Unity Podcast’. To listen on iTunes or Spotify click the link below.