Ease Of Life

For a large part of my life I searched various religious ideals searching for what could most easily be described as “happiness”.  It is more complicated than that, and anyone else who has undertook such a search would likely understand.  But the ideals expressed in Buddhism appealed to me on the most basic levels because of its ideas on how we cause our own suffering, and how detachment can bring happiness.

Of course, I knew this to not be entirely true, at least not for everyone.  It isn’t just any person who can forego the Earthly realm entirely and still feel fulfilled and psychologically stable.  But, to our own degree, each person can find that balance between what they want, what they need, and what makes them happy.  Usually, this is tied intrinsically to a previous “standard of living”, or other experience.

So, with this information I went forward in life with a feeling that no matter what I had, it would suffice.  And that I did not need anything that I did not already have.  Because of this, I was usually thankful for what I received from life, and kind of left it at that.

Then I met my wife.  Now, she is no materialistic harpy.  But she does want and desire a lot more than me (who would find happiness in a cave with some meager food and water).  And this is really my achilles heel, as the only need I have in life is her and my son.  Sure, I would enjoy a Hummer or a boat.  But is it something that will drive anything I do?  Not at all.

I often jokingly tell people, “While money doesn’t motivate me, it makes my wife happy.  Making HER happy motivates me.”    Which really does bring up a well known observation that without women, men would accomplish very little.  Women tend to motivate us, be it sex, love, or just companionship.  The human organism is incomplete as only a male or female, and we require the balance.

So what drives this human need to pretend that we (any of us) are more than a hair’s breadth away from tribalism.  There is a scant distance between the human culture and the primitive ape.   I often comment to my wife that people I encounter seem to be metaphors for monkeys in peoples clothes.  Just beneath the semi-opaque veneer of civilization you can see the ugly features of the human monster peeking out.  What often passes for an “intelligent” look in someone’s eye may be nothing more than simply “awareness”.  By no means is this a tirade against my fellow humans, as I base much of my musings on my own life and experience.

This brings into the discussion all manner of classical psychology, and one invariably will conclude that it is the ego that requires the air’s of refinement that we carry.  You can directly tie a persons ego to the amount of “success” that they have had.  It is the ego that we try to fulfill when we are achieving.  The very notion of “personal achievement” is an exercise of the ego.

This would mean, it stands to reason, that it is our own ego that tends to make life difficult and that drives our suffering.  So then…what really is suffering?  I mean, we all know pain in the forms of a toothache, or a broken heart, or just wanting something we can’t have (broken diets, anyone?).  So what then is suffering, and what is just human histrionics?  If you are trying to seek balance you would think you need to prioritize based on needs and wants, along with the “bang for the buck” when trying to meet happiness.  In this regard, it seems reasonable that it would be a great help to understand “suffering” as it relates to its varying degrees.

I guess this is what passes for a “healthy mentality” nowadays, anyway:  trying to find the balance between happiness and detachment.  And it is obvious that this is the REAL secret to happiness.  You don’t have to have some of every dish at the buffet to have a good meal.

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