Yesterday in our telegroup Turning Relationship Hell To Heaven we looked at a powerfully stressful thought that causes a lot of insanity on the planet…
She should be happy. He should be happy. Everyone should be happy!
All by itself, the idea that you want people to be happy, content, free, or peaceful is of course beautiful, true, and genuinely loving.
We love the world to be happy, all of us do.
But it’s so easy for this one to get twisted into multiple knots of confusion….
….and to bring great suffering upon yourself by wishing someone would be happy who really isn’t.
You know when the wish is stressful, because you feel pain inside your heart and an urgency that they change. You can feel the voices saying crazy mean things like “Get Happy Now, you miserable victim!” or “Snap out of it! Come on!” or “Gimme a smile!” or “Get yourself into therapy immediately!”
What if you first just slowed down this whole Race-For-Happiness thing and accepted that person’s bitter unhappiness, now.
Maybe your kid fell and cut her lip, maybe your friend is going on yet again about her awful boyfriend, maybe your dad is sitting in his chair staring out the window with a lost look, maybe another friend is going into a treatment program and acting suicidal, maybe someone you love lost someone very special.
That person cries, looks sad, sighs deeply, tells you their story. Maybe you’ve heard it before.
Then YOU feel sad, irritated, annoyed or anxious.
Notice…who would you be without the belief they need to be happy?
Sometimes people feel guilty, just to imagine not having that belief.
I might skip along and ditch that person forever. I might be uncaring and never helpful. I might be completely self-centered. I might wind up alone, untethered, crazy. I might be abandoned. They might hate me.
I have to help other people become happy! I can’t just be happy and not care about them, that would be WEIRD.
Try it on, though….like you’re trying on a fabulous, interesting, creative new stress-free outfit.
Not having the belief that anyone else needs to be different than they are in this moment.
It doesn’t mean you don’t think they’ll be happier tomorrow, or that you hold in your heart that they arrive at happiness sooner than later, or that you want peace and awareness for them when they feel empty.
But there’s a sense of trust in this moment, here, now…that all that is being felt, including sadness, grief, rage or suicidal thoughts exist in reality….and that there is a path unfolding for everyone.
Without the belief that someone has to be happy in order for me to be at peace, I am free to return to my own happiness.
I can feel the wonder of Not Knowing and remain steady, my practice only to feel love, aliveness, joy in this moment now….even with that unhappy person sitting with me.
In fact, I notice I’m way more attentive, responsive, compassionate, and oddly enough, even more connected to this dear sad person.
It’s like I’m not afraid of sadness or grief or unhappiness in them. I can handle it. I know it’s temporary. I know there’s a substantive, deep pool of acceptance at the bottom of everything.
Even death, depression, failure, loss or hurt.
“Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility. It’s only when I believe a stressful thought that I get hurt. And I’m the one who’s hurting me by believing what I think. This is very good news, because it means that I don’t have to get someone else to stop hurting me. I’m the one who can stop hurting me. It’s within my power…..Questioning our thoughts is the kinder way. Inquiry always leaves us as more loving human beings.” ~ Byron Katie
I don’t have to feel hurt, dread, sad, terrified when someone I love is hurting. Their reactions to their life does not “hurt” me unless I believe my stressful thinking.
As I turn the thoughts around about other people and their pain, and what I think it means, I notice I trust that the universe has got this.
I have no absolute answers. I can be here with them, joining closely with love, and not believe they should be any different.
I have no idea what their experience is for, I don’t know what it really means, I don’t know why it happened or didn’t happen.
And that’s OK. Completely.
What a bizarre and strange thing to do when someone else close to me is hurting: nothing. Except be there, without demanding they be different.
Or….maybe joining with them in their unhappiness was the really bizarre, strange move.
As an inquirer in the teleclass said as she described her family “they’re like crabs trying to climb out of a bucket–they pinch and crawl and keep pulling each other down–back into the dark bucket. No one able to get out.”