Happiness Is Fleeting While Suffering Lasts: How To Change This!

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“Have you ever notice time flies when you are having fun? It passes quickly. Consider this. Happiness seems fleeting. This is because we enjoy it. We want it and like it. It comes and it goes quickly.

Einstein allegedly said, and I paraphrase, ‘time is relative. An hour with a wonderful woman seems like a minute. Sitting on a hot stove for a minute seems like an hour.’ Isn’t that the truth?

When we have feelings we don’t want they seem to persist. On and on and on they seem to go. They last and last almost forever. Why do you imagine that is?

It is because we resist them. We don’t like them so we fight them. As a result they last forever. You have heard it said, ‘what we resist persists.’ We attempt to block them. We fight the energy and dam it up.

Whatever You Resist Persists

This only makes the pressure build. On and on they go and we continue to not like it. We continue to fight them. Like a grudge war it  can go on forever.  We perpetuate what we don’t want.

Happy feelings are fleeting because we don’t resist them. We don’t prolong them by fighting them. They come and they go. All feelings do.  All would probably come and go pretty much at the same rate.

If we let them. If we didn’t care about negative or bad feelings they would arise and then subside as positive or happy feelings do. Perhaps, not as quickly but sooner rather than later.

It is the fight that the lasting energy is produced. The conflict keeps them around and provides them more energy. They push we push back. Then they push back and we push back. It continues on.

Like Water – Seek The Path Of Least Resistance

So is there anything we can do about bad feelings? It turns out there is. However, you probably aren’t going to like it that much.

Accept them. Allow them. They will come and they will go. They will pass. YES, it seems difficult. You have spent a lifetime fighting them. You grew up fighting them. Allow them and they will pass.

Very few people have been raised in awareness. I wasn’t. You probably weren’t. So when it comes to accepting what we don’t like as the solution most of us aren’t very quick to jump on that wagon.

Instead, it seems we have to come to this conclusion  through our suffering. We grew up one way, most of us, doing what our parents told us to or did. We modeled them. We followed their examples.

Past Results Are Not An Indication Of Future Results

As a result you and I have the habit of resisting. We feel the emotions in our body because we don’t like them. We have labeled them as bad, wrong and unwanted. We try to eliminate them.

We fight and resist and prolong them. We have to stop fighting if we want them to go away faster. It seems counter intuitive but it isn’t. The quickest was to get rid of your purse is to drop it. Let it go.

Gravity takes care of the rest once you let go. Yes, it is an analogy but it works. You let go of your investment in fighting. You drop it. You don’t have to try to drop a glass of water you just let it go.

Of course, meditators and others spend time learning to let go. They practice awareness. They practice observing without getting involved. The look within without judgement. This is great practice!

Change The Channel And Divert Your Attention

You change the channel. If you ever watched a movie at night that disturbed you this is the best way to not keep thinking of it. Change the channel! It works because it diverts your attention.

Turning off the TV never worked, did it? When you shut it off you are left alone to think about what you just watched. It gets worse because you try to fight the thoughts and make them go away.

So what do you do to stop thinking about it? Change channel. Watch something you enjoy. Once you get caught up in what you enjoy you are free of the bothersome thoughts and images. It works!

It really works and yes it too is an analogy. You learn to put your attention in a more delightful place. There is a thread woven through these blogs I hope you notice. You direct your attention.

Energy Flows Where Your Attention Goes

Typically, when you feel bad it is a signal you are thinking about what you don’t want. You’re focused on less than glorious concerns. You’re  occupied with comparing and suffering as a result.

It is a signal to turn your attention to what you do want instead. It is an opportunity signal to switch the channel. To let go or drop the negative and focus on what you want and what you can create.

One of the benefits of meditation is the ability to watch our thoughts and feelings. You simply observe and feel without labeling or judgement. It is Choice-less Awareness.

One does not choose what is going on. One observes.The meditator watches thoughts as if they were leaves on a stream being carried by the water

Learn The Art Of Choiceless Awareness

Meditation may be a practice you want to include. When you discover you have spent time feeling bad or thinking negatively you do not beat yourself up. Instead view yourself as a meditator would.

Don’t judge. Observe. Let go of criticism. Simply notice. You will move through the less than glorious feeling faster if you do not fight yourself or criticize yourself. Encourage yourself to learn from it.

Meditation has wonderful benefits.. There are many forms. Perhaps, you might find one you can practice.

A key for self improvement is awareness. We become aware of what needs to change. We don’t judge it as bad or ourselves as bad we just go ahead and make the change.

You Become What You Think About

Day gives way to night. Night gives way to day. It is cyclic. Feelings come and go. Whatever we lock onto remains. Whatever we fight, however we fight it, sticks around to fight back.

You get what you focus on. Resistance is why your negative feelings last. Good feelings you welcome so they come and you enjoy them. They give way to something else. You don’t fight them.

The move swiftly. Negative feelings would most likely pass soon as well.  Once good feelings are gone you may fight their absence. You may struggle and strain to recapture them.

If you notice the lack and you long for the good feelings you are caught up in comparing. You are resisting their absence thus prolonging their absence.

Focus On What You Have Not On What You Lack

Whatever we focus on is what we get. This is the huge lesson that takes some of us a while to fully get. It doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad whatever we focus on we get back more of.

You feel less than glorious by longing for good feelings. Let it go. Realize you have behaved habitually. These are habits and you can break habits. It may take some time and dedication but you can do it.

New habits and new neural pathways can be created any time you choose to. Don’t fight anything. If you catch yourself fighting don’t fight that. Stop, recognize what you’re doing. Take a deep breath.

And stop! It won’t help if you criticize and condemn yourself. Let it go. Accept that is what you did and appreciate that you are in the process of learning a new way of being. Be gentle on yourself.

You Are Building New Neural Pathways And New Habits

Resolve to have fun and to delight. Take it lightly! Enjoy the process. You may fall many times but get back up.  It is okay to fall. But get right back up. Don’t wallow by staying down. Get up. Go on!

When you notice a less than glorious feeling realize it is a signal to place your attention and energy elsewhere. Focus on something that helps you feel a little bit better. That is all you need to do.

Feel a little better bit by bit. Step by step. When you feel bad do whatever is necessary to feel a little bit better. You are training yourself to leave the bad feeling for a better feeling.

This is how you begin to make a new habit.You are learning to search for better feelings. You look elsewhere to what feels better. You develop your ability to look for and find other ways to be.

You Are In Charge So Be In Control 

Instead being a victim of your thoughts and feelings you take charge. Little by little, through repeated effort over time, you will make leaving the bad feelings behind for better feelings a habit.

You will retrain your brain and your behaviors. This is all completely within your control. Inch your way along positively reinforcing all that you do. If you fall, so what, dust yourself up and go again.

Soon you will have better and better feelings and you will experience more happiness and joy. Focus on what you want not on what you don’t have or don’t want. You are building new habits.

Put your energy into what transforms you in positive and powerful ways. Withdraw it from anything that does not. You will feel better more frequently as a result. Be gentle and be kind to yourself.

Gratitude Is The Attitude That Changes Everything For The Better

Congratulate yourself when you make advances. Pat yourself on the back for attempting it no matter the result. Keep at it until you get more of the results you want. If you persist you will win.

What you resist will remain. What you celebrate may come and go but you will celebrate more often moment to moment. Enjoy the moment. That is the only thing you really have to transform.

A great place to put your attention is on those areas of your life you celebrate and are thankful for. Anything and everything you appreciate; people, events, things, activities, hobbies, places.

Be grateful for your ability to make changes more easily. So what if it is difficult at first, just as everything else, you get better at in in time with repeated correct practice. Appreciate yourself and your abilities.

Life is good. Enjoy it and you will enjoy it even more!  Put your energy and attention on the delights and tiny moments at each opportunity and you will discover yourself blessed with countless more. You get what you focus on!” Rex Sikes

What is something wonderful you will discover today?


Horizon photo used with permission of Phil Koch.

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