Here is a teaching story about happiness.
Once upon a time there was a patient in the psyche ward of a local hospital who insisted he was dead.
No one had been successful in helping this patient overcome his distorted thinking.
One day a young psychiatric resident asked his mentor if he could try to help this patient. The senior psychiatrist agreed.
The young resident said to the patient “I understand that you think you are dead”. The man responded ” I don’t think I’m dead Sonny, I know I’m dead”.
The resident then calmly asked him “Do dead people bleed”?
The man thought for a moment and then laughed and said ” Duh!! Of course dead people can’t bleed. Anyone knows that.”
At that point, the resident took the man’s hand and pricked his finger with a needle. The finger began to bleed. He then pointed smugly at the man’s finger and said “then how do you explain the blood that is coming from your finger?”
The man looked thoughtfully at his finger for a while, looked back at the resident, once more back to his bleeding finger, and then said confidently “That’s easy. It’s obvious that dead people do bleed.”
The moral of this story is when a firmly held belief encounters reality, it is reality that often suffers, not our belief. When our beliefs distort reality, our happiness suffers.
Changing the simplistic black-and-white beliefs of our childhood primitive ego into a more evolved mature thinking process is a challenging journey of awakening, transformation, and self-awareness that few people are willing to undertake.
Happiness and healthy relationships with others requires a fundamental change in the way we think and the way we view the world. Our beliefs have to move from rigid certainty to a more enlightened middlepath thinking process that actively looks for the truth on both sides of every issue.
If we attempt to change ourselves by force of will, the moment we forget we are trying to change, our primitive ego will simply go back to manifesting behaviors consistent with our inner beliefs.
Our behaviors always reflect our conscious and unconscious beliefs. Our ego simply cannot act in any other way.
To achieve happiness we must drop the rigid ego beliefs that harden our heart. We must remove the black-and-white categories of “right-and-wrong” created by our primitive ego and begin paying more attention to the energy we are sending into the world……to become more self aware. More evolved.
Happy people are rarely judgmental or critical of others. They tend to be loving, open, and accepting of others….even those who are different from themselves.
They have learned that every thing is relative, that there are no absolute truths. They know that truth can always be found on both sides of any issue.
They have learned to soften their hearts by letting go of “certainty”. They prefer to embrace “reality”, not what they “think” is real and true. They “know” that dead people don’t bleed.
If we are unhappy or experiencing conflict in our relationships with others, we need to take the time to look inward. Creating true happiness and healthy relationships with others is not difficult. It simply requires paying attention to the inflexible beliefs we “think” are true. They only harden our heart and need to be emptied from our ego.
Rigid beliefs, especially those that distort reality, create conflict and make us unhappy.