We’re all so picky. It has to be just this or just that. We don’t want happiness. We want conditional happiness. We don’t want a wife who loves us, we want a beautiful wife that loves us. We don’t want a compassionate boyfriend, we want a compassionate boyfriend who loves to talk. We all do want to spiritually expand and feel psychologically better as a result, but the route to happiness isn’t such a twisting narrow one, filled with so many conditions. This is the programming of our culture, there’s no way around it, but it’s still good to be aware that our willingness to appreciate has been limited.
Let’s take this little test: if we had a better-than middle class income guaranteed throughout our life via an inheritance, and we were completely blind (and had no idea what “dressed well” was, or how opulent our surroundings might be), then who would we want date? If the impacts of money and looks were not part of the analysis, how would we describe the sort of person that would attract us? And is there someone like that already in our life and we’re just failing to appreciate them because of one of our thought-based conditions?
The same goes for liking where you live versus moving to somewhere more exotic. Once you’re in the new place for a while you’ll be homesick. By thinking about your past nostalgically you will want the very place that you didn’t want when you moved to where you are. And the very same process is happening again. Your nostalgic thoughts of the past are blinding you from applying your awareness to things that are enjoyable and expansive to your current experience in the new location.
Of all of the things we do in life, the one that matters most is whether or not our consciousness is invested in wanting, versus appreciating. One is rewarding and enriching, and the other urges us to stop doing things that are rewarding and enriching so that we can think up conditions for our happiness instead.
There are tons of things we leave totally unnoticed while we think. Just complimenting someone lights them up. It’s that easy. And look how we feel after helping someone feel good? Do we need more reason to do it besides the fact that it feels great? We should all appreciate life and its opportunities and we should all do it right now.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.