Everything or Nothing

One of the realizations I came to the other day was not inspired from any external wisdom, but was rather one of those insights that seems to spontaneously arise.

It was as follows:




-You must be happy with nothing before you can be happy with anything You follow a simple chain of thoughts which leads you to realize a certain truth behind an issue or concept.

which therefore means

-You must be happy alone before you can be happy in the presence of other people

If you are unhappy because you are without something, then you transfer the responsibility of your happiness to that object. Without it you cannot be happy, and it is only with it that you will be. This is bad enough if it is a material object, but it becomes even worse when your object of desire is another person. You then put this romantic relationship on a pedestal, and rely upon that person to solve your problems and to make you happy. You will always be expecting these external influences to fill your inner void and the more things you desire, the bigger this void gets. Only when you are completely happy within yourself, will you be happy with someone else.

Ram Dass captures this freedom of love quite nicely.


“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want something, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible.” 
― Ram Dass

“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.” 
― Ram Dass

The filters of our ego inhibit our ability to truly love. If we really want to feel something then we cannot be attached to it. We must also come to terms with our own inadequacies. Humans are not all created equal so we must realize the shortcomings we have been presented with. This does not mean that we cannot work to improve on them, but it means we must accept they way they are. The change should not be fueled from the sadness generated by our desire to be better but rather from a positive desire to make the best of our situation. While these external changes can never really change our state of happiness, we can still make positive changes to our own situations and other people’s.

The monologue from the end of the movie American Beauty also captures this concept beautifully:

” I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday. ” american-beauty

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