Love, Happiness and Stillness

8 May

I don’t know about you, but I need an excuse before I can ‘allow myself’ to do nothing – a cold, a broken computer, a problem with the transport. Paradoxically, these problems transform themselves into miracles as I think “Wow, I can spend the whole day doing nothing; I can spend the whole day just reading!”

Like most Westerners, I fill my days with many tasks and activities. And, unfortunately, like many Westerners, I am active because I feel like I should be active. I prioritise what I believe I should do, and not what I would like to do (and please note that should is not equal to must). I am like a wind-up toy: I can be Superwoman for a week, only to lose my powers and go back to being a drained zombie thereafter. I used to feel bad for not being able to keep my energy up, yet it’s hardly surprising considering that my energy is spent on things that give me no joy or fulfillment in return.

I know that I am not the only one in this situation. Many Westerners overwork, give themselves task upon task to do and prioritise action above all else. We are all driven by different motives, but I believe that our main motive is the yearning for love. We all want to be loved, and society now says that to be loved you need to be successful, rich and important. So we spend our time and energy doing tasks that will earn us more money and therefore more status and more recognition, with the false idea that these will bring love and happiness into our lives.

But isn’t it ironic that we are too ashamed to admit openly that what we seek is love and happiness? We rarely get straight to the point by doing something that would directly and immediately create love and happiness.

A home-made meal for two, an afternoon on the sofa with a book, a walk in the woods, an evening playing Pictionary with family, a hand-made card, a bright dress, making collages with friends, redecorating the house, drinking wine on the balcony, dancing in your bedroom…

Our capitalist world has made us believe that love and happiness can only come about from wealth and success, and therefore, from hard-work. Yet wealth and success count little for love and happiness.

Love and happiness are right in front of us.

In order to notice them, all we need to do is stop moving, stop rushing, stop doing.

Through stillness we will come to understand that happiness and love are not goals or ends, but states of being – here and now.

“When you rest in quietness and your image of yourself fades, and your image of the world fades, and your ideas of others fade, what’s left? A brightness, a radiant emptiness that is simply what you are.” ~ Adyashanti

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12 Responses to “Love, Happiness and Stillness”

  1. Currie Rose 09/05/2012 at 01:43 #

    Beautiful. Truly lovely and beautiful. It reminds me of some sage words I tell myself when I try to force my ideal life into place. “Stop seeking. Stop running toward something in the distance. Just stop. Look around, you are already here.”

    Wonderful post. 🙂

    • l0ve0utl0ud 09/05/2012 at 09:09 #

      Those are beautiful words – and very true. They make me think of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song “Iceland”.

  2. allthesoftplaces 09/05/2012 at 20:09 #

    Ahh, this is such perfect timing! Today, I’m struggling with allowing myself to just “be” and do nothing (I’m off sick, and I still can’t slow down)…

    Lately, I’ve been contemplating and verbalizing all of the things you have stated here so eloquently. I’ve been doing a lot of self-care/introspective work these days to try to curb these learned impulses and pressures from our capitalist society.

    We’ve gotta discover the things that *really* matter to us, our passions, and those small little details of our everyday that make us truly happy (like you stated: drinking wine on the balcony, bedroom dancing, etc).

    Thanks 🙂

    • l0ve0utl0ud 10/05/2012 at 15:29 #

      I actually wrote this post precisely because I was ill yet couldn’t allow myself to rest or take a break! I have now taken a few days off to sleep, read and just rest, and the benefits are already showing! Hope you find some time to rest, too – your body needs it!

  3. strawberryindigo 11/05/2012 at 19:01 #

    This is an important point you touch on. Most of us do feel guilty for doing nothing..I know I do. I too have been under the weather and it is still difficult for me to relax and recooperate.
    Your post makes me feel a little less guilty…thanks.

    • l0ve0utl0ud 13/05/2012 at 13:23 #

      I know exactly what you mean – it’s so hard to just take some time to do nothing! We’re so well trained to be busy and active and productive. But rest is a vital part of life – just think of how important sleep is!

  4. pattisj 16/05/2012 at 21:27 #

    Wow, this hit close to home! It is time to pause and rethink what takes my time and energy. Realizing it is half the battle, right?

    • l0ve0utl0ud 19/05/2012 at 17:53 #

      Precisely – we hardly ever stop to think about what takes up our time and energy…and we almost never think about whether these things are really worth our time and energy!

  5. petalsandsepals 24/05/2012 at 17:46 #

    Yes , its true , we never create time for ourselves to enjoy simple pleasures like watching the sunrise or sunset . or sitting with your feet put up in your favorite rocking chair . and sipping a hot cup of cappuchino, all by yourself , in supreme bliss and oblivious to all the stress and pressure of life,s problems . and when we do get some ” me ” , time we go and spoil it by feeling guilty !!!!!!!!!!!

    • l0ve0utl0ud 28/05/2012 at 22:01 #

      I agree – it’s so difficult to just enjoy that blissful moment without letting our thoughts wonder back to those stressful topics! I’ve started practicing meditation to try and learn how to do this!

  6. Michelle Tibbetts 23/08/2012 at 13:14 #

    I’ve learned to schedule my ‘down days’. If I unexpectedly find myself without a plan I’m utterly lost and usually end up wasting time and feeling unfulfilled. However, when I plan for a quiet day I will truly relax because I will be doing something I want (read, watch a movie, sit outside…) and I don’t feel guilty about not being ‘active’. I am actively doing ‘nothing’. Make sense?

    • l0ve0utl0ud 24/08/2012 at 09:14 #

      I understand what you mean. Sometimes, when the day unexpectedly gives me free time, I am lost and confused. But when I plan to make free time, it is used with great pleasure!

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