Addiction #31 – Sadness (Part 2 … a Way to Freedom) 04/28/12


Addiction #31 – SADNESS
(Part 2 … a Way to Freedom)

“There is no beauty in sadness, and no honor in suffering. They are both simply a waste of perfectly good happiness.” ~ inspired by Katerina Klemer

“Back in Jefferson’s day, the common usage of the word ‘pursue’ was not ‘to chase after.’ Actually, in 1776, to pursue something meant to practice that activity, to do it regularly, to make a habit of it. What a difference a definition makes! Thomas Jefferson, our wise Founding Father, meant that we Americans had the right to PRACTICE happiness, not to chase after it — which isn’t very productive anyway.” ~ Marci Shimoff

“For every minute of sadness you lose sixty seconds of Joy.” ~ inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let’s face it – we all want to be happy. In fact, it is fair to say that our search for lasting Happiness has even become so important as to take the place of the “fountain of youth” as the most sought after prize known to humankind.

And in response to this greatest of Quests, both the adherents of modern-day science as well as the pundits of age-old mysticism have responded fervently — with sound & sensible claims providing all of us with more than a few available routes to salvation. Preachers, prophets, pundits, self-help professionals and even social psychologists have all weighed in on cue; offering us a cornucopia of methods “tried and true” for curing sadness and bringing joy back into our lives.

Please note that I readily admit that portions of these “expert testimonies” might very well be effective (to a degree); that some of their research seems untainted, and that quite a few of their practical recommendations do seem to bring enhanced levels of the emotion we call “happiness”. Indeed, if all we desire to is to feel “happy” – to experience fleeting physical pleasure, superficial emotional euphoria or distracting intellectual intrigue, then there are ways to go about experiencing such brief & brittle “highs”.

We can retreat from our sadness by “partying” with friends, we can soothe our suffering by soaking our awareness in alcohol or other opiates, and we can distract our dissatisfactions by “falling in love” or (at the very least) falling into another’s arms. We can even divert our own awareness by having a fervent “faith” in the correctness of our own ideas – especially while either ridiculing others having different beliefs or persuading those others to adopt our own.

All of these means can very well bring us feelings of emotional glee. And yet there is one fantastic problem with them all: they are weak and fleeting. Indeed, they fade quite quickly, and in their absence leave behind an increased sense of foreboding and woe; a personal sadness that is ironically deepened and intensified – a personal sadness that has us all too readily running once more back into the wafer-thin embrace of those same fruitless addictions.

We have all experienced this Truth throughout the course of our lives – most of us time and time again. And yet the question for many remains unanswered: why is this the case?

Well, there is at least one answer that is as simple as it is liberating: namely, as long as you are searching for Happiness for yourself, you will never be able to find it.

You see, the source of our suffering is not mere sadness, but rather the fundamental cause of all sadness – which is self-centeredness. And as long as we are going to combat our sadness with means essentially designed to make OURSELVES “happier”, then we will actually end up strengthening the very selfishness that inspired our melancholy in the first place. Basically, happiness might arrive for a time using these methods, and yet sadness will always follow on its heels — and it will return with a vengeance.

So engage all the “self-help for happiness” remedies you wish: eat right, sleep well and exercise regularly … practice yoga, snarf some chocolate or meditate … sit in a sunbeam, walk in the woods or force yourself to smile … party with your friends, recite positive affirmations or visualize a positive future … listen to some good music, read a good book or watch an uplifting movie … get involved in a new hobby, confide in a friend or pray to God for some “spiritual healing”. Do all these things and more. I’m certainly not knocking any of them. These activities (and others like them) can indeed bring you a brief respite of calm.

And yet please remember that you are NOT summoning any real, deep-seated Joy into your days while doing so; that you are NOT bringing any profound or lasting positivity into your life.

In actuality, all you are doing is habitually placing razor-thin bandages over your still-festering wounds; bandages that happen to fall & fade away with the slightest breeze of doubt or fear –- bandages that actually keep your wounds from ever healing at all.

AND YET, even though this news does seem a bit foreboding, all is not lost! There is another way to deal with our sadness – a way that brings us Peace instead of mere ease; a way that brings us Bliss instead of mere “happiness” …


Seeing as how our sadness comes primarily from self-fixation, it makes perfect sense (and is empirically true) that the only lasting solution to self-centered sadness is to think of yourself less by actively caring for others more.

To experience this Truth for yourselves, consider choosing the following alternatives in place of “self help”:

*Instead of journaling for yourself, write a kind letter to another.

*Instead of talking about your own sadness, listen with a caring ear to someone else share about theirs.

*Instead of striving to have fun, go forth and bring others laughter.

*Instead of asking for a hug, give one to a friend.

*Instead of fishing for a compliment, give one to a stranger.

*Instead of asking for help from a colleague, lend an anonymous hand to an enemy.

*Instead of mourning the past, honor the dead with your enjoyment of life.

*Instead of weeping over the present, be openly thankful to be alive at all.

Essentially, instead of making your sadness worse by bemoaning your own needs, choose to cleanse your sadness completely by serving your community’s.

And so, with this all having been said, I bid you all a temporary farewell — not by wishing you mere “happiness”, but by sending you a lasting Joy.

“Those who are not looking for Happiness for themselves are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek to give that Happiness to others.” ~ inspired by MLK, Jr.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ M. Gandhi

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama

“Of all forms of caution, caution in Love is perhaps the most fatal to true Happiness.” ~ Bertrand Russell