Yogis say suffering is due to seeking happiness outside ourselves. The quest for happiness is often the source of unhappiness.
by Henry Makow Ph.D.
(Slightly revised from 14/6/09.)
If there were a webcam in the Monkey House at the local zoo, would you watch it?
Then, why watch TV or go to the movies? Why cruise the Internet or listen to most music? It’s the same thing as watching the chest pounding, screeching, defecating and copulating of monkeys. Of course humans outdo monkeys with mindless killing and mayhem.
If not a Monkey House, then the world increasingly resembles a hive which, thanks to the mass media, vibrates at the same frequency. For example, when the stock market is plummeting, everyone is panicking. (When Money is God, an economic downturn becomes a spiritual crisis.)
But there are other causes for the gloom: the spreading knowledge that our institutions (government, media, education, religion etc.) have been subverted and society now has no way of self-correcting.
The world feels like a roller coaster; we are holding on for dear life. Perhaps we need to let go. Perhaps we need to vibrate at our own unique frequency.
Perhaps I would be more effective if I devoted more energy to my private life. The external world is negating my private world even though it hasn’t physically impinged on it yet. I have impoverished myself by my constant focus on the Monkey House. I don’t think I am alone in this.
Our minds are like blotters, hoping to find a reflection of our ideals in the world. We need to turn the mirror around so the back faces the world. We need to use our personal lives (not the world) to reflect our ideals.
I envy people who can make God, Jesus or Mohamed the focus of all their thoughts. I often resolve to read the lives and saying of mystics. Clearly I need another focus. Family. Sports. A hobby.
Feeling fatigued recently, I resolved to unplug the world for 24 hours. I would be a Robinson Crusoe of the island of soul. I put on a Gregorian chant and tried to meditate. It’s all about where we direct our attention minute-by-minute. I would focus on God. Order. Peace. Truth. Sanity. A calm came over me.
At the same time, temptations made me realize how I am addicted to my computer terminal. From that monitor l satisfy all my lusts. Down that chute come the niblets of news, emails, book sales, stock quotes etc. Yogis say suffering is due to seeking happiness outside ourselves. The pursuit of happiness is often the source of unhappiness.
Yet, that’s all we do: manipulate the world to make us feel good. When will we realize we cannot feel good unless we are good?
How we hate to be alone. That’s why we are constantly talking on cell phones or watching TV. Why do we self-evade? As Paul Elmer More said, “we exhaust a great effort and expense to be poorly entertained.”
Let’s enjoy our selves.
After about four hours of meditating, I felt quite detached and refreshed, and started to get bored. So I broke down and checked my e-mail and the latest headlines. (I want to be in the world but not of it. I don’t want to be adrift between two worlds.)