It is Darkest Right Before Dawn: The Key to Happiness

The Dawning Day

The Dawning Day

It seems we have made so much progress—and yet, why is it that the world appears no closer to the peace and prosperity we all desire? Consider religion-based wars; consider the spread of obesity; and consider the devastation of depression. Yes, these are the three great scourges of our time, and so many people put up valiant struggles against them—but are we making progress? In this article I will consider the reasons to be pessimistic and will show that we have even better reasons to be optimistic. I will do this by taking a look at our own body—our great healer, our perfect model of peace and prosperity, our fountain of hope. This is an application of the Back-to-the-Body Perspective.

Love vs. Resentment—The Inner Struggle

The one thing that will make a huge difference in our world will be our own realization that we, as human beings, are a battlefield of love vs. resentment. The place where this battle is being waged is our own brain. It is a mistake to consider that peace, happiness, and joy are things that we must find outside ourselves. It is a waste of time to work to change the conditions of the world so that we can find peace, joy and happiness. Don’t we all think this at some point in our lives? Don’t we all believe at some point in our lives that the reason we are not happy is that the circumstances of the world do not allow us to be happy? Don’t we all imagine sometimes that, if only we could change the world, we would find total and absolute happiness?

Joy is the way.

Joy is the way.

Well, I am pleases to say that these thoughts are all false. The key to peace, joy, and happiness is in our own hands, within ourselves. This seems naive—but look at the evidence! Isn’t it true that some individuals can find peace and tranquillity amidst the harshest of circumstances? Is it not true that some individuals did their best and most creative work in the darkest of all dungeons? Now, turn this image around. Consider those individuals who seem to have EVERYTHING to be happy and joyful—and yet, they are miserable! Don’t we sometimes think, “Wow, if only I had all of those things that this individual has, I would be happy!”

But it is false to think that we can become happy just by changing our own circumstances! That is a false hope! We will NEVER find happiness or joy or peace just by changing our external circumstances. That is a wrong path to happiness!

Resentment causes wars.

Resentment causes wars.

But of course, I do not mean to imply that we should disregard our external circumstances. Our human way is to make constant progress, to improve things, to change our surroundings, to make things better. But it is futile to think that our happiness is just around the corner, if we make just this one change in our circumstances: buy this house, get a degree, drive a different vehicle, move to a warmer climate, achieve a certain position, get elected to a public office, get our children to graduate from school, etc. etc.

Of course, it is good to do all of those things. But we have to realize that these things, just by themselves, will not help us find peace or joy or happiness. The key to happiness is inside ourselves, not out there.

The Brain: A Battleground of Resentment and Joy

The two sides of the brain are at battle.

The two sides of the brain are at battle.

In centuries past we, humans, have regarded our brain as our most prized possession. Many believed that it is through the brain that we can achieve the highest civilization. But then the 20th Century happened. The 20th Century showed us how highly educated individuals could conceive, plan, and perpetrate the most horrendous acts of evil. In other words, we, humans, are capable of doing evil.

But we, humans, are also capable of doing the most sublime kinds of deeds. The 20th Century also showed us unforgettable acts of heroism, courage, kindness, and dedication. How come humankind can be both evil and good? How come we are able to destroy—and yet we can also build and rebuild? We destroy the environment; yet, we can also rebuild it to a pristine condition. We kill species; and yet we can also restore species and protect their habitats. Is the world composed of two kinds of individuals—some that are good, and some that are evil?

It would be wrong to think that humans are divided into “good” and “evil.” The correct viewpoint is that ALL OF US, regardless of race or age or nationality or circumstances, are capable of both good and evil. No amount of external circumstances of external power can force us to decide to do good or to decide to do evil. That decision is totally in our hands.

If we are motivated by resentment, we will commit evil acts. If we are motivated by joy, we will do good deeds. Resentment suffocates, poisons the well, brings despair and depression. Joy liberates, brings the energy of life, yields zest for life and joie de vivre. The left side of the brain uses logic and is capable of bringing resentment as the motivation for living. The right side of the brain responds to the motivation of the heart, which is joy. Resentment creates enemies and separation; joy creates friends and unity. Resentment kills; joy gives life. It is up to us to decide which way we want to live.

People suffer terrorism

People suffer terrorism

If you look at terrorism, wars, confrontations, and misery, you will find a common point: the people who perpetrate all of those evil acts are motivated by resentment. How can we change all that? It will not be through changing the external circumstances. The way to change is to invite people to turn away from resentment and to embrace joy as the motivation for their lives. In joy there is peace, there is solidarity, there is harmony, there is cooperation. Joy is the source of prosperity, the fountain of life. In this one change from resentment to joy consists the essence of all religions, spirituality, revelations, and holy scriptures.

I conclude with a quote:

The dissonances of the world are like lovers’ strife. In the midst of the quarrel is reconciliation, and all that is separated comes together again.
Excerpt From: Friedrich Hölderlin. Hyperion. iBooks.

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
November 9, 2014

Photo Credits:

Photo: Dawning Day; by Vince Alongi; source: http://bit.ly/13ZpMdY; Creative Commons license: Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo: Humor is the Greatest Thing; by Celestine Chua; source: http://bit.ly/1tPck4S; Creative Commons license: Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo: Batleground; by Thomas Izko; source: http://bit.ly/1zbVBdM; Creative Commons license: Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo: Battleground of Men; by xx; source: http://bit.ly/1zE1WBN; Creative Commons license: Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo: People in Terror; by xx; source: http://bit.ly/1uNsKxD; CC license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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