So, what is your latest trick? And by trick I mean something new that is supposed to cure all your ills. Maybe it’s meditation, mindfulness, retail therapy, optimism, pessimism, religion, reading the philosophers or maybe ancient spiritual texts, a new gadget, a fresh start, right wing or left wing politics, a new relationship … This isn’t meant to be judgmental, simply an observation on the way we human beings seek gratification.
The problem with your latest trick is that the initial enthusiasm will die away and sooner rather than later you will find yourself back where you started. This is the cycle most of us go through on a regular basis, with the aim of covering over the cracks. Obviously the cracks are not all that pleasant to contemplate otherwise we would not make the effort to try and make them disappear. These cracks may come in the form of boredom, sadness, bitterness, shame, remorse, self-hatred, fear, melancholy, or any one of the dozens of emotional states that plague human existence. Your latest trick isn’t going to work, and most of us know we are only purchasing temporary relief.
So here is a better idea, although most people probably won’t think it is. Why not enjoy the cracks? Where have we picked up the notion that the emotions listed above, shame, melancholy, fear, and so on, are to be avoided like the plague? It has to be admitted that these emotions are painful, but why do we run away from the least little bit of pain? Despite all the unwise counsel we might get from peers, family, friends, self-help gurus, spiritual teachers, and the claim that to entertain these emotions is unhealthy, we can learn to indulge them without any reservations. But here is the rub. If you can be content with misery it has a nasty habit of no longer being misery. As such it is much wiser to keep innovating and finding new tricks to distract if we want to prolong the misery. The choice is yours. Make friends with misery and see it melt away, or keep inventing tricks to avoid it and continue adding fuel to your misery fire.