Ever notice how much unhappiness comes from circumstances and situations that are not to our liking?
Witness how unhappy we get in the face of sullen teenagers, disapproving bosses, lost friends, cancer, rained-out weekends.
Parents who let us down or disappoint? Ouch.
Uncooperative landlords, bad teachers, unkind strangers? No, no, no.
Romantic partner who cheats or doesn't care? Not. Happy.
We like things our way, and our way only.
We say, “No way I can be happy or OK with this going on.”
And yet whether we like a given situation or we don’t, things often don’t go our way anyway.
You may have noticed.
We pout, tantrum, complain and project a ruined future.
We get depressed, isolated, suicidal, angry.
Attempting to limit disappointments and unhappiness, we place rules, obligations and requirements on experience.
"Come on, life. I should be healthy, thinner, younger. I need a loving partner. I need more money. I need friends. I need more time. I shouldn't have to sit here for so long. They should love me. He shouldn't talk to me like that. I'm still not enlightened? Jeez, what's it gonna take?"
Gosh, are our likes and wants so important that everything - our peace, our contentment, our quality of life- depends on them?
And does it even make sense to have our satisfaction and OKness depend on constantly changing, totally uncontrollable circumstances?
I mean, not liking traffic doesn't make us happier. Not liking sickness doesn't improve sickness. Not liking the situation at work doesn't improve the situation.
It could be that these demands actually make us more unhappy and give us even more of what we don’t want.
So instead of insisting that things go our way, we might just notice that we are actually, literally OK, even though the various current situations are happening.
Because aren't we?
Person sitting, standing, thinking, feeling.
Not much else going on, is there?
Even with the broken car, the lying friend, the lost child, what's not actually OK?
Just a feeling we don't like.
Displeased with situations or not, uncomfortable or not, OKness is here.
We can even see this for ourselves by just asking: What percentage of me is OK right now, even with this situation?
Whatever number we come up with, doesn't that amount of OKness count at all?
Do things have to be 100% to our liking, for whatever percentage of OKness to be enough?
You hear the petulance in that, right?
As if we pout enough we can make experience bend to our wishes.
But instead, experience does its own thing, its own way. Life and death happens as it happens, on its terms not ours.
So there will always be another unwanted situation, another problem, another ”Noooo!”
In fact at any given moment there will probably be lots of complaints and "I don't like this!" going on.
We will never be problem or complaint free.
Things we don't like are going to keep happening.
So if we’re dependent on conditions to be right to be happy, we’re bound to be disappointed.
Because it’s impossible.
That’s why it doesn’t make much sense to put contentment on hold while we wait for everything to be just right.
I mean, sure, we can wait for everything to fall into place before we are happy and OK.
But I can’t imagine why we’d want to.
Because we’d be waiting a very long time.
And because really, why wait for what’s here already?