It is, however, true that much of the evil in the world is due to the fact that man in general is hopelessly unconscious, as it is also true that with increasing insight we can combat this evil at its source in ourselves. As science enables us to deal with injuries inflicted from without, so it helps us to treat those arising from within. — C.G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Life is a great gift and consequently it should be treated with utmost reverence and gratitude. It would be a shame to waste what is given to you during your time on Earth. Many people have to deal with loss, sadness, alienation and ostricization before they even see the possibility of leading a happy life. The trick is to find ways to alleviate the sadness or turn it around. Instead of feeling suffering pain and sadness, it is possible to use reason to find ways to change the perspective and look at things from a different light. All that is needed is to understand that much suffering is self-induced, then you can look for ways to get out and already you’ll be feeling better. (I do not mean invalidate the suffering of people who have been through horrible things or lossess outside of their control by calling their suffering self-induced. Instead I try to inform of the possibility that a different view or perspective on that loss could alleviate from the suffering.)
– act opposite to emotion: Be active, say yes to all opportunities, be social, fake happiness.
– put things into perspective: Escape the drama that your mind throws your way and watch the problem as if it was on TV. That way, things will become clearer and more answers will present themselves.
– avoid victimization: Something bad is bound to happen but try to avoid making it worse than it already is for any reason, especially to gain attention. The sympathy of others can be helpful but overemphasizing the problem will reinforce the occurrence and depth of negative feelings.
– do things that make you happy: Go to the cinema, practice your hobby, go out with friends, and call old friends…
– do not avoid the problem: Don’t drink to forget, don’t watch TV or play games to escape, don’t do other things that are less pressing. Deal with the problem as soon as it appears – you will feel better as soon as you start doing something about it.
Suffering is not always self-induced, but the intensity of suffering can be controlled. It is often the individual who makes it worse for himself.
Many traumatic events, such as operations, injuries, birth, sexual and physical abuse, have strong somatic, or bodily, components. Some aspects of these events can become encoded in our muscles, our tissue, or perhaps even in our cells. We can also somatize experiences that are not specifically physical. We might somatize our reaction to verbal humiliation by locking our anger, fear, shame, or guilt into our bodies rather than expressing them. Unaware that we are carrying these memories or emotions, we become conscious of them when they manifest in forms such as muscle tension, headaches, digestive problems, skin rashes, numbness, or heightened blood pressure. When we dissociate from an abusive encounter, chances are the event leaves its impact on the body, even though we have separated our awareness from it. — C. Grof, The Search for Wholeness
It is important to be healthy in body, mind and ‘spirit’. ‘Spirit’ does not mean anything other than that which is left out by the body and mind. ‘Spirit’ means the ungraspable, the indescribable. We will touch on that in a later post. Body and mind interact on very certain terms and influence each other in both positive and negative ways. It is imperative to have a healthy body. To do so one should have a fairly reasonable diet (don’t eat too much sugar or salt, don’t overeat, eat your greens and fruit, drink water instead of coke or pepsi). There should be some exercise on a frequent basis – morning jogging, football, anything… Exercise has a direct influence on serotonin and the chemical reaction that ensues creates happiness and has an overall calming effect. Exercise will make you happy – that is a proven fact.
The mind is harder to keep healthy. Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, caffeine and sugar all have a negative effect on the mind if taken continuously. A slice of cake once in a while or a pint of beer are okay – there will probably be no detrimental long-term effects. Over-indulgence on the other hand can lead to serious negative long-term effects including depression, behavioral change, mood-swings and paranoia. Don’t believe us? Lead a healthy life for two weeks and see for yourself. Be aware that your body needs two weeks to get used to the new regime and release all the toxins – the positive effects will come to the foreground fully only after 2 whole weeks. The first week of conscious avoidance of something to which you have become addicted will show you just how hooked you actually were. Don’t succumb to it, just be horrified to see how much you crave for that substance that you have cut out from your diet. I read a study somewhere stating that 70 % or so of human adult population is hooked on caffeine; the numbers for sugar addiction in the developed world are going to be even higher.
I began to see that I was facing two different phenomena: there are some things I do in my life that are definitely addictive, that can lead to severe repercussions if I do not stop them, and there are others that have similar characteristics but will not cause me or other people obvious harm. Some of them even bring genuine pleasure and enjoyment. However, just as with alcohol, these activities, substances, or relationships do bring pain, however mild. When I do not have them, I feel pain. If I want them but cannot reach them, I feel pain. If I get them and realize they will not last very long, I feel pain. If I have had them and want them again, I feel pain. — C. Grof, The Search for Wholeness
The root of all suffering is attachment or clinging to other peoples, places, objects, or behaviours. — Buddhism
What else? Enjoy yourself and don’t let your fears stop you. You know what you want to do with your life on one level or another. Do the hobby that you want to do, learn that language, improve your inter-personal skills, get that job, kiss that girl, become active. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you – including yourself. The more often you face your fears and do things that are uncomfortable the easier it becomes. If you want to change yourself, change your behavior and the rest will follow.
Also, one of my personal favorites, DON’T TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY! When times seem to be at their worst, try to laugh at your predicament. Sometimes you may feel that the universe is conspiring to make you feel bad, so much that it becomes absurd. Well, laugh at the absurdity of it all! As Bill Hicks used to say:
“The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly colored and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, ‘Hey – don’t worry, don’t be afraid ever, because this is just a ride …”