The Be, Do, Have Theory of Life
Most of us grow up learning to live according to Formulas For Happiness:
Theory 1: The DOING FORMULA
A. If you do this versus that, e.g. Go to school, get a degree, stay out jail, get a good job, etc.) We will then
B. Have that (Wife, husband, family, car, house, money in bank)
And then VOILA:
C. We’ll be happy.
The flip side of this theory is if you don’t follow this formula you will not be happy.
Theory 2: The HAVING FORMULA
A. If you have wealth, looks, fame, fortune, health, 2.2 children, or no children, a house in the country, etc.
B. Do yoga, do shop here (not there), do this wine vs. that one, do this political move (not that one), etc.,
C. You’ll be happy.
The flip side of not having what we think we’re supposed to have creates stress, anger, greed, lust, anxiety, etc. Course having what we think we’re supposed to have also creates stress, anger, greed, lust, and anxiety. Etc.
For some period of time, formulae work. Unfortunately something changes and the formula no longer works. At different points in time, we’ve all achieved a modicum of happiness working the formulae. But didn’t you find that the happiness you had didn’t last? Tempered by more striving for happiness we may have opted from Doing to Having and then back again.
What propels us to keep grabbing for that elusive brass ring? Once we have grasped what we crave, we hold onto it or them for dear life lest we lose our connection to the happiness for which we yearn.
We believe happiness is out there just within our grasp or worse, out of range completely. So then we resign ourselves to a life less lived. We give up. Life just does not live up to our expectations. In our drive to happiness, we lose sight of the preciousness of each moment.
Theory 3: The BEING FORMULA
- If I am happy, then I will do whatever continues to make me happy.
- If I am happy, then I will have whatever I need to make me happy.
- If I be happy then what do I really need to do or have?
Some people get to Theory #3 without much practice. They become the teachers to which we bow. Buddha. Gandhi. Mother Theresa, Confucius. The list is long.
Their relationship to happiness appears like a never ending supply of water, drenching and cooling our overheated spirits. We find ourselves letting go of whatever we think we need to hold onto so we can nourish ourselves. The Being formula has less to do with doing and more to do with acceptance of what is right in front of us, now.
Acceptance implies neither pushing something away nor grasping for more. Acceptance leads to contentment, a state of mind that is not dependent on doing or having, but rather finds its way to the surface of our life as we relinquish our attachment/reliance on our automatic habits.
Acceptance requires a relinquishment of theories #1 and #2. This is not easy for us as we want what we want, when we want it. What supports the journey to contentment? Instruction from qualified teachers. A commitment to the practices provided. Faith in yourself and your ability to be happy. And for some of us, retreating to remote places where our basic needs are met so that we can focus our attention on opening up to the internal waterfall, which never runs dry.
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