eckhart tolle teachings

Happiness as a Role We Play

"[Relationships] do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you."

- The Power of Now

Happiness is often a role people play in public to mask the pain that they are really feeling.

In America, when you ask someone how they are doing at a grocery store or a restaurant, the response usually goes something like “Fine, how about yourself?” Happiness is often a role people play in public to mask the pain, depression or hopelessness that they are really feeling. When the ego says “everything is just fine”, it’s a way of keeping its true feelings secret. Happiness can be a way of denying or splitting off from how you really feel.

If there is unhappiness in you, the first step is to realize that is how you feel. The next step is to inquire into it and understand what the action step is. The action step might be changing a situation out in the physical world. Or the action step might be changing something in your inner psychological landscape. A good thing to remember is that the main cause of unhappiness is never a specific situation but the thoughts about and behind that situation.

As you inquire, stay with the facts. Opinions and identifications with the negative situation like “I am ruined” is an opinion that is more a story that a recounting of the facts. If you can face the facts of your situation, you will feel empowered. If you are running away from something — whether it is an addiction, not having enough money, an unhappy marriage or relationship, or a painful part of your past — you are in denial and not operating in objective reality where solutions could appear at any time in the present moment.

Also remember that what you think creates the emotions that you feel. As you tease out the relationship between your thoughts and your emotions, you will find that the truth of your unhappiness is resolved by being the awareness behind your thoughts and emotions. Seeking happiness will never make you happy, as seeking is really the opposite of the contentment of happiness. And though happiness is elusive, freedom from unhappiness is achievable by facing what is rather than believing the stories your ego has fabricated about it. As you pierce this veil with your awareness, you will discover your natural state of well-being and inner peace.

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