What does unhappiness feel like? It’s worth a look!
I think you’ll find that when we’re most unhappy is when we’re mulling over the past. Our mistakes, our embarrassments. Or worrying about the future. Will I be fired? Will my kids be alright? Really remember those nights lying in bed unable to go to sleep.
What does it really feel like to have a moment of peace?
Pretty much the opposite. Maybe you’re sitting on the porch at a cabin in the woods. We’re not worried about the future, we’re not mulling over the past.
But of course it’s not the bed or the cabin. You can be on a vacation and still be miserable with worry. And you can lay down to sleep peaceful and content. In fact, the suttas specifically teach that one of the benefits of meditation is good sleep!
Those moments of unhappiness are all about obsessive mulling over minutiae. But the moments of happiness? Well, they feel timeless! We aren’t worrying about who we are, what we are, or any of the thousand niggling details of life.
Now, sometimes people do a meditation that is more like the first one. Obsessive looking at the things that arise in the mind. If you find that beneficial, ok. I do not. I say, do a meditation that teaches the mind to have ready access to the second state. That timeless, beautiful, blissful awareness. Put aside all the things that we normally think of as ourselves. Our worries, our pains, our obsessions. But also our accomplishments, our glory, our ego.
Remember, when we’re most unhappy is when we are most aware of all those things. What you’ve done, who you “are”.