RE: Stop Chasing Happiness -- Tom Bilyeu and Arthur Brooks

First off: I thoroughly enjoy the posts by Tom Bilyeu because he always has such insightful things to talk about in incredibile detail with his guests in an environment where they can be intellectually challenged and given the air and space to speak about things eloquently enough to get an intensely thorough understanding of the topic at hand without leaving you feeling like it's repetitive, overexaggerated, out of reach, nor too fast or slow. You can always enjoy a great story with Tom, so I encourage a follow to him on YouTube if you aren't already.

Here's the video in question this post will address:

Happiness is a Trap

People tell you that you need to buy this car, get these clothes and look like this and act like that in order to be happy. They tell you once you have the perfect wife and the perfect home, you'll be in this perfect place of happiness and can simply do the same thing over and over again every day unto the end of your days and you can say you lived a happy life. The real thing we are all seeking is the pursuit of happiness. The real thing we all want is the improvements. The core aspect of it all is to simply look within and find what will make us more and continue to pursue that. As Sadhguru says we are infinite creatures seeking to constantly add to our worlds. It's a trap to think that you will be happy and what you really should be seeking is progress.

My personal experience with this has resulted in the same conclusion: I have food in my belly, clothes over my back, a roof over my head and a means to pay my way to build more. I have built and built until I now have a life of comforts and amenities. You would think with all I have, I would simply stay where I am and just enjoy it, but I don't. Now that I have everything I need, there was some aspect of this that was missing before that I am discovering now. Tom and Aurthur cover this later in the video. However, I wanted to highlight this idea here: Now that I have everything I wanted when I was 19 at age 34, I find myself pivoting to another direction and resetting that bar and goal that I want to reach even higher. I want to do more and have always wanted to provide more. Even though I am a Gay man and enjoy my men very much, I find myself still having some of the same hetero cravings like building a family and extending beyond just the reach of my current presence. I still want to build on something bigger than myself. I still want to read all the books on theocracy, religion, philosophy and explore the ideas that are out there. It's not that thinking that learning these things will make me happy, it's that learning about things is the journey to happiness. It's the constant progression to that fabled definition of "perfection" without ever really achieving it because once you attain your goals, you assign new ones and strive for greater heights. Some do get complacent and stagnant or comfortable.

They talk about the things that we as humans need beyond just the local and community levels, there's also a global level of needs that we have. I find myself in the same position: Even though all my needs are handled, I don't like that my current job does not directly benefit humanity. I want a job that also directly impacts the fundamentals of how humanity functions and makes improvements to it (that sounds like Governance, but really it's all involved with technology). I want to know that what I am doing is actually making a benefit to people, not just taking away from poor to fill the pockets of the rich. However, it seems for anything to survive well in this environment and economy, only those businesses that exploit one facet or another are the only ones that seem to survive.

Living with Intention without Attachment

I see sometimes people asking the question how they can love something without being attached to it. How to be a good partner without feeling the need to snoop through their things. How to care for your child without needing to control their every action because you know they have learned their morals well from you. How to be involved with something that involves manipulating energy like in Massage therapy or services that involve interacting with people and not allowing it to drain you of your energy each day. When the question is asked "How do I live to love things but not be attached to them, such that when I lose them, I do not feel the sadness from their loss and I can continue on about my day and life as if those things were never in my life (presumably "like everybody else seems to be able to do.").

I have learned the solution is not in thinking that you have to be detached from everything. Sadghuru said it best: 3 meters of rope can solve the problem of detachment for you. However, that's not what we seek, nor what we desire, so what is the solution? The idea is to change the perspective away from attachment to entanglement. What we seek to avoid is the entanglement that comes from that toxic relationship, the bad parent, or the walled therapist that can't connect to save their client base and wonders why they aren't successful. So simply don't do those things. Allow yourself to be the good parent that tries their best, but understands there's limitations to what they can and cannot do and say with certainty or get away with "because I told you so."; to understand there's a way to set your boundaries in a relationship to maintain a healthy level of communication and connection that doesn't cause conflict or comparisons; to be connected to your clients without involving or engaging in anything more than a client-therapist relationship with clear boundaries defined and communicated. It's difficult to communicate a one-size-fits-all kind of solution, because it is very specific to the situation and circumstance. However, the general stance that I take is to live in gratitude every day because without that, the day may be ungrateful for you and as a result, towards you as well. I live with intention and purpose by defining it myself and living that every day. Each day that I live more aligned to my goals is a step closer to self-actualization. Each day that I do not is not a failure, but an opportunity to review how I might adjust either my perspective or desires to match what I can actually practically do based on my circumstances or situations.

"The God Hole"

"You're looking for something evidenced by your craving."
The fact that there is hunger is evidence that food exists.
The fact that you have a drive for sex is evidence that it exists.
The fact that you have this craving for something to fill that void of a definition for "The All" is evidence that it exists.

This is an interesting thing for me because I consider myself agonistic and I want to read all the religion books before making a decision on what is "Truth". I am also a firm believer that we all have our own individual truth to be defined. Religion are a means by which this can be built, designed and executed. For those that say "This is The Way", I believe they are really telling their way that worked for them and the truth that they found. Instead of thinking about things from a prescriptive perspective, I tend to take things (especially of this nature) from a more descriptive and directive perspective. I will have to walk my own path and do my own things, but essentially there is a general "formula" to the kind of success we all seek to obtain.

I'm also of the belief that all these religions and structures we have created are a result of us attempting to congregate the ideas into a single body of knowledge and to be able to describe the means by which someone reached enlightenment. I don't think of any of them as "The Way™", I think of them as "A Way" that someone achieved their enlightenment. So, when I ask, look, learn and get to know these, I don't take them to be the absolute truth.

I believe that each of us has our own belief system that is our own design and by our own choice. If we had a choice of a menu of all the things, I think we may discover a few things: 1) our beliefs overall overlap a lot and that we could learn a lot from each other if we just stop bastardizing each other for learning something new. 2) we actually don't know what we believe because personally, we have not spent enough time thinking on the subject and what it means for ourselves. We were exposed to something as a child and perhaps that's what many of us follow, however, how many of us elect to simply learn as much as possible and make a selection after learning all they can about the religions we have around us?

I also perceive that religions were created originally as a tool in order to describe that "God hole" we seem to be missing or seeking at some point in our lives. They started as pantheons, which are a collection of a representation of an idea that eventually coalesced into a belief system and as we know them today, they are religions and are treated as labels that indicate whether someone should love you or hate you, it seems, these days. While I disagree with that last point, what they do offer is a sense of community and purpose beyond just the individual that we all innately seek. What it provides one may not serve or be perceived the same for another.

Finally, after exploring a lot of these topics and the sheer overwhelming about of data, I am of the belief that we should not be shoving religion down our children's throats. That's not to say that religion is banned from being taught kids, no. Absolutely nothing is stopping you from educating and introducing them to the idea of it. (Especially if they start asking about it and it's all you know; just make sure to disclaim that you understand the limits of your own education). My issue is when there is a coerced indoctrination because children under the age of 25 would not have the mind to understand or engage in religion in as meaningful a way. I certainly didn't understand it and didn't want to understand or know anything about it until later in life. I knew there would come a time. I believe that time is becoming upon me in the last few months or so. As I dip into these studies and explore some of the things, I realize that you really have to have a mind that is ready to accept this level of thinking. I think religion is a high level class of knowledge and this is coming from a heavy IT guy that learned a lot of things from scratch by myself outside of the classroom and faster than most other students. I consider myself someone who adepts well to new situations and even then, religion seems like a difficult subject to explore and understand. I think it should be the choice of the individual because ultimately the individual is going to make the decision of what their belief system will include.

Now before you let your cognitive dissonance prevent you from absorbing what you just read, please keep in mind a few things: This is just my perspective at the time of writing. New data is always suceptible to change the things I think and believe as I discover new things. This is also just my opinion on my facets surrounding this idea. Should they be law? No. Is it meaningful? Yes. So somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, I believe its worth considering and asking yourself just how much do you really "know" from your own experiences, can be measured, and repeated, and how much was just told to you and you just went with it?


"The more you understand the illusion, the less you are trapped by it."

Definitely knowing how things work lets me be more effective with how I handle it, no matter what "it" is.

You will never find the perfect person, you will end up creating the perfect relationship.

I was incredibly moved by this as it is completely true in that you can design any kind of relationships you want with those outside of your professional life!


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