Victor Frankl, the founder of Logo Therapy, wrote something in his book 'Man's Search for Meaning' which particularly caught my eye. He said something to the effect that happiness can at least partly be defined by the negative things that don't happen to us. What he referred to is for example the little fact that you are able to read this post, which means you had an education and have access to electricity and the Internet, and you're probably well fed. Now, huge chunks of humanity are starving, are hungry for an education, and maybe read a book by candle light, if at all.
I want to take this a step
further, because I tend to forget the negative times and emotional states I have
been through in my life (like everybody else, I guess). You probably
agree that pain and suffering do have their meaning, because by overcoming them
we become more conscious human beings.
Only a few years ago I was
an angry son of a gun. Not that I hit the table and screamed at people (that's
simply not in my temperament). But it was more a constant state of irritation
with the world and the people in my life.
After I became aware that
we become physically addicted to the emotions we have on an ongoing basis
(check my post on 'The Addiction to Emotion') I obviously worked on it, changed
my life and my circumstances, and the constant irritation has left me.
The thing is, I'm taking it
for granted now, and by doing so I rob myself of a wonderful opportunity to feel
I can, however, count on my
pain-body (Echart Tolle) to remind me every now and again of my progress.
Sometimes I'm literally being attacked, out of the blue, by a tremendous bout of
anger and irritation, and most of the times with absolutely no reason at all.
But I can bear those unpleasant moments with equanimity now, because I know
they are fleeting and a simple reminder of my progress.