Ben (nagasena) wrote in dukkhapervades,

  • Music:

On Happiness

"This section is dedicated to my nihilist friends who thought I have
been exaggerating by equating a healthy brain with happiness. In truth,
having a healthy brain and no symptoms of a physical depression does
not mean your life will be a carnival of constant bliss. There are
people who are unhappy their entire lives and yet never develop a
depression. They have a general discontent with life, a permanent
feeling that the present is not satisfactory enough, and frequent bouts
of the blues. However, given that their brains are healthy, they are
capable of feeling happiness when circumstances are favourable. In
comparison, a clinically depressed person will not feel happy even if
all their problems were magically resolved. If you have not done so
before, you will now understand how critical it is to make a
distinction between the psychological feeling which could be described
as "depressed", and the physical illness which affects the
brain—clinical depression. Many a prejudice would be overcome if
healthy individuals could be made to experience, even if just for just
five minutes, what the fire and the desperation of depression feel like."
- [from Demystifying Depression wikibook]

I'm posting this for the self-labeled depressives out there. The dissatisfaction I have always felt is not necessarilly because I am depressed. The subtle difference is being able to be Happy when circumstances are right. A clinical depressive cannot do this. Dissatisfaction is part of the Buddhist path. Being dissatisfied with the inconstancy of sensual stimulation is okay. Not wanting to constantly barrage yourself with things the rest of the world calls 'fun' and 'recreational' is okay. Not being the slightest bit envious when your friends are piss drunk, hanging out with Barbies and Kens, dancing and being rowdy, is okay. Not wanting to watch TV, is definitely okay. But wanting to be truly happy, independent of any external thing, is what sets us apart from the illness.

x-posted on my LJ
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