What Will Make Me Happier Right Now?
November 5, 2013
It’s morning again, and I ask myself the same eternal questions: meditate or sleep in? Cookies or salad? Real book or Facebook? Every moment I ask myself, “What will make me happier right now?”
It seems simple enough to predict what will happen. Sometimes I’ll go to meditation and sometimes not. If each question were independent it would probably be 50/50, except that there’s a trick. You can probably guess if you think about it. The trick is that the way you answer the previous question affects how you will answer the next. If I sleep in, I’m more likely to eat chocolate and browse Facebook than if I had gone to meditation.
Why is that? Sleeping in gives me a certain pleasure and comfort, so now I want more. If I go to meditation on the other hand, that practice gives me a different sort of enjoyment, a sense of freedom, life, and health, so now I want more of that. Just the thought of meditating though, for someone who has not regularly experienced the joy it can bring, is sometimes not enough to overcome the allure of sleeping in.
Both ways give us something we want, so why is it always such a struggle to avoid the sleeping route? There may be more than one reason, but can you see one big difference between the two? Sleep > sugar > Faceboook, or meditation > veggies > book. The meditation route takes more energy. Mankind as a whole has been taught by the times when resources were scarce to put out the smallest amount of energy possible for the biggest return.
There’s another way of phrasing this eternal question, though. “What will make me happier right now… and afterword?” Examine how you feel after you take the meditation route instead of the sleep route. I’m sure we’ve all been bored during a meditation at least once (assuming you have meditated before), or gazed miserably at a plate of lettuce that we’re only eating because it’s “good for us”, but have you ever finished a meditation and said “I should have just slept in then eaten sugary, styrofoam cereal while watching T.V.”? Even if you have, just think of how many more times you’ve regretted eating junk food or skipping meditation. So which one really gives us the biggest return for the energy put out? The meditation route may be more work initially, but it will get easier the more you do it and it will be so worth it!
Try asking yourself, “what will make me happier in the long run?” See how long you can keep making the choices that will give you true happiness, rather than temporary satisfaction.