Tag Archives: Happiness

Enlightenment Sucks (Part 1 of ?)

I’m pretty much a closeted Buddhist. I say closeted because I’m not really good at being a Buddhist; I’ve never been to a temple and I’ve never actually done anything extremely “Buddhist” whatever the fuck that means. I also have a blog where I write “fuck” alot, complain about everything, and seem to hate all sorts of shit: this also doesn’t sound very Buddhist of me. But I do have the mindset that favors introspection, curiosity, understanding, and being at peace with the world and find the “religion” (if you want to call it that) to be very appealing. Buddhism just kinda clicks with me I guess.

Buddhism doesn’t attempt to place universal blame on some entity for suffering or salvation on someone else’s back: everything seems to be solely up to you. While Christianity seems hell-bent (pun!) on saving your soul through Jesus Christ, Buddhism seems to be focused on saving your ass from yourself. To prevent you from making your own life miserable. And instead of some holy figure to guide you, you’re given the Buddha: some dude who figured out the way to be enlightened. That’s about it. He himself wasn’t actually special or anything: he just figured it out. Life is about finding enlightenment and that’s it. Because, according to Buddhism, the only problem with your life is your mindset. Life isn’t fucked up: it’s your view of life that is fucked up.

What is enlightenment exactly? Buddhism seems to define this as being “aware of how things are” and in a slightly different aspect of it “happy” or at least “okay” with how things are. Buddha didn’t become a saint or do anything magical; he was just a guy who figured shit out and was at peace. This is cool because if some random dude in India figured shit out, then so can you! I suppose at the end of the day — and maybe everyone feels this way — I have the same goal: I want to have a deep and fundamental understanding of existence and be at peace with it. Even if something shitty happens to me I want to be able to back up, view the event from an outside perspective, and be “happy” or “okay” about it in some form or another. This is what enlightenment is, at least to me. It’s kinda hard to put into words really.

The problem arises because I’m fucking terrible about being happy and thankful with the current state of the world! As much as I idealize this idea of enlightenment I’m actually awful at placing it into action: I’m an angry and pissy person and it’s hard for me to see any positives in anything that actually happens. My own personality, while liking the idea of being enlightened, seems to be diametrically opposed to it.

Here’s an example. I was out on the porch drinking just being in the moment and while not purposefully meditating I was still in the zone so to speak. It was like a form of passive meditation. There were kittens outside playing and I was simply sitting there, watching them, totally at peace with the world. Life was good. I would assume that Eastern philosophy and Buddhism would refer to this moment as “enlightenment” (especially Zen as this moment was a kinda “aha! I get it!” moment) and while I didn’t ascend to a higher plane or have any deep insights I was at peace with the world (which is the deep insight really) and totally okay and accepting of anything in it.

But apparently not. Because that’s when the neighbor lady showed up.

She came outside and started trying to call one of the kittens over. We named him “Rain” which is a pretty fucking stupid name anyways, but apparently she had named him “Cutie” which is another level of stupid. So there I was, peaceful, buzzed, and in the Buddhist-Zone when this lady starts yelling in a loving, motherly voice but with the tone of pure nails-on-chalkboard, “Cutie! Cutie! Where are you, Cutie?! Come here kittykittykittykittykittykittykittykitty !”

“It’s an older meme, sir, but it checks out.”

I about lost my shit. It wasn’t as if this slowly wore my mood down over time — no — as soon as she started screeching at the cat my blood instantly started to boil. My pulse and blood pressure notably skyrocketed. My peace, love, happiness, and understanding instantly disappeared in a fiery moment of pure hatred towards this other person. Another being in the universe having the same experiences and troubles as me? My ass. This lady was totally ruining my goddamn peace love and happiness! Didn’t she realize how utterly fucking annoying she was? Didn’t she realize that you can’t force a cat to love you? Didn’t she understand that the kittens were playing and didn’t give a fuck about anything she was screeching about?

(Insight Note: You can’t force a cat to love you. They’re passive beings that love doing their own thing. The kittens had more love for me passively sitting there and not bothering them than they did for the overly aggressive lady that wanted the kittens to love her. Cats have to love you on their own terms. I put myself out there to be loved by the kittens, but at the end of the day I try to leave them alone until they’re accepting of me. This is also true of people. WOAH. 3deep5u.)

Obviously this wasn’t a very cash-money Buddhist way of feeling, and I almost feel bad about these intrusive thoughts. Almost. The thing about meditation is it makes me happy and when this happiness is interrupted I get angry, usually way too angry for the situation. It’s really frustrating because I’m obviously not at the “peace, love, and acceptance” level where I can deal with incidents like these. I’m still horribly flawed even if I do have glimpses of enlightenment and peace and this makes things even more frustrating.

The Buddha when I lost my peace thanks to Neighbor Lady.

And it’s times like that where I think I’m not cut out to be enlightened or at peace in life. I’m just not worthy of it. Im kinda a jackass. I talk shit about some of my coworkers and while my supervisor is a very peaceful, loving, and “everyone has their own story and struggle and you shouldn’t judge them” type of person, I can’t seem to not shit all over people for doing the smallest thing wrong. I understand what she’s getting at, but can’t convince myself to feel that way even if I do think that way. I’m a goddamn dirtbag! While on the surface I understand that people have their own struggles and so on, I still can’t put that into practice and, ya know, be a good person.

In fact I’ve almost started embracing my dickishness. When I’m at the store I openly cuss in front of children. I scowl as people that stand in my way. I’m petty and bitter and love saying “I told you so” when I’m proven right. I don’t go out of my way to make people miserable (I’m not “Karen” asking to talk to your manager) but if I’m pissed-off it’s hard to hide it. I’m all for self-improvement and think everyone should try to fix their flaws, but at the same time I think everyone needs to be themselves, which makes zero sense really. It pisses me off when I see Facebook posts saying something like “If you can’t handle me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best.” It sounds like justification for being a terrible person. I want to not be a terrible person but I also want to accept myself as-is, even if I apparently am kinda a dick. It’s confusing and contradictory.

As much as I’m into the Buddhist theory and mindset, I’m apparently fucking terrible at putting it into practice. While I like the idea of enlightenment, I realize that I’m not the type of person to actually be enlightened. Something is always pissing me off (which is nice when you have a blog called Everything Sucks I guess) and even if I had an amazing day, I’ll still be upset by something. (“I won the lottery? Well now I’ll have to pay someone to do my taxes for me next year. Fuck.”) It’s a constant feeling of I’m not good enough and I’ll never be good enough in terms of my own peace, happiness, and well-being. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be an enlightened person.

Facebook Sucks: An Introduction

This will be shocking to you, but there was a time when Facebook didn’t exist. I remember this because I’m apparently old. I graduated high school in 2004 and there was no Facebook at the time. (Fun Fact: Apparently Facebook was created in early 2004 so there was a Facebook but it sure as hell wasn’t the massive beast we know currently.) A few years later this thing called MySpace was pretty damn popular and was basically a prehistoric version of Facebook. Eventually that place went the way of dinosaurs and phone books with Facebook becoming the de-facto social media website. Now everyone has a Facebook page. If you don’t you’re seen as a social outcast or something.

Another fun fact: before our hyper-connected world partially enabled by Facebook, life was actually enjoyable. You’d live your life and do the shit you wanted to do and you didn’t think once about “sharing” it with others. You might call your friends and family and let them know what was up but that was the extent of it. Currently, no matter what we do we keep our internet personas in the back of our minds ready to share anything remotely interesting (or not) we happen to do in life. Social media has a way of drilling itself into your subconscious and keeping itself ever present in your mind. It’s like a disgusting virus that wants you to get “likes” and appear cool.

This is obviously bad and I’ve been rebelling against Facebook periodically since I first created my personal page about 10 or 11 years ago. The current iteration has been around for about four or five years. It’s like my social life periodically undergoes mass extinction events where I just give up and disappear. In fact some of my old high school friends thought I had died because I’d just randomly leave the social media universe. What’s stupid is that I keep going back to Facebook and have to rebuild my friends list and that’s a pain. I’m imagining my friends think that I just delete them and re-add them not realizing I had nuked my account. It’s sad and it’s depressing but it’s simply what happens. So why do I periodically delete my Facebook accounts?

Since this occurs over and over I assume it’s a problem with either me or Facebook. I snap and delete my shit every few years and I’ve come to accept it. The last time I tried this was about 6 months ago. I was well into blogging and my “personal business” so I knew I couldn’t delete my personal page because then I’d lose all of my blog pages (including this one) so I just deactivated it. I guess I was realistic with myself and knew I’d be back so why should I cause myself more problems? I had narrowly escaped another social media collapse. I was right because I did eventually come back (and we always do…) and I kept Facebook in check for a few months. I wouldn’t check it as soon as I’d wake up and would stay logged out. I finally became in charge of my Facebook usage. For a bit that is.

So how was it? It was wonderful. I hate being overdramatic but my happiness immediately improved when I quit seeing everything on social media. It was such a tiny and simple change to my life that lead to some immense benefits in terms of well being. Even logging out and checking Facebook only once a day gave huge improvements. I can’t underestimate how much not being on social media has helped me even if I have relapsed in the past month. There seems to be a direct relation with how much time spend on Facebook and how miserable you are and seeing as I’ve “relapsed” I’ve been given a fresh perspective on why Facebook Sucks.

But why specifically does it Suck? I have a few ideas and I don’t think I’ll put them in this post simply because it’d be too long. I suppose that’s a good problem to have if you’re a blogger but no one likes reading a super long post. Think of this as an introduction. So far I’ve identifies three things (but maybe more!) that make Facebook shitty: it’s a time-sink that affects your productivity; overexposure to the news and helplessness to change anything will destroy your mood; and finally and most importantly there’s “reverse-schadenfreude” for lack of a better word. I’ll write and publish those posts and link them here in a day or so. Enjoy!