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 "We are programmed to be Unhappy"      

As I look around our small living space ship called  planet earth and also travel to parts of it, I am amazed at all the Unhappiness I see. Christmas is a Feast of Joy and Peace and Happiness but where is the Happiness?
     When I was in Mombasa, Kenya preparing for some teachings for our clients I went back to reading one of my favorite mentors, Tony, De Mello,S.J. Tony gave me some insight into why there is so little happiness on Planet Earth. I share some of his reflections.  As we reflect together I invite you to go to your own life experiences and see if they make some sense of all the unhappiness on our home planet earth.

Most of us know what a program for  a computer is. We will use this metaphor and see if we who live on planet earth are programmed for Unhappiness or Happiness.




     #1. We cannot be happy without the things that we are attached to and we consider so precious. FALSE - There is not a single moment in our lives when we do not have everything we need to be happy.  The reason we are unhappy is because we are focusing on what we do not have rather than on what we have right now.


     #2 - Happiness is in the future. NOT TRUE - Right here and now we are happy and do not know it. If happiness is not now in the present moment it is NEVER. We choose not to live in the present moment. Our program has us either living in  the past or in the future. So we miss Happiness in the NOW.


     #3 - Happiness will come if we manage to change the situation we are in and the people around us. NOT TRUE - We can squander our energy trying to rearrange the world. If changing the world is our call in life go right ahead and change it, but do not harbor the illusion we will be happy.  What makes us happy or unhappy is not the world and the people around us but the thinking (the program) in our head and heart.


     $4 - Happiness is having all our desires fulfilled. NOT TRUE - It is precisely these attachments that make us tense, frustrated, nervous, insecure and fearful. These desires fulfilled can at the most bring us flashes of pleasure and excitement. Do not mistake these for happiness.
What then is Happiness? Happiness cannot be described. Change our program of Unhappiness and we will know the taste of Happiness.
A Question then:  If people want happiness so badly why do we not change our program of unhappiness?
     #1. We do not know we are programmed to be Unhappy.
     #2. We are scared to lose the only world we know.
Another Question and final one for now: Where did this program for Unhappiness come from?  It was our parents, our society, our culture, our religion, our past experiences who fed the program into us starting when we were very young. 
     The irony of this reflection is the program for Unhappiness is an Inside Job programming Happiness as an outside job, where as HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB.  Get it?

     The essential message of Christmas and the core message of all the World Religions and the 12 Step Program of AA is a Program of Happiness. But as the title of M. Scott Peck's classic  book has it, the program to happiness is: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED.

Merry Christmas and be happy, Fr. Bill

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