Some time ago, I ran a poll on the above at one of my blogs. A total of 13 people responded (a very small sample size indeed yet providing enough material for a discussion) and the results were as follows:
The Perfect Relationship 23%
Happiness even without the Perfect Relationship 7%
The Perfect Relationship even without Happiness 0%
I don’t know. It’s too confusing. 15%
What a wealth of information these results hold! For one thing, it is clear that some people at least found the question a difficult one to answer. That is a very promising place to be in! I shall talk more about that later.
What is also interesting for me is that, when stated in terms of a choice that provided ‘the perfect relationship’ but very clearly excluded the possibility of ‘happiness’, no one wanted that! So, at least we know that for those who took the poll, happiness was not to be sacrificed at any cost!
But it gets even more interesting. 7%, which in this poll equates to 1 person, chose to forgo ‘the perfect relationship’ as long as she/he had happiness. That, to me, is a very clear statement. In fact, it tells me that this person was choosing happiness regardless of any perceived ‘losses’.
Of course it is possible that this person does not want a relationship, in which case, the choice would have been an easy one. But what if this person actually does want a relationship? Bear with me, I’ll be discussing it later!
If you had chosen (or are now choosing) the first option, perhaps you have reasoned that within that life of Happiness, there is still room for ‘The Perfect Relationship’ since that option does not exclude it. It is a perfectly reasonable way to look at things. But let’s continue and look at the remaining option, The Perfect Relationship.
Now, 23% chose this option. Once again, the same reasoning as above applies. People who chose or choose this option may reason that The Perfect Relationship will certainly bring happiness with it. Is this a reasonable way of looking at things? Is this valid? Can we be certain?
Alright, here is where I want to pull things together. The best way I can do that is by first telling you where I am coming from and this is it:
Happiness is not contingent upon anything. It is unconditioned and unconditional. In other words, happiness has no cause. Nothing causes happiness. Why do I say that? Because happiness, or joy, as some prefer to call it, is our natural state. And why do I say that? Because when I sit in the space of my ultimate reality, when I sit in that space where all my judging, cravings, attachments, aversions, thinking and fear ceases, I find myself in a state of pure bliss or happiness.
That’s right. When all the effects of my conditioning are suspended, as happens when I meditate or maintain present moment awareness, my default state is one of peace, bliss, happiness. This is how I know in a very real, personal and direct way, that happiness is not caused by anything. It is who I naturally am.
Now that I have said that, let’s look at the results again and let me share my deeper interpretations. I shall list each option and follow it with what I believe to be some of the possible beliefs underlying that choice. I shall also offer some questions that you could use for further consideration and clarification.
You believe that happiness is important. You may not necessarily consider it more important than the perfect relationship but you realize that choosing happiness provides you with a greater range of options and choices, one of which may be the perfect relationship. In this way, you feel that you are keeping as many doors as possible open.
Are you certain you have got both feet firmly planted in the happiness choice? Or have you got one foot there and another heading for the perfect relationship? It’s difficult to travel in two directions at the same time. What do you really want to commit to?
THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP
You believe that the perfect relationship will make you happy.* In making such a choice, you have made your happiness conditional. You are effectively saying that you will only be happy if you have the perfect relationship. Put another way, you won’t be happy unless you have the perfect relationship.
It is also likely that you believe your happiness depends on other people/things being just a certain way. You are likely to hold other people/things responsible for how you feel and the choices you make. By doing so, you are effectively handing over your power to be happy, successful, free, wealthy etc to other people and other things.
Is this valid? Do you not experience happiness in other areas or at other times of your life, outside of ‘the perfect relationship’? More importantly, do you want to take full responsibility for your state of wellbeing?
HAPPINESS EVEN WITHOUT THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP
This would have been a very difficult choice to make especially if you do desire to be in a relationship, or if you are already in one, to have a ‘perfect’ relationship. Why do I say that? Because you are prepared to let go of something that you so deeply desire! That is a tough choice. But what is so remarkable about this choice is that you probably recognize on a very deep level that to be happy is more important than anything else! Put it this way, you have a sense that, “If I am happy, where’s the problem???” Put that way, it seems so obvious, doesn’t it?
Now the advantage of this choice over the first (Happiness) is that you have made the decision that your happiness is not going to be contingent upon having the perfect relationship. In other words, on some level at least, you recognize that your happiness does not depend on anything or anyone. It is a choice you make regardless!
This is a truly empowering choice. You are prepared to let go. Instead of losing anything, it is more likely that you are opening yourself up to infinite possibilities, one of which could be the perfect relationship!
As you may have guessed, I deliberately designed these options in order to force you (or at least encourage you) to recognize your beliefs and start to examine them!
THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP EVEN WITHOUT HAPPINESS
No one in this poll chose this but we could still explore the beliefs underlying such a choice. Why would someone choose this? Only if they believed that a perfect relationship can exist without any happiness in it! And that surely makes no sense, does it? However, I would like to explore this just a little bit more.
Do we sometimes stay in a relationship without making a choice to be happy in it? I believe that is a really important question to ask ourselves. And while you’re at it, consider this question too: Does our need to be in a relationship enslave us to it?
I DON’T KNOW. IT IS TOO CONFUSING.
As I said earlier, this is probably not a bad place to be! Confusion and uncertainty, contrary to what most of us believe, actually puts us in a place of fresh possibility. Our current beliefs don’t seem to enable us to make a clear choice. It is therefore an opportunity to examine our beliefs and review them. Hopefully, all that I have already said will help you do that.
So, now that I have shared my interpretations and offered you some ways of thinking about these choices, I’d love to hear what you have to say!
Love always, Lucy
*In case you’re wondering about that, here is the logic – Everything we do, without exception, (including choosing to be unhappy), we do because we believe that it will make us happy. Often this choice is made unconsciously. But conscious or unconscious, that is the underlying belief.