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From Rediscovering Life by Anthony De Mello . . .
Here’s a secret formula for you. If you were not actively engaged in making yourself miserable, you would be happy. You see, we were born happy. All life is shot through with happiness. There’s pain; of course, but who told you that you can’t be happy without pain? Come and meet a friend of mine who’s dying of cancer. She’s happy in pain.
So, we were born happy. We lost it. We were born with the gift of life. We lost it. We’ve got to rediscover it.
Why did we lose it?
Because society taught us to believe that if we work hard we’ll succeed and then happiness will follow but all that does is make us miserable. How did society do that? By teaching us to be attached to getting this and that. By teaching us to have desires so intense that we would refuse to be happy unless they were fulfilled. The tragedy is that all you need to do is to sit down for two minutes and just watch how untrue that assumption is— that you would be unhappy without A or B or X or Y, or whatever.
Do you know something? You won’t sit. Because if you sit, you might see it. You won’t sit and look at it. I know I wouldn’t. I resisted it for years.
“You mean, if I don’t get Mary Jane, or I don’t get John, I won’t be happy? Hey, wait a minute. Come to think of it, you’re right. Before I met her, or him, I was happy. You know something? I once fell in love with somebody and then, well, I lost her, and I was heartbroken. And what happened? I’m all right now. So she wasn’t my happiness, after all.”
Remember the time that you were a child and you lost something, and you thought, “I’ll never be happy without this …” What happened? If we gave it to you today, you wouldn’t even look at it.
The world is full of sorrow. The root of sorrow is attachment, desire. The uprooting of sorrow is the dropping of attachment.
How does one drop attachment?
You only look and see that the attachment is based on a false belief — the belief that without this I cannot be happy. That’s false.
The moment you see that belief is false you are free.
It may take you one minute it may take you 25 years but the day you see it, you’re free.