We are made soThe quest for happiness is doomed. If we are not happy we want to be happy. If we are happy we want to stay happy which is impossible, since you cannot be in that state of happiness forever. Happiness moment are brief.
This is the Dukkha of life that the Buddha spoke about. Sometime translated as suffering it is more unsatisfactoriness. In Robert Wrights book “Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment” he makes a case for the fact that if you wanted to create a system for a being to pursue pleasure the best way to design that being is to make pleasure transient. So the joy of eating a great meal must only last for a short while otherwise we would starve. This means we can only have transient happiness, otherwise we would always be happy.
That is why each goal we achieve is only important if we do not achieve it, and once achieved its significance fades, so we can pursue the next goal and pleasure.
The problem is that we need to realise that not only the emotion of happiness, and elation is transient but all states of mind are.
How we get through feeling down, is realising we cannot feel down for ever, that it is just an emotion that arises to try and motivate us to do something, to pursue the next pressure.
ConsciousnessEmotions dictate which thought and process is able to book time in the single consciousness we experience. Consciousness is how we experience everything, even our unconscious behaviour can only be experience through our consciousness. Emotions dictate what we become conscious of.
While the conscious mind is a awesome tool in getting us to pursue transient pleasures, it also how we access our thoughts. So, when the emotions are not dominating what is forced into consciousness our conscious mind can do what it wants. And it loves playing in the traffic if it is not honed. And that is what we need to do is learn to hone our conscious.
How do we hone our conscious?
Ironically it is through our conscious. We use our conscious to hone our consciousness, since it is the only access to the mind we have access to. This can be done through various forms of meditation, praying, doing thought experiment on ourselves. All these are being conscious about what our conscious is doing.
By training our conscious to become aware of what the unconscious is allowing into the conscious, we can train what we want the unconscious to do. Like Pavlov’s dog we need to learn to feed the thought that come into our consciousness that help us become the people we are able to become. That is our free will. If we are not able to take our genes and past experience, and all the other factors that assist in providing us with the conscious thoughts and actions we take to get to the point where we are able to realise that only our consciousness can assist in developing our consciousness and thereby our mind, we have not control over our consciousness, and we become totally unconscious in our consciousness.