You are Delusional – Buddhism and Getting HappyAlice Grist

It’s sad to say that delusional thinking is one of the key elements of dissatisfaction and misery in the modern female. Indeed, delusional thinking is like a plague upon us all that is encouraged by a society that constantly encourages us to think bigger, better, faster and stronger. Delusion totally stamps all over our attempts to water our grass and delays our progression as insightful and intuitive wannabee goddesses. In fact, delusion (the rotten scoundrel) mires us fully in madly bad habits, unhealthy thinking and a constant desire for more, more, more.  The result being that we have so much choice and so many options that we are constantly on the brink of happiness, but never quite there.

Sadly, many of us believe that the next man, car, job, house, lipstick or cream cake will be the thing that makes us happy, and it never is. Our happiness is always fleeting because we see a redder lipstick, a kinder man, a faster car, or a more bling handbag, leading us to a state of dissatisfaction with what we currently have. So whilst our massive consumer choice may at first appear to be a blessing, if viewed through delusional eyes, it becomes a curse. We lose our gratefulness and in turn we become gradually more bitter, our life taking on a sour aftertaste.

When writing my book, The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment, I fell in love with Buddhist philosophy on this topic. I adore Buddhism because Buddhists firmly believe that ‘delusion’, leads to an unhealthy state of mind, and Buddhist philosophy shows us how to counter that and return our mojo! Buddhism examines how and why we hang the idea of our happiness on what we could have, or what might happen. Buddha’s teachings show that by doing this we easily forget what we do have. We take things for granted and we inevitably become miserable.

It is easy to fall into the trap of defining ourselves through our possessions or the people that surround us. But if we do so, then we will lose our sense of self. It becomes easy to justify our demands for more, and in turn we may tip over into narcissism and self-centeredness. Many people in our society sincerely believe that they deserve more, they are owed it, and they can easily tip over into immoral or selfish behavior, whilst entirely believing they are right to do so. Delusion is ghastly, it is ultimately self-destructive and is something that Buddhists aim to purge from their lives. I recommend that we follow that philosophy, too!

The key to eliminating delusion is to recognize it in yourself. You must be mindful of your own thoughts, and question the reasons why you believe you need or deserve something. What are your motives? If you are seeking happiness in the future rather than finding happiness in your present, then there is a good chance you are delusional. Do you feel a deep sense of incompleteness unless you have the latest fashions, the newest pink nail colour or the slinkiest mobile phone? Are you prone to inappropriate crushes, perhaps believing that you will be complete when the object of your affection returns your feeling – only to later discover that Mr Prince Charming was an illusion – a delusion? Maybe you look for self-affirmation and confidence through alcohol, cigarettes, sex, chocolate, shopping or drugs?

Buddha taught that happiness is entirely your responsibility, and that it comes from within yourself. Happiness found through any other method is fake and fleeting. To combat your own delusions, you should examine your brain on a daily basis, try to understand why you want or need certain things. Focus on the present day, and live moment by pink moment instead of constantly seeking something that may never happen.

When you start to combat negative thought patterns you will discover the freedom and happiness gained as and when delusions are overcome, your true authentic (non-delusional and very grateful)self will be restored! By being mindful of your own delusions you can access a happier more accepting state of mind and greater self-awareness. Buddhism is self-help with bells on, and helps calm the busy modern mind into learning that life can only ever be lived in the moment, and that the only way to be happy, is to be happy right now.

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  1. What is the difference between unhappily wanting more and striving to be the best you can be?

    While I agree it would be flawed to assume we ‘deserve’ a fantastic career, or a beautiful house and very shallow to define yourself by these possessions, I simply cannot imagine being content in an unsatisfactory environment.

    If your skills are undervalued, or your working company leaves you wanting more, what is the harm in dreaming, feeling out the possibilities and acting positively on those reasonable desires? Does the article above justify standing still while the world passes you by?

    I think you should seek out every opportunity and seize the day. Happiness is part and parcel of environment and stimulation.