Upon reading an article from one of my favourite writers, Oliver Burkeman, I've just had my first ever relating-that-to-Buddhism moment. For someone studying Buddhism through books (love them, but in this case they're quiet restrictive), it's a very exciting milestone.
The article in question delves into an explanation of happiness, and how we measure it by comparison. A good day is only so by comparing it to a bad day. Similarly, you may one day wake up and feel amazing, but only in comparison to when you've felt under the weather. Even something you don't necessarily feel that you need to make you happy, it's human nature that once it's gone, to have it back would cheer you up. Unless it's an end-of-your-nose spot.
I am a shining example of this. Around this time of year, when the morning air is enveloped by a slight, teasing taste of winter, I yearn for summer to be over. I see wasps dying on the ground and feel morbidly excited.
The teachings of Buddhism highlight one of mankind's most unproductive setbacks as a constant strive for happiness. We always look towards the future hoping it will bring better things, instead of living in the present. We seek comfort in thinking that as soon as we get a new car, a pay rise or a holiday, then we'll be fine. However this mindset is a never-ending cycle, and very rarely do we want for nothing more than what we have.
The article explains that we yearn for a life where there is no contrast - there is no loneliness, anger or confusion. However it is the very fact that we live closer to both ends of the spectrum that we experience happiness. If you drove to work every morning and didn't pass another car, you'd be quiet impassive about doing so. However, if your journey was constantly plagued with angry traffic jams and one day you didn't see a single other car, you'd be so happy you probably wouldn't be in a fit state to drive.
As a general rule, this really does make sense. In terms of work, my happiness is completely reliant on the hope that one day soon I'll turn from desperate blogger to Jessica Brown: WRITER! I'm firm in the belief that this will allow me to happily live in the present - but am I just setting into practice the habit of a lifetime?
We strive for the perfect life, yet we only know happiness because life isn't perfect. How's that dilemma for 9am on a Sunday morning?