Never being able to get upset, angry or even a little frustrated.
I was flying over the beautiful Andes to the city of Cuenca in Ecuador and scanning the airline’s magazine I found in the seat pocket. There was an article which caught my eye entitled, The Happiest Guy in the World. I thought, “What a burden to carry around … never being able to get upset, angry or even a little frustrated.” I read on.
It was all about Matthieu, a young, highly regarded, cellular geneticist with a promising career who gave it all up to move to Nepal and become a celibate, Buddhist monk living a contemplative life. Matthieu is considered the “happiest guy in the world” because of the readings on his brain taken by scientists at the University of Wisconsin’s Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience.
These scientists used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to compile data from 256 sensors connected to key areas of human brains. They had voluntary subjects who were mostly Buddhist monks. They used their data to analyze a number of variables including stress, anger, pleasure and irritability. Their data suggested a range from “very unhappy” to “very happy” of -0.3 to +0.3.
Matthieu, the “happiest guy in the world”, had readings of +0.45. This is how he got the dubious title of being the “happiest guy in the world.” The scientists went on to say this agrees with other research which found homeless people in Calcutta were “happier’ than the city’s privileged classes and even many university students.
However, Matthieu, (“the happiest guy in the world”) argues there is a common error in western society that “happiness is the same as absolute pleasure.” Instead, he says, “Happiness is a way of being that comes from altruistic love, inner strength, inner freedom and serenity, and it can be cultivated, day after day, month after month.”
Love and Survival
Matthieu is a profound guy in his own way but it looks like he may have missed one of nature’s laws. He bought into society’s definition of altruistic love. Altruism is defined as “the unselfish concern for the welfare of others.” However, the truth is we only love each other to survive. We increase our chances of survival by loving each other. Every human behavior is intrinsically selfish because it enables us to survive in some way. This sounds bizarre right? Let’s look more closely.
a Fair Exchange
The natural law of symmetry says there is always a fair exchange of some form in all situations. For example, there is always an equal exchange of energy due to the energy conservation law.
So when you or I help someone … do we not get paid with:
An immediate good feeling,
An immediate feeling of being valued,
An immediate feeling of closeness to the person,
An immediate feeling of being more appreciated,
An immediate sense of self worth,
An immediate sense of self esteem,
An immediate insight into ourselves and our life,
An immediate stronger spirit!
Are these not pay back for our help?
Are these not worth the effort we extended to the other person?
Have we not learned important skills for our future?
Have we not been compensated immediately and equally for our effort in compliance with natural law?
Imagine all the learning you would miss…
For Matthieu to carry the burden of “the happiest guy in the world” is to expect him to deny and hide half of his life; his challenges, his irritations and his frustrations. Imagine how hard it would be to ignore the challenges of your significant other or your children or your boss? Also imagine all the learning you would miss as well. How would you learn to get along with others, to discover your genius, to grow your self in new and interesting ways?
I noticed Matthieu didn’t say he went to Nepal to be happier. He said he went for “inner strength, inner freedom and serenity”. These words sound like self-esteem, self worth and balance. It looks like he didn’t find happiness in Nepal he found the laws of nature in a different form … in a form which enabled him to survive and grow.
The article goes on to say Matthieu has pursued careers, while leading a contemplative life, by publishing six books and becoming an avid photographer. It sounds like Matthieu needed the lifestyle of a monk to help him to survive and grow.
I bet his lifestyle of being an author and photographer had their share of challenges … things like writing, editing, re-editing, publishing, poor photos, missed photos, etc. Matthieu’s life is not absolute pleasure … it must have an equal part of pain. But their forms are in keeping with his value system and so nurturing his survival.
a Wise Man
Perhaps Matthieu’s wisdom is in having the self confidence to give up a lifestyle which he did not appreciate for one which he did. Perhaps Matthieu’s wisdom is in using his own value system, instead of someone else’s, to determine his lifestyle. Perhaps Matthieu’s wisdom is in doing what he loves and loving what he is doing! Matthieu is a wise man!
“Wisdom is finding nature’s duality in everything!” Ken Pierce
So, check out our “Take Away Tool” below to discover what you would love to do with your life. If I can assist feel free to contact me.
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER:
1. The feeling of pleasure without equal pain, termed happiness, is a fantasy.
2. Nature is constantly dualistic, so pain and pleasure always travel together.
3. Seeking pleasure without pain reflects an ignorance of nature’s law.
4. To do what you love will generate equal amounts of pleasure and pain.
5. To love what you do demands you experience equal pain and pleasure.
TAKE AWAY TOOL:
“The Tool for Uncovering What You Would Love Do”
Step 1: Identify an activity in your past which, when you were doing it, you forgot where you were and the time of day.
Step 2: Imagine your “perfect” job, an activity which your would be well respected for, well paid for and couldn’t not succeed at doing well.
Step 3: Write down these activities and create a way to do them for a living. Then you will be doing what you love.