Back from the retreat, few days later we gathered for our regular meeting. With fixed time and fixed place, weekly meeting had become part of our schedule. Will we continue our discussions from the retreat?
A friend started “I have not yet found anything closer to meaning of life, but one thing I have realised is that it is important to be happy in life”. To me it sounded like a tautology, everybody talks about it. But is it that simple? I said “How can one be happy? At this moment I am not”.
I was terribly upset. Earlier during the day, at my office my project proposal was dismissed. I had worked on it for more than a month and I was sure that it will be appreciated as path breaking proposal. I was hoping to be rewarded. Instead now there is a danger of being dismissed. All that is due to the office politics. That manager was vicious. In the past also on two other occasions he had intentionally harmed me.
“It happens. Cool down” said a friend and I wondered how easily he can say so. I also know that it happens, but my that knowledge does not help me at this moment. And how does one cool down?
“He is upset. Obviously when you are upset, you can not be happy.” “Do you mean that becoming upset prevents us from being happy? Then why do people become upset?”. Suddenly I realised that I had become a live case study in the group.”
“He is upset because the things did not turn out the way he had expected. He feels that he has been intentionally harmed”
“Do you mean to say that it is his perception that upsets him?”
“Once the proposal was dismissed, he neither knew nor was in any mood to know the other side of the story”
More and more group members were commenting on my case. Our meetings were always very participative and lively. Everyone had a view and would freely express it. The focus was not on the individual but on the learning from the actual experience.
“He told that the manager had intentionally harmed him in the past. That memory of the past injustice also springs up at this time and upsets him.”
“He also has additional worry about the future. He has a fear of being dismissed.”
I was reflecting on these discussions and was finding that what each one was saying had a point. Why do we become upset? There seems to be three aspects:
- Perception of the present
- Memory of the past
- Images of the future.
The moment one is negative it triggers the other two to become negative too. I perceived non-acceptance of my project as an attack on me. The moment I felt that, I remembered about the past injustices done by the manager to me and I also feared losing the job. Each of the three forces could upset me. And how much? My whole day was lost. With the stressed mind during the day perhaps I misbehaved with some colleagues. And obviously, I was not happy.
Does it mean that perception, memory and imagination when negative, upset one and when one is upset one can’t be happy? And we started by saying that one should be happy in life.
A new insight that can help me to understand myself better. A step ahead in my journey to become better human being.