Indiana Jones vs Buddha In Finding Happiness

From saints to sinners, from expectant moms to doting grandmoms, darn few things we 7 billion earthlings can agree on. Finding happiness may be one of them. The search, however, is immediately complicated, because earthlings don’t always agree on how the search should proceed.

The many passionate Indiana Jones of our world understand the search in terms of some specific object. Arks, public office, power, celebrity, yachts. The passive Buddhas describe happiness differently: It’s not getting what you want, but wanting what you get. If you’re an Indy, it’s something out there; if a contemplative, it’s something in here.

For all the astonishing perils in Indy’s searches, they are in the final measure mostly physical dangers. What’s a few snake dens, crashing mountains, and raging Nazis when the objects of your affection are so priceless, right? Well, maybe not! When Indy and the world’s other power players seize the prize and finish the day, they still go home to what they left behind. If the statistics are correct: migraines… high blood pressure…stiffening bones… assorted diseases….and the greatest curse from Paradise Lost, nagging fears.

This is where a sit-down between Indy and Buddha would be a made-for-TV special. Indy smiles with
pride: “Notice the Ark and all those other victories sitting on my mantle; see, right there next to my Oscar…” Buddha: “Yes, my son, and how do they help you sleep through the night…?” Long pause. Indy jumps up. “Say, big guy, have I ever shown you my whip….!”

There’s nothing new about this yin and yang. About humanity’s materialistic pride and power, side by side with its spiritualistic peace and perpetuity. Ironically, the tension between the two is found most intensely in those cultures with the most comfort and wealth. Last month the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and other disorders of the mind seriously disable 11 million people each year, with our Southeastern states faring worst. This includes 8.4 million Americans reporting suicidal thoughts each year.

We Americans take seriously Jefferson’s words about “the right to happiness.” In fact, we virtually make it our purpose in life. What’s so troubling is that happiness can never quite be found and placed on a mantle. Which makes you re-think this happiness thing. Just maybe dying-with-the-most-toys may not be the best way to live after all….

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  • "Just maybe dying-with-the-most-toys may not be the best way to live after all...." ---- Seems to be a very difficult learning curve for many of us ...

    On the primary matter ---- Happiness is found by this Geezer in hearing the laughter of his grandchildren at play ... and in gazing at sunrise each day upon his beloved spouse of so many years .... and wondering at the miracle of her nearness ....

  • In reply to Geezer:

    Geezer, here's hoping readers out there also have someone whose "nearness" they can treasure. Biggest pay off I kno0w of....!

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