THE BLOG

Ain't Getting No Satisfaction?

10/08/2015 09:19 BST | Updated 06/08/2016 10:59 BST

Dissatisfied, grumpy, confused, not knowing why you are feeling 'meh'? Here are a few things to consider.

First, don't be fooled by your own thoughts! Are you feeling inundated by work? Perceiving work to be insurmountable leads to discouragement and the likelihood that you won't get things done. If you get on with it, though, you'll find that you accomplish it in no time at all. The problem is not the task itself but your perception of it.

Working on your own mind is like tidying up a cupboard or a wardrobe. You take things out, piling them on the floor and think to yourself: Am I going to get through this mess? As you sort them out and put them back in some sort of order, you feel better. You feel satisfied. Clearing out the clutter in our mind is not so easy. We'd rather dismiss the painful past. Our initial inclination is to forget it! But we can't forget it because it keeps growing freely at the back of our mind like grass on the lawn and soon it becomes part of our innate behaviour. When we start working on our mind, past memories we long to forget are laid bare in front of us. We think we cannot cope with them. They are just thoughts! As you mindfully and patiently sort them out by looking at them and understanding them for what they truly are, they will begin to cease, leaving you with greater peace of mind.

Second, pleasure and fun do not necessarily equate to happiness. They are short-lived and need to be topped up often like a pay-as-you-go SIM card! Indulgence in pleasure at the expense of sleep deprivation and health may seem normal these days, but why ruin your health? If you watch your emotions you will see that they are all transient. Happiness can be gained when sadness starts to subside. And vice versa. If you want to search for real happiness, look deeply inside; it's the peace within. You can't find it from outside!

Third, irritation with other people and negative criticism of them can cloud the mind. Do it often and the mind becomes muddy. Adopt this habit and it's not going to make you happier or win you friends. Thoughts such as 'the children should do better in school', 'my partner should have been more successful' or 'my parents should be more understanding' - in other words, it's all someone else's fault - will make us miserable. The reality is: they are what they are. Our mind takes in what they do, judges them against our yardstick and finds them not up to expectations. Thus we get annoyed.

Dissatisfaction with others is one thing. We are also dissatisfied with ourselves. We are hard to please, for we tend to focus on our deficiencies rather than our gifts. Hence our dissatisfaction with self for not being good enough, well-off enough, attractive enough! Once we get what we want, we move our goal posts further forward and keep on being dissatisfied. We wait for the results of a job application, examination or medical check-up to come out satisfactorily and forget to enjoy life in the meantime. We set up conditions for happiness and when those results come back negative, we continue to be dissatisfied.

Finally, we ignore the law of impermanence. For example, when looking for love, we have an emotional void that needs to be filled with tender loving care and attention. Scientists have found that when people fall in love, hormones are released that keep them excited, feeling good; men become gentler and women more daring. Drugged by these naturally-released hormones to keep the human race going, we cling to that emotional high and want it to last. Those feel-good hormones decrease after two years or so. We start blaming our partner for their changes in behaviour that is less loving, passionate or attentive. It's up to each individual to nurture and keep their relationships going as long as possible. Wait for others to provide that love and you can be in for disappointment. Understanding nature, one is able to adapt when changes take place.

Dissatisfaction arises naturally and can eat you up - if it is allowed to develop into a habit. We hold on to false perception, identify with it as an extension of self, try to fix the past and organise the future in order to be happy, but we miss out the opportunity to be happy in the present.

Be mindful, observe the nature of things as well as your own mind. Peace and satisfaction can be had when the mind truly understands and is able to let go... naturally.