Macanudo Comic Strip for Today
Turn that frown upside-down.
Well, that works, doesn’t it? All you have to do is crack a smile, do a happy dance, and you’re guaranteed to be happy, no?
Okay, I’ll believe that works in the case of Charles Schulz’s Snoopy, but it’s a little different for humans. Happiness is transitory, but unhappiness tends to persist. Of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the first is about suffering:
The First Noble Truth is the idea that everyone suffers and that suffering is part of the world. Buddhists believe in the cycle of samsara, which is the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. This means that people will experience suffering many times over. All of the things a person goes through in life cause suffering and they cannot do anything about it. Instead, they have to accept that it is there. People may use temporary solutions to end suffering, such as doing something they enjoy. However, this does not last forever and the suffering can come back when the enjoyment ends. Buddhists want to work to try to stop suffering. However, the first step is to acknowledge that there is suffering – it happens and it exists.
That’s one of the main reasons I get this smirk on my face when someone does a Happy Dance on TV because his trash is being picked up, his or her skin is free from eczema, or it’s Friday and TGIF.
Is that because I am an unhappy person? Not at all. It’s just that putting on a happy face does not mean you are happy. It just means that you are employing magical thinking to avoid acknowledging the reality of suffering in our lives.
If you absolutely must do a Happy Dance, do it like Snoopy: Realize that life is what it is, and your little dance interlude won’t change that.