One frequently discussed question is how to be happy in the present, to be conscious and joyfully live every moment, instead of thinking of the past or the future. There are already a vast amount of answers to that, but is that state of mind really that easy to achieve?
One of my friends asked the following simple question that is intended to guide us to the path mentioned above. “If you had infinite money for one day, what would you do with it?” You can’t invest in real estates, nor you can use any method to save the money for the next day. You can’t either command other people to do specific things, unless you are sure they’d do it naturally or they’d surely do something for your money. For example, you can call some hookers, or be with your friends if they are available.
The problem with this question that it breaks to two other questions wheter we take the happy future into consideration. In the first version, any act performed would not affect our happiness of tomorrow. This model is flawed, since if I bought alcohol and drank it all up, it would probably cause some hangover the next day. If I had a one-night stand, it would affect my relationship, even my health in some unlucky cases. So, in this case, we just can’t prescind from life of tomorrow. Many things that could make us happy today could also mess our future life, and we definitely don’t wish that. There are things we can lose, our health, friends, relationships, or money.
The second version is a more complicated path to explore. We can deduce from the above thoughts that we all more-or-less care about the future. But for how far? There are many smokers who know cigarettes make their life shorter, but health issues might seem to be so far that renders the issue unimportant for them. The same with alcohol. I have a beer every couple of days average, but I don’t think about gaining fat, possibility of addiction or the money I could save. We prefer short-term happiness to some point, instead of the long-term one. We all make choices to optimize happiness in our chosen time frame, according our best knowledge and intentions. So, how am I supposed to live for the moment? I’d rather live for the year, or more likely, for the next couple of decades. I wish to live for at least 50 years from now, so if I’m careful and smart enough, my planned acts aim for optimization of happiness over this period. I work so I can eat. I try my best to have sufficient amout of sleep time in order to be fresh each day. Most of my acts aim happiness, so this “carpe diem” thing would only wreck my progress. If I lived for the moment I’d probably be dead by the end of the month. However, having my acts limited, I don’t have to be unhappy about it. None of us have.
Let’s just bring this idea to the conscious level. Let’s sleep and wake up every day with the certainty that we all do our best to make ourselves happy. Of course, mistakes are made, and acceptance is the only solution for them. Forgiving to ourselves is a cornerstone of our happiness. So does distribution. I probably wouldn’t suffer for being outstandingly happy after 20 years from now. I probably also wouldn’t shoot anybody just to fulfill any desire today and go to jail tomorrow. Finally, the third essential key to happiness is thinking. Lucky are the people whose happiness is important to others, but even if nobody cares about us, we should care about ourselves and think about what would make us happy, and how to achieve it. That should be a practice for every day.
As some final thought, I’ll just link this book about achieving happiness.