It is with great regret that I must submit the following conclusion to my 30 year study in unhappiness. The cause of unhappiness is…Thinking.
When I was a young boy I was proud of my ability to think. I had actually written back then that my favorite thing to do was to think. I mostly pondered engineering problems. Being an elementary school student, I obviously had no training in engineering yet I came up with some great ideas and projects. Some, perhaps, not very realistic but still pretty good.
Thinking was awesome. I was often amazed by the fact that all the people around me seemed incapable of thought. I was sad for them.
As I grew through puberty my thoughts turned to new subjects. Thoughts about my future. About my present. About the past.
As I grew into adulthood I became obsessed with thoughts about my past because it was a better time which was now long gone. Living in the past will not get you anything but sadness.
My thoughts turned to the future. Where was I going and why was my life not turning out like all the other people around me? Why were the things I wanted most so simple yet so impossible? Will I be spending all my livable life sitting in an office so that there will be nothing left by the time I retire?
These kind of thoughts were unavoidable and plunged me into a twenty year depression from which I am still trying very hard to claw my way out.
When I once again looked at all the people around me who were incapable of thought, I was jealous.
The Buddhists are on to something when they teach that you must control your thoughts and live in the present moment. Thinking about the past and the future is futile. The past is unchangeable and the future cannot be predicted by thinking and planning.
Not all thinking is bad. It is still OK to work out your engineering in your head but try to avoid personal thoughts. That’s why having a project is so therapeutic. It is a means of giving your brain something to do so that it doesn’t run wild doing things that are bad for you.
This conclusion may sound pretty basic and it is. But its validity is powerful and can not be refuted.
If you are suffering from depression and drugs aren’t working it is because drugs can’t control your thoughts. Only you can do that. Maybe some Thorazine can help but you can’t get that easily these days. Recognize your thoughts and make them stop. It is not an easy thing to do but if you can manage it, your life can begin to change.
I only wish it didn’t take me so many decades to figure it out. It is not even a new concept. It goes to show you that it is important to learn from other people’s mistakes and not have to learn it the hard way for yourself. I hope this helps someone now before they lose a good chunk of their life as I did.