The Man Who Discovered Happiness

The entire world knows of him. The most popular name since Einstein. It is miraculous how he could do what he did. All discoveries and inventions are minor in comparison, since he was able to make just about the entire world happy.

It didn’t take long either since once he announced his discoveries and traveled the world speaking about what he discovered, everyone’s brain lit up. The darkness was forever lifted. People got it.

The unifying thing about humans is not a single one does not want to be happy. The singular shared goal of all human life is happiness. We seek it out in so many different ways. It is what every human being aspires towards so once he was able to figure out how people could actually be happy all the time, it caught like a fire in a dry forest.

 

His name was Joe Ollman. Obviously he has been dead for some time now, but his discovery has still to this day changed the lives of everyone on planet earth. Even though we all live indoors now and are continually on-line, we have all found a happiness that is far greater than any kind of happiness experienced by humans who were off-line and went outdoors. Psychotherapy, psychiatry, life-coaches, self-help gurus, spiritual gurus, all of these professions are a thing of the past. No longer needed. In school I read about how many, many, many years ago, these were the most popular professions. They were everywhere and bookstores were filled with self-help and psychology books written by these people. Not any more. None of them exits today, since everyone is happy.

Joe Ollman. This is a name which will never be forgotten as long as humans are around. You can ask anyone, even children who Joe Ollman was and they will tell you the man who discovered happiness. And his discovery was not even that difficult. It is strange that authentic happiness eluded humans for so long. Joe Ollman just made it very easy for everyone to understand and implement it.

 

For those of you who are interested, Ollman’s Theory of Happiness is: To be happy is the absence of negative thought. Pretty simple, right? That as long as a person has negative thoughts they will not be able to be happy. In order to be happy a person must be able to eradicate all negative thinking. Sounds simple but not so easy. The genius of Joe Ollman was that he made it easy.

When Joe Ollman was alive he lived in a society that created deep unhappiness. The society that Ollman lived in was so dysfunctional that the vast majority of citizens had to take pills to make them feel better and more functional in what he called “The Sick Society.” Can you believe that? Society was at one time so dysfunctional and unhealthy that people had to take a pill, which generated more serotonin in their brain chemistry so that they could function better in that society. Even though it was over sixty years ago since things have really changed it still surprises me that this is how things once were.

People were continually worried about having enough money and what other people thought of them. People distracted themselves with things that caused them to feel even more empty inside. The routine and monotony in people’s lives caused them to live with this empty feeling inside, which drove them into states of deep anger and depression. Wow. Everyone was stressed out since surviving in The Sick Society caused a person to have to do a lot of things that they did not want to do. People had to pretend to be happy about working at jobs that they did not feel happy at. Everyone was disconnected from one another. No real relationships were able to be sustained in this harsh climate of anger, addiction, worry and depression. People pursued happiness but could never find it because their heads were filled with negative thoughts and people spent most of their time lost inside their heads. Fear prevented almost everyone from living the life that they wanted to really live. People were committing suicide and violent crimes everywhere. Men interested in power and money ran the world and the masses were much too afraid to rise up against the state. The people were powerless. They had no choice but to submit. It was pure madness. The only thing that could help this situation were psychiatric pills. It was the real Dark Age.

 

Joe Ollamn is a global hero because he is single-handedly responsible for bringing people out of these dark ages. He basically rescued everyone from the darkness and brought almost everyone out into the light. All with his very simple Theory Of Happiness. Joe Ollman was also once a very depressed and negative man. He admitted to often thinking about suicide and then he realized that there could be an alternative way. He did not have to physically die as much as he needed to psychologically change. Ollman realized that he needed to eradicate negative thoughts.

Ollman started practicing Mindfulness meditation intensively so that he could develop the awareness needed to know when he was starting to have negative thoughts and feelings. “When the emptiness and darkness was starting to creep in,” he often said. Once he was able to have this awareness he could catch it and turn the thoughts and feelings into something positive before the negativity snowballed into a miserable state. The importance of awareness in being a happy person was not discovered by Ollman but it was really brought into the mainstream by him. Today most people practice mindfulness meditation and it is because humans are much more aware that they are able to subvert negativity the moment it arises.

Ollman’s Theory Of Happiness stresses that if a person wants to be happy they must be able to not dwell in their heads. That dwelling or ruminating in thought is unhappiness. In order to avoid this a person must engage in distractions that allow them to feel engaged, focused and better about themselves when finished with the distractions. People just needed to become better able at choosing more quality distractions for themselves rather than just taking what is being offered by the highest bidder. It is because of Ollman’s discovery that Hollywood, Netflix, HBO, social media, cable television, most forms of advertising, Amazon Prime are now things of the past. Corporations that created and profited off of human misery are now gone! People now actually live quality lives. Who would have ever thought? All because of one man.

 

Ollman once said in a YouTube interview, “If human beings want to be happy they must be able to remain present and aware. It is so crucial that people are present and engaged in their lives in a carefree kind of way. If a person wants to be happy they must be carefree because if they are not stress and worry and depression will quickly rise up. The Sick Society did not allow people to be carefree. Everyone was worried and stressed out all the time and this is why unhappiness was such an epidemic. If people really want happiness it is so important that they are able to live in  a carefree way. Moment by moment, day by day without worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When a person is truly happy they are fully in the moment. They are fully content and engaged in the moment without a care in the world. The moment a person is no longer carefree, unhappiness sets in. The thing about humans is that we do have the ability to be carefree. We just need to exercise this ability or potential more regularly through mindfulness meditation practice.”

This was once of the most viewed videos in YouTube history and it is where Ollamn’s Theory of Happiness was presented to the world. Einstein wrote books and papers but it is interesting how things change. Ollman wrote no books or papers but presented his discoveries through YouTube videos. No one reads books anymore. Everyone just watches YouTube videos and Ollman was visionary enough to know that this would be the case one day. Ollman was such a genius and I am so grateful for his presence on planet earth. I do not know what the hell anyone would do without his Theory Of Happiness. We would all be taking pills and living in that dark and very sick society that almost caused Ollman to take his own life.

I am so happy the dark ages are now behind us.

*This is an essay written by a young girl for her online eighth grade Sociology class.

The Balding Husband

“Sounds great honey!”

I’ve been saying this a lot recently. As much as I can.

You see I am trying to win over my wife’s heart. For a while now I have had most of her heart but not all of it. Now I need all of it. Every last square inch.

When a husband has less hair, he needs to find other ways to win more heart.

My wife responds well to, “Sounds great honey!” The more enthusiastically I say it the bigger the smile. On downtrodden days it is harder for me to be enthusiastic, but I force myself since enthusiasm is what is wanted most by people.

We should put in nice gravel all over the backyard: “Sounds great honey!”

Lets get our hot tub up and running again: “Sounds great honey!”

I am going to be going away for a week to go camping with friends: “Sounds great honey!”

We should go into LA today and eat at a nice restaurant and then go to a bookstore and buy a bunch of books: “Sounds great honey!”

Maybe you could trim all the trees today and clean the leaves off the roof: “Sounds great honey!”

Would you please pay all our bills this afternoon and wash the dogs: “Sounds great honey!”

I have been committed to being so enthuisiastic with my wife because I am balding. I can’t believe I am even writing this but I am having to confront the inevitable fact that it is happening to me. It is not a rapid balding but my hair is thinning more and more every single day. Each day that I examine my head in the mirror, I am noticing more and more scalp.

The last time I had my haircut, the stylist said, “I will not cut anything from the back, since you need that hair.” Fuck, is what I thought when she said this. Balding is happening.

I did not think it would happen to me. My mother’s father had a full head of hair all the way up to his very end. My father has a head without much hair on it, but I work hard not to be as driven and stressed as him. As a result, I believed I could avoid his hair loss fate. The last time I spoke with him I considered asking at what age he really started to thin, but I decided that I would rather not know.

As I write this I have a concoction of aloe vera, lemon and castor oil in my hair. I am supposed to leave this concoction in my hair for an hour, twice a week to encourage new hair growth. My scalp is currently burning but they tell me that this is encouraging blood flow.

You see, my wife is 14 years younger than I am. She is just a year or so over the age of 30 and no woman just over 30 wants a balding husband. What would a younger woman like my wife do with a balding husband? Once my head of thick and wavy hair is half of what it was when we first met, how will my young wife cope with this? It can’t be easy for a beautiful, young wife to have an older, balding husband. Sounds superficial, but whether we like it or not, thinning hair is an issue.

So I have had to start being extra nice. Extra enthuisiastic. “Honey, could you come here?” “Sure honey, I will be right there,” I reply and move quick.

I have read that I can compensate for undesirable physicalities (hair loss) through kindness, enthuisiasm and making more money. This is why you sometimes see those very unattractive men with beautiful women. They have these three necessary ingredients.

I don’t know about making more money, but I can certainly be more enthusiastic and kinder.

When a man or woman is physically pleasing to the eye, he or she can get away with behaving like a shit. But once the appealing physicalities start to fall away- we have to stop being angry, greedy, selfish selves. We have to get better at being nice and putting others first. If not, we end up alone.

I have been taking supplaments, doing hair conscoctions, standing on my head for thirty minutes a day, massaging my scalp before bed, orgasming only once a week (sperm retention is said to help in Ayurvedic medicine), only using organic hair products, meditating twice a day for twenty minutes, abstaining from alcohol, eating more fish, keeping stress levels low and exercising- all in an effort to grow new hair or keep the hair I have left. Few things are more distressing to me than taking a shower and finding hair that has fallen out. I have none to spare.

I kick myself for the things I took for granted in my full-head-of-hair-youth.

I can’t afford to be a balding husband. I just can’t. It is too much of a blow to my sense of self. I have always been a man with a full head of wavy, thick hair. Who the hell would I be if I had more scalp showing than hair? The thought is terrifying even though I realize aging often involves coming to terms with these things.

For now, I need to wage a war against hair loss. I can’t imagine subjecting my beautiful, young wife to the insecurity of having a balding husband.

I need to go wash this stuff out of my hair then stand on my head for thirty minutes. I can’t be wasting my time writing. Writing isn’t any good for encouraging new hair growth.

How To Become A Mindfulness Teacher

Recently I have received not a lot, but an unusual amount of emails and phone calls from people asking me how they can become a mindfulness teacher.

I admit, I have been surprised by this since I do not think of myself as a mindfulness teacher. A part of me feels flattered that people are seeking out this kind of guidance from me but another part of me feels perplexed. Asking me how to become a mindfulness teacher is like asking an abstract painter to explain how she or he made that strange, abstract painting. It is not an easy thing to do.

My first inclination is to respond to people by saying, “I really don’t know” or “Read a lot of books on mindfulness and then apply what you learn.” But I recognize that this knee jerk reaction is a kind of unwillingness to talk about how I think a person becomes a mindfulness teacher (although reading a lot of books is important).

I never set my life’s course in the direction of becoming a mindfulness teacher. It is not something that I ever thought possible for me. I have always approached mindfulness in an effort to help myself more skillfully deal with the intense anxiety, depression and anger that I have struggled with much of my life.

Fifteen or so years ago while I was meditating in my small apartment in Oakland, I did have a vision of myself as an older man, sitting in the lotus position with a group of other people also seated in lotus position. We were all sitting in a circle practicing meditation and it kind of seemed like I was the teacher but I was not sure. I remember thinking that it would be nice to be able to be a meditation teacher but I had no idea how that kind of thing could ever happen since at the time I was consuming high doses of paxil, beer and marijuana to get through my anxious days.

Fifteen or so years later and people are asking me how to be a mindfulness teacher. It does feel strange. I do think, “Who, me?” But let me tell you how I think this sort of thing happened.

Professional Development Mindfulness Seminars, Mindfulness Certification Programs, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programs and other mindfulness courses that you can take are all helpful in developing your understanding of the basic principles and application of mindfulness practice. They are almost always a necessary first step to install in your brain a better functioning operating system than the damaged one you have kept running all this time. But finishing one of these mindfulness programs is really just the very beginning and far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far from the end of your mindfulness education.

How you then proceed to deal with your daily suffering is the much more important part of your education.

Are you aware of your mortality right now? Are you aware that this next breath could really be your very last? If not and you want to be a mindfulness teacher you might want to work on this. The continual awareness of your own mortality is one of the most important understandings you will need to have in order to be an effective mindfulness teacher.

Why? Because when you are really aware of the impermanence that underlies every single aspect of our lives, it allows you to place a much greater value on letting things go and living as fully as possible in this moment. This moment will mean more to you than anything else.

The reason why most of us are not present is because we have forgotten that we are going to die. We are operating under the false assumption that life goes on forever. As a result we refuse to slow down. We take ourselves very seriously.

The moment you become more aware of your own mortality, the present moment automatically takes on a much greater value. You are not as easily caught up in emotions and thoughts about the future and past. You are not as easily seduced by judgemental thoughts of yourself and others. It becomes much easier to accept things as they are, let them go, have some compassion and live more fully in this moment.

Are you noticing that you are breathing in or out right now? 

A mindfulness teacher without a deep and personal understanding of the importance of this breath, of living life from moment to moment, aware of but not attached to everything that is going on, is like a bird without wings. It just doesn’t make any sense. No certification program or class can provide you with this innate and immediate understanding of your own (and everyone else’s) unavoidable end. This is something you will have to come to on your own, through your own life experience. A mindfulness teacher ideally acquires this very real understanding and insight long before they find themselves in a hospital bed.

The present moment is not really a real thing. The moment you become aware of the present moment it is already the past. The future is continually becoming the past, so in a sense there is not really an exact present moment. I use the term present moment in the same way a religious person might use the term God. It is pointing to an experience of something that is never really right here. A mindfulness teacher knows that the present moment just means being aware of the experience you are having right now rather than being completely lost in thought.

Being aware of our present moment experience (sensations in the body, sounds, smells, tastes, breathing) rather than being caught in the web of the wandering mind, is the essence of mindfulness practice.

There are mindfulness teachers and practitioners who are very dialed in to their present moment experience almost all of the time. I have studied with teachers who could be called expert meditators and as a result are not that invested in their egos. When we talk about being caught up in the wandering mind (identified with thought after thought after thought) this just means a person is very identified with their ego. There are mindfulness teachers who have worked hard and thus are not very ego driven. As a result, they suffer much less than you and I.

But this is not the kind of mindfulness teacher I am. I suffer. I struggle. I am still identified with my ego. I kind of like my ego and don’t want to eradicate it. I am just like most of the other people I teach- trying to more successfully and skillfully manage my own physical and psychological afflictions through the practice of mindfulness.

I still deal with anxiety, anger and depression- sometimes a lot more often that I care to admit. But to be a mindfulness teacher I do think it is important to suffer and struggle with these very human things. It is important to humanize yourself by being open about your own personal struggles instead of trying to come of as a person who has all their shit together. People will see through this (hopefully).

Besides, what use is a mindfulness teacher to people who are really struggling with very human difficulties if they are not willing to honestly share how they use mindfulness to deal with their own personal struggles? This is the essence of being a mindfulness teacher. Show people how you do it and let them decide if they want to apply it or not.

I could be wrong, but a mindfulness teacher who has eradicated all anger, anxiety, depression, grief does not exist. This is why it is important not to hide behind credentials, certifications, status and degrees by pretending like you have eradicated suffering, because you will always know this is just not true. As a result you will feel like an imposter.

Be courageous. Talk about your shit. Talk about your struggles and about how you apply mindfulness to the problems in your own life.

When you are angry, depressed or freaking out take the time to apply the basic principles of mindfulness practice. Do this again and again. This will be the most important and never ending aspect of your mindfulness education. No matter how angry or sad or worried or afraid or angry or depressed you get, keep coming back to your awareness of the present moment. Notice that you are breathing in and out. Let it go. If you can do this successfully more often than not- this will be your greatest qualification as a mindfulness teacher.

If you notice that days or weeks go by where you forget to apply the basic principles of mindfulness practice becuase you are all caught up in frantic thoughts and emotions, this is normal. You are human. It is just important that at some point you remember to bring yourself back to the awareness of the present moment and let go of whatever crap you have been caught up in.

If you go away from the present moment a thousand times, what is important is that you bring yourself back into the present moment a thousand and one times.

Remember the importance of being fully alive in this moment rather than being caught up in worry, remorse or judgment. None of it is as important as you think. Let it go. Practice living your life from moment to moment rather than living in terms of tasks you need to accomplish and/or worry about. When you realize you have gotten caught up in thoughts and have been living your very precious and very mortal life from the neck up (lost in your head) bring yourself back to what is happening right now. Do this again and again and again……..

It is the degree to which you suffer and then apply the basic principles of mindfulness practice while being honest with others (and yourself) about your process, which will determine the degree to which you are effective as a mindfulness teacher.

Notes From The Present Moment

When we become silent there are so many different sounds to become aware of. It always interests me how much sound there is to be found in silence.

I am noticing my inhalation and exhalation. I am aware of how my brain is thinking about all kinds of things that I need to do. My mind is also judging various people, myself and other things. I am currently aware of all of the various activity in my brain. Such a restless organ my brain is. Like someone who is on high alert. Just continually yapping away. I feel grateful for the practice of mindfulness. There was a time when I could not stop listening to all the negative thoughts my brain produced. I was my thoughts. It was madness. Now I can smile at my thoughts. Contradict them. Laugh at them. Let them go. The brain makes a terrible master but a fantastic servant.

I am breathing in. I am breathing out. I notice my body sitting in a chair. Feet on the ground. Even though my thoughts want to keep me continually moving, continually doing and judging, I have slowed down. I am in this moment. This is what stress reduction means. Being able to chill out when things inside of you and outside of you are going full speed.

It is about to rain outside. Dark clouds move across the sky. I follow the clouds with my eyes. I am very aware of what I see. Green trees, cars, houses, birds, a few squirrels. Personally, I find it much more therapeutic to spend time looking out a window than looking at a television or smartphone screen. There is so much to see from a window if I am paying attention. We have to be present or else we end up missing out on so much.

2016 has been a challenging year. It has left me with a deep sadness lingering inside of me. Many deaths and many disappointments. Many hardships. As I sit here following my breathing, looking out a window and noticing my body being supported by the chair I am sitting in, I am also aware of this sadness that is present in me. But I let it be. Leave it alone. Watch it in the same way I watch the clouds moving across the sky. I am not wallowing in it. Instead I am grateful for it because it reminds me to continually return my attention to the present moment. To become more aware. I am able to be aware of the sadness but also feel thankful that I am breathing, that I have a comfortable home to dwell in, that I have things around me that I value, that I am healthy, that I have people in my life that I love and that I am able to be aware that life is as much about loss as it is about gain. Life is filled with contradictions. Contradiction is the nature of existence. We must learn to live with the contradictions if we want to be well.

Outside my window I notice a woman letting her small dog go to the bathroom in my front yard. She then walks away without picking it up. “What the hell?” I think. I notice anger rise up in me. I am aware of thinking that I should go outside and ask her what she is thinking by letting her dog go the the bathroom in my front yard! I want to demand that she pick it up now! My heart picks up speed instead. I return my focus to my breathing. Inhaling and exhaling. I notice my feet on the ground. I tell myself that I will deal with it but I don’t need to react to it right away. I don’t even know for certain that her dog did indeed go to the bathroom in my front yard. Just looked like it. I notice that my anger passes like a wave. It is gone now. When I am finished writing this I will go outside and look. I will deal with it then. Everything will be fine. This is how we engage in stress reduction. Cancer and heart disease are not the number one killer. Chronic reactivity (stress) is. Few things are really worth the price we pay for always being reactive. The most crucial thing for mental and physical health is learning how to respond (not react) to whatever challenges arise in the present moment. Without the awareness that arises when we pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment- it is almost impossible to not react to everything.

The American Middle-Class Ailment. Conversation #51.

I thought we were done having these conversations?

I need them.

Why?

I am messed up.

Ok. Why do you think you are messed up?

My mind will not stop racing. Kept me up all last night. It is not supposed to happen like this. I meditate and teach mindfulness. But still my mind (or brain) worries me all the time.

I see. What are you worried about?

Everything! What am I not worried about would be a better question.

Fair enough. Why were you up in the middle of the night last night?

Worrying about work. Worrying about money. Worrying that I have done something wrong and people will not like me. All the same old stupid shit. Because my psychotherapy business does not feel very stable right now, I worry about losing a lot of business and then not having very much money. I worry about people not liking me and as a result no longer wanting to work with me. I think I have felt a lot of rejection from people lately. I try to pretend that it does not bother me but I guess it does. My feeling of self-worth is way down.

That is just your ego being effected.

I know. I know. I try and just keep myself present and let all of this stuff go. “Just let it go. Be present. Breathe. Everything is fine right now,” I tell myself but my mind swirls with worry and feelings of rejection. I am feeling more insecure in the work I do. Feeling like people are judging me and not liking the quality of work I do. I hate feeling like this! Why should I care! Fuck what other people think.

Maybe because you are worried about the money and the status that comes with being good at what you do.

I am worried about losing social status? I never thought that would bother me. Maybe that is a part of it. But I just don’t like feeling rejected. When a client does not want to work with me. When people stop wanting to see me. When the groups that I lead are less filled with people- I feel like I am messing up. Like I am doing something wrong and it is all going to come crashing down at any moment.

You feel like something bad is going to happen?

I have had this sense of doom in my gut for a few weeks now. Doom with regards to my business. Like something bad is going to happen because I have been irresponsible or am not doing my job well enough. I’ve had this feeling like some kind of collapse is on the horizon. Like I am going to get in some kind of trouble.

Why do you feel this way?

I really don’t know. It doesn’t make sense because everything is ok. I received a text on Sunday from a client asking for my email address so she could write to me about something. I became suddenly nauseous and tormented with anxiety. I felt like she was going to tell me that I had done something wrong and no longer wanted to work with me. I was plagued with impending doom and anxiety for hours and then I received her email and she was writing to tell me how much I saved her life.

Oh jeeze.

I know. I really do not understand what is going on here. Maybe I have become too successful in a sense. Maybe things were going too well and now I am terrified of it all falling apart. Losing what little I have. I don’t know what it is. But I do feel much less secure in myself. I feel like the ground can fall out under me at any moment.

That is rough. Yes, you probably do worry about losing what you have. I think that is an anxiety that is always present, just beneath the surface, in most middle-class people who have a home and things that they like. It is a middle-class ailment. A result or symptom of the fact that the middle-class is gradually disappearing.

Hmm. So you are saying that the worry and anxiety that I feel is what a lot of middle-class people in American are feeling right now?

Yes. Because the middle-class is losing the security that they once enjoyed. It is a lifestyle that is disappearing and the anxiety that you feel is a fundamental symptom of this process. The anxiety that you feel lets you know that you are that middle class person who is fighting to maintain the lifestyle that you have. And you feel like it is slipping away from you. You did not feel this way when you were poor?

No. Never. Funny. I never even thought of myself as middle-class.

Well, now you know. Welcome to what it feels like to be middle-class in America.

Oh man.

I know.

And then there is the issue of my health.

Your health is certainly going to be effected by all of this.

Yes. I always worry about this.

You have always worried about your health.

I know. But now I am more worried because I am older and have more to worry about now. I try not to worry about it but I have this feeling like I am not taking as good of care of myself as I should. A part of me feels like my health is fine but then there is this other part of me that is worried. I have just not felt in optimal health. Something feels like it is there and I know how most diseases come and go away, come and then go away. Come back stronger and then go away again until it finally makes you really sick. I see and hear about people becoming sick and dying all around me. Cancer has infected so many people that I know. I am just concerned. At the age of 45 I no longer feel like I am in safe waters.

Cancer is an epidemic right now. Especially with the middle-class who are feeling so much tension and worry. Cancer seems to be a fundamental part of this middle-class ailment we are speaking of.

That is a frightening thought. Cancer is a result or outgrowth of the worry and stress that middle-class people are living with right now? It is the disease that is caused by the gradual disappearing act of middle-class security?

Absolutely. All this worry and stress with regards to losing your security, losing the things that you love, losing your social status can cause cancer.

That is a huge statement!

I know. Maybe go to a doctor and get a physical?

Yes. I probably should. I just don’t want the doctor to tell me I have something and then be stuck in the system for the rest of my life. I want to try and improve my health now and see if I can get whatever is in me under control.

We all have some kind of disease in us.

I know. But it just starts to manifest more in middle-age.

And once you become middle-class.

Jeeze.

I know. It is important that you get your mind under control. All of this worry and feeling like something bad is going to happen is not good for your body. You need to really try and calm things down upstairs.

I would like to but it is like my mind continually is running off without my permission.

Well then just keep bringing your mind back to your breath. Just breathe and come back to being present. In the present moment you are all right. In the present moment the security that you need is there.

Yes.

Worry is all about some made up future in your head. You just need to keep your focus in the present moment. When your mind runs off and starts thinking about all the things that can go wrong in the future, refocus on your breathing. Come back to the present moment.

Yes. I would like to do this. This middle-class ailment is really a problem. And no one is talking about it!

We are.

Yes. Well, that was helpful. I needed to get that stuff off my chest. Thanks for listening and talking.

Sure. Glad it helped.

It did. I

Good talking with you again.

You too.

The Psychotherapist Loser. Conversation #32.

You are an accomplished experimental musician, writer, illustrator and painter.

No, I am just a psychotherapist loser.

That also. But there are lots of psychotherapists who live double lives. I knew one therapist who was also deeply into the occult and black magic. She wrote books on the occult and was involved in all kinds of radical black magic groups.

Yes, I am sure there are these therapists as well.

But you still feel like a psychotherapist loser?

I am.

Yes.

It is just such a typical profession. Very dull and average. The fact that you need permission from the state in order to do your job (A License) just makes it even more average.

Yes, I suppose in many ways it is pretty typical.

Bourgeois.

Yes. Being a psychotherapist cab be very bourgeois, clinical, mundane.

The opposite of eccentricity, creativity, being out of the box and forging your own path.

So this is why it makes you feel like a loser?

Yes in many ways. I couldn’t succeed in more unconventional, out of the box ways so I have to do this. Being a psychotherapist is playing it safe.

Yes. It is a very traditional profession but you knew this going into it! Why are you complaining now?

Look. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know how I could make a living in more unconventional ways without also having to work more subservient jobs (being a waiter). So I freaked out. I played it safe. Now here I am.

So you should take responsibility for your decision.

I understand. I do. But does not mean it is not difficult being a loser.

By loser you mean that life is like a game? Some win and some end up playing it safe- the losers?

Yes. Most people are losers. The vast majority do not succeed at this game. Even the people who are professionally and economically stable/wealthy are losers because they did not succeed at taking big risks and doing what they really wanted to do.

I see.

I work with these people every day. They deal with severe anxiety and depression as a result of playing it safe. They feel trapped in a life that has no real meaning for them. They go in and out of states of despair.

Like you.

Yes. I suppose this is why I can be helpful for them. I suppose this is why they come see me. I can relate. I tell them we are in the same boat. I know what it feels like and it makes these people who are hostages in their own life feel better when they realize they are not alone.

So your work as a psychotherapist has some meaning. You are a loser who is able to console and help other losers deal with the Existential Pain of being a loser.

Yes. I suppose this is a big part of my job description. This is what I spend a lot of time doing. Empathizing and relating to and with the other losers. Loser to loser. Two losers sitting together in a small room.

But you would rather be a winner?

Yes! I would much rather be writing, making music and art for a living. This is what I want to be doing but have to go do something that I do not want to be doing to make a living. Makes it even more painful knowing what an average profession it is. The fact that I need to be licensed by the state (BIG DADDY) in order to work legitimately, goes against all of my anarchistic and radical value systems.

I can understand this. Must be very humbling. But you are doing good work. Just like you tell your loser clients- maybe something will happen for you. Just keep doing your work. Keep doing what you love doing. Don’t give up. Maybe eventually something will happen.

It is possible, yes. But the stuff I create is so obscure and odd that I don’t think anything will come of it. We live in a culture that has been deeply dumbed down by media, social media, Youtube and popular entertainment that I don’t think what I do has much economic potential.

Maybe not. But who knows. Just keep doing it. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Stay with it.

Yes. But still I am a psychotherapist loser.

Yes. But at least you can help other losers as a psychotherapist loser.

I specialize in Existential Pain.

Yes. It is real pain. It is the pain that drives people to take their own lives.

Yes. I help people manage this pain.

You do and you are good at it.

Because I am also a loser.

Hey, it’s something. Being a psychotherapist loser does have some value.

I suppose. I just hope this is a temporary thing. That I do good work for now but that I do not have to keep doing this work for the long term. My hope is that something else will come along. One of my creative ventures may work out. Working with people in Existential Pain day after day, week after week, it just wears on me. It is a heavy burden to help carry.

Yes. But this is why you take several days off a week. This is why you read, write, make music and draw. Helps you to detoxify from the burdens of your job and come back into a more balanced and creative state.

Yes.

So it is Sunday again. I believe I said this last Sunday. Just try and go easy. Relax. Rest. Don’t think about the week ahead. Drink a few beers. Enjoy some weed. Go for a long walk. Read. Spend quality time with your wife. Just enjoy your life in the present moment today.

But the moment I am in the present moment that moment is already in the past.

Don’t think about it so much. You know what I mean. Just be present. Be here. Don’t think about things like being a psychotherapist loser. Leave that for tomorrow. Just be a human being who is present in his life right now.

Ok. Fair enough. This I can do today. Step by step.

Yes.

Thanks for talking.

No problem.

Enjoy your Sunday.

You too.

Pissed Off Again. Conversation # I Forget What.

Pissed off again?

I swear if this iTunes icon at the bottom of my computer screen does not stop popping up every time I open my computer, I am going to scream.

Why don’t you just put in your password?

I don’t want to put in my password. I hate it when these icons and programs tell me what to do. Download this, sign in for that- I am sick of being bossed around by these programs and operating systems. I will download them or sign into them when I am ready. Not when they tell me to!

Ok, well they will keep popping up until you give in.

Bastards.

Man is not free when using technological devices. You must follow certain rules if you want to be left alone by these things.

Fuck.

Is this why you are pissed?

No.

What is it this time. I swear you get pissed off more than anyone I know. It is always something with you.

I know but things happen. I am not just getting pissed because I am some kind of crazy person. Shit happens that pisses me off.

Like what?

My wife is a mess. She does not care about keeping our home clean. If I try and tell her this she will just become defensive. She will not do shit! I am someone who needs a clean home. I need things to be in their right place. I need not to have beds left unmade, garbage cans overflowing with trash, laundry piled up on couches, cans left everywhere, crap scattered around on the floor, wet laundry left in the washing machine for weeks, dog shit piling up in the back yard, shoes i……

I am sorry to interrupt but look, we talked about this. You know that she tries to be clean but she is just not a clean, organized and tidy person. It is just not who she is. She can handle living with a mess.

I get it but I have told her hundreds of times what I need and I feel like she is just not making an effort to meet my need for a clean and organized home. I am not a tyrant. I do not demand perfection. Fuck- leave the floors dirty, I don’t care. But do something. When the house is a mess do something to clean it up.

I understand. It must be frustrating but it is obviously not her priority.

But why not? Is not our home a priority? Is not my health a priority? If things are a mess she knows I will get upset. Getting upset is not good for my health. If she just made a small effort rather than zero effort it would make a difference. I mean just empty the trash and I will do everything else. But just make some effort, show that you care.

I see.

But she always has some excuse. She does do it she says. Or she is busy and has stuff she has to do. But if me not getting upset, if my health and our home is not priority number one, what are we doing? And I am not asking for much. Just do something. When everything is a mess just straighten something up. Show me that you care. We have started driving the same car after selling her car to save money. I kept that car very clean. Now it is a mess. It is all out of sorts since she has been driving it more. I just don’t know what to do. It is a constant frustration.

I can imagine my friend. Must be very frustrating. Didn’t you do a three hour meditation retreat this morning.

Yes.

And you are already pissed off again?

After the meditation retreat my wife and I were driving to lunch. We got in an argument in the car.

You mean you got pissed off.

Yes. But for a reason. This started me down the road towards being pissed off.

Just after a meditation retreat?

Look, don’t rub it in. Fuck off about that ok?

What was the argument about?

Does it matter?

I am curious.

You were there!

But I want to hear it from you!

Look man, it was just a communication breakdown. We always have these communication breakdowns. I won’t go into details but she has a hard time communicating certain things to me and I get pissed off about it.

I see.

I just think she is a very forgetful person. I don’t know if it is because of all the LSD she did when younger or what but her ability to forget things should be studied by science.

There must be some health benefits in being able to just forget stuff.

I am sure there is but there is health hazards for the person who is in a relationship with a forgetful person. She just lives in her own world. She wants things the way she wants them. She becomes very defensive when she does not agree or things are not the way she wants them to be.

Can you give an example?

Two night ago she said she wanted to stop over eating. Last night she made us a wonderful dinner. We shared a bottle of red wine. When we sat down to eat she put a huge portion of food on her plate. I reminded her about what she said the night before and she got pissed that I would just not let her enjoy the meal in peace. Stuff like that.

I see. Are not you a similar way?

In a way. I am always getting pissed off because things are not done the way I want them done. Things are not the way I want. Yes, I guess we are the same like this. I suppose I am very difficult in this way also. I don’t know- we just don’t get along at all anymore. I don’t know what to do. Everything I see she gets pissed off about. She thinks I am always judging and criticizing her. Day in and day out. (BUT IT IS NOT BECAUSE I HAVE FUN DOING IT, SHE DOES STUFF THAT CAUSES ME TO REACT IN A CRITICAL WAY! SHE JUST WANTS TO DO WHAT SHE DOES AND HAVE ME SMILE, KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT AND JUST BE GOOD WITH EVERYTHING. DO NOT HOLD HER ACCOUNTABLE FOR THINGS SHE DOES AND SAYS. SMILE AND: LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.) Things can be fine one minute and the next we are in a fight. Not screaming and yelling but hostile. I am pissed off. Maybe I am not meant to be in a relationship. I seem to be horrible in relationships. I am a nice guy and am not harmful but I seem to be shit in a relationship. Always pissed off.

At one time you guys were very much in love. You got along great.

Don’t rub it in. I know. Its all changed. I am in the same fucking emotional place that I was in my last marriage. Shut down, pissed off, critical, closed off most of the time. Obviously I am no good at this relationship thing.

Obviously. It is pretty incredible that you have found yourself in the same emotional and psychological situation that you were in in your last marriage. It has been created all over again. Odd how that works.

I am the architect of my relationship failures?

In a way you are. You thought this time it would be different. You thought that your current wife would have more of a capacity to remain loving and tolerate your moods. But your bad moods can wear anyone down.

Well if she would just really try and be cleaner and more organized and less defensive things would be so much better!

You mean if she just took your shit?

Maybe I would not have as much shit to give if she would forget less and just make more of any effort to be clean, organized and to communicate. It is hard living with someone who is messy.

I don’t want to go back into this. I don’t know what to say. You just keep getting pissed off no matter how much you meditate. I know you love your wife but I agree it is tough for you to live with another person. It is a continual challenge. You are going to have to become a selfless, Buddhist monk in order to live in conjugal harmony with another person. Short of that I don’t know what to tell you. It is just the same thing over and over again. It’s not healthy for you. I wish I could solve this one for you, but I can’t. All I can say is that you need to learn how to get pissed off and then let it go. Stop carrying it around for so long! Just let it go as quickly as you can.

But then the issue does not get dressed. Things do not get resolved.

Doesn’t matter at this point. You can resolve stuff once you have let it go. Not before. You just need to get rid of the negative toxicity as quickly as you can.

I know. I am working on it. I suppose this is all I can do for now. When I get pissed, be willing to let it go as quickly as possible.

And let me tell you something else.

What?

The problem is not really your wife. It is in you. If you were not an unhappy and angry guy, a messy house would really not bother you so much. You are getting pissed because you are unhappy within yourself.

What?

It is true. A large part of the problem is you.

So when are you going to go take that hose outside and shove it up your ass?

I know it is hard to hear but I am telling you because I love you.

Seriously. Go shove it up your ass.

Go meditate again.

Go shove it up your ass.

Good talking with you this evening.

Thanks.