Happiness and Suffering

Real Happiness

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – June 21, 2021


Sri Mata says: “Real happiness in life comes from the mental capacity to adapt to any situation." So with science. It's how we learn to adapt to our environment, like Covid-19, that we best survive. Sadly, this is also true with corruption and evil. Many are just so inured that they also learn how to become evil. As always, the world remains the same, "the axis of evil".

Let's have a series of thought experiment...

Learning to comply with vaccinations, medical protocols, and border requirements will ensure us safe of coronavirus. But you're free to do so or not. Whatever your decision is, observe yourself daily.

Any changes in your bodily, mental, and spiritual constitution? Are the changes for better or worse? Then, realign yourself. This is environmental adaptation par excellence.

How about non-Covid-19 situations?

Let's Reflect on this in Solitude and Silence ...

Adaptation to our surrounding means aligning with ever changing conditions. Life is a stream, endlessly creating and annihilating as well as constructing and demolishing patterns and norms of behavior. Life is going with the flow.

A statement of fact: The world is an axis of good and evil, mostly evil though. How we go about balancing these two inevitable cosmic elements is a world-wide challenge.

Yet, we can easily transcend both good and evil. The problem is that we are already entangled with either or both of them. Worse, we allow ourselves to be entangled by them, magnetized by their glamour and seduction or beguiled by their whimsical and devilish intentions.

What a confusing yet awesome world. Because if we're unable to adapt to it, we can always escape from its deadly pangs by going out of its box, without necessarily leaving half of ourselves inside the same box. What we may see as dangers inside, we see from the outside vantage point of view diverse possibilities of how to resolve it avoid them.

Sri Mata says: “Real happiness in life comes from the mental capacity to adapt to any situation." So with science. It's how we learn to adapt to our environment, like Covid-19, that we best survive. Sadly, this is also true with corruption and evil. Many are just so inured that they also learn how to become evil. As always, the world remains the same, "the axis of evil".

True evil people destroy the lives of many other innocent living beings (humans, animals of all kinds and plants). I have first hand experience of this. Nothing stops them.

What on earth will happen to such evil beings in future?

We are created to be happy rather than sad

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – March 30, 2021


But happiness cannot be primarily realized when we only interact and connect with people around us.

The off-and-on lockdowns imposed on us since the year 2020 have been very enlightening and deeply inspiring.

People come to realize that happiness can also be attained when one is alone in solitude, even if it means cutting away from any human relationship for some days, as demonstrated in the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the Judaean Desert, a tradition that is now being observed in Lent.

His Death on the Cross

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – April 2, 2021


The death of Jesus on the cross helps us realize that even in pain and suffering there is joy and happiness because of the reason behind them.

Don’t Place All Your Eggs in One Basket

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - June 24, 2022


A basket with overflowing eggs is not commendable. Some eggs get cracked; others will fall down outside. In the process, spilled eggs spoil everything inside and outside the basket.

Yes, we hear this as a slogan often repeated in business, economics, online trading, politics, religion, and for good reasons. But this is also true in the case of our problems.

Nowadays, our problems keep on piling up daily. One basket is no longer enough. We are not problem-collectors, but we attract them and problems, more often than not, beget more problems. They keep on piling up in our minds.

Others, of course, are problem-collectors. Upon rising, they immediately think of the problems they may encounter during the day. Problems become their way of life. They are kept alive and happy by their problems.

Is their a way we can free our minds of problems?

Based on my long years of experience, I have designed a system, which I always share in my class.

I simply tell my students to objectify their problems. This means unloading their minds of problems by writing them down on a piece of paper or on their notebook. We have computers and cell phones to do this for us quite easily.

What happens is that problems are transferred outside. A heavy load is taken out of our minds. We can now look on them objectively and process them in a more detached way by also writing our solutions in paper.

We can store our notes in our computer or lock them in our safe deposit box for safekeeping. This is better than carrying them on our heads and shoulders. No more cranky attitudes and frowning faces. No more brooding over them as we perform our other daily tasks and responsibilities.

Yet, this does not guarantee that problems will not stop on piling up in our minds. So, the same procedure of unloading and objectifying them continues. Problems multiply but they're outside.

As they keep on piling up, the process of storing and solving problems can be simplified by categorizing them and placing them in separate baskets. Problems can be categorized into endogenous or exogenous.

Endogeous problems are those that directly concern us and our family and are usually related to our health, career, work, relationship with others and spiritual pursuits.

Exogenous problems are those that concern our society that are affecting and aggravating our internal problems. Examples of these are problems of leadership and governance that are unable to respond effectively to the nation's problems like health, employment, business, poverty, human-rights, drugs, human trafficking, and many others.

We can likewise rank them according to our perceived order of priorities. As we become skillful and adept in categorizing and solving them, problems become no longer intimidating.

We will soon realize that for every set and category of problem, there is always a solution. And when there are solutions, problems cease to be problems. They become opportunities for personal transformation as well as societal growth and progress.

Once freed, we can now spend more time communing with the one dealing, categorizing, storing, and solving our mundane problems.

Try this in your moments of solitude and silence while resting in your room, relaxing in the beach, or communing with Nature. You only need your cell phone to do this. It can be relaxing, I assure you. I always do this every six months to monitor my progress.

It All Starts in the Mind

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - June 19, 2022


Everything we do starts in the mind. We think of it first, then, we do it. In other words, thinking is the basis of our action. Thinking precedes doing.

Action then makes thought a reality. What was once incubated as a concept or an idea in our inner world becomes visible and manifested as solid in the outer world. What we once just imagined in our mind, becomes real in the world out there.

It is in this manner that we create reality. But what we have created in the outside is really inside us. We simply project ourselves outside. The reality out there is just a mirror of our thoughts and actions.

The kind of reality created outside depends on the quality of our thoughts and actions. Thoughts and actions that intrude us can be either wholesome or detrimental not only to us, but also to others as well as to our society and environment.

Our choice is very crucial then since it can make or unmake our life and our society. It can break that vicious cycle of pain and suffering that has been ruining our life or enhance that virtuous cycle of joy and happiness we seldom experience in reality.

There are also instances when doing precedes thinking. Scientists have performed several verifiable experiments showing that our action is in fact delayed by a few seconds before we think of what we want to do. This means that we have already performed the act even before we think of what we want to do.

But whether thinking precedes doing or doing precedes thinking, they’re all the same. Both theories, though proven time and again, are deterministic and even fatalistic.

Following our thoughts and actions, whether wholesome or detrimental, as a base for shaping and conducting our life makes us no different from humanoid robots or zombies.

Although we cannot prevent good or bad thoughts and actions to come to us, they do not constitute our life. They come to us but they’re not us, just as the house is not the owner. Yes, they are part of life, yet, they are not all of what life is all about.

Life is too big to be just preoccupied and concerned about our thoughts and actions all the time. Life is too precious and fragile to just spend all of our space and time focusing our attention on our problems, conflicts, dilemmas, indecisiveness, and uncertainties.

It’s better to let our mind and action serve life, than life serving our mind and action. This is something that we can reflect about and be conscious of.

Good morning…Just sharing my thoughts this Sunday morning and Happy Father’s Day to all out there.

The Dynamics of Happiness and Suffering …

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - November 25, 2020


Yes, happiness originates from within me. When I am happy, the world and the people around me are also happy. At the same time, suffering is also within me. When I suffer, the world around me suffers with me.

The world and the people around me celebrate and empathize my feelings both in moments of happiness and suffering. But it's me who first created both their happiness and suffering.

1. Happiness

But can we still be happy and at peace with ourselves when the whole world is falling apart? The world today is in shamble. Since we were locked down and quarantined, we only witness suffering and agony around us. People are dying daily. Many end up committing suicide or in mental institutions.

Cases of human trafficking, prostitution, drug addiction, street demonstrations, violence, territorial disputes, graft and corruption continue unabated. We cannot just remain in the comfort of our homes, impervious of the sufferings around us.

What if others cause us suffering? Can we still be happy? Will we throw stones instead of bread or turn our other cheek to those who cause us harm? Or shall we report this incident to the police so the assailant can be arrested?

Assuming that the aggressor is apprehended, we still have to prove our case. We need a witness, we have to present our case to the judge and the jury and be ready to convince everybody in court that we were attacked.

The case can drag on for eternity and we will only spend our lifetime in agony waiting for the next hearing. We will have no time anymore to be happy.

2. Suffering

At the same time, we are doomed to suffer and to be in pain. Many of us are suffering because of the diseases inherited from our parents and elders. It's in our genes and DNA. Seldom is an individual free of pain and suffering, much less genetically free of any viruses. We are designed to suffer and to be in pain.

We can be terribly suffering because we lost our loved ones. This suffering within us is very real and looking for others who can make us happy is only a stop-gap measure. For friends that make us happy come and go. We cannot just change partners for everything passes us by. Nothing is permanent.

Meanwhile, we remain all alone by ourselves, most of the time in solitude, suffering and in pain with no one to whom we can go to ease our burden. Happiness, when gone, is in most instances, replaced by despair, despondency, anger, hatred, and restlessness.

How can we still be happy in the midst of suffering? Can we just suffer in silence, be a martyr, and pray instead for our enemies? Some of us do this and derive some happiness. But the memory of suffering lingers on.

Some say that if we are not the cause of the sufferings of others, we need not worry. We didn’t create sufferings for them. Suffering was their own making. Like Pilate, we have exonerated ourselves and become content despite the sufferings of others. We feel innocent and simply go on normally with our life, unconcerned of the plight of others.

3. Balancing Happiness and Suffering. Be an Observer to Your Happiness and Suffering

In science, happiness can be triggered and enhanced by drinking alcohol, taking ecstasy or drugs, smoking, or going to the bar. So with suffering, medicines and drugs can be bought over-the-counter to relieve our pain and suffering. Physical pain can even be genetically engineered to remove diseased cells and implant healthy genes coming from others.

But science can never totally liberate us from suffering. Once the drug subsides, suffering is back, even with greater intensity. Genetic engineering if done intentionally and covertly for selfish reasons can have serious legal, moral, and ethical implications. In many cases, genetically modified drugs do damage to the individual’s tissues and organs. Cases of death are even reported daily in the media.

This goes without saying that both happiness and suffering will be with us as long as we are still on Earth.

But not entirely so.

The truth is that we are both immanent and transcendent beings. We can transcend both happiness and suffering by elevating ourselves to a higher dimension of life and existence and be an observer and watcher to what is going on inside our body and mind as well as to the events happening in the world around us.

Transcendence is a great pain-reliever if one is able to master this technology in the same manner that prayer or other rituals are effective when done in great solemnity and with deep reverence. This is the reason why people stick to their religious beliefs unstintingly.

In fact, we have the faculty and power to be where and what we want to be at any given time. To be happy or to suffer is a matter of choice. This is not taking drugs or genetic manipulation. This is a matter of managing and mustering our resolve and skill to realize what we want to become with our life.

The effect is not a quick-fix or instantaneous. It took us so many years of education to learn the things we know today. God waited 13.7 billion years for us to arrive and humanity wants to outdo God in just 20 minutes. Just be relentless and fearless in pursuing what we want to attain.

Let me end this article with a quotation from the Philosopher Albert Camus:

"In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm."

In Search of Happiness

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - November 24, 2020


Are we dependent on others for our happiness? What if that other passes away? Is our happiness lost too? Shall we look again for other friends who can make us happy? This unhealthy approach to happiness is in us. Either we don't realize this or we simply refuse to admit it. But happiness originates from within us. If we are happy inside, so is the world outside. It's a challenge to experience this daily.

Hate is a very consuming feeling

Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – September 15, 2001


As the prophet Amos advised us (5:14-15).

“14 Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed.15 Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice...”

Why is hate so vicious and loathsome that the prophet admonished us to simply run and hold on until the Armies of Heaven will come to our rescue?

If hate is evil indeed, what do biology, neuroscience, theology, philosophy, political science, economics, sociology, quantum physics, and anthropology say about hate?

Wow, this can easily pass as a possible ACA dissertation material, approached from an interdisciplinary perspective and utilizing the phenomenological approach.

Below is a dissertation submitted to the University of Arkansas' doctoral program in Psychology (Ph.D.). This can serve as a take-off point for students to develop their ACA doctoral dissertation.

Title: "Hating Evil: Understanding the Role of Evil in Interpersonal Hate"

Author: Carmen Merrick

Date: September 8, 2019


"Research has demonstrated that hate is a protective emotional response to perceived evil, yet the dimensions by which people perceive evil have not been clearly identified. Research has also indicated that it is evil to feel hate, which presents an interesting paradox: if hate protects us from evil, then how can it be evil to feel hate?

"The present research attempts to identify the dimensions of evil and elucidate the relationship between hate and evil by comparing it to the relationship between dislike and evil.

"Study 1 tested how participants identified evil in third person scenarios. As predicted, evil was labeled most often in scenarios that depicted intentional acts on the part of the target, though contrary to predictions evil was not labeled as often in scenarios that depicted responsible acts on the part of the target.

"Study 2 relied on participants’ own experiences of dislike and hate, or the experiences of someone, they knew toward either a group or individual. As predicted, hate and dislike differed in intensity and kind, though less so in kind than anticipated.

"Also as predicted, differentiations emerged within hate that suggested that hate toward groups, specifically when experienced by others, is considered more evil and less justified than hate experienced by the self.

"The consistency of these results with extant theories of hate and evil are discussed as well as potential explanations for the differential relationship of hate and evil."