Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In order to find real, deep happiness, first you have to get MAD AS HELL.

Next week I am going to be giving a meditation class on Tuesday entitled “What is the real secret of finding happiness?”. The conclusion that I have come to is that if you are really serious about finding happiness, first you have to get really pissed off. In the 1976 movie “Network”a television host Howard Beal (played by Peter Finch) gives an incandescent performance in a scene where he gives a speech to TV viewers encouraging them to start screaming out of their window “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!!” I have posted the youtube clip below, it is a great piece of acting.

In a previous article on the meditation blog I outline an exercise where we imagine that we have twenty four hours to live, and reflect on what, if anything we have inside us that will hep us come to terms with the consequences of this reality. This is not just an abstract exercise, sooner or later we are all going to be at a point where we have only twenty four hours left. The only variation in this is whether we are going to know we have twenty four hours, or whether we will enter into that last day and night of our life unknowingly. This time may come sooner or later, for example, of the Buddhist study group of about 12 people or so that I taught in Huddersfield, UK back in the late 1990's, two of them are now dead. Both died suddenly an unexpectedly. One died of a heart attack, the other got out of his car in the road side of a busy dual carriage way, and died instantly as a lorry came round the corner at high speed and hit him. I remember this later guy quite vividly, as a the day before his death he had departed from a festival that we had both been attending. Before he left he talked to me solidly for about ten minutes about an epiphany experience that he had had whilst listening to a teaching on compassion that afternoon. I hope that epiphany was still with him when he died, as he would have thus died happily.

Anyway, my point here is that the “happiness” that people put up with in daily modern life is really very low grade, but they put up with it because it is what they know and because it is what their cultural and societal programming has taught them to aspire to. So, despite the fact that this cultural programming is peddling a lot of lies and half truths, and despite the fact that it is preventing us from any hope of real deep happiness, it is very powerful and hypnotic. The only way you are going to get out if it properly is if you get deeply, deeply sick of it. Sick of it in your guts, deeply elementally angry about the absence of real happiness in your life and the lives of others, and of all the crap that is getting in the way of helping you an others get in touch with the real happiness that should rightfully be yours. You need to have that moment where, like Howard Beal you say “I'M MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” You then have to take that anger and breathe with it, so that it becomes a deep simmering rage that has the power to keep cutting through all the crap in your life that is getting in the way of real happiness, and keep on believing, thinking, saying and doing things that are going to get you in touch with your soulfulness and true humanity, and to truly touch the joy and peace that is there.

I think spiritual people have two major areas that they have trouble translating effectively into their spiritual path; Sex* (See note at end of article) and anger. The problem is that these are two major drivers and energies in our life, and if we are not able to translate them and direct them authentically at our goals for real happiness, it is almost like we become like a tom cat that has been de-balled. Before castration, the tom cat was a snarling lump of power and aggression. Afterwards, it just wants to eat, sleep and have a cuddle, the drive has gone.
It is already running against the grain of society to go for deep spiritual levels of happiness, there are so many things (consumerism anybody?) that are trying to take attention away from our path and settle for less. If you try and tread a path to the true happiness that is rightfully yours without integrating anger and aggression effectively, you are kind of like that de-balled tomcat; It is difficult to find the drive and power to get where you truly want to go, you have no tools to consistently paddle against the flow of mediocrity, selfishness and and fear that the world is caught up in!
So, just to clarify, I am not talking about hit-your child angry, or selfish-prick-throw your weight around and bully angry, I am talking about a disciplined, directed, simmering rage that is simply not prepared to compromise any more and that has made a committed decision not to tolerate fear, laziness, mass consciousness programming and all of the other detritus that gets thrown our way in the course of each day of our life.

Today for example, I am deeply pissed about:
The bust enhancement ads that have been on the front of the free paper that comes though my door for the last few months, trying to convince women already low esteem that the solution to their inner problems is to get bigger breasts, whilst paying the company thousands of dollars in the process (the wording and grammar is also terrible, an insult to language).
The concentration camps where humans keep animals for food, pumping them full of steroids and anti-biotics before killing them in their adolescence, and then serving it up at fast food joints to be consumed by humans who don't want to know where their food cam from because it might upset them. It makes Aushwitz and Belsen look like a drop in the ocean.
I'm angry about all the time in my life that I have spent unhappy and fearful, believing all the nonsense that got fed into me regarding how happiness can be bought, injected, consumed.
I'm angry at how the ''I'm a winner because your a loser'' mentality is so often promoted instead of win-win type mentalities.
I'm angry that I have unconsciously dis-empowered myself so often, and denied myself happiness that should be mine.
I'm REALLY angry about all the sugar-pink, love and light spirituality that people get hooked into and that just gets them even more confused and screwed up than they already are, whilst at the same time making them BELIEVE that they have got it all sorted.

I could go on believe me, but the main point I want to make is that I'm consciously getting so mad that I'm just not prepared to take it any more, so that at least a part of today will be fully, energetically and sincerely directed at getting in touch with deep happiness inside me, and doing what I can to help others find it within themselves. I believe that is really, really important to consciously cultivate and make use of the embers of rage in ourselves, and learn to direct them in the right way.
If you remain scared of your rage or believe that all anger is inherently evil and to be denied then the fact is you are not going to be going anywhere very fast. I've seen people on their spiritual path for years, trying sincerely, but never really able to find the spark or empowerment, energy and incandescence that really enables them to commit to making that change, to do what they really need to to, to be honest enough with themselves to stare their reality in the face and get really, deeply so pissed of that the old way is simply no longer acceptable. In some ways I include myself in the above description, looking at it it is kind of sad and pathetic.

So, anyway, please watch the above clip with the comments I have made in mind. I guess next Tuesday I am going to talk also about love, compassion, peace of mind and all that stuff. But today I'm just focused on getting mad as hell.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, please do not reproduce without permission.

** I am currently writing a series of articles on the Microcosmic orbit meditation on the Qi Gong blog. This may well end up in some thoughts on “Polarity practice” and integration of sexual energies into the spiritual path, so you can follow this series as it unfolds if you want.


  1. Thank you Toby,

    I have to say I agree on that. It has caused a stirring...especially the part about the "sugary-sweet" pills of spirituality. It becomes a sort of panacea for the deeper issues and seeds of unhappiness- a sort of mass hypnosis. But i think at the same time, this can create openings for people, if they are conscious to it.

    It has become really socially and culturally unnacceptable to become angry. One of the pillars of carl Jungs work is the acceptance n integration of this darkness, and which has been a sort of spiritual guideline for me, in both my own journey as well as the work w supporting others through creative awareness processes.

    I remember a time when I was doing the Osho Dynamic meditation, every day for a month. I always felt so light through the day- less baggage I was carrying around; less prone to upset from the myriad of everyday triggers and general undercurrents of discontent. The main reason for this was the second part of the meditation: catharsis, where, most times, I would be shouting angry, incoherent blasts and wails for the simple purpose of release, and acceptance.

    I have often wondered what the world would be like if everyone did this for a month?

    Peace to your thoughts and your work,


  2. Many thanks for your thoughtful comments Tim, sorry I did not pick it up earlier! with very best wishes, Toby.
    PS: I will be entering articles of this sort on a new site, from now on.I am trying to streamline my blog articles a little bit!