Human Interest

The Fast Food Yogi

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How are we today?
I’m speaking to the you that’s taken the time to read these words and the me who is currently writing them.
Are we happy, you and I?

I can’t speak for you, obviously. I’m also not there to have the conversation with you directly and even if I was I don’t know how much of your heart you wear on your sleeve, which is to say, how honest you would be regarding the question at hand.
As for me, I pretty much rip my own heart out on a daily basis and use it as cufflinks. So let me go ahead and throw my guts on this digital paper so you can just focus on scanning these words with your eye meat and being as honest with yourself as possible.
Savvy?

And don’t worry! No one can read the happenings inside your head while reading this. It’s just a quiet conversation between two chattering minds.

No one here but us inner voices.

Fake it till you make it.

A man lifting weights while drinking beer.

A lot of people routinely pretend to be happy. In fact, most of us are incredibly good at it. I don’t know why we bother looking up to actors so much! Our own ability to play the role we think the world wants to see is Oscar worthy!
And it happens every day.
We pretend everything is going great when really we’re tied up in knots inside. Shameful way to live. Made acceptable only by the sheer number of people doing it.
But you can only paint your face with the happiness brush for so long. Eventually it gets too hard to maintain.
You ever fake a smile during a conversation? Your face hurts after a while. And that’s just a smile. If you go around forcing your entire body into faking happiness all day eventually your head will explode.
Pop right off your shoulders.

Psst… I don’t think we know what happiness even is.

We know contentment, for sure; happy’s apologetic cousin. That quiet little voice we hear whispering occasionally, ‘hey, things are pretty good right now.’ Yeah, well, what you’re really saying there is that they could be better. Right?
“Oh, if I just had that thing I desperately want in my hands right now… then things would be perfect.”
And until things are perfect, we haven’t reached our ultimate.
And until we do that we won’t ever be satisfied.

Nor should we!!

Don’t for a second think I’m making the argument that we shouldn’t be striving for happiness, struggling to reach our ultimate.
Not so!
I do it every moment of every day. Not particularly well, mind you, but at least the longing is there. I’d be a hypocrite if I said we shouldn’t shoot for that.

But it’s awfully tough to be happy when you’re struggling, isn’t it?
It’s like when someone says “Try and get some sleep.” Um… excuse me, but if I’m trying to sleep I can’t get to sleep, can I? Because sleeping is doing nothing and trying is the opposite of that! Same with struggling to be happy.

I’m ‘pretty’ happy.

If I was describing my inner state in weather terms I might say that day to day I’m experiencing “general happiness with a 60% chance of frustration and anxiety.” The family is great, the kids are growing like weeds and my body is plump but otherwise healthy. It’s really just on the work front where most of my discontent still manifests. Take this column for instance. My first and second attempts for this month didn’t make me very happy. Which has a lot to do with the fact that sitting alone in a room all day, in front of a computer screen, trying to be creative… a pretty unfortunate situation for me right now — given the Karma I’m currently pounding through. Trying to be organizationally creative… on a deadline?… “Wait, um… you need it right now?”

See, one of the current impediments to my own satisfied state of happiness, an issue I’m becoming more and more aware of, and now facing – like a wild animal in a dark room – is an endless trail of compulsive thoughts with no conscious purpose to tie it all together. Feel me?
Oh sure, they’re entertaining thoughts, mostly. Creative thoughts, often. Even insightful ones, at times. But more often then not they end up ruling me instead of vice versa.
It’s like being in a car when the engine is driving you instead of the other way around. It’s unnatural! The trick I’m learning to help quell this malfunction in my brain meat, until I rid myself of it completely, is to not overdo it!
That has to be a marker on the highway to happiness!

Turtle this life thing!

One step at a time…

Slow and steady.
I hear it wins races! Make a single point as clearly as you can and if you do it
right it’ll take up all the time you have. Make the mind your slave and only have it do what you want it to do!
After all this is why it was created in the first place. Just another tool in the human utility belt that makes you so special.

I’m not quite there yet.
I still have thoughts that can feel dangerously oppressive at times. Thankfully the body has regained enough of its composure to maintain a focus on the moment at hand and the good stuff that’s always inevitably here.
But the struggle is still in full effect. So if I’m not ecstatic I would at least say that I’ve managed to find my way to a more dynamic state of discontentment.
I’m not where I want to be, I’m frustrated because I know what an ignorant statement that is, but I’m doing fairly well staying positive and involved with the life around me!

Am I doing what’s necessary to achieve it?

man in hamburger suit

Well, I ate a Baconator yesterday, so you tell me. Followed it up with a large donair a few hours later. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.

Did I mention the side of chilli fries?

man eating large burger

It’s tough to be happy when your eating habits resemble those of a rabid raccoon trapped in a food court dumpster.
I actually bailed on an Upa yoga beginner class tonight five minutes in because I felt like I was sweating bacon grease.
The dogs were whining at the door.

So what I can tell you is that I have some things to work on!

When I’m able to escape the confines of my own mind however, by spending time with the three little beasts I’ve created, or doing something for the love of my life, I’m good. I’m at least able to enjoy those moments. There was a time last year when I wasn’t even capable of that. I couldn’t escape the toxic confines of my own mind.
What was happening on the inside often overtook what was happening around me. I was in rough shape.

Which is why we need to be honest with ourselves now, when things are good. 

We should use times of relative calm and clarity to get a handle on all the various elements of our experience in this world in order to give us a more solid foundation within.
Before all that damn suffering comes again. Focus on the internal dimension of your life, which is, after all, where happiness lives.
This means getting to know yourself, honestly, and without your own bullshit blocking your path to truth. A difficult proposition for a comedian, I can assure you! The opposite course of action is to blame the world and everything else around you when things go sideways. A convenient strategy, but it does nothing but keep you mired in an internal storm you have no shelter from.
Because at the end of the day, you can’t escape yourself.

So if not full blown happy, am I at least optimistic?  

 

Well, I’m becoming more aware, which means I’m on the right path. I’m getting honest with myself and getting to the root causes of my own issues and hangups.
Only then can I hope to sustain any kind of lasting happiness. Otherwise I’ll just be another mindless asteroid bouncing around randomly.
I’ve also found both a guide and a companion to share this final and greatest of all adventures with.

I’m not 100% conscious.

No enlightenment over here. Not yet!
Which means I’m not always here, now, rooted in the moment. I’m still stumbling around with a backlog of unconscious patterns sucking like quicksand at my feet as I try to move forward. But you never get anywhere at all without at least taking the first step in the right direction, no matter how difficult.
And if I’m smart, I’ll start with the simplest things first. Which means step one of the journey has to be no more Baconators!
Let’s start there.

The yoga will come.

Thanks for your time.

Jay Malone is a Canadian comedian/actor & writer who spent seven years in Los Angeles working and touring. He has been nominated both as Canada’s “Best Male Comedian” at the Canadian Comedy Awards and “Best Supporting Actor” in a television series at the Canadian Screen Awards for his work as “Ryan White” on the sitcom Package Deal (CityTV & Hulu) He has guest starred on Boston Legal, NCIS LA, Monk, Dollhouse, and starred in his own half hour Showtime comedy special. In addition to comedy & acting he is also an award winning animator and children’s book author. His newest title “Looking For Happiness” is available now on Amazon. Oh, and his real name is Robert MacDonald! Hear the story of how he got stuck with the stage name Jay Malone @www.mouthyprimate.com

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