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From: Keith (d207-216-60-167.bchsia.telus.net)
Subject: Re: does sadness mean there's something wrong with me?
Date: November 2, 2005 at 4:59 pm PST

In Reply to: does sadness mean there's something wrong with me? posted by min on November 2, 2005 at 12:35 pm:

What you art describing does sound more like depression than sadness. A person can be "sad" about some specific thing, but still be happy or joyful about other things. It sounds more like you are "sad" about pretty much everything, or perhaps not about anything in particular. That is depression.

In addition to trying to look at it from a spiritual perspective, I would strongly recommend talking to a professional about it. It could be biochemical in origin, or it could be related to something from your past. Whatever the cause, it can be difficult to get past it on your own, but relatively easy with the right help.

Sadness does not equal spiritual progress. I follow the Buddhist tradition, and in it, awareness of sadness or suffering is merely the very first step. The rest of the path is about getting beyond suffering, putting an end to it.

You talk about society's definition of success. You are right that many people define success in terms of physical appearance, money, possessions, etc. But no, having these things does not make them happy. They think they will be as long as they are seeking them: "If only I had X, I would be happy!" But as soon as they get X, they discover that it is really Y that will make them happy. And so on... It never ends as long as people define success that way.

What is YOUR definition of success? It seems to me from your post that you know that having stuff won't cut it. So what would happiness be like for you? If it isn't HAVING stuff (things or relationships), might it perhaps be BEING something? Perhaps being a good friend to someone, or being someone who lives by values and integrity?

Real happiness is found in following a spiritual path, as I am sure you are aware since you posted here. The Buddha taught that the cause of suffering is attachment (of any kind), and that the way to put an end to attachments and therefore an end to suffering was to live a life of integrity in speech, thought, livelihood, etc.

Keith



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