“…we don’t collect happiness, we collect suffering. Why? Why does man dwell on his sufferings so much?” – a discourse excerpt from Osho.
Man is an upside-down being: he collects memories of suffering! We show great interest in unhappiness, we discuss our unhappiness time and time again. Just listen to people: they go on lamenting their suffering, but they will never sing when they are happy! Such an expression just doesn’t exist in our language – that so-and-so is laughing his happiness. But there is an expression that so-and-so is lamenting his suffering. People go on talking about their troubles to one another – as if troubles are worth talking about, as if their trouble was some great news, as if they have performed some great feat by being unhappy.
But why does a person dwell so much on his suffering? He doesn’t realize that by doing so he is only committing suicide, because by dwelling on your troubles they become even more substantial. By discussing unhappiness, unhappiness accumulates. By discussing your worries, your attention is diverted to problems; it becomes concentrated on them. By dwelling on suffering they only intensify, and in turn they give birth to new sufferings – because you become an expert on whatever you nurture, knowing more and more about it.
Nobody ever talks about happiness! We write it off as unmentionable. As it is, happy moments are anyway so few and far between. But one reason they are so few and far between is that we don’t collect happiness, we collect suffering. Why? Why does man dwell on his sufferings so much? There are reasons for it.
Whenever a person discusses his troubles, it means only one thing, and that is that he is looking for some sympathy, he is looking for love from someone. And he does not talk about his happiness, because no one sympathizes with happiness. People feel jealous of a happy person; they do not love such a person. With this fear in his heart – that people will feel jealous of him – and afraid that no one will be sympathetic towards him, a person dwells on his suffering. Man hungers for sympathy, he craves love.
But remember one thing: the sympathy which is expressed after hearing about someone’s suffering is not love, and the kindness someone shows you after he has heard your troubles only confirms your wretchedness. This way you will go on becoming even more wretched. And if in your life you have cultivated only one interest – gaining sympathy from others – you will even start dwelling on imaginary sufferings, sufferings that have never happened – although slowly but surely you will create a way for them to happen.
Keep this in mind: never discuss your unhappiness. What is the purpose in doing so? By this I do not mean to say to talk instead about your happiness. I mean to say express your happiness. Release your unhappiness in solitude. Shut the doors, and then cry your heart out, weep as much as you want to, shriek if you have to, but don’t go to someone else and discuss your misery. You do not seek out the other in your happy moments, but you unnecessarily pester him with your miseries, and you make him unhappy too. That’s why, no matter how much sympathy we may show to someone who keeps going on about his troubles, the fact is that we are actually trying to avoid him! We would prefer not to meet him at all, because he manages to infect us with his wave of unhappiness. And even if we do lend an ear to his troubles, it is in the hope that he will stop soon, so that we will get a chance to talk about our troubles. In this way an exchange of miseries goes on.
Just put a full stop to talking about your suffering. Your suffering is your personal affair, it is better that you deal with it by yourself. Now I am not saying you should suppress it. You should definitely express it, but let it be to the empty sky above, where it will not become a burden on anybody’s chest. And don’t ask for sympathy by relating your sufferings. This is being a beggar. Let your misery be released in solitude, let it go.
Whenever someone is with you, let whatever happy memory you have within you surface. Whenever you are with someone, share your happiness, let your happiness sing and dance, and live your happiness – so that at least you reduce the suffering of the other person a little. The more you live this happiness, the more your happiness will increase.
The more you remember your happy moments, the more you will start moving into deeper happiness. Whatever we pay attention to, grows. Attention is a channel for growth.
Osho, The Voice of Silence, Ch 12 (excerpt)