By Cathy Eck
Right Or Happy 101
In the early 90’s, I attended the Landmark Forum. We were given an exercise to call someone with whom we had unfinished business. The goal was to finish our business with them — to remove any incompletion.
I called my mother. Growing up, she often threatened to leave us or to kill herself. I had images burned in my mind from her drama. I called her at 6:00 AM; and I explained that I was doing this exercise, and I needed to know what in the hell she was thinking. You know what she said, “Cathy, it never had anything to do with you. That was one of the many ways that women of my generation got what we wanted from our thick-skulled husbands. I’m sorry if you thought I was actually going to leave you. I only did it because it worked.”
I never had a bad feeling again about my mother’s drama because she shared her logic with me. Once I understood her, I could decide if I agreed or disagreed. While I refused to use her logic, I could see that it probably would have worked with my equally thick-skulled husband.
So now I was sailing high. This realization lifted years of weight off my shoulders, and I felt light again. But then our Forum leader said something that clouded my eyes once again. He was, of course, talking to a thick-skulled man; and he said, “Do you want to be right or happy?”
I thought, “What a stupid question.” I never thought I had to choose between being right or happy. Immediately, I thought to myself, “Happy, of course.” Just then my intellect processed the belief and my baggage returned; my mind said, “Well if you want to be happy, then you can’t be right.” If you read my post from yesterday, you can probably see that my know-it-all baggage kicked in yet again.
Stuck in the Middle With You
I was now stuck in circular reasoning; and I couldn’t get out. If I was right, according to this leader who was a human behavior authority, then I couldn’t be happy. If I was right and pretended to be wrong, then I wasn’t happy either. Right or happy? Right or happy? It was tormenting me. It seemed that this saying had pushed happiness completely out of my life; and my husband played right or happy like a fine violin.
Eventually, I sorted out my circular reasoning by moving out of happy and unhappy, right and wrong, and moving into true and false. I discovered that choosing between right or happy didn’t make any sense. They weren’t opposites. This incident gave birth to the triangle process, which I still use nearly every day.
Right and wrong, good and bad, or happy and unhappy all live at the triangle bottom. When we live at the bottom of the triangle, we move back and forth between the opposites. The ancients called this being stuck on the cross because you get no forward movement. At the triangle bottom, you’re stuck in flawed reasoning; and you will not move until you resolve it. But people don’t see the flaw in their logic because the back and forth movement looks like change.
We see this in politics. People believe that changing from Republican to Democrat or vice versa is change. But both are bottom of the triangle perspectives; both are equally full of shit. When we are stuck at the bottom of the triangle, we think one side is right or good because we can’t see the shadow on the other side.
No More Unhappy and Wrong
In my case, I had to realize that I didn’t want to play right and wrong; I wanted to play win-win (top of the triangle). I could accept any idea where we both won or nothing. Suddenly, I could see clearly. My husband’s ideas were always about him winning, meaning that I lost. Now I had confidence in my decisions, and I didn’t feel guilty for being right.
Then there was happy and unhappy. Again these are bottom of the triangle states of being. Happiness is dependent on outer circumstances making us happy. We get the job, so we are happy; but then we get fired, so we are unhappy. We have the kids, so we are happy, but then they grow up, and we are unhappy. We buy the house, so we are happy; but then it needs repairs, so we are unhappy. You get the gist. The desire for happiness puts us on a roller coaster. Joy comes from within. It is permanent and unconditional. Joy lives underneath the illusion of happiness; and you find it when you let go of all the things you believe make you happy or unhappy.
Finally, I’m Right and Happy
It took me years to unravel this mystery. Now people learn it in an hour and apply it for a lifetime. We have the ancient masters to thank. Everything I write about came from them. I just translate their clues much like someone translates Hebrew or Greek. I guess you could say I’m the “Initiate Whisperer.”
My job is to make your journey quicker and easier by giving you their wisdom in modern form. For me it is very fun because I was wired to do this job. It is my part of the big picture.
Any yet, for a long time, I resisted sharing what I knew because I was so afraid of being right — and I looked pretty weird. My baggage put stops up in every direction. I had a lot to let go. But eventually, I cleared away the clouds, and I realized that the ancient masters were appealing to me because they thought in win-win terms and because they lived from joy. In the language of modern bullshit, they were right and happy.
Want to know who else reads my blog, here’s the link to my most popular article.