Superstitions are irrational beliefs arising from ignorance or fear; superstitions equal unhappiness.
When Stevie Wonder wrote the 1973 hit song “Superstition,” he was illustrating a vitally important truth: “When you believe in things you don’t understand, you suffer / Superstition ain’t the way.” Unfortunately, most people do not understand what a real superstition is. This misunderstanding can predispose you to lifelong unhappiness. You know that walking under a ladder, having a black cat cross your path, or breaking a mirror will not bring you bad luck. You know these are superstitions; therefore, they have no real power over you. A “real” superstition is when you unquestionably believe in something that does not work. Real superstitions can completely alter your life. Let’s begin with a story that illustrates the dangers of a superstition. Then we will explore how to eliminate the most common source of unhappiness.
The father of our country died because of a superstition. In 1799, George Washington developed a sore throat. Three days later, he was dead due to the common medical practice of that era called “bloodletting.” Bloodletting was the removal of large amounts of blood to release the evil spirits and bad humors that were thought to be the cause of all disease. Despite having the best doctors, his fate was predetermined, as is yours depending on the superstitions you believe in.
When a patient died in those days, the practice of bloodletting was not questioned. Instead, the physicians would try to think of faster and more sophisticated ways of getting blood out, quicker. They did more of what didn’t work in hopes of getting a different result. In 1646, more than 150 years before George Washington’s death, Sir William Harvey proved that bloodletting was not only wrong, but dangerous. Yet it took 250 years before this practice was abandoned. This superstition killed millions, and this story illustrates how powerful superstitions are. The irony is that George Washington had the best physicians money could buy. Despite this, his fate was sealed. You must wonder – how many experts have steered you wrong? More importantly, it is time that we abandon the most painful and devastating of all psychological superstitions, the superstition of someday.
Jiddu Krishnamurti enlightened us to the truth that the greatest source of mental suffering and unhappiness is a trick of the mind, the misuse of thought called “psychological time.” In other words, when you obsessively place your thoughts in the past or the future, you suffer. This is what is called psychological time. Watch how prevalent this is in your thinking. Observe when others are thinking – how they obsess about past failures or are anxious about an uncertain future.
Psychological time is evident in our relationships. A common theme in online dating posts is trust. A dating profile will say, “I want to find a person I can trust.” Well, no kidding; who doesn’t? What they are really saying is, “I have been burned in the past, and you better not burn me again.” These people are living in the past and obsessing about the future. This is a common example of psychological time. They will never attract what they want and will not make it safe for anyone to tell them the truth. Obsessing about past hurts or mistakes does not make the future better.
Someday is a Superstition
Psychological time shows up in our day-to-day lives as the belief in “someday.” Most people alter the course of their entire lives in a split second based on this superstition. It works in a very subtle way. When you say, “I’ll be happy when…” or “I’ll be happy someday,” a trap is created from which few escape. You are acknowledging that you are unhappy now, so you pick a time in the future when you will be, do, or have something that will make you happy. Someday when you have the relationship, the house, the job, the money, or the car, then you will give yourself permission to be happy.
This strategy never works. Even if you get what you want, you will be unhappy. There may be some temporary thrill but no permanent happiness. “Someday” does not exist – it is a superstition. Any goal rooted in unhappiness or incompleteness can never bring you contentment. You cannot plant an “unhappy seed” and expect a “happy flower” to grow – it is not how the universe works. What you reap is what you sow. Sow unhappy, reap unhappy; sow happy, reap happy.
James Allen put it another way: “Men [and women] do not attract what they want. They attract what they are.” In other words, to experience happiness in what you are calling your psychological future, you must be happy now; wanting happiness means that you don’t have it. You can never be or have what you want if you live in the superstition of “someday.”
You Can Never Have What You Want
You might be thinking, “Wait a second, what do you mean I can’t have what I want? When I want a hamburger, I go to the diner and get one.” Yes, you can have what you want in the physical world, but in the emotional and spiritual realms, it does not work that way. This is why people fall into mental traps so easily and quickly. We apply physical law to emotional/spiritual law, and it never works. The best way to attract someone happy is to be happy. The best way to attract someone fun is to be fun. To have a happy, fun relationship, you must be happy and fun now, without the relationship.
There is no past or future, emotionally speaking. To be happy in what you are calling your emotional future, you must be happy now. To be complete in the future, you must be complete now. There is no other way. You can only be what you are. If you are unhappy, that is what you will be now, and what you will attract moving forward. When you look for happiness outside of yourself in relationships, money, drugs, or food, it always turns into unhappiness. When you think your problems will be solved, your loneliness and unhappiness ended, by your “soul mate,” you are in deep trouble.
Most accomplishments – the ideal relationship, the dream car, the big promotion – initially give temporary relief from existential pain. But in the end, they worsen suffering and increase loneliness and conflict. The supposed cure for your unhappiness becomes the cause of a much deeper unhappiness. We then fall into the same trap all over again. Initially, you thought the perfect marriage would make you happy, but then you say: “I’ll be happy when… I am divorced.”
Be Happy Now
The key is to experience the state of mind you desire now. With a more enlightened mindset, you decide what you want to create. Be, do, and have is the proper order of creation. Be happy now and do what you love. If you are not sure what you love to do, do the absolute best where you are, and what you love will naturally be revealed to you. Be happy now and you already have everything you desire.
Most people live their lives believing the opposite of this idea. They give themselves permission to be happy only after they have achieved something. You may be reading this article because you are searching. You are seeking happiness or looking to find yourself. Be careful and be aware of the trap that psychological time creates. If not, you will always be searching and never arrive at your destination. From here on out, never set a goal that has unhappiness or any form of discontentment as its motivation.
The insight is to see through the superstition of “someday” and cancel psychological time. Choose to experience the state of mind you desire now. With that more enlightened mindset, decide what you want to create in your life. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. According to Vernon Howard: “Happiness is something you see, not something you do.” Be happy now, not unrealistic. Be content now, not complacent. Be excited now, not falsely optimistic. Love grandly now and let that be your starting point. Do not begin from unhappiness, loneliness, discontentment or boredom. Love grandly now, and you have arrived at your destination.