Moving beyond notoriety and perceived success to peace and happiness

Today I found myself watching Oprah’s Next Chapter and she was talking with the family of Whitney Houston.  There were a couple of things that came out that really struck me.  One was that Whitney, like Michael Jackson seemed to be very concerned with pleasing the public and living up to expectations she felt the public had of her.  According to the people in her life, she was also chasing after an elusive happiness.  It is said that she worried about being pretty enough and a whole host of other things of that nature.  Of course being famous also seemed to make her life and her marriage much more difficult, according to the people in her life.They said the intrusions made things quite difficult.  We hear and wonder about how drugs may have been a problem, but I have also heard it said that fame is the strongest drug known to man (Jay Z).  How much did that drug effect things?,  may be the real question.

What really struck me as I watched, was not that all these things were going on in Whitney’s life.  It was just another glimpse into the reality that money and fame do not bring happiness.  What surprises me is no matter how many times we see the same story, we as a society seem to worship fame, notoriety and perceived success.  The interesting thing is chasing those things seem to be

Cover of "The Family Man"
Cover of The Family Man

sure-fire way to unhappiness, but we all seem to want them so bad anyway.  This is why I love movies that remind us that happiness has nothing to do with these trappings.  Some of my favorite films that suggest this are: A Good Year, From Prada To Nada, The Family Man, The Weather Girl, and The Big One.  The list goes on and on, but what I love to see is the main characters choose what truly makes them happy over the purely material.  The most recent movie I saw depicting this is The Vow.  Many expect this film to be a sappy love story, but it is so much more.  It is largely about breaking out of the box to find your happiness, even if it means giving up the prestige of being a lawyer to be an artist and risk disappointing your parents in the process.

I personally, love to see people realize who they truly are and have the courage to be.  People who can do this and remain unattached to how they are going to be perceived, seem to always find themselves living the most enjoyable lives.  On the meditation path we call it being unattached.  In the Bible, it is called being in the world and yet not of the world.  For some of us the idea of it may feel like doing the impossible. I can understand.  This thing we call the ego keeps us worrying about so many unnecessary things. We usually have no idea who we really are or what will truly make us happy.   I, myself, have found that when I am on top of my meditations, living true to who I am, unattached and free is much easier.  I have also found that the less I meditate, the more difficult being happy and free becomes.


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