All Is Not Well: So Now What Choice Do You Have?
It's almost embarrassing to have a new book out called "All Is Well." Even though the subtitle explains that it's about "the art and science of personal well-being," the fact is that all is not well.
No, no, no. Ten hurricanes in a row. Worst flooding in history. The Las Vegas massacre. Ferocious wildfires. A wiped-out Puerto Rico begging for help. Threats of a nuclear war with North Korea.
I'll stop now -- only to call attention to a plan of action that can help us remain strong and brave and move on with our lives in a way that promotes well-being, defeats depression and lets us sleep at night without burying our brains in a bucket of bourbon.
It's called "unconditional happiness." It's controversial; it's fascinating; and it's something to consider right now as we're figuring out how to react to bad news, broken dreams and the seeming omnipresence of evil.
Unconditional happiness is the practice of choosing to be happy no matter what. It doesn't mean that you ignore what's really going on. It doesn't mean that you turn your back on suffering or completely give up on the news -- though sometimes it feels so good, so restorative, to take a break.
Unconditional happiness means that no matter what's going on, you can lift your spirit and even boost your health by answering this one question: "Do I want to be happy, or do I want to not be happy?"
In "All is Well," I introduce readers to Michael Singer, an expert in unconditional happiness and the author of "The Untethered Soul." He calls that essential existential inquiry -- "Do I want to be happy?" -- a simple question. But for most of us, it's impossibly complex. How can you be happy when thousands are running for their lives, when your own house burns down, when your loved ones die, when our country and so many others appear to be under brutal, breathtaking assault by a punishing Mother Nature?
"Once you decide you want to be unconditionally happy, something inevitably will happen that challenges you," Singer explains. Floods, fires, death, destruction. That's the way of the world. Bad stuff happens. "The real question is whether you want to be happy regardless of what happens."
And the real answer is up to you. "When everything is going well, it's easy to be happy," writes Singer. "But the moment something difficult happens, it's not so easy."
It's not so easy now, right? So, what can you do?