There is a very popular notion that living a happy and successful life is all about attitude.
According to C. G. Jung, my current favorite source for things psychological, attitude is defined as a "readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way". He further states that attitudes come in pairs and form a duality of conscious and unconscious, rational and irrational, introverted and extroverted, and thus become the basis for neuroses.
So what is this I said about the notion of happiness, success and attitude? How is there shadow in this when it is obvious to most that having the right attitude will bring happiness and success, just as the wrong attitude will only bring pain and misfortune? I believe the key element in attitude and shadow is evident in the pair of attributes called conscious/unconscious and we should all know by now that in unconsciousness is where shadow lives and breathes.
The next question that might be asked is “What is wrong in having a good attitude?” The answer is nothing, just as there is nothing right in it, either. This is not to say that one shouldn’t strive to have an attitude that will be more likely to bring happiness and success rather than having one that brings nothing but pain and disaster. What I am saying is that attitude, whether good or bad, is subjective and is a function of the ego, and that is where shadow or unconsciousness can lure us into a trap, a false sense of what constitutes success or failure, happiness or pain and most importantly, what is the right or wrong attitude to have in the first place to get what we want or to avoid what we don’t.
So how do I get out of the trap of thinking that the key to happiness and success is in having the right attitude? As most traps go, we get stuck in them by our limited thinking and by our identification with the trap. We say “I’m stuck in a trap and I can’t get out”, that is the identification with the trap. And while we are identifying with the trap, our ego kicks in and says “This can’t be happening to me” or “I don’t have time for this” or something on similar lines, and all our energy is focused on the trap instead of a way out of it with the result being that we become more and more mired in the mud of our own ego.
So what is the way out of the trap? The way out is surely not in thinking, for it was thinking that the key to happiness and success is in having the right attitude that brought us into the trap in the first place. It is in our ego, limited as it is, where attitude is as much a part as shadow and unconsciousness. Once we know that the ego is part of the trap, we can begin to realize that the key to happiness and success is not in attitude, it is in consciousness, where we live in the present moment instead of living in a past or future, where the definition of happiness and success have meaning for the ego. It is being able to live in the moment, in consciousness and self-awareness, that is the key to unlocking the trap.
The very best use of life
...is to transform to the awakened state. Next best is to develop qualities. Next best and skillful use of life is gaining deep connection to capable mentor who promises to hold you and care for you even after your passing. The least useful is to say you are a Christian or a Buddhist and expect that to save you!