The first question:
Why does misery feel so safe and happiness so threatening?
Happiness is threatening and misery is safe – safe for the ego. Ego can exist only in misery and through misery. Ego is an island surrounded by hell; happiness is threatening to the ego, to the very existence of the ego. Happiness rises like a sun and the ego disappears, evaporates like a dewdrop on the grass leaf.
Happiness is the death of the ego. If you want to remain a separate entity from existence as almost everybody is trying to do, you will be afraid of being blissful, cheerful. You will feel guilty in being blissful. You will feel suicidal because you are committing suicide on the psychological level, on the level of the ego.
It almost always happens that people enjoy a few moments and then afterwards feel very guilty. The guilt arises because of the ego. The ego starts torturing them, “What are you doing? Have you decided to kill me? And I am your only treasure. Killing me? You will be destroyed. Killing me is destroying yourself.”
You are so identified with the ego that when the ego says such things, they have a great appeal, attraction, conviction in them. The reality is just the opposite: you are not your ego. In fact because of the ego you are not growing, the ego is like a rock preventing your growth. Remove the rock and you will start growing, growing into a big tree with great fulfillment, flowering.
But in the beginning it will feel as if throwing the rock away is throwing away all safety. The rock was preventing many things. It was preventing rain from coming to you and you were thinking it was safer. In fact the rain is nourishing. If it had reached you, you would have started growing. The rock was preventing the sun and you were thinking it was a shelter: it prevented the heat of the sun from reaching to you. But that heat is needed, that heat is life.
What is destructive to you, you have been told by the society is not destructive; not only that it is not destructive but it is a shelter, a protection, a security. That idea has become deeply rooted in you; hence you feel misery is safe. Everybody feels like that. That’s why everybody chooses to be miserable; it is your choice. Everybody chooses hell. It is your responsibility. If the whole earth is living in hell it is nobody else’s responsibility. It is a deliberate decision to live in hell because in hell the ego can remain.