The very title of this post includes an implicit, yet clear and strong assumption:
You are not happy with your life
There is a high probability that you are reacting to this statement, by proclaiming that this is not “entirely true”. “Of course”, you may argue, “of course I am not happy with my life all the time, but, OK, in general, I am relatively pleased.
Who, anyway, is happy all the time?”
If you have reacted like this to this statement (or even if you haven’t), I ask you to pay very close attention to what follows.
You see, I am about to share with you a vital truth.
It is something that took me a long time to start truly realizing (and I still haven’t entirely grasped it, to be honest with you), but since I did, my life has entered a path of accelerated transformation.
Here it goes:
True Happiness is Absolute, All-Encompassing And Eternal
It is much more than your “birthright”, as people often say.
Happiness is your very nature, anytime, all the time!
I would say that all enlightened beings in the history of humanity fully agree on this point (everyone, without a single exception, from Buddha to Albert Einstein – by the way, I will come back to what each of the two reported on the topic in a while).
Not all of these unique beings have said it in exactly the same way (and how could they?), but the essence of their message is, invariably, the following:
At the core of your existence, you can find an inexhaustible Source of pure love and happiness.
What is more, you don’t have to DO anything to access it.
You only have to realize YOU ALREADY ARE it.
But if you already are it, all the time, how come you also don’t feel it all the time?
How come what most adult human beings experience today is a life that is underlined by a pretty much constant, and often quite acute, current of stress, anxiety, worry, guilt, discomfort?
How come the closest thing to happiness most people are likely to experience these days comes in the form of short-lived outbursts of pleasure?
To give the simplest answer possible to this extremely significant question, I believe we need to hear what Buddha has to say. As far as I am aware, he formulated the problem (and simultaneously pointed to its solution) in the simplest possible terms.
He said that:
The Root Of All Suffering Is Attachment
He elaborated a bit on that by specifying that there are three kinds of attachment. Namely, the attachment to the desire to have (craving), the attachment to the desire not to have (aversion or fear) and the attachment to “ignorant” views.
Here, if it is not already evident enough, an important clarification that one needs to make is that the problem is not the actual desire to have (craving or preference), or the desire not to have (aversion or fear), or the “ignorant” (here, in the sense of partial or misleading) views per se.
The Problem Is Our (Mine, Yours) ATTACHMENT To Any Such Desire Or View
It works like that:
When you cling onto a preference, a fear or opinion, it is like you insist that a very specific condition (or, in reality, many specific conditions) be met for you to be happy.
Or, and perhaps even more accurately, for you to NOT be unhappy.
But if happiness is indeed your true and spontaneous nature, then, to remain attached onto any desire, fear or opinion is like saying to yourself:
“I put my essential nature – that is my happiness – on hold, and I choose to suffer until all my desires are met, all my fears are dissolved, and / or all my opinions are globally acknowledged.
Until this happens…
I SHALL SUFFER!
I don’t blame you, me or anyone for having entered and remaining entangled in such a self-limiting mental bondage or blockage. You see, modern life is organized in most parts of the world in a way that exclusively promotes and stresses this model of “happiness is fragile, unstable and – most importantly – conditional to something else”.
“Something else”, which, in reality, shall remain forever unattainable.
Now, we could endlessly discuss about the reasons why the overwhelming majority of us conform to this particular model of “this is how things work”, thus remaining alienated from happiness (that is from our true selves).
But neither do I have the space here to enter such a lengthy analysis, nor is this the point of the present article.
And, in any case, blame and guilt are feelings that, by themselves, lead to no absolution or awareness. They have no transformational value whatsoever. They are fundamentally meaningless.
So, instead of blaming anyone (including yourself) for feeling unhappy, just contemplate on the following statement:
The Only Reason You Feel Unhappy Is Because
You Have Deliberately Bought Into
The Popular, Yet Fundamentally Erroneous, Model Of “Conditional Happiness“
Once you reflect on this and understand that, truly, nobody can oblige you to embrace this model…
Then the key is to accept that happiness is directly available to you.
This is a huge and crucial step.
Still, even after taking such a step, you probably will not be able to immediately access the uninterrupted flow of happiness residing within you and become one with it, in view of your attachments standing in the way.
So, then, it becomes clear that there is but one question that matters:
How Can You Drop Your Attachments?
The method is simple, yet at the same time it is also quite difficult, as it requires the utmost discipline until you get the hang of it.
It goes as follows:
You drop your attachments by recognizing them for what they truly are – that is, illusions that you have willingly, if not always fully consciously, adopted.
Once you shine the light of your Awareness upon your attachments, they vanish, like shadows in the night.
Attention: an attachment cannot be forcefully dropped or renounced. Only its object could be dropped in such a manner, but this would be of no help to you.
In fact, if you try to remove the object of an attachment instead of the attachment itself, not only will you not address your problem effectively, but you will probably make things worse than before.
This is because that’s a very typical way attachments grow stronger.
Think about it: If you actively and obsessively strive to stay away from something, avoiding it at all costs, you remain attached to it, in a perverse and, perhaps, even more binding way.
To say it differently: by purposefully avoiding the object of an attachment of yours, you end up growing this exact attachment even stronger than it originally was.
So, we return to the solution:
What does this mean, in this context?
True awareness is the crystal-clear realization
that you have willingly chosen to attach yourself onto something
that you thought you absolutely needed in order to be happy
but which in reality was, is and shall forever remain
irrelevant to your true happiness
Mind you, this is not an intellectual, but a visceral, “living and breathing”, kind of realization.
It’s one that words fail to describe.
By the way, the following book by the late Father Anthony DeMello (yet another enlightened human being) is by far the best, and perhaps one of the most radical, I have read on the subject:
I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the so called “spiritual path”.
Heck, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to overcome their suffering.
So… be aware!
I would like to close this article with something that Albert Einstein said on the topic of happiness.
(I promised I would come back to him, didn’t I)?
Said the genius physicist:
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness“
The keywords being here, in my view, “calm”, “pursuit” and “restlessness”.
In a nutshell, and in my words:
Remain calm, no matter what happens in and around you – it’s the best way to deal with anything and, in reality, you’ve always known this to be true – stop pursuing things and people as if your life depended on any of them – it doesn’t – and rest assured in the knowledge – the certainty – that you already have, and you shall always have, everything you ever needed!
And until next time,
Remain alert and surrender a bit more to your inherent happiness.
I know I’ll be doing the same.