The question: “Are you happy?” May seem something intelligent to ask, but the first question over that question is: “What do you mean by happy?”
“Happy” may seem for many as the state of elation and bubbly-ness portrayed by actors in some TV commercials. For others, it may be a state of contentment in life: Something “healthy” were the ups- and- downs are taken in stride and the person is ready to move on, while looking forward to the future.
The first thing to observe is that such a state is not permanent. It is short lived for most. Some may say that they know a particular “saint” who was living in continuous bliss day after day. I am not talking about people with the ability to BE in a different dimension, in some trance. Although those people are physically here, their consciousness is in another place. Probably a “happy dimension.” I am referring only to this state of duality, this “reality.” Secondly, when that state which we label as “happy” is not, then what remains? Unhappy? Yes, by definition. However, in “reality” there could be many things in between.
The world of duality doesn’t allow for some state to “always” be there, but whatever is experienced and the intensity of it, will also be experienced in the opposite side; that is how some “religious” individuals came up with the idea to avoid pleasure in order not to experience pain. In theory that sounds great, while in “reality” that is utopia.
It is interesting to observe that humans ask such questions as if the feeling (happy) or the emotion was something that could be caught in a word, defined. No wonder many individuals experience the word to be the thing.
“Yes, I am happy.” (Even though, miserably content in mediocrity by living the same old thing, day after day, some may confess afterwards.) Routine brings that sensation of “happiness.” That sensation is all we have, then to equate that to the label “happy,” will make us think that we have arrived. The magic of words.
Are you happy? “Yes, but I still need to reach some important goals in my Life.” That person is equating reaching goals with happiness. That sort of individual is caught up in “HAVING” things as proof of happiness.
“If you are happy, happy, happy clap your hands”… That is the DOING person, the “success” story.
But the million dollar question is: “How do you know if you are happy?” A very silly question indeed. Nevertheless; people want to know, which ones are the “signs” of happiness, for them to use the “happy” word and proudly define themselves as “happy.”
Have we observed that so far we have been exercising our minds to try to figure out an “ideal”?
The ideal is “happy.” The figuring out comes through the questions: Are you that? How to get there? Why do you feel happy? Where to get happiness? What are the signs? When do you become happy? Which is greater happiness, this or that?
All of that is completely, utterly senseless.
When we are living fully, there is no questioning. The mind is quiet. It is not trying to arrive to some place, looking for more to be fulfilled. Thus, the “problem” of happiness resides only in the mind.
All the questions above, all the explanations and ideals about happiness are just mind made.
The mind cannot be satisfied for one of its tasks is to always want more: More things to have, more things to do, more to BE. Our society promotes that view which is all mind, that is why; many are stuck in a rut of doing things that they do not enjoy for the sake of achieving something which the mind through its conditioning, values. Out of that, the question of happiness arises. It is not only DOING, but HAVING and BEING. The 3 most basics forms of identification of the mind are continuously challenged to obtain more thus; greed, ambition, fear and anxiety are born as offsprings.
The mind then invents “happiness” as the cure for those mental ailments. That is the mind’s solution. Isn’t the word “solution” familiar to us? It is the opposite of “problems.” That is something our minds have learned to match. Use the opposite word to cancel the other: Non-violence cancels violence, solution cancels problems. We are good to go. Just make up a “rational” list of “to do” items to “achieve” the goal.
In the world of words, the word SATISFACTION has greater and deeper meaning than the hackneyed “happiness.”
Satisfaction brings a sense of fulfillment, that is living Life without the goals to achieve something and the search for praise and acceptance from others, or to find the idealistic “success.” Satisfaction is a quality of BEING, in harmonizing with “what is.” At the end of our lives, we may want to reflect on satisfaction. Observe all your experiences and get the taste of that particular, unique flavor interpreted by “you.” There is no search in satisfaction. Life brings the ingredients, we make the juice; while happiness for most, is a continuous never ending search of ingredients.
Here is the amusing paradox: The mind searches for happiness, but no-mind is the one finding it …without searching for it, and without knowing what that is.
For many seekers, to be unmovable and stoic in the presence of hardship is a sign of “improvement.” Seekers may copy this behavior without seeing the inner lie.
Seekers do not realize that any natural change has a process. It is not a matter of forcing a behavior to copy a saint, a guru or an illuminated one. In society, “I” may appear to be “improving” if my behavior is impervious to misfortune but in Life, there is a consequence for that lack of inner honesty.
The idea of fighting to get what “I” want in Life or to enforce that which “I” believe is worthwhile based on my conditioning, is pursued as a value in Life.
In our society, if something comes which is not what “I” want, that is to be rejected. Fought against.
Life is like an Ocean. It has waves moving towards the shore in different directions. Some days, there is a high tide. How do I get into the Ocean to swim?
I can walk towards it stoically, without reaction, as the waves may act as whips inflicting pain. “I must put up with that pain. I will get to the end soon.” We may think. For many, that is their extent of “spirituality.” It is about cheering someone up with pretty words through hard times.
Others, may dive underneath the visible waves. They are not “fighting like a man,” they are not “being visible” but they can accomplish the same purpose, to be able to swim.
Nevertheless, this person is separated from what IS. This person cannot relax. This person is in the lookout for the next wave. Be like a cat: Vigilant but relaxed. That is an art in itself.
However, integration with “what IS” is not there. That is, accept what IS. Become part of it.
Have you noticed that many times there are people who like and enjoy to DO things that we don’t?
How do you behave if you happen to be in the same environment? Many will reject what IS. We can walk out, we can walk away but what truly matters is if there is a rejection inside us.
A Life walker learns that differences are meant to be truly appreciated and then integrated.
Integration takes inner openness, acceptance. It may be expressed as : “I will give it a shot.”
Life is seen as a compilation of experiences. There is no label of rejection inside us.
Even death is accepted with integration. It is only another experience.
Do we “practice” integration with Life?
NO. Life will teach us when we are ready.
How do we become ready?
By BEING CONSCIOUS of living Life. Otherwise, we are confined to ideas, ideals, wishes, expectations, conditioning. That is dreaming.
It is a wonder that we dream constantly even though we believe to be awake.