It would be helpful if we humans came with operating manuals. Since we don’t, we have to learn on the job. That’s what we’re doing now; learning as we live in this three-dimensional, physical world of duality. This is the original school of hard knocks.
Everyone wants to be happy. How do we accomplish this state of happiness? That depends on the answer to the question: Does life have a purpose or is it random? If life is random, then it doesn’t matter how you live your life or how others live theirs. Happiness itself becomes random and out of your control. But, if life has a purpose, then it’s in your interest to find out what that purpose is and get on with following it as soon as possible. We all come with expiration dates, so there’s no time to waste.
Not finding our purpose leads to an uneasy stress; a feeling that no matter how much success we have in the “outer” world, we still have no lasting inner peace. Our external successes lead to temporary happiness. Long-term, permanent happiness still eludes us.
True, lasting happiness is to be found only within one’s self. As Abe Lincoln said: “I think most people are about as happy as they’ve made up their minds to be.”
In what moments are we happiest? Those joyful, precious, exciting moments that give our lives meaning, purpose and passion seem to be the times when we get lost in our own lives. We are awake, alert and without thought; totally lost in the moment, without stress and with no consciousness of linear time. This is when our lives become our meditation.
Getting lost in a book, a movie, a hobby, etc…any activity that is right for us at that time, allows us to be in this state. We are engaged in something not be cause we are coerced, not because we are paid, but because it makes us happy. It just feels right. This is the place to be, as often as possible, and is the result of meditation, such as Zen, TM or yoga.
When meditation, of any kind is successful, we arrive at a place where we are content to be ourselves, content to be who we are, where we are. We are so focused on the task at hand that we lose track of (linear) time.
As said in Zen: “When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep.” Be 100% in the moment, Whose moment? Your moment. 100% involved and 0% attached. No thought. No judgment. Just being. If you follow your heart and your intuition (your sixth sense), you will be heart-directed and not directed by your head. Your head tells you what you should do. Your heart tells you what you really want to do.
This is following your “Tao”; your path. This is being honest with your true inner self. This reduces and even eliminates stress. Less stress means more happiness…and better health. We have the power to be who we choose to be. Life is not how you find it but how you make it. Along with this awesome power to choose comes an equally awesome power of responsibility.
Due to “free will”, we get to choose whether, at any moment, we will be the person we’re meant to be or someone else. Remember Oscar Wilde, who said: “Be yourself. Everyone else seems to be taken.” Or, the Bhagavad Gita, which states: “Better to live your life imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.”
When we are children; innocent and defenseless, others choose for us. When we become adults, it becomes increasingly difficult to play the victim. We feel uncomfortable playing the victim. Why? Because we know, down deep, that the responsibility for who we choose to be is ours. No matter how much “baggage” was laid on us in the past, we get to choose who we want to be. As Eleanore Roosevelt said: “No one can lower your self-esteem without your approval.” Or, as George Eliot said: “It’s never too late to be the you you’re meant to be.”
Take advantage of your freedom to make choices. When you follow your heart, you make right decisions for you. This taking control of your life encourages your gifts and talents to emerge and blossom. And, although we all come with flaws and weaknesses, we also come with gifts and talents. As Albert Einstein said: “We are all born geniuses.”
When we do what’s right for us at the time, we are in sync with the universe. We are the best we can be at that time. Not the best in the world, just our personal best. And, without judgment, our best will just have to do. When we share what’s right for us at the time with others, that even heightens our happiness. Sharing with and, when possible, helping others, creates the greatest happiness in both doer and recipient…a classic win-win situation.
When you follow your heart and intuition; doing what feels right for you, at that time, you do what you love and love what you do. As Khalil Gibran said: “Your work should be love made visible.” You lose track of time but remain awake, alert and without thought. In other words, your meditation is successful. No thought means no ego, no self, no judgment. You can feel, down to your bones that you are part of something greater than yourself. In that very moment you are being the best you can be. You are living the life you would if you had an epiphany, an enlightenment.
Your first birth was physical. Living this way, you get your second birth; your spiritual birth. This is truly being “born again.” This is all do-able. You are programmed for success. This honest, free, way to live leads to a lasting, inner happiness of peace, love and joy that is not subject to the law of change. This happiness transcends the outer, physical world of duality. This way to live is your birthright and your destiny. Unconditional love (God) is in you and with you. You cannot fail.
As said by Anonymous: “Rule #1 of life. Do what makes YOU happy. Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away from your joy. Go where you are celebrated-not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” Or, as said by Charles Spurgeon: “It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”
Happiness and Stress
Our minds determine our lives or, to put it another way, attitude is everything. If we decide to focus on hurts of the past, whether minutes ago or years ago or, to be anxious about the immediate or distant future, that will rule our happiness at this moment. When we change our focus to the present moment, we begin to enjoy life “as it is.”, now. We have to break with old habits that keep us from dwelling in the present – If only this hadn’t happened, I could be happy or, If only this would happen, I would be happy.
Happiness is more than a securing of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. These popular forms of happiness are external and fleeting. True happiness is to be found within. It is not dependent on anything or anyone. It is possible to be happy for no reason. You have the option to choose happiness at any moment. Once found, internally, it is for all time. This does not mean an ecstasy in the presence of tragedy, but it does make unhappy events bearable.
As Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” says: “Nothing is either right or wrong but thinking makes it so.” Our lives are not how we find them but how we make them. We make choices and thereby create our lives from moment to moment. As supported by quantum physics, we determine when potential becomes actual. We are powerful, responsible creators of our lives.
When we begin to focus on the present, without thinking; just being, we simultaneously begin to care more about others. Their happiness effects our happiness. We want to be happy but the happiness of others is of equal importance. This condition of living totally in the present; lost in the now of our lives, causes us to care about love in an all-encompassing way. Love, not to a particular person or thing, but as a state of being.
Being human entitles us to so-called mystical or spiritual experiences. These are not reserved for a select few. They are for any of us ready to be open to them. People of all cultures and times have been having such experiences as long as there have been people. Reports of these experiences gave birth to religions.
When we separate spirituality from religion we get to the heart of the matter. Spirituality is inclusive – all life is equally precious and special. Religion, too often, is inherently exclusive – there’s us and there’s them. Religion requires an intermediary…between the worshiper and the worshiped (God). Spirituality is a direct, personal relationship between the seeker and the sought (God/love).
The transcendence of self (ego) is not only possible but imperative to a life of peace, love and joy. As long as we see ourselves as separate from others, from all life, we suffer. When we live in the now – awake, alert and without thought, having lost track of time, we experience a moment of eternity, inner peace and unconditional love. Becoming mindful, as the Buddhists say, is part of losing one’s self in the moment. Who’s moment? Your moment. Your now.
In this state we are completely focused and nonjudgmental. This is the healthy way to live. This is the only way to live. This is the nonsectarian approach to living a happy, healthy life. This is the result of successful meditation – to be awake. Alert and without thought…lost in the now of your life. With my “Six-Step Path” your life becomes your meditation. There is no ritual or ceremony here. Only pure, nonjudgmental involvement in the moment. The world; your world flows…and you with it. This is our original mind at birth…no thought, just being. It remains in us, ready to emerge and blossom once again. This is us before ego. Before separate self. Before stress.
Pain and sadness will still be a part of your life. However, stress of all kinds and lingering suffering will disappear when you live in the moment. As stated by Beautifulquotes.com
“There will come a time in your life when you just need to walk away from all the drama and the people who bring it into your life. You will surround yourself with people who make you smile, care about you and make you feel like you belong. Love the people who care for you and say a prayer for those in life who used you. Life is far too short to be unhappy, so make the changes you need to make your life a happy one.”
“Happiness is something you cultivate.” Remember, the expert in anything, even enlightenment, was once a beginner.” Begin where you are. And, don’t look back on your life with regret. Everything that has happened to you since you were born, had to happen when it did, the way it did, to make you the person you are now. This is your Tao; your path. All that’s happened, including “baggage”, has helped you get lost in this physical world of duality. Remember too, “Amazing Grace – I was lost but now I’m found.” You can’t be found until you’ve been lost.
To eliminate stress and replace it with inner peace is the goal of humanity. You accomplish this by 1. Making conscious contact with the non-physical presence within and 2. By following your heart and intuition; to live the life you’re meant to live. Non-judgmental observation of all your behaviors (good and bad). As your need to judge diminishes…and disappears, your sense of observation ; your mindfulness becomes more acute. This is the same result you get from successful meditation; be it formal or informal.
As stated by a Zen monk 900 years ago: “There’s no meditation like no meditation.” When your life becomes your meditation, you can be in a constant meditative state. This makes you ripe for a spiritual awakening. Your meditation can now become constant and effortless. This behavior is in your control. You can only be focused on the now when you are following your heart; doing what’s “right” for you at a particular moment.
You may not be able to make a spiritual awakening happen when you want it to, but you can direct your life to a heart-centered path. The only time you can accomplish this is now. It’s the only time you can do anything. Right now. Results are immediate. Rewards are immediate. Try if for an hour, a day, a week.