When I was 5 years old my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
Okay, so what drives human decisions? In a nutshell, we tend to move towards what we believe will bring us pleasure and away from what we believe what will bring us pain. It’s about our beliefs.
It’s not that we move directly towards pleasure itself and away from pain. I’m sure you can find many examples in the world, and perhaps even in your own life, when you have moved away from pleasure and towards pain. Interesting, no? Why would we do such a thing? It’s because on a deeper level, beyond surface-level appearances, we are moving towards what we believe will bring that which feels good and away from what we believe will ultimately make us feel worse. Much of this is subconscious.
So why do we do those things that we “know” aren’t good for us? For example, why do we resist reality? Why do we try to control others or the world? Why do we try and manifest things? Heck, why do we try and get enlightened!? Why do we do all this stuff?
Simple, because we believe that our happiness and well-being depends upon it! Quite literally! In the end, we all want to feel good. We all want to be happy, to experience joy, to love and be loved, to experience all those good feelings and emotions.
So, joy. We’re seeking joy. We want to be happy. It’s pretty simple, really.
Yet this joy we’re seeking is conditional. We experience our happiness dependent upon things out of our control, and that doesn’t feel very good, does it?
What if there was a better way?…
So as little kids, we’re happy when we get rewarded, when we get treats. When someone approves of us we feel good and so then associate happiness with approval and validation. When we’re scared and we get our blanket, we feel more secure, and so we think that our security lies in a “security blanket.” As adults this same pattern remains with us, though the security blanket itself may change, whether it comes in the form of money, a dependable spouse, a big house, etc.
Then we may begin discovering that, hey wait a second, we can be happy even without those things. We can feel safe and loved even without our security blankets.
If our happiness depends on an external circumstance, person, or thing, then our happiness is vulnerable. What can be gained can also be lost. We will often do everything in our power to maintain our happiness, but very often we find that we simply can’t control the world enough to maintain our happiness. It’s like the world is stronger than we are.
Seeing this and not wanting to be so helplessly at the effect of the world, we begin learning to let go, surrender, and release our attachments. The whole “spiritual pathway” thing. There are many helpful tools and techniques that can help us in this stage. They are very valuable and can bring us closer and closer to the freedom and joy that is already HERE.
Eventually we begin reaching the point where our tools have done their part and we can begin letting even them go too. If you hurt your leg, a crutch is a very useful tool to help you out until you your leg is strong enough for you to put your weight back on it and walk on it. But if we cling onto our crutch for, what was originally intended to help us out eventually becomes a limitation itself! Why do you think they call it a crutch!?
Many of our spiritual tools are designed to help us go beyond the experience of “my happiness depends upon XYZ.” Be careful that application of your tool doesn’t itself become the next apparent source/cause of happiness or else you have simply traded one condition for your happiness for another.
The tool is never the point. The tool itself is not even what is important. Finger pointing to the moon. It is a stepping stone towards something greater until it is no longer needed. It is something that we must let go of, yet this can be very hard for people to do. It’s scary to let go of your crutches at first and then walk and even run freely! But there is a point when we MUST let go of all our tools in order to go beyond.
A tool is not the source of happiness. A truly helpful tool assists us in finding the happiness already within us so that we no longer need the tool anymore! So this isn’t to invalidate the usefulness of any tool, far from it. It’s simply about put them in their appropriate context.
Tools help us become more loving, more spiritual, more conscious, more forgiving, and all that jazz. Yet simultaneously there is also the presence of that which IS, which isn’t affected by any tools, which doesn’t become more of anything or less of anything. All tools exist within this, but none of them can touch or change this.
The quality of inner silence and presence remains like a subtle energy inside this body. Each time you turn your attention in this way, you will notice this beautiful peaceful energy. Get used to it and gradually this current of joy and peace will remain unbroken in you.”
The more we let go, the more we find this natural sense of happiness, joy, and peace arising all on its own without us having to really do anything deliberately. I call this arising natural because it is uncaused, unforced, uncreated, unmanifested, and unfiltered. It’s pure and untouched, just as it is.
There is this ground of being, the felt sense “I Am”, one’s very own existence, Life itself manifesting as an apparent person. It is this unchanging constant silent presence that is the true source of joy, that IS Joy itself.
To BE is itself already a huge gift. When we live in the domain of the mind, there is a vacillation between “life is good” and “life sucks” and we tend to do whatever we think’ll make us feel better, but very often what we think will work doesn’t, hence the saying “be careful what you wish for” (because you just may get it and realize that it doesn’t actually give you what you wanted fundamentally… happiness and joy)
The more the mind and all its conceptual spinnings can be free to just fall away on their own in their own time, the more this ground of being can move from the background into the forefront of conscious awareness.
“This realization is such a profound shift, in that, one realizes the identity of self to naturally be awareness itself, and not the ideas or images arising in awareness. It is in this presence, that the reality of life unfolds. Therefore, there is only the witnessing of what comes and goes, that ever happens to exist — and you are that.”
When we think that joy is a result, that it has a cause which comes as a result of some accomplishment or attainment, then we will seek to maintain this temporary event as long as possible, or to keep creating and recreating it, lest we lose that which we want. No! Anything but that!
Yet when we go deep enough within and discover for ourselves the presence of the ground of Being and what it depends on (if anything) in order for joy to be present, the more we can stop imposing all these unnecessary and artificial conditions upon our happiness and just BE. We discover that somehow, this itself is entirely sufficient. The quality and nature of Being may itself inspire positive emotion, yet it itself is somehow beyond emotional condition and thus it is free of the emotional pendulum swing. The presence of Being is NOT lost when you feel bad and so emotions need not be feared as if they cover this up.
Yes thoughts are inseparably tied to emotion, but what we are pointing to here goes beyond emotion.
“The truth is already itself, and you are that truth. If you are looking for truth, and attempting to find it somewhere else, or through a process of becoming someone else, you are unclear about what truth actually is; lost in the dream of a well-organized thinker, adrift in a sea of endless spiritual ideas.”
I’d like to wrap up with a little bit on the law of attraction here. From the place of seeking joy as a caused result, why would we want to manifest something? Because we see manifestation as an integral part of the cause of joy! Because we love the excitement of thinking about and anticipating the arrival of that which we want, because we love the experience of the creative process unfolding before our eyes, we enjoy the synchronicities along the way, and we are happy that we have creative control over our reality.
It feels great to “be in the vortex” as Abraham puts it, but when we start thinking and believing in thought that is out of alignment with reality, then we experience the response called negative motion.
As such, our happiness is still experienced to be conditional. It’s dependent upon thinking positive thoughts, allowing yourself to go with the flow, and so on. This is how we tend to experience life, is it not?
Yet what I’m finding is that when you start releasing these conditions upon your happiness, positive thoughts begin to happen on their own, when thoughts do arise in the first place, that is. The mind begins to quiet down naturally, yet thoughts do continue to arise, although they are taken less seriously and are not seen to be as much of a problem anymore. In the presence of Being, somehow you just don’t even believe these thoughts that keep passing by! They’re not being followed the way they once were, and they’re certainly not seen to contain more importance and weight than the presence of Being!
Going with the flow itself becomes a natural way of being in the world. Unconditional love and appreciation for all of life, including this mind/body/personality/history/energy blob we call “me,” somehow arises all on its own, all without us having to think our way to happiness. The happiness is somehow found to already be here! These things are our natural state when we stop placing conditions upon our happiness and joy. Our cork rises naturally when we quit resisting so damn hard! You don’t “raise your vibration.” Just quit resisting and it raises itself!!
and speaking of the LoA, here’s the ironic/amazing thing about how it ties into all this causeless joy stuff… The more we quit trying to control our realities and manifest stuff in order to create happiness and instead we let go and let go of that condition, the more we quit waiting for the manifestation of that which we want in order to experience joy and the more we begin experiencing that desired happiness and joy NOW. Woohoo! The more we begin experiencing that appreciation and unconditional love NOW. Sweet!
The more we quit making our happiness, joy, appreciation, and love conditional upon the world, since the world is basically our mirror, it has no choice but to reflect all that back to us!
What is it that Abraham keeps saying is the most important thing? “There is nothing more important than that you feel good.” The more we quit trying to “make this all happen” and just be happy now for its own sake, the more all the stuff that we want starts to effortlessly flow into our lives. Well gee, that was easy! The more we quit holding on to and defending our old and familiar patterns of egoic resistance, the more we can just relax into this timeless ground of Being without waiting for some ideal time in the future or thinking that it existed in some past moment or experience which we now need to recreate.
“Why are you happy?”
“No reason at all!”
Causeless joy, this joy within that is at the heart of what you are, here it is! And it has no cause!
P.S. Thanks to my facebook buddies for passing along such wonderful quotes used above.