What Makes You Happy? #14
There are as many answers to this question as there are breaths in a lifetime, moments in a day. So many things play on our experience of happiness. It is indeed circumstantial in nature and as we know, circumstances are always changing. As Rilke said, Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive. Which implies a willingness to let go, to release, to dissolve in order to create anew. Even if what we wish to create is the continuation of the present circumstance, maintenance requires pulses of releasing and creating over and over again.
More and more happiness is framed as a journey of self discovery and I believe this to be true and we are human. Humans are social beings living in a tumultuous and beautiful world with many others. For happiness to bloom fully again and again, self discovery requires engagement with the world.
Just as consciousness is both immanent and transcendent so too is the happiness of the individual determined by what is contained within and beyond individual consideration.
Happiness is not an either or proposition. It is the skillful, joyful and often challenging blend, marriage if you will, of both inner self discovery and the natural byproduct of meaningful engagement with the world. In this we use our happiness everyday as a powerful tool and not merely a possession.
This is the very definition of householder life: to journey inward and steep in the vast dynamic silence that is the source of every creative impulse and then to come out and share that knowing in ever more potent and surprising ways. Life demands our attention. Taking time each day to sit quietly and permit the dissolving, the releasing of our limited identity, of who we solely believe ourselves to be, in that vastness we transcend that limited sense of self. When we emerge we are who we have always been but refreshed, renewed and in that, changed.
To focus solely on inner happiness is not a bad thing but it does remove one from the world. It may bring self sufficiency but to what use if engagement with the world is not heightened?
No judgment here just practicality. What are you after? How do you wish to move, BE in the world? What makes you happy, truly happy?
Recently I read a critique of the focus on inner happiness in which the author stated that “spirituality and religious practice is slowly shifting from a community based endeavor to a private one with silent meditation retreats, mindfulness apps and yoga classes replacing church socials and collective worship.” [Ruth Whippman, NYT] Suggesting that all this “inner navel gazing” is moving humans away from much need social interaction and birthing a nation of walled off individuals focused solely on a kind of solipsistic happiness to the exclusion of all else.
Fowl cry I! This is a gross misunderstanding of the nuance and focus of a deep authentic meditation practice. Happiness is not an either/or proposition. In moving individual attention deep inside one comes to know, to rest and be deeply nourished from within and thus supported in sharing the depths of self without. The profundity of who we fully are is found deep inside. It is the natural expression of fullness to spill out. Just as the full moon cannot help but bath her gossamer light everywhere, so too as we know the fullness of our light it naturally shines wherever we place our attention.
It is not either/or. We live in the relative world ripe with duality and so it is an easy mark to state this is right, this is wrong, coloring all the world in black and white. But the light that is one and whole in nature contains every conceivable color. Let’s use our full box of crayons folks. It takes refinement sensitivity and courage to blend any two things and in so doing, create a new thing, a third, more fully realized offering resulting in a contribution more impactful than either on its own.
Know your Self and engage with the world from this higher deeper perspective. Higher and deeper because it is naturally infused with the happiness of knowing more fully who we are and in that, permitting a more authentic efficacious engagement with the world.
Which makes us social humans happy indeed.
Meditate. Happiness Is Found Within. - Muktananda
Then moving in the world, of the world, happiness is shared and multiplied.
~ Ode To Rilke
“Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive”
Want the change pour myself into its new shape, yes!
Melt limited identity and circumstance.
But what of the solid ground I yearn to feel underfoot?
To fly in the sky of consciousness with eyes opened is a leap that dares reality.
Operate dear one with no apparent net as tectonic plates shift and Rudra’s winds howl.
Turning your face to the light follow its brilliant path.
Move in the knowledge of support eternal as gravity holds you close.
Then, now, always you are in the wild embrace of iteration and iteration and iteration.
We cannot hold time. Cooperate with sustenance and claim your rightful part in authorship.
Creativity is born of innocence married to vision.
And I want to look away.
Be more than what is carried by the wind.
Be the wind and move the world with your heart.
Hope rides on this wind even as it searches the ground for some permanent landing.
Happiness embraces both with an open hand.