happiness

Day of gratitude

East view, Fryman Canyon, Los Angeles California

East view, Fryman Canyon, Los Angeles California

Unlocking eternal happiness

In the western world, we have a tendency to turn our holidays into occasions of stress, expectation, and worry. Each person seems compelled to magically convert what could be a personal sacrament into a measuring contest. How much do you have? Do you have a perfect loving family? Do you have as nice a home as Uncle Fred? Did you drive up in as nice a car as Mrs. Anderson? What does that say about you?

We could use this event to ask other questions. Have we been given these miraculous bodies that serve us faithfully and heal themselves if we listen to them? Have we been given another sunrise, another day on this amazing planet that will also heal itself if we don't block out its voice with our own selfish concerns? Have we been given the quiet, subtle voice of God to listen to if we can only become quiet enough?

The answers are always yes. The day is always this day. Throw away the measuring stick and serve someone. Happiness does not need to be sought, only uncovered.

"One should know as to how to live in the world and he will be happy. Your body and wealth is useful in the world and your mind is useful on the path to God. Do not apply too much mind in the world than necessary otherwise it would be a waste and a loss to both material and spiritual aspects of life. Just like putting more than necessary gum to paste the envelope. The gum will be wasted and the envelope will be spoiled."

Guru Dev
Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

Open to the infinite muse

Krishna temple near Vrindavan, Northern India.

Krishna temple near Vrindavan, Northern India.

art and creativity

Before I meditated, I thought that art was something created by humans in a pale approximation of perfection as envisioned by superior beings. It seemed that art itself was only something to be aspired to, never reached. I could work and work and work toward perfecting a craft, but the pinnacles of creativity that I so admired would ever be denied to me. I felt like Antonio Salieri in relation to Mozart, ever the appreciator, never the creator.

Then came the knowledge that there is only one thing, perfect in its multiplicity. It operates in me, in you, in a starfish, in a hummingbird, in the Carina Nebula. Distinctions between these entities are the function of a critical ego; they are not to be negated, but transcended.

I can still pursue the refinement of a craft, but knowing that Bach's Brandenburg Concierti were not born of a short-sighted ego, I have the luxury of laboring with the knowledge that both Bach and I have access to the same divine enthusiasm, and that it is the natural state of the universe for me to embody that inspiration as best I can.

The ego uses negative thinking to reinforce my inadequacies, to stifle my attempts to even try to create. Why is the ego's goal to stop me before I even start? To regain control; to keep me separated; to maintain stasis. This is antithetical to creation itself and to the natural state of the universe, which is ever evolving.

I can evolve. I just need the willingness.

What is our happiest and most natural state as aspects of creation? To create ourselves; to show bravery and backbone in the face of negative self-talk; to exercise devotion by allowing ourselves to be surprised by what can be created in partnership with an infinitely energetic higher power; to show up, again and again for our creative self. This is the nature of bliss.

Alfred Sisley: Fog, Voisins, 1874

Alfred Sisley: Fog, Voisins, 1874