What we want is limitless Happiness!
We were born wanting. What we wanted kept changing as we grew in age, but that we wanted never changed. No amount of fulfillment of the wants could erase the want and the “wanting I’ always remained.
Everybody wants such happiness that will never diminish, and not even an iota of unhappiness. Unless this want is satisfied, we cannot be satisfied in life. Our past experience shows that all achievements and accomplishments thus far have provided only temporary satisfaction and have only left us dissatisfied and seeking something else that is different or better.
But why not say that may be we have been searching something non-existent? This is not possible because we can never conceive of a non-existent thing. I cannot be seeking something that is unreal or non-existent. I cannot search a thing which is not there. Nobody ever seeks a non-existent thing. Everybody seeks and strives for existent thing. And so the question “Is limitless happiness there or not?” does not arise. It must be there. Then alone is an attempt of seeking It on my part.
Is the desire of seeking limitless happiness brought about by my own volition? Is it a desire specially cultivated by me or is it a desire with which I am born? Everybody is born with this desire. It is a natural desire. It is not that at some point in time I decided to be desire the limitless. I am born with this desire. And since the desire to seek the limitless happiness is natural, there must be an answer for it.
Every natural desire that I have, must have a solution. Observe life. Hunger is natural phenomenon. So food is provided to quench it. And breathing also is a natural requirement for which air has been provided. There is always a means available to satisfy every natural desire. This is the nature of creation. A cultivated desire for certain type of food or drink may not have an answer, but a natural desire, with which I am born, must have an answer.
The limitless Happiness can never be Gained through Action.
A close scrutiny will lead us to conclude, that which is not created, the limitless, can never be gained through efforts. Actions are a means to an end. Our actions are limited in time and place because we can perform an action only for a limited period of time and at a given place. Therefore, our effort is bound to be limited. An end is always in keeping with the means, and, consequently, the results of all actions that are limited are also going to be limited and, hence, impermanent. All actions, however noble, meritorious or charitable, or even religious actions, such as worship or meditation, can bring about happiness, which is perhaps lasting, but not everlasting or eternal.
Self is the Source of our Happiness!
We cannot be satisfied with anything less than absolute wholeness or completeness along with unconditional freedom and happiness. There are times when we do experience unconditional freedom, for example, in the state of deep sleep, but unfortunately, we have no awareness of ourselves in that state and, therefore, do not recognize that we are experiencing such happiness. Occasionally, there are such moments in the waking state as well, where our sense of individuality drops off momentarily and we experience unconditional freedom and happiness. However, in spite of the experience, one is none the wiser. We still do not discern that what we were enjoying was the true self and instead, conclude that what gave us that happiness was something else. That to which we attribute our happiness, whether an object, person, or circumstance, merely serves to satisfy our likes and dislikes momentarily, thus bringing the true self to manifestation. By nature, one is whole; complete and totally free. Ignorance veils one’s true nature If wholeness or completeness is our very nature, how is it that we do not experience happiness all the time? We do not experience our true nature all the time because of certain inhibiting factors, primarily ignorance. Ignorance creates a wrong perception of the self and gives rise to attachments and aversions, which deprive us of the benefit of our true nature.
The mind is generally under the control of attachments and aversions, or likes and dislikes. They are like a cloud which obscures the sun from our view. Even though the sun is shining behind the cloud, it is not visible. When the cloud is moved away by the wind we catch a glimpse of that sunlight. Soon another cloud comes along, and the sun is obscured again. And other breeze may come and we may again get a brief glimpse of sunshine, but sometimes, even that glimpse may not be Very clear because the clouds can be very thick. Occasionally, however, all the clouds may clear away completely and we experience total sunshine. Just as the wind causes the clouds to move away, so also, some desirable experience momentarily removes the obstructive clouds of our likes and dislikes and, at that instant, the self-shines through; we catch a glimpse of the unconditional happiness, which is our true self, yet we do not recognize at those times that we are experiencing the self!
The self is the true source of happiness If we analyze our experiences, we will find that the only constant factor in all our experiences of happiness is the self because that which seems to make us happy keeps on changing. Today a person seems to make us happy, tomorrow an object makes us happy, another day, something else like ice cream or pizza makes us happy. Sometimes, an experience such as a roller-coaster ride or skiing makes us happy and, at other times, an event such as a favorite team or favorite player’s winning makes us happy. Or it could be that we may have won, and that makes us happy. Thus, what makes us happy keeps on changing. What or who, then, is the constant factor in all experiences of happiness? It is the individual, the ’I,’ that is the constant factor. Which ’I’ is this? It is the ’I” that emerges at the moment when it becomes free from all inhibitions. Thus, that person object or external event that seems to give us happiness only causes. one’s own self, the true source of happiness, to surface. It is this intermittent glimpse of the self that is a common factor in all experiences of happiness.
Wrong Notions about the Self Leads to Insecurities and Inadequacies!
We recognize that the attraction we have for other things is based on the perception we have of ourselves. We think we are insecure and, therefore, something appears to promise us the security that we seek. We think that we are unhappy and, therefore, we think that somebody or something can make us happy. That is how we become vulnerable and are exploited because of our false estimation of ourselves; people can cause us unhappiness through their omissions and commissions only when we have this wrong perception of ourselves to begin with. Only when we think that we are no good can somebody make us feel that we are no good. Therefore, all sadness and all hurt and guilt come from the wrong perception we have of ourselves as being inadequate. Self-ignorance keeps us from seeing the self as full, complete, and limitless, and makes us disown what we are. Our looking upon ourselves as unhappy and insecure is the reason why we are constantly searching for happiness and security from the things and beings of the world that, however, do not have them to offer us. Therefore, our dissatisfaction with ourselves arising from the wrong perceptions caused by ignorance is the source of all unhappiness.
We have to acquire the right perception so that we can see that we indeed are what we are seeking to be; we are a whole, we are complete beings. This right perception will displace the wrong notion and then the inhibitions will be no more. We will then become the owners of our true nature. If this is understood, knowledge becomes most important to us.
Through scrutiny, it becomes clear that we have superimposed values on the objects of the world that are not intrinsic to them. We then become indifferent to them in that we recognize that We have no use for them other than to fulfill our basic needs. Yes, we have to fulfill our basic needs because we do get hungry and thirsty, and we do feel hot or cold. The world is created so that we may take care of these needs. The objects of the world are designed only to provide freedom from hunger, thirst, ‘heat, and cold. They are not meant to make us happy or secure; happiness and security have to come from within. If this is recognized, we can. relate to the world appropriately.
To Truly Enjoy the World, One Needs to be a Dispassionate.
Dispassion (vairagya) is being able to give the world the freedom to be what it is. A person who has vairagya. does not manipulate the world to suit his own need for control and ownership. He leaves things where they are and enjoys them as they are because he has no demands. It is not that a person with vairagya does not enjoy the world. On the contrary, in being non-demanding and happy with the way things are, only such a person truly enjoys the world. Vairagya does not mean turning away and not looking at things that we fear may tempt us. It is an attitude of detachment that enables us to relate to everything in a very healthy way. We enjoy things as they are without the compulsion to own, manipulate, or control them. Only then we are truly free and able to discover the freedom that is our nature.
Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati