It should be clear that what we really want is not an intimate relationship, better health, more money, or enlightenment. What we truly seek is the happiness that we believe would be derived from them. Is there anything you can imagine desiring more than happiness?
Extracts from the meditation by Rupert Spira (see video).
Notice that whatever it is that makes us happy, does not always do so, and sometimes makes us miserable. If that were not the case, we would all be happily married to the same person we ever fell in love with. Simply the fact that an object, an activity, a relationship, can make us feel happy one day, and miserable the next, should be all we need to see clearly that happiness can never be derived from an object, a substance, an activity, or a relationship.
What is it that makes it seem as if objects, activities, relationships cause happiness? Simply that we say “YES” to them. If we say “yes” to them, we experience happiness, if we say “no” to them, we experience misery. The happiness has got nothing to do with the object, activity, or relationship, but everything with what takes place in our mind and our heart.
It might seem that happiness fluctuates with all other experiences and that it is something that is experienced from time to time. Like a little patch of blue sky that opens up in a cloud cover, is a localized, temporary, appearance of the sky. It is not! It is simply an opening in the clouds onto the ever-present reality of the sky.
To invest one’s desire for happiness in the objective content of experience is madness. It is a recipe for misery. If we believe that a person can make us happy one day, that person will by definition make us miserable the next. All that is required to experience continuous peace and happiness, is to say “yes” to our current circumstance. This “yes”-saying to everything is the nature of our self. It is not something we have to practice or do. It is what we are. The space of this room does not negotiate everyone who enters it, wondering whether or not it approves of the person.
What we do, what the mind does, is to say “no” to some things. Whatever we say “no” to, makes us feel miserable. It’s as simple as that. Our suffering is our own activity and nobody imposes it on us.
This does not mean that we lead a life of passive resignation, but that our action in the world doesn’t come from resistance. It comes from joy and enthusiasm, which are the nature of our self, available 24/7. Nothing can put happiness into us from the outside. We always experience it within ourselves.
Once it is clear to us that our peace and happiness is not dependent on objective circumstances, a great ocean of freedom opens up in us. We feel that we touch all experience intimately but no experience touches us, in a sense of harming or hurting us. We are totally open to all experience, but cannot be harmed or hurt by any.
Withdraw your projection, your demand for happiness, from the object, circumstance or person. Liberate them from the demand to make you happy. Take responsibility for your own happiness.
This independence of our own being may feel neutral to begin with. Or it may just be felt as a background of peace, but soon this peace will grow into happiness. The happiness that is innate in our being, or the happiness that is our being.
Saying “yes” absolutely doesn’t mean that we should condone behavior in a partner, a friend, or anyone, that does not come from love or understanding. It is legitimate to address such behavior. We just don’t allow our happiness to be a hostage to anyone or anything. Our innate happiness is prior to experience, and never the result of experience. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to say “no” to something, make sure that the “no” comes from love, justice, and intelligence. Make sure it doesn’t arise on behalf of a person who feels hurt, disrespected or diminished.
Be very sensitive to any feeling of boredom, irritation or restlessness. These are much subtler forms of resistance to the current experience. They may not be a big issue, but nevertheless they are a subtle rejection of the current experience.
What about “the search for enlightenment”? Whatever we are searching for is obviously not present now. It’s the search for an experience that will happen in the future. And when we search for an experience that will begin in the future, that experience will by definition end. So, the search for enlightenment is the search for misery. We are searching for a state, and even if we get that state, it will sooner or later leave us, leaving us more miserable then we were before. True enlightenment is not the extraordinary revelation, but the simple, ordinary revelation of the nature of our self. Its nature of peace and unconditioned joy. A joy that doesn’t depend on an object, relationship, teacher or tradition. It’s independent, unconditioned. It’s the nature of ourselves. It cannot be found because it cannot be lost.
The patch of blue sky is not an object that appears in the clouds from time to time. The clouds appear against the background of the blue sky from time to time. Happiness is not a feeling that appears in experience from time to time. It is the background against which all experiences appear from time to time. It is the nature of the background. It is the nature of our being.