Usually when you ask people what they want out of life, they’re going to tell you they want to be happy.
Who doesn’t want to be happy?
It’s a desirable state of being—everything comes with ease, you do things with passion and intention, people around you gravitate towards your light.
Then, when happiness escapes us, as it inevitably does, we are distraught because we so desperately want to cling on to that easy state of being.
Yogis have great success in practicing non-attachment. When you first hear of the concept it’s easy to think,
“Gosh, that’s awfully nihilistic and drab.”
But bear with me—it’s an absolute gem. When someone is sad or going through hardship and tribulation, a friend may comfort her by explaining to her that it is temporary. That whatever anxieties, pain or sadness she feels are fleeting and will soon be replaced by another emotion.
Well, why shouldn’t the same occur when one is happy?
Happiness, as an objective, sets us up for disappointment. Like the less pleasant emotions, it too is fleeting.
And as we’ve all experienced—life is suffering. It simply is.
Why do we aim for pleasure and hedonism? Because sometimes, life is just plain hard. Our relationships are hard; our own self destruction is hard; our school is hard; our job is hard; the world is hard. It’s hard!
So, why do we try to escape this truth and cling to happiness? Because happiness is easy.
Now, this is where you conclude that I’m pretty well Nietzche in a post-modern female body with a laptop and a yoga blog. This is also where I share some magic with you.
In meditation we are often asked to think of thoughts and emotions as clouds.
It’s easier to imagine with the unpleasant emotions. The unpleasant cloud approaches blocking out the light but like the nature of gaseous water, it will eventually blow over or dissipate. And then bam— the light is back again.
Imagine the same with pleasant emotions such as happiness. They too come, perhaps bearing spring showers and watering our internal vitality. But guess what—it’s a cloud too. It too will dissipate. And, it too blocks the light.
So, what is the light? Our soul? Our innate goodness and pure spirit?
The light is the light.
If you practice a religion, it is your god. If you are one who believes in the power of the universe, it is energy. If science and nature are your religion, it is the unifying forces that connect all of the natural world.
That is our light. Our pure being.
It may take on a different name or meaning to each of us individually but it all has the same purpose—to guide, to unify, to connect. When the sky is clear and no clouds pass by, we are free of emotion, pleasant or unpleasant, and we are simply left to reflect on this pure being.
How scary is that?
I was terrified of my pure being. I didn’t understand my spirituality and sometimes, still don’t think I fully do. But I understand that something meaningful lies beyond my emotions.
What do we do when happiness alludes us? Or when it casually floats by?
We don’t cling. We instead acknowledge it and truly enjoy it in the moment. Really feel what it’s like to be happy.
Say, “I’m happy!” and we get all giddy and dance and make fools of ourselves.
And, while we’re soaking it in say, “This too shall pass.”
Know that it will not necessarily be replaced with sadness or anger or anxiety but that when it passes, we may again be able experience the clear skies of our inner beings.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: Courtesy of Author