Elegant Simplicity

May 7, 2020
In elegant simplicity lies the beauty of living: attention, focused, intimately aware of the present moment and its happenings.  Conscious motion, self-reflection, deep contemplation, mindfulness, the ever-present witnessing of one’s own existence.
Permanence within impermanence, the fleeting crossing-the-screen of what is.  A diamond in the rough, surrounded by coal.  Magic.  Music.  Romance.

That upon which attention is focused becomes the focus of attention.  The more focused the attention, the greater the quality of the experience.  The more quality, the more awareness.  The more awareness, the more elegance.  The more awareness, the more simplicity.

Sublime life energy turns into experience.    Richness follows, then poverty, then richness again.  The corpse becomes living, and then dies again, only to revive and live.  All focused, elegant, simple, happening.

A dancer doing a pirouette.  A skater lifting another on ice.  Boxers dodging, weaving.  A director’s eye for the light.  The teacher honing his craft.  A doctor checking for disease.  Fishermen, fishing.  Elegance.  Simplicity.  Focus.  Awareness.

Waiting for the buck to clear the brush.  Breathing lover’s tender breath.  Coaxing off a rusted bolt.  Crying in the hopeless night.  Intensity.  Focus.  Simplicity.  Totality.

In timeless moments of depth and brevity, self is lost in experiencing the moment.  Torture.  Pain.  Heartbreak. Terror.  Amazement.  Astonishment.  Revelation.  Complete and simple.  Full.  Elegant and total.

Wind bristling leaves.  Waves lapping rocks.  Painters painting paintings.  Sacred geometry.  Elegance.  Simplicity.

The stuff of life: total moments, complete experiences, full happenings, perfect executions.  Elegant simplicity.

Written on May 6, 2013 and freshly formatted on May 6, 2020.


A Note from the Bridge over the Chasm Between Darkness and Light

May 5, 2020

“Ignorance is bliss.”

–“They”

Ignorance is not bliss. He knew that. And awareness is not suffering, as the old saying seems to imply. And yet both can be seen as either, through the magick of language. Ignorance can seem to be bliss, and awareness can seem to be suffering…for awhile.

He thought thoughts such as these from time to time–more frequently than most other things, anyway. He was not ignorant, but of course he had been, as most everyone is at one time or another. Though his ignorance had lessened in the light of understanding of himself and The Way The World Works, his awareness of his ignorance had grown, and so his ignorance seemed greater than it had been before.

The tide of ignorance hadn’t crept farther in; the inner lighthouse had simply revealed more of it. There’s always a trade-off, always a balance to be struck by human nature, by the flow of Life in a human being, by the forces of Nature within and without, and by the oft-shifting currents of the Divine Urge that flow just beneath the visible All and are detectable to the sensitive.

Give and take. Give ignorance and take awareness. Give suffering and take bliss. Or vice versa.

There is, of course, a paradox among it all, as there tends to be when life is viewed from more than merely a first-person point of view. Things seem one way from one angle and another way from another angle. One angle is not right and the other wrong, at least not most of the time. When divergences appear, they reveal the existence–somewhere above or beyond or in between–of a convergence, a unity, of which the seemingly opposing points of view both partake.

A truth to be uncovered, in other words, and then understood: a truth severed in half and taken hostage by two opposing human camps.

So there he was, aware of his condition–trapped between awareness and ignorance, far enough from ignorance to be untouched by some of its more common sufferings, and yet still deep enough in suffering himself to be unaware of certain things of whose existence he did not yet know, but which called softly to him in quiet moments.

In other words, he was a member of two worlds: the free and the slave, the wise and the foolish, the light and the dark. To tell the truth, he enjoyed the fruits of both–and at all times was aware of which side of the line he was dancing on.

He was an apparent contradiction, to many on both sides of the fence.

(He did not believe in the fence.)

In his limited awareness, he saw the suffering that his actions even now still caused from time to time. Even so, he was able to shift his perspective to a much broader view and see the eventual bliss that his actions would bring–not to himself, but to the All.

Over and over again came the lesson, spoken at certain times from somewhere deep within:

“Trust.”

In some ways, this one word was the key to all understanding. It hinted at the interconnectedness of the All, including his apparently separate personality. It was a clue to the mystery of the importance of individual human experience to the All. It was a word that echoed, although sometimes twisted beyond understanding, in spiritual messages throughout history.

“Trust.”

So he trusted. Time and time again he failed, but he sought with straining ear to hear the lesson gained each time he failed. He mistrusted. He un-trusted. He resisted. He battled for days. He fought passionately–to see what he could not see. Eventually, the vision always became clear.

There is much that happens on the surface of things that doesn’t reveal right away the great improvements being made underneath. That’s where trust comes in.

What’s underneath is infinitely more complex, rich, and complicated than what we see from day to day. “There,” moments of time are not measured in days or weeks but in years, centuries, and eons. A moment of pain and suffering can bring years of bliss and freedom. A slight happenstance can reverberate for centuries in humanly unpredictable ways.

In our hubris, we “important” humans desire to control, believing that we know and understand enough to decide the fate of the world around us. We exert ourselves in our effort to make things happen. We calculate the future and decide our actions based on that mental blueprint. All the while, life is happening as life happens, and we are either its pawns, its victims, or its messengers.

What he wanted was simple: greater good for the All and a clear and peaceful mind to understand and enjoy life. He didn’t know why the Universe had spawned him for the purpose he was living, except that he was the best candidate for the job. Maybe the others were sleeping in or dancing around a fire.

After hearing the call, he had responded in his own broken way–and then resisted every step of the way, like a dumb puppy who ends up with shit on his nose over and over again. He had learned. He had learned to listen. To trust. To move with courage and confidence when he heard the call from within. It had not been easy.

And still he fucked it up sometimes.

Not any time had it been easy to look at the face of experience, listen to the voice inside, and believe what he knew instead of what he saw with his eyes. Every succeeding chance to exercise trust brought with it a greater apparent reason to resist and control with his earthy self. Even so, he could not avoid the lessons (and opportunities to learn them) that came.

Once the light is on, it stays on.

He was being used, he was aware, as a surgical tool for the hand of the All. Why? Because he had proved himself to be worthy of the Voice. He had risked, and lost, and learned, and been restored because of his willingness to obey. He was willing to be (that is, to look like) a fool–for “God.” He was willing to give up, to lose, to trade, to give away, to shed, or to appear evil or wrong or misguided or stupid.

And at times he did, or was, any or all of these–but mostly he was not. He knew he was not. And yet sometimes he felt that he was these things after all.

He was not perfect, but at least he could see. At least he could see well enough to know that things are not always–not ever–as they seem to human eyes. In that, he could trust and feel bliss.

And suffer, a little bit.

He knew he wouldn’t cross the bridge while in this life. (He did believe in the bridge.) He would remain forever on it, one foot in each world, bridging some gap that no one else had claimed.

And he knew that this certainty would one day change. Maybe even while in this life. But, for now, it was right, whether he liked it or not.

“Trust.”

Written on May 4, 2010 and freshly formatted on May 5, 2020.


Why We Contain the Universe

July 17, 2017

The deeper we go within, into the depths of our own Consciousness and Psyche, the more we withdraw our attention from the outside world.  The farther within that we dig, the less influence the outside world has on us.

This can be, and I think usually is, a sign of insight and depth of vision.

As insight deepens, consciousness “shrinks”: its focus is more toward the center of one’s being, and the outer “edges” of awareness tend to shrink (or expand) with the range of focus of one’s attention.

It’s not easy to find the center at first.  It’s underneath “stuff”: the burden of unresolved past painful experience and the fuzziness of things we “learned” that aren’t really true.

The burden is called “negativity.”

The fuzziness is called “wrong beliefs.”

Together, negativity and wrong beliefs are called the “ego” or the “false self.”

Negativity and wrong beliefs are also the substance of which attachments are made.

Ego and attachments cause consciousness to be focused on the “surface” of awareness, where Soul and Matter meet to form “flesh”–that is, the body and its needs, desires, and sensations.

Someone deeply asleep in the darkness of ego is deeply identified with the body.

The bodily identity is called the “(surface) personality.”  It consists of bodily characteristics, innate personal qualities, urges, and a name and mailing address.  It also has a social group, usually a family.

The personality is temporary and constantly changing in accordance with experience.

Experience happens on the outside, in the collective dream-reality of society and sensation.  Experience registers on the inside, at the center of one’s consciousness.

The center goes all the way “in” (or “up”), to a more collective or shared version of consciousness.  The collective or shared consciousness at the center of (one’s personal) consciousness is cause, and the outer world of experience is effect.

A “point of consciousness” is a self-aware, aware, or semi-aware being (or object).  A human or dolphin is self-aware.  A dog or amoeba is aware.  An enzyme or atom is semi-aware.

All points of consciousness are “connected to” this central-consciousness database through their own centers of consciousness.  All points of consciousness are points of exchange of information between the inner center of consciousness and the outer world of experience.

What is exchanged is–and must be–information from other points of consciousness, including thoughts and sensations.

This means that when I (consciousness) look out my eyes into another set of eyes, consciousness is seeing itself–from both sides of the interaction.

In every interaction, something is shared.  This “something” is recorded in the centers of consciousness that are present in the interaction.

All the information collected and stored in the ultimate center of every center of consciousness equals the sum total of everything that has ever been experienced in the history of existence.

As experience becomes more complex, there are more unique situations and opportunities for interaction to happen and be “recorded” in the central center of consciousness.  This is one purpose of Existence: to provide a vast array of different kinds of experience.

We can accurately say that the central center of consciousness “knows all.”  A lot of people call this central center of consciousness “God.”

Since it is causative to everything that happens, has ever happened, or ever will happen, it is.  Since it knows all, it is.  Since it is everywhere all at once, it is.  Since it “can do anything” (because it DOES everything), it is.

Right there in the center.  Small as a mustard seed, small as a grain of sand.  Like a tiny candle flame that ever (not “never”) changes but is static.

This tiny center within us and everything else is enormously huge.  After all, it caused and causes everything.

It is everywhere, in everything, unable to be scraped off or squeezed out of anything.

Unable to be sliced in half.

It is huger and grander than the universe we can see or know.  It contains the universe.  The universe exists within it, surrounded and penetrated by it.

It it, we live and move and have our being.  Literally!

And it’s all there, sitting quietly and patiently, being unaffected, always, free for the taking, hidden but accessible.  Inside you.

God. In you.

THIS is why there’s a Golden Rule.  Jesus understood.  Do unto others…because they ARE you.

Namasté.

(“The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.”)

Written on July 17, 2010, and freshly edited on July 17, 2017


My Life, in a Nutshell

February 6, 2012

My Life, in a Nutshell

I am conscious, creative Energy, currently focused (limited) in this physical environment in order to experience, in this unique way, the effects of my inner mind values; to learn whatever lessons I can from these experiences; to decide(based on my experiences) what kinds of experiences I prefer; and, through my preferences, to increasingly experience life in accordance with my nature.

I am focused here by my own choice! Everyone else is, too—from humans to animals to vegetables to minerals to atoms to particles and waves. We are all connected on the most basic level, experiencing existence together consensually.

All of us human beings experience life in accordance with our understanding of our own inner makeup and are able to change that makeup in order to “improve” our experiences, i.e. to have experiences in accordance with our inner being as it changes in response to our experiences.

Is there a goal to this life, as described in this way? Yes—to fulfill desire. In order to do that, we must—I must—decide what is desired.

What do I desire?

I want to live a life of whimsical genius. I want to endure and overcome challenges to my beliefs, abilities, perceptions, and security. I want to rise above difficult circumstances, unscathed. I want to learn and understand that which matters most—to me. I want Love in all directions and companionship when I desire it. I want a balance that includes solitude.

I want to immerse myself in life fully, sucking the juice out of its fruit. I want health, strength, and endurance. I want peace. I want to be free from negativity. I want to be powerful. I want to create and express new ideas to others in speech and writing. I want wisdom. I want great sex, frequently.

I want to use all my talents, skills, and abilities to the fullest, leaving this place with a full belly of Life!

(written in 2009)


Five Virtues and Feeling Fully

December 30, 2011

Our emotions indicate our alignment with our inner being.  When we feel good, we’re thinking or doing something right (we’re in alignment).  When we feel bad, we’re thinking or doing something wrong (we’re out of alignment).

Is this absolute?  Is happy always good, is angry always worse, and is sad always even worse? Is not our awareness of our emotional state, and our will to act in accordance with our understanding of it, more important than the simple pleasure-or-pain reaction of the flesh to inner alignment, which emotion is?

Sometimes negative emotion is appropriate to a situation, and anger or grief is the correct response, in the moment—but not forever. It’s appropriate, then, to feel emotion completely and express it to its completion, at which time the emotional state automatically returns to its “normal,” default positive state.

That is how to feel good, and how to be in alignment with one’s inner being:express the negative emotions as the experiences that conjure them are encountered.

We are a storehouse of past experience, and we continually encounter present experiences that “activate” parts of our being that carry the impression of those past experiences. Much of our “job” here—much of our purpose as currently-living human beings—is to discharge this burden of negative imprints so that we don’t pass them on to others through the process of harm.

Harm and its negative effects are like a cancer that has infected the human species, and which it is our purpose to find and eradicate within ourselves. This takes much strengthawarenesscourage, insight, and honesty to accomplish. The better we live these five “virtues,” the more we come into alignment with Who We Really Are, and the more we are (and do) “good” in the world:

Strength is the willingness and ability to endure unpleasantness.

Awareness is breadth and depth of knowledge, consciousness, and understanding.

Courage is the willingness and ability to endure fear.

Insight is inner awareness.

Honesty is the willingness to accept reality, rather than overlooking, ignoring, or lying about it.

It seems that the best way to feel better is to feel what you are feeling, fully; to accept that you feel that way; to understand that it’s okay to feel it in this moment; and to express (and thereby release) the negative emotions that present experience arouses from the inner impressions of past experience.

And what could feel better than feeling how you really feel, instead of covering it up?

(written in 2009)


Reflections on a Year of Suffering

December 29, 2011

A year ago my marriage crumbled very suddenly and I started a year (so far) of asking why.

It’s taken me a year to realize that the Universe has given me exactly what I was asking for. I already had a good marriage, a wife who loved me, a strong relationship with my kids, a business I enjoyed, and a fresh spirituality that connected me in an intimate way with the Mind of the Universe.

Having all these things, and being satisfied, I asked for understanding. I asked for wisdom. I asked for growth. Those things came through trials, suffering, and reaching inward to find the inner strength to overcome my outer circumstances.

The Universe, in Its infinite Love for me, had granted my wish. It’s like a comic tragedy:  we almost never seem to understand the price we must pay for the valuable things we seek. There is always a trade; there is always a balance—or so it seems to me.

I asked and the Universe gave. Just like the Master promised. If I had known the price of my wish, I would not have wanted it. But I am a function of the Universe myself, and that Guide always knows best. Always. How do you suppose the desire for wisdom appeared in me in the first place?

My heart is better now. It has ached, broken, healed, and expanded. Now it radiates more love than before, without trying to pick flowers instead of smell them, so to speak. Now it encompasses more, enabling me to see more love and goodness in the world, people, creatures, and circumstances around me. My new heart allows me to enjoy without taking, to preserve life and freedom instead of trying to keep it for myself.

Frankly, that lesson is worth a very great price, and I am thankful that the Universe has blessed me with the measure of strength that I needed so I could learn the lessons I wanted so much to be taught.

In this moment, I don’t believe that being “happy” at all costs is the most important thing in each moment. I believe that the pains of life are a necessary part of learning to create our own happiness, despite circumstances.

Acceptance of all circumstances seems to be a key to happiness.

Acceptance of circumstances means harmonizing with the Universe.

The key to harmony is to not see self as separate from the Universe.

The answer is self-awareness: attention to the inner world.

I love my life, and I love the circumstances and turns of events and relationships and personal connections and reflections and interactions that occur and show me that this web of fabric of life and existence is a unified, united, conscious Whole.

Why do I doubt? Why do I turn away from Truth, even after It proves Itself to me, repeatedly, in my experience? I have a powerful and old, deeply-ingrained wrong idea about the current situation that I haven’t yet located. I’m very close, though!

The solution seems to be to face my fears and discomforts by placing them directly in my Path and enduring them with focused attention. I feel so powerful!

The powerful “me” is steadily growing, strengthening, and becoming the dominant part of my being. I like that!

(written in 2009)


Synthesis: Unity, Harm, and Weakness

December 27, 2011

I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you. 

—Genghis Khan

It ain’t an easy thing to do, but here I am doing it. I’m going to synthesize unity and harm.

To synthesize means “to bring together into harmony or agreement; to reconcile” (my definition).

I accepted long ago the idea that we are all One on some level, underneath what we see with our eyes. To me, that Oneness isn’t in the realm of belief. It’s simply a part of my daily operating system, like the cursor that blinks right here. No, here. No—ack! It keeps moving.

This is why Jesus and others said: “Treat everyone like you want to be treated”—because what you do to him or her or me, you do to yourself.

It seems dumb for one part of me to harm or destroy another part of me, on the face of it. What good is war, is child abuse, is rape, is brutality, is violence? What good is making someone feel so shitty when they’re three that they don’t get over it until they’re 35? If ever?

If I’m doing that to me, multiplied by a billion people…that doesn’t make any sense!

Now comes the overcoming power of Spirit, waltzing onto the stage. Spirit lives through every being harmed and every being who harms—Spirit being the unity we were talking about earlier. Spirit is the Oneness of Life. The good and the bad.

And the ugly? Yep. And the beautiful. So are the Universe and Mother Earth. All represent the Oneness of Life, on different levels of expression.

Spirit has had this grand scheme all along (Life, you know, is a game that Spirit plays with Itself) and it involves pain…and harm…and healing…and overcoming…and eradicating what we call “evil”…through the learning of lessons…which moves the whole thing toward perfection…a little at a time.

Harm is a built-in, self-correcting mechanism. It identifies weakness in the Organism of Life. Through the power of Spirit, which indwells each living being (redundant phrase), weakness is overcome and experienced no more.

Jesus said that “the flesh is weak.” This is true. Weakness does not come from Spirit (except in the sense that everything comes from Spirit—another paradox!). Weakness is that which prevents thriving in life. It is not softness, or gentleness, or peacefulness, or stillness. Weakness is wrongness of being. Weakness means trying to operate against the ebb and flow of the current of Life. Weakness is being out of harmony with Reality.

Weakness is stupidity, ignorance, dishonesty, fear, dependency, insanity—all of which are states of being, not actions. Weakness is not being who you really are, and you are a powerful being capable of self-creation in every aspect of life.

Weakness is being fooled by somebody else into believing lies. Weakness is misunderstanding, which produces actions that harm self and others. Weakness is persistent dis-harmony with Life. It is always potentially destructive, to self or others, no matter how soft or innocent it appears to be.

Weakness is the ego or false self!

Harm, that Divine thunderbolt that attacks and weeds out weakness, identifies both perpetrator and victim as carriers of weakness. Then, Spirit takes them out.

Weakness can be timid or it can be violent. Submission is as great a sin as aggression. They operate on the same energy dynamic, which is why they resonate and attract each other. Evil resonates with evil, finds it, produces harm, and then becomes eradicated by the all-powerful (yes!) overcoming Spirit of Man, Woman, and Universe.

There you go. Harm and evil produce good things.

Synthesis.

(written in 2009)


Surrender and Destiny: The Will of God and the Flow of Life

December 23, 2011

D. Vader: “Luke, come to the Dark Side. It is your destiny!”

L. Skywalker: “You don’t know shit, Dad!”

We are all headed inexorably toward our destiny, like water returning to the sea.

Destiny does not mean living up to our potential. We all have untapped potential that we never uncover and use to its fullest possibility; if our destiny depended on doing so, none of us would fulfill it.

Destiny means living out the lives that, from our limited perspective, Life seems to have “planned” for us.

Here are a few possible destinies:

  • raising a future President of the United States
  • leading a revolution
  • dying of alcoholism at a young age
  • writing a series of books about young wizards
  • running over your wife’s cat with a lawnmower
  • making national news because you died in a funny way
  • watching 273 NASCAR races on TV and dying of diabetes
  • winning the Heisman trophy
  • accidentally blinding your child in a fishing accident
  • getting married (and divorced) eight times

In other words, your destiny is whatever will happen in your lifetime. You just don’t know what it is yet!

Whatever we do, whatever we think, however we plan and execute our lives, all of us fulfill our destinies every day, in every moment. At the same time, to a large extent, we choose our own destinies. This is yet another beautiful paradox of Life.

We can kick and fight and scream against the flow of events and experiences in our lives—and if that’s what happens, it is our destiny. On the other hand, we can learn to harmonize ourselves—meaning, primarily, our thoughts—with the flow of Life, accepting and learning from events and experiences instead of fighting them.

If this is the path we choose to take, you guessed it! This, too, is our destiny.

The path of acceptance and learning is the path that leads to peace, enjoyment, and what we call “happiness.” It is the path of surrendering our limited ego-desires to the will of what many people call “God.” The will of “God” is the flow of Life. To this flow we must surrender ourselves. When we do, the Universe starts to harmonize Itself with us. Weird.

Remember, though: we’re all part of the Universe!

Paradoxically (of course!), this path of surrender does not mean that we should resign ourselves to whatever comes our way. If a lion is about to devour you, you do not have to become his next meal! Surrender means learning to understand the way the world works, and what our place is with regard to every thing-else that exists, so that we think, feel, and act rightly—without regret.

Surrender is a process, not an event. It means becoming wise and rising above the things that happen to us, one at a time. This wisdom comes as we realize the nature of Nature, Life, and the Universe.  It comes when we see that we truly are here for a reason, that there is purpose to our individual existence, and that our eventual happiness (perhaps not until beyond this present lifetime) is certain.

This understanding brings us happiness NOW.

It also allows us to let go of our attachments to people, experiences, ideas, and so on (in other words, the dead past or the imagined future), so that we can move on and begin to live better, happier lives.

We are animated by Spirit Itself, to which we are continually nudged from within and drawn from without, by way of the very Universe that so often seems so cruel and unfair. With this understanding, we can relax and let our destiny unfold. As a wild pig once said, Hakuna matata!

(written in 2009)


Relief Through Changed Circumstances

December 21, 2011

At the time of this writing, in January 2009, I had been living in the home my now-ex-wife and I shared.  She had moved out—to live an hour away—two months before.  Just before writing this, I had decided to find my own living space.  —Ven

Recently, I’ve been able to get out of my previous mindset of focusing on things I could not control. I got introspective for a couple of days. I moved a lot of my stuff out of my house (where my wife still has her stuff, and where she is able to drop by whenever she pleases) and into my camper at my place of business on the river. I’ve been staying here most nights, in my own space.

This has been a great relief to me.

That change of physical circumstances was part of the mental process of change that hit full steam last weekend. Changing my living situation was essential because I recognized the importance of my surroundings and their effect on my mental and emotional state. I also saw that being at the house was affecting me negatively, and I wanted to separate myself from it.

Since I’ve been at the camper, I’ve been able to drop my fear of moving on from the situation and I’ve moved into a new and fresher way of being. I’ve mostly occupied myself with resting, re-centering, recharging, and examining my previous experiences to see the common thread in my life, in order to determine the general direction/flow of my interests, desires, and activities.

It feels like being in a cocoon.

The result of giving up on my analysis of the situation and my clinging to it was a mental freedom that has been very peaceful for me. In the meantime, as part of evaluating my past experience and identifying the general trends of my interests, I’ve picked up a new direction in which to focus my attention. I’m exploring that new way of seeing things, which is really only a synthesis of everything I’ve already figured out about life on my own.

This is all new to me, and at the same time it’s very comfortable and exciting because I feel like I’m aligning with the purpose of my inner being. It was my “next step” a long time ago, and I’ve only been sidetracked from it by life experiences that I didn’t know how to handle at the time.

I’ve been describing how I got “here.” So, what is “here”?

I’m harmonizing with the Divine Will (which is also my own will, from my innermost self) by understanding better what life is all about. I’m letting go of past experience and future expectation and enjoying the ride. I’m learning methods of understanding my own intentions and putting them into practice. In short, I’ve realized that my “happiness” means aligning myself with the flow of the Universe. I’m learning to do that, instead of trying to carve my own flow out of it. There doesn’t have to be a difference!

And I see incredible new possibilities and experiences coming into being because of this change.

(written in 2009)


Happiness?

December 20, 2011

A wise person asked me recently why I think we are here, as humans—alive, in this physical world. I was surprised that I had to think about my response. I was already so shaken by the conversation up to that point that I had to sift through mental “rubble” to find a response.

“To be happy” was the agreed-upon answer to that question. But life has me examining every particle and detail about my view of myself, relationships, and the world. “Happiness” and “why we’re here” are in a part of my self-concept that I have temporarily dismantled for cleaning and repair.

This is because, in my own experience, I’ve found it impossible to be happy all the time! If something is impossible, how can it be our reason for existence? But I’m willing to question anything. Maybe I have the wrong idea of what “happiness” is.

I’m certainly not “there” yet, wherever that is. (Intuition tells me it’s “here”!)

We all have our own perspectives, and none of us (or very, very few of us) see our inner and outer worlds with true clarity. It seems to me that when we can see with perfect clarity, then—and only then—can we say that we are truly happy.

Happiness is on a scale, though, like a ruler or a thermometer or anything else. All emotion is, as it were, on this scale, with happiness at or near the top.

I’m going to go out on a limb and define “happiness” as enjoyment of the present moment. In other words, in a happy moment we don’t drag our past into the present and we don’t preoccupy ourselves with an imagined future.

But, as I said, I don’t think it’s possible to be happy, by this definition, all the time.

Why?

We have all been harmed in life. Harm tends to cause negative emotion—particularly when we didn’t fully express the natural, normal, and healthy negative response to the harm when it happened. (Like when our parents made us stop crying when we were little.)

If we don’t express negative emotion, it remains within our being, where it lurks among the unconscious part of our mind that corresponds to the 95% of our brains that we don’t consciously use. This negative emotion then takes over the conscious 5% when activated—by either an inner or an outer stimulus that the mind/brain recognizes as similar to the conditions that produced the negative emotion the first time we felt it.

(The late spiritual giant OSHO invented “dynamic meditation” as a way for modern people to express this negative emotion because he recognized that traditional spiritual techniques won’t work if unexpressed negative emotion is in the way.)

We cannot be happy and feel negative emotion at the same time, according to the previous definition. Negative emotion is not “enjoyable,” in my experience. Releasing it sure is, though!

We also cannot entertain wrong thoughts and feel happy at the same time, except temporarily. An example of this temporary “happiness” would be the “happy” feeling some people get when their favorite football team makes a touchdown. These people do not feel “happy” when the other team makes a touchdown, according to my definition. In both cases, though, the person is in the present moment!

Maybe I don’t know what happiness is. Maybe happiness is just being in the present moment, whether it’s enjoyable or not—not trying to escape it to the remembered past or the imagined future, but just being fully present, here, now, no matter what! Maybe this is the “letting go” that frees us from our mental prison, like the one from which I’m writing right now.

“Man, what a great game!” I’ve heard this expression many times after someone has watched a football or baseball game with high drama, where there was much emotion, excitement, and even disappointment in the game. It can be a “great game” even if the favorite team loses.

Maybe I’m learning something here.


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