Imagine life as a continuous stream of moments, where you feel joy in your every movement and in stillness.
This life stream feels so natural that it is indistinguishable from you.
You move, and you feel the true nature of your movement as a gesture of relationship. Your life is timeless.
You live one long day, and then you move on, always rooted in happiness – regadless of what situations life presents.
It is easy to dismiss this possibility for living. We are taught that happiness is about what we have and how comfortable our lives appear. Power, money, people who say they love us, and a legacy become our goals so that we can someday be happy. So, if life does not present us with the right circumstances, we buckle in misery. Our lives are not sofragile, and our ability to be happy is not conditioned by how much we have achieved, or how much pain we have avoided.
It is all too easy to fall into a pattern of living where we drag ourselves forward, focusing on discomfort, fear, frustration, and setbacks. This kind of relationship to life is disconnect. Awareness is trapped inthe palace of the mind, and we watch our lives from a distance. Every situation and feeling is dissected and critiqued, and we react to every judgement.
There is an alternative possibility to living. In this possibility, you are rooted in happiness first – as happiness itself. And this state is not disturbed by any life event.
You are naturally drawn to explore and feel as fully as you can. Then, life’s ups and downs don’t color perception.
You see clearly the dynamics of life’s situations, and you work with these to the best of your ability. Although you are innocent, you are not naive. As taught by many masters, such a life is our natural state. This state is real and can become permanent.
The process of meditation restores us to our natural state. While many talk about meditation as a relaxation technique, this was not its original intent. Instead, meditation with an enlightened teacher was a way to strip away all that was false until our natural state of happiness was all that remained.
Many people talk about spiritual practice as a way to restore health, acquire wealth, and attract people who will love us. However, anything we can acquire – including our lives – is temporary and fragile. That is just reality.
Many people talk about love and service as the basis of life. Thus, spiritual practice can become about acting more loving and offering time and money to others. However, even this approach can result in a feeling “holier than thou,” or feeling entitled to receive only the “good things in life.”
For many, practicing meditation and cleaning up imbalanced relationships is beyond difficult and even unimaginable – especially if this process takes years. Instead of feeling good and relaxed during practice, you are agitated as illusions burn away. Instead of feeling satisfaction in money, food, and sex, you feel confused about what is really important.
So, why bother? Why engage in practice if it does not provide instant gratification of feeling like you have it all? The simple answer is “You don’t need to – just live your life as you want.” Being on a path to transformation does not make one any better than anyone else.
However, you may feel like you have no choice but to be in the world without being of the world. At some point, nothing in life satisfies, and you begins to yearn for freedom.
With the help of a teacher, you eventually feel freedom from life’s changes – you remain steady amidst any and all storms of life. Service becomes a natural disposition of the heart. Love deepens beyond attachment, and you are more interested in loving than in getting someone else to love you.
You no longer feel lonely or bored. You love yourself enough to take good care of yourself and surround yourself with people who are balanced and care about you.
You use your mind as a tool and are no longer a slave to endless, circular thoughts. You have a clear picture about what is dysfunctional and appropriately stand up for truth without self-righteousness. You feel everything, but emotions pass through you and do not stick to you. And all of this – your natural state.
Many of us have forgotten that we are not our pain, discomfort, frustration, or reaction. We are also not our thoughts and judgements. We are not our imbalances or beliefs. None of these things need to define us for us to feel real. If we take away our reactions to life and our drive to do, what is left is relationship without any filters or blinders.
From the perspective of happiness, even the simplest actions are awe-inspiring. Every gesture we make expresses our connection to life and to our existence. One simple gesture, sparked by awareness, can ignite a chain reaction of connections, and can only deepen. Every moment has the potential to be expansive.
Ultimately, living is a relationship to everything of which we are conscious. You feel what inspires you, and then you move. You simply allow the next movement, and the next, and lose all interest in judging yourself because you are relating and naturally moving toward emerging needs.
With every gesture, you forge a stronger bond to your simple committment to express. And that really can be everything because it is always new.