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Happiness — Then and Now!

 

By Mati Gilbert

Happiness is pleasure, as the thesaurus says.  It’s a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment, something most people want more of.  But that was never much of a motivator for me.  For decades I got happy by getting feedback from external sources:  by accomplishing things, plus how my family and friends treated me, as well as how I presented myself to the world and its response to me.

My whole life used to be about using outside sources to make me happy, multiple outer sources that rarely lined up together.  Today, I know different.  Through the practice of yoga, I have found happiness on the inside.

Swami Nirmalananda, explains this process is revealed in yoga’s ancient texts:

In the moment your mind becomes still, you abide your own Divine Essence.

Yogas-chitti-nirodhah — Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1.3

You have certainly found the Absolute Reality of your own Divinity in everyday events, here and there along the way.  Think about when you had to have – and I mean really had to have – that piece of chocolate.  You have an experience your Divine Essence just after you bite into that chocolate, in the first moment of tasting it.  You can even remember the moment, the second that you actually taste the bite you’ve taken.  This is the experience of the Self.

Every time your mind stops, you have an experience of your own Divine Essence.  This is the inner happiness that yoga promises.   You experience “svaroopa,” as Patanjali names it, which is the bliss of your own Beingness.  This is technically “meditation-in-action.”

Sitting to meditate is actually an easier and better way to access your Self.  Yoga has tools for your mind, tools that quiet your mind, so your meditation takes you beyond your mind, where your own Self is already waiting for you.

You do so many things to keep your mind active: socializing, over-indulging and other relentless activities.  You keep doing things in order to keep your mind from being still.  Maybe stillness is a little scary.  Yet, stillness allows you to experience your Divinity, who you actually are, deep down inside yourself.  Once you attain the goal of abiding in your own essence, you take yourself with you wherever you go.  What is scary about that?

Learn how to meditate.  You need a teacher who can propel you past your mind, to experience your own Self.  Then you can easily meditate daily, and you will notice many differences in your life.  Your daily life is still there.  Your activities may not change, but how you react to them will be so different. Once you find your Self, you will no longer depend on outside sources to make you happy.  You will abide in an inner fullness that is even better than mere happiness.

I no longer depend on the approval of others or outside sources to make me happy.  While I experience happiness during meditation, it keeps me on an even keel during all my day-to-day activities.  I feel so much more grounded each day knowing that I am Divine.  Mantra and meditation provided me this security and peace of mind.  Wouldn’t you like to feel this way all the time? Mantra and mediation will give you your own Self.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.

Divine Emotions

By Mangala Allen

Riding the emotional rollercoaster can be a thrilling ride as well as a dedicated lifestyle. It is also a ride that keeps you from experiencing the greatest joy you have ever known.  It blocks your ability to live in the ever-arising bliss of your own Beingness in every moment of your life.

Your emotions are merely physical sensations, triggered by the thoughts that pass through your mind. When you think about something, your body reacts the same as if it is really happening. Your thoughts and emotions are inseparable.

This morning I woke from a dream, startled and confused. I was in a panic trying to figure out how the incidents in my dream could have happened. It was playing out in my head as if it were real. Physically, my experience was as though it all had really happened.

Your experience of your life is not based in circumstances. It is based in your thoughts about them. If you approve of how your life is going, you feel happy. If you don’t, you are not. And there is a large range of emotions to experience in between.

Your emotional condition is created by your thoughts. One researcher estimates that the average person thinks 65,000 thoughts a day. How many are positive and uplifting, and how many are negative, assuming the worst? Unfortunately, many of these thoughts are repetitive; you keep living through them over again and again.

The only way to get off the rollercoaster is to find a deeper dimension of your own being.  This changes your reactions to circumstances, as Swami Nirmalananda describes:

Like a three-year old who cries when their block tower falls, you crumble in the face of life’s difficulties.  But when the three-year old grows up, she or he takes the falling of the block tower in stride.  When you grow into your Self, the experiencing of your own Divinity, you’ll take life’s events in stride, too.

Yoga’s goal is for you to experience your own Self.  Most people focus on the external benefits of health, beauty, youth and vitality.  As wonderful as these are, there is more available to you.  To find the Self, the sages knew that you need to quiet your mind. Fortunately, every yoga practice is actually for your mind.

When I awoke from my dream, startled, confused and in a panic, my physical experience was as if it all really happened. Mentally I knew it hadn’t. I reminded myself of this and stopped the thought train from rushing on. Calmness ensued. I have learned a lot about my mind from my yoga studies. My yoga practices hone me for living a life focused on stillness and the opening it provides.  Yet yoga promises more:

“As the mind is stilled, the emotions are also stilled. Through the practices… the mind can be freed from the forces (that drive it), and it is possible to live in purity and light all the time. You will still have feelings, but they will be purified and positive; they will be divine emotions.”
– Swami Muktananda

Yoga’s practices quiet your mind. When your mind becomes still, you open to the bliss that is you; you experience your own Self. Each experience of Self enables you to be more present in your life. You become calm and steady on the inside. You experience your life from an inner fullness that affects how you react to your circumstances. See the incredible simplicity. Use yoga to still your mind and the magic will occur.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo namah