I’m resting my back against the headboard of my bed. Usually, the sun shines directly on my headboard, and I have to take cover against the wall between my two windows. I get up later than five thirty on most days, so this is fun to notice.
But the sun is rising, and I’ll probably have to switch mid-way through this writing.
Today I want to talk about happiness, and sorrow. Because I’ve felt happy these past few days, and today my mind took a slight dip.
Also, I’m switching to the nook between my windows now.
There’s a funny thing about being happy, I’ve noticed. This is sometimes how it happens. I’ll read a book on spiritual work because I’m going through a difficult part of life. A book or something will eventually click with me, and I’ll think, Ah, I understand.
And usually it’ll be something about practicing non-attachment, or realizing the true reality of things. For me recently, it was reading The Upanishads, and having every principal teaching explain the concept of the Self being separate from the duality of the inner and outer self.
The external self is the senses. The feeling, seeing, touching, tasting of every day life.
The internal self is how you feel about these things, whether they make you happy or sad, or whether you’re loving life or feeling jealousy.
The true Self, explained far better in The Upanishads, goes beyond this duality of inner and outer to a place of a non-separateness. Joy, light, and unity. This is the truth of the universe and it’s only because we’re tricked by our mind and body that everything appears as separateness to us.
And that’s what’s had me happy for the past week.
And then I realized that a recent plan I had was never going to work.
I was going to buy a fake ID so I could party at my girlfriend’s university with her, and then I was brought to reality this morning. She has a roommate who I can’t expect to leave every weekend.
She has her own group of friends she wants to hang out with, and it’d probably be weird at best.
I have friends I want to see on weekends at other places.
And I lied to myself – I told myself, and her, I wanted a fake because not only could I party with her which was a bonus, but I’d be using it at other universities and in my hometown.
And that’s true – I would use it at other places than when I’m with her. But it’s also a lie. Because I don’t have any desire to party at my local bars. And all my friends up at other universities, I could use a fake, and probably would, but most of them don’t have, nor want fakes, and we all get by fine without them.
So it’s mostly to party with her.
And a page from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet keeps coming back to me.
I’m not sad, or anything of the sort now that I think about it and write this. But I’m not in a joyous state. It’s accepting.
Everyone knows money, objects, and people won’t make you happy. Everyone knows this, has been told this. And it makes sense. Happiness can only come from within.
So, why do we constantly search outside of ourselves? I hear that phrase, happiness only comes from within and go, Yeah, of course man, that makes complete sense.
And it does make sense.
And then I keep buying things that make me happy for a moment.
And you hear about these spiritual teachers who renounce their possessions and desires, and meditate daily. And you think of these people. They’re the most peaceful, happy souls on the planet. And so few people choose that path.
I know why I don’t choose that path every day. I hear possessions won’t make me happy, fulfilling my desires won’t make me happy, but… I also like partying. I like different clothes, and I like buying things.
Everyone does. That’s why so few go that way.
But you have to know that when you choose happiness over joy, you also choose sorrow.
As Kahlil Gibran said, by choosing happiness it is the very space that happiness exists in that is then filled with sorrow.
By choosing joy, that idea of identification with your deepest Self and non-attachment to your inner or outer world, you achieve happiness irrespective of circumstance.
But you don’t have to get weighed down by these concepts if you don’t want. You can do something very actionable right now.
Heed the words of the Dalai Lama, and live them.
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.