On the tail of the equinox, of the waxing crescent moon, of the passing of Ruth Ruth Bader Ginsburg, during the Days of Awe in the Jewish Calendar, on Amma’s birthday, the richness of life’s contractions and expansions strikes me.
Why do we fall rather than rise in love? How do we get happy?
Happiness is something the mamos and zagas advocate and insist on. Westerners are often shaken by this, as if it’s a ridiculous, naive and even unreasonable request. “How can I just get happy?” HOW?
Honestly, from an indigenous perspective the question is unanswerable anywhere outside the container of non-duality in which they live. Happiness is an innate truth, and an individual, emotional experience whose roots are not attached to a particular set of circumstances. It’s the letting go of wanting to figure out happiness that is the gateway to it. It’s our connection to the Great Teachers – Mother Earth, Father Sky and all the flora and fauna of the planet, it’s touching, feeling and greeting each day as a Day of Awe, and learning to listen with our hearts that imparts happiness.
– Still, there must be a way for westerners to talk about it, a way to come down to Earth, right?
I’ve just received the below, beautiful, poignant and grounding piece from Suzanne Miller.
“Indigenous elders from different communities around the world have been sharing stories with Westerners in recent years, and have frequently shared a common theme that is striking because of the monumental challenges they all face in their homelands, with the degradation of their lands, their culture, our planet: their absolute focus on being happy — their declaration that being happy is the condition of the healer. Why do most of us put so little effort on this practice? Why are we addicted to the unhappy, the negative?
It seems that the source of happiness is commonly misunderstood. We default to looking for it outside ourselves. We think of it as a thing, a place, a person, a level of income. But these elders teach that it is an inner condition of the heart, entering the empty space that is without judgment, without malice, without comparison, without duality. It is a state of openness, of presence, of receiving, of grace. It is a very practical state from which we can do much more than when we are unhappy, because it is energy-generating. Happiness is the ultimate vitamin.
Love is the helmet, love is the armor that makes the warrior’s heart strong, invincible as the warrior enters the battle. Life is the battle, with its polarities and desires tearing us in different directions like weather does as it gathers strength across the oceans, hurling toward land where we are walking around unwittingly, believing that the calm we’re in will last. A warrior’s heart of gold shines beneath the armor. This heart embraces life, delving into the deepest oceans, the deepest ravines, the deepest canyons, and soaring to the sun, its home, where it is forged.
Sadness is the swamp of the byways. It can mire the walker for years. The walker without purpose, with blighted hope, becomes caught in the quicksands of doubt and regret, looking back at the road, questioning if this was the right road. The rains come. We carry calamity, trauma, what is happening around us, through time, through our ancestry. It is up to us to cleanse it, to cleanse ourselves, to be strong in our determination to be happy.
Happiness begets happiness, and everyone wants to be happy. Happiness heals. It washes away the muck of doubt and pessimism. Such energies cannot stick to the happy heart. The happy heart sees the inherent goodness, the inherent beauty, the original design. The original design comes from Mother Earth, from Great Spirit, from God. Everything has its shadow. My happiness has its counterweight in unhappiness, the condition of duality. Being human is being in the state of duality. Spirit dances the duality dance. It weaves between these two states of being, with compassion, weaving the strands of wisdom that gives us, gradually, new cloths to wear. New, invisible armor. The clothing of understanding. We need this clothing to move comfortably and safely through this turbulent world where so many emotions are not processed.”
The Sufis call a sudden expanded state of awareness Al-Halim. It’s a state of unbridled freedom, as if the invisible (or visible) chains that hold us prisoner to our regrets, traumas and positions suddenly disappear or become weightless and we are inexplicably elated. Living in Al-Halim is not a goal, it’s an affirmation of an experience we’ve all had, even if only for an instant or in a dream. Growing a relationship with Al-Halim as freedom, as unbridled joy and not waiting for it, resenting it, expecting it, judging it, craving it or attempting to figure it out is a secret to riding the waves of contraction and expansion – with everyone else.
First, flashes of lightning
from an unknown horizon,
then rays of light
showing the path ahead,
finally, light all around,
the full brilliance revealed only to those who
turn their senses within.
– Rumi –