Sunday, December 13, 2009

Road to Happiness

"Happy is the man who knows how to distinguish the real from the unreal, the eternal from the transient and the good from the pleasant by his discrimination and wisdom. Twice blessed is he who knows true love and can love all God's creatures. He who works selflessly for the welfare of others with love in his heart is thrice blessed. But the man who combines within his mortal frame knowledge, love and selfless service is holy and becomes a place of pilgrimage, like the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Saraswati and Jamuna. Those who meet him become calm and purified."
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, eighteenth paragraph of the Introduction.

Distinguishing the Real from the Unreal

Distinguishing the real from the unreal might sound simple at first, but it's not as easy as it seems. What is real? Is what I think real? No... I don't think so. When I take a photograph of a person is the picture the person? Of course not! But the mind takes impressions similarly, and it's easy to think you know someone when you don't. My mind is helpful if I allow it to be, but when I buy into my own stories more than asking questions or taking a fresh look I am living in the past. Living in the past is not living in reality--my impressions are false when I am using old information.

Distinguishing the Eternal from the Transient

In earth time it seems like everything is transient. Loss has been the great lesson in my life. "Forever" in human terms seems to be a lie. What is eternal? What we are, spiritually, might be. When we mistake transient things, and try to make them eternal, disappointment is sure to follow. Things end. Faith in an ongoing spiritual adventure here on earth, is a helpful attitude. Things change, but as long as there is an experience to be had, I'll be there for that.

Distinguishing the Good from the Pleasant

This evokes a great question! How is good different from pleasant? When an experience is pleasant we often say it is "good". Good food. Good sex. Good book. Good movie. But, are these things really good, or are they merely pleasant--a "good" way to pass the time? I think that it depends on the situation. Food can taste good, and not be helpful for health and wellbeing. So this food was actually pleasant, rather than good. And perhaps there is a time for pleasant food and a time for good food, too, but it is essential to know what it is for you!

"Happy is the man who knows how to distinguish the real from the unreal, the eternal from the transient and the good from the pleasant by his discrimination and wisdom."
-B.K.S. Iyengar (from the above excerpt)

This is such a humbling task to do these things! But happiness is the result of a keen level of discernment! Happiness doesn't come from constant immersion in pleasurable distraction. Happiness comes from truly understanding.

I buy into it. The more I unearth the truth in me and around me, including realities evoking unpleasant and painful emotions, I am happier! I see what is going on better in myself and others. We are loveable people! And in seeing that, I feel happier.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Anonymous said...

Your post aligns with some of the things I've been thinking about lately - our preferences vs those things that are truly beneficial, and how anger is not a truly honest emotion in that it often masks some unmet need.

And what you've written also aligns very nicely with the first three lines of the Shanti Path mantra/prayer:

Asato maa sadgamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrityur maa amritam gamaya

Which translates as...
From the unreal lead me to the real
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to immortality

And really, its all saying the same thing. What is real is eternal. What is good points the way to the real and the eternal.

The line between the difference is as thin as a shadow, and often we don't see where we cross the line...

YogaSpy said...

You are really onto something here. Each of the three ideas is so fundamental (a bit mind-blowing, pardon the hyperbole).

Thanks for the food for thought...