Happiness and the Spiritual Journey: Part 6 of 9

by William R. Yoder on December 18, 2010

Remembering the truth of here and now

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The goal of the spiritual journey is the here and now

(Click here to read this series from the beginning.) There is of course the very valid objection that when you are wholly preoccupied with some kind of goal or destination in the future, you won’t really pay attention to the here and now—to the moment-by-moment unfolding of the journey.  But in the case of our spiritual journey, the goal is the truth of here and now. We are trying to remember what we have forgotten, reawaken to what we have covered over with our mistaken ideas and our mistaken identification with our egos.

We are, in effect, trying to get back to here and now. And not even so much “get back” as rather simply become aware of the eternal here and now of love that we have never left—that we never could have left. And the way that we know we have returned to Self-awareness is that we feel only absolute peace, unconditional love, all-encompassing compassion, perfect joy, absolute bliss, a sense of the oneness of all beings.  In the interest of simplicity, I have called all this simply “happiness.”

Desire for happiness is the desire for truth

So in this sense, the desire for happiness is not a denial of who we actually are now at all. It is the desire to penetrate beneath all of our illusions and become aware of who we truly are now—who we truly are eternally. And happiness (in the sense of perfect peace, joy, love, compassion, etc.) is simply the quality of experience that lets us know that we have begun to recognize our deepest truth for what is it.

The wonderful opportunity of unhappiness

And from this perspective, our unhappiness is a valuable gift that lets us know that we are not yet recognizing who we truly are, and prompts us and guides us to move deeper, to open our minds still more, to let go of our projections and judgments, to forgive, to appreciation, to deeply deeply accept life. We appreciate the gift, for without it we would not be aware that we needed to open our minds more.  It would be sort of like a disease that has no symptoms—very comfortable, but also very dangerous. But it’s not so much that this gift is a great wonderful thing in and of itself.  Its real value to us lies in re‑minding of that we have forgotten, so that we can begin to remember. So it only becomes a gift when we begin remembering.

But do we have to actively descend into suffering in order to later ascend out of it?  To be continued ….

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