The art and discipline of happiness

When chatting with a friend recently we discovered that we had (independently) come to a similar place in our lives — a wonderfully light, free and peaceful place.

We found that we each had arrived at this place by doing something exceedingly simple — we had finally "let go" blaming others, or blaming "out there" or "suffering" blame from others, or suffering or feeling lonely, or ...

It is, we agreed, probably what sages throughout the ages have described as 'enlightenment' — for in this state one does not find fault with the world. Nor does one seek to find grandiose gods, 'higher-selves' or elusive states of perfection.

Most importantly we found agreement that we don't need to 'blame' "out there" for one's health, or lack of.

Since that chat I've reflected on this subject and realised that the habit of blaming "out there" for our circumstances is rife in science, religion and many new-age schools of belief.

In science, poor health is blamed on 'bad genes', viruses, bacteria, bad diet and a plethora of other things that all exist 'out there'.  But wait ... this is the best bit -- scientists blaming 'chance' is about the most superstitious silliness possible -- for it relies on some weirdly disconnected existence in which things 'just happen' for no cause or no connection with our present 'now.' I mean, wouldn't any decent scientist seek to explain 'chance', rather than just using the cop out that it 'just happens'. That's the definition of superstition: sure as -- and it's one that aces religious superstition due to it's more insidious acceptance.

In religion we blame God for all sorts of things, or Evil or some other spiritual entity that - and this is the weird bit - is believed to be 'out there', outside the dimension of our inner experience and reality. Believing God or Evil or whatever is outside our inner spiritual reality requires weirdo disconnects1 that don't bear thinking about (pun intended).

In new-age, we blame an inconvenient arrangement of lumpy things in the night sky, a long-past birth-date, a poor arrangement of numbers, or whatever else we can find that's handy to blame ...  all of it 'out there'.

An enlightened state is surely one in which we accept our interdependent reality in the present moment, without blaming outside "disconnected" factors.

Back to that chat: we agreed it takes a concerted commitment to live in this state of 'ease' or 'peace'. It means 'letting go' relationships in which blame is central to the dynamic. This can be particularly the case with family relationships — as there is often a cultural impetus towards cow-towing to family expectations. Or of 'grabbing' more of the familial pie of care and possessions. Hence the frequently cited arguments at Christmas, and in divorce settlements.

"Letting go" relationships in which blame is a key dynamic means affirming boundaries, of owning our space, our individuality, and our sense of self. It means being wholly in the present.

It's what some would call the power of now. Noting of course that — quite contrary to some popular books on the subject — in this state there is no blaming the ego. Nay, in this state we thoroughly and emphatically enjoy our ego, our sense of independent self, while also relishing and basking in the sense of community.

Of particular importance is the concept of guilt. In this wonderful state, we don't suffer 'guilt' ... that would be blaming a past self.

We don't blame ourselves, period. Hence there is a freedom from guilt.

Not blaming — accepting our present 'isness' also gives immunity to fretting about the future. Instead we turn out attention to what will give us 'joy' or what will be fun and creative.

We also chatted about how we might recognise this wonderful state in others — and one of the tell-tale signs would be a lightness of being, a carefree attitude and, perhaps most importantly, an easy laugh and a wonderful sense of humour.

"Heaviness" could then indicate a contrary state of being too stuck in blame, or being too rooted in fear (fear of the world 'out there' — being fearful of being spontaneous, and trusting the intuitions, and fear of the vigorous and easy affirmation of one's ego and independent self).

Needless to say, there's also a very noticeable 'letting go' our usual attachment to physical possessions — and letting go being stuck in identity (often characteristic of the male ego — of being defined by our profession).2 It's been a wonderful experience for me to serve coffee to visitors in a small isolated town, without needing to qualify who or what I've done in the past.3 But, at the same, affirming my ideas and beliefs gleefully and .. yes, vigorously -- well, okay, I still have some work to do on myself. I still don't "suffer fools" quietly. But I'm working on it. lol. :)

Update - Friday 27th April 2012

Well, it seems the effects of finding ease, fun, peace and joy are lasting -- I've noticed a general feeling of ease and peace, and even when life throws a spanner into the works, I recover or return fairly quickly to ease and peace.

It is in the end simply a matter of attitude (belief) -- it simply requires that we catch ourselves falling back into old ways, 'let go' and return to ease and peace.

Update -- Monday, 20th May, 2012

Well, remaining in a state of fun, ease, peace and joy can require diligent application of the above qualities. See more at "Can be subtle"

  • 1. See also All God, all good.
  • 2. Strangely, I also suspect that 'letting go' what others think of me has been immensefly helpful. This follows various folk being quite abusive and threatening towards me for having politely asking them to leave licensed premises (while serving as an RSA Marshall -- in "DO NOT stop" in Wilcannia, no less ;) -- they were of the concerted opinion that I was, among other things ...  'cough' ... a "fornicator of mothers". Which I find rather odd: they thought that would serve to insult me? despite having been wonderfully and enjoyably true :)
  • 3. And it's fun. Particularly when they pick up one of my books lying around (not too prominently displayed, you understand), and we get chatting about matters philosophical. And surprising! Who would have thought that a Catholic nun would find my Awkward Truths enjoyable.

See also (this site):