THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS
N. Sri Ram
THE search for happiness is a universal phenomenon. Where Life is, there is this search. It is part of the process of the movement of life. Being happy and the movement towards a deeper, fuller, more perfect happiness is a natural thing, an ordinary thing. Nevertheless, happiness is ever perfect.
But when that principle which we call “mind” enters this process, it differentiates itself from life; because the mind is ever objective in its outlook - there is the cognizer, and the cognized - which differentiation is a false view, a delusion.
Of course the mind is also an activity of life, but the activity of a part separated
from the whole. The very essence of mind is this separation of part and whole.
Instead of letting life as a whole enter into itself, Manas, the thinking principle, identifies itself with, eagerly joins, the particular movements which constitute sense-perceptions, sense-experiences. It chooses the part, the isolated, in preference to the whole. This choice is really an adherence, an attachment or addition, which impedes the free flow of life in the aspect of consciousness, that is, a full cognition.
We see this in the phenomenon that the mind plays attention to one thing - what pleases it - and not to others. It is moved by the search for gratification, the stimulating, the exciting, which it mistakes for happiness.
The enjoyment derived from gratification contains in it the “I” principle. For there is the enjoyer and the enjoyed. The enjoyment turns like a delectable spectacle round the enjoyer. The “I,” which separates itself from others and sets itself up in opposition to them is a delusion arising from the partial movement of the mind. It is destructive of that happiness which is an experience of wholeness.
When life is a whole, it is happy with the limits of that wholeness. Wholeness is harmony and happiness is the experience of harmony. Conflict and discord breed suffering and vacancy or void.
The voiding of the relationship between oneself and the other is the isolation of self. In that voiding is loneliness. The relationship is there in life, but it is not seen by the mind, which creates walls of separation and self-hood. Unhappiness arises from the forfeiture of that wholeness which is the fulfilment of life.
What is this fulfilment? It is a movement from one state of wholeness to another. Both are expressions of itself, that is, just a part of living. It is not movement with an objective, but a movement of spontaneous self-expression. It is self-expression without a self.
Wholeness is an absolute. Happiness is an absolute. In a state of wholeness there cannot arise an objective which it has to gain. For that objective would be outside itself. This wholeness, being the wholeness of life, is not a static state; for life is ever a movement. But the movement only reveals what life eternally is. Perfect awareness, perfect action, perfect unity, perfect happiness are all in that movement.
The awareness is broken, the action queered and misled, the unity lost, and the happiness denied, when that which is only a tiny part arrogates to itself the status and function of the whole; in other words, when the consciousness which should be part of the whole movement of life, which is a movement of unity, separates itself, originally for the purpose of focussing, for mere cognition, but subsequently in independence, out of an attachment to the objects of cognition.
Thus, an illusion which persists until the mind redresses itself; thus conflict; thus Karma; thus un- happiness.
Happiness lies in the restoration of the wholeness, following the transcendence of attachments, which are not in reality attachment to persons or things, but an attachment to the gratification which one derives from them. When nothing is sought and nothing is held, there is no “I” The subject vanishes with the predicate, the enjoyer with the enjoyment that is desired or clung to.
When the “I” is gone, the separation is gone, the loneliness is gone forever - that loneliness which dragged out the processes of time. Then happiness, which is immeasurable, because it is as vast as life, and love, which is an eternal communion through the ever-open door of the heart, come into being and reign supreme.
The Theosophist 1954
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