Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Extracts from the Book (III)
How can we be happy?

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The conclusion from this analysis is simple, if not altogether palatable - if we want to be happy we must give up desires and fears. If nothing else, this would seem to require inordinate amounts of self discipline given that today's society seems to be totally geared to instilling into us as many desires as possible! (No wonder today's society is also apparently so unhappy!) But is this really so? After all, if happiness is our true nature, we don't actually have to do anything at all.

All feelings such as this are a form of bondage. The ego has latched on to some object, thought or feeling and the power of consciousness is being given to it. It might be desire, grief, fear or whatever; they are all projections of a sense of lack or limitation. We foolishly believe that our wellbeing depends upon getting, or not getting, the object. We can regard these thoughts as disturbances of our mind in the same way that ripples are disturbances on the surface of a lake. Just as we can only see down into the depths of the lake when the water is calm, so too can we only get a glimpse of our true nature when all of these disturbances have gone.

It is difficult to find happiness in oneself but it is impossible to find it anywhere else. Schopenhauer

This is the ultimate irony. We spend all our efforts looking outside of ourselves for that elusive object or situation which will finally give us lasting happiness. Yet it is that very act of looking which takes us away from happiness. Happiness is what remains when all the searching ceases and we are 'left' with our Self, which is perfect happiness. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said: 'Only something as vast and deep as your real Self can make you truly and lastingly happy.' Anything that you might think you want is because of a perceived lack or limitation. In reality, your true nature is without any limits. Therefore, you really need and should want nothing because you already have everything.

Though this way of looking at the situation may seem alien at first, it is not complicated. Our true nature is one of completeness, lacking nothing - this will be discussed in detail in Section 3. The problem only begins when the consciousness of 'I am' becomes identified with firstly the body, then the mind and so on. Once this happens, we believe ourselves to be separate, in a universe of other things separate in space and time. Following on from this are such feelings as suffering - because we are separate from these other things - and desire - because we wish to be re-joined to them.

Extracts from the Book
Summary and Endorsements
List of Contents
1. We are not the ego
2. Thinking
3. How can we be happy?
4. Do objects exist while we are asleep?
5. What is a realised man?
6. Direct Path teachings
Page last updated: 09-Jul-2012