Man is Always Searching for Happiness
Ever since you were born you were searching for happiness. When you were a baby you were reaching out for your mother or father’s hand because you wanted happiness. As a small child, you always thought that if you could get this or do that it would make you happy. Later when you bought your first car, you were happy for a while until you discovered that it cost you money to maintain it. As a student your parents may have encouraged you to study hard and become a top scholar, and when you achieved that goal you thought you would be happy. Again, you had the initial thrill but then you realized that after all that hard work and struggle you had to find a good job. After you found a good job you were happy for a short time until you realized all the problems associated with work.
Just think it through, item by item, situation by situation, the many times you thought that if you had this or that you would be happy. If you are honest with yourself you will realize that something inside you was always looking for that point of happiness, always thinking that if you had that something you would be happy. You may have had a little thrill for a while and then the satisfaction wore off and you wanted something else. Where was the lasting happiness?
People are searching for happiness all the time, but because the average human being at this level of evolution doesn’t really understand what true happiness is, naturally he or she is trying to find this happiness in everything, everywhere. Obviously, seeking happiness itself is not a problem. The problem is where we are searching for happiness and how we are searching for happiness.
You first have to consider the real meaning of happiness and what it is you are seeking, because obviously you can search for happiness through thousands of material items, thousands of situations, thinking each time you will find lasting happiness and realizing each time that it isn’t so. So the questions to ask yourself are: What is happiness? Am I searching in the right direction, in the right way, for happiness?
The Material Energy of the World
Everything that exists in the physical Universe, from the atom to the plants, animals, human beings, planets, solar systems and galaxies, is all part of the material energy. Your parents are material energy and everything in your environment is material energy, and so naturally you become part of the material energy. In other words, from the moment you are born you are swamped by material energy, or Māyā (Sanskrit: usually translated as “illusion” or “delusion” but is simply the material energy of the Universe.)
So all this grabbing of material things is actually the result of your being directed by the material energy of the world. The material energy of the world, however, has nothing to do with who you really are; you are simply a victim of this energy, reacting to it and obeying it without realizing. Through the media and advertisements you are obeying the call of Māyā. So you spend a lot of time working hard so that you can have more and more objects, and because every object is an energy-field of material energy, you gather more of this energy towards you. You express yourself and search for happiness through that material energy in the form of people, objects and situations, and you think that is what life is about. You have become overwhelmed with the material energy of this world, and have completely forgotten who you are and where you have come from. You have forgotten that you are a nonmaterial being—a Living Soul, a spiritual entity, a radiant Being of Light existing also in the nonmaterial dimensions of Reality. Furthermore, you have also forgotten that you are only here on this planet on a temporary “holiday” because of your past actions—your karma.
For thousands of lives, you have been coming back into this world because you are always attracted to material objects, situations and people. This produces karma, and by the Law of Karma you have to work out the karma you have produced in the past. This continual circulating back into incarnation, life after life, is called Saṁsāra, or the Wheel of Birth and Death.
With each incarnation you produce more karma, which traps you further into this world, and because the world is not perfect you encounter pain and sorrow; you experience life as moments of happiness and moments of unhappiness. While your Soul keeps incarnating, suffering and enjoying, incarnating, suffering and enjoying, you cannot make much progress on the Spiritual Path. (You remain what we call a young Soul, one that is under the influence of Māyā and keeps circulating on the Wheel of Saṁsāra.)
There comes a crisis point, however, when you as the Soul begin to reflect on this situation and somehow your inner consciousness begins to know something is not right, that this is not how existence should be. We are talking here of existence, not one life, but a series of lives. Your Soul begins to wake up and in that lifetime comes the great moment when the real Journey begins.
The Way Out of the Struggle is to Reconnect to Your Source
The history of Humanity is one of continually struggling with matter, with this physical world. For hundreds of thousands of years human beings on this planet have wanted to change Nature, because we think that if we change Nature we will be totally blissful and attain our purpose in life. This is an illusion, and it has continued for thousands and thousands of years. We always think that this time we can conquer matter, this time we can travel through space and be gods of the Universe, but even the most far-fetched ideas of science fiction are still struggling with the matter of the physical world.
Once you realize that this struggle is futile, that you no longer need to struggle with Māyā, you have taken the first step towards finding what is really important: the way out of the struggle.
Don’t take this as a philosophy because it isn’t. It’s the experience of thousands of people throughout the ages who have attained Higher Consciousness. Buddha would say the same thing if he were here: The way out of the struggle is to reconnect to your Source. What does this next stage of the Journey entail? What does it mean to reconnect to your Source?
Every living human being has a physical body, a temporary house, but we also have a source from which we have come, a divine source. The Spiritual Path begins for you when you have a desire to reconnect to that source. And then you are faced with a dilemma: how do you reconnect to your Source?
So you begin what we call the seeking stage. You listen to Hindu swamis or Tibetan monks; you go to a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, a Muslim mosque. This is where the beginning of the Path is so confusing because the world offers so many choices and steers you in so many directions. With the ease of communication nowadays, you can search the Internet and get all kinds of information. Your mind can become overloaded with conflicting ideas from philosophers, theologians, metaphysicians and religious people. It doesn’t mean that the Dalai Lama is wrong or the Pope is wrong. All it means is that out of that welter of confusion, you have to find your path, what you have to do to reconnect.
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