Your nature is Happiness. Just be Happy!
Your nature is Happiness. Just be Happy!
Day by Day with Bhagavan – 15-5-46
In answer to a visitor Sri Ramana Maharshi made the following remarks:
“You can have, or rather you will yourself be, the highest imaginable kind of happiness. All other kinds of happiness which you have spoken of as ‘pleasure’, ‘joy’, ‘happiness’, ‘bliss’ are only reflections of the ananda which, in your true nature, you are.“
So we have to ponder over this and grasp the meaning. My nature is Happiness, so says a great Enlightened Being who abides in perfect Peace and Happiness. Everybody in His Presence felt It, sometimes suddenly, sometimes gradually. There are numerous stories of people who were so unhappy, or sick, or experienced terrible turmoils or tragedies who came in His Presence and found all their troubles vanishing away and feeling just peaceful and content. They came with several questions lined up, but once in front of Him, did not feel like asking anything. So we know He is telling the truth.
Also, our real nature must be Happiness. Otherwise why would we seek it? No one seeks a headache or a heartache! Everybody wants only happiness.
Then why don’t we feel it always? One reason is because we mistake fleeting pleasures to be happiness. We wander away from our peaceful nature and seek happiness in worldly objects. The pleasures are like poison-coated candy. Candy is fun, then the poison causes misery. The more we do this, the more it becomes a habit and obsession. What is the purpose of life? Is it just to go through this pleasure-pain cycle? Is there a Higher Goal in life?
In “Who Am I?” Ramana Maharshi says, “Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self.”
So basically what this means is, there is suddenly a break in the mind’s natural happiness when it is disturbed by a desire or fear. It wants the desire fulfilled or the object of fear removed. When that happens, the mind returns to its natural happiness and feels it. Think about it. Isn’t this true in life? We are happy and quiet, and then suddenly we get a desire or a worry, and then the peace and quiet in our mind breaks, and we run around looking for a way to fulfill the desire or get rid of the worry. Isn’ it? That what the Sage is saying. In that case, how do we fix this?
Well, the solution goes by a fancy word called Meditation. In truth, it is not fancy at all. It is very practical and rational as can be. It only appears fancy because we are not used to it.
According to Meditation, first what we need to do is ponder over all this again and again and understand decisively that we must watch our mind and catch it when there is an uneasiness or a disturbing thought or desire. We must educate ourselves that it is the mind that causes us to lose our lasting happiness. And we have to stop it and train it not to wander about and look for happiness outside ourselves.
Secondly, we have to practice what we learnt. We have to train ourselves to watch the mind. We must sit down regularly, close our eyes and look at the mind with the mind. Early morning is preferable, because the mind is not still totally engrossed in worldly affairs. But any time is okay, and it is each one’s convenience and preference. In the beginning, the mind or thoughts will slip away and wander as usual. It’s okay. It is like practicing anything else. Success will only come gradually by more and more practice. Here, “Practice makes Perfect” is literally true!
Here is a useful method prescribed by Ramana. In Talks with Ramana Maharshi, to a devotee He says, “Watch the mind. You must stand aloof from it. You are not the mind. And the Self will remain ever.“
Here is more guidance. In “Who Am I?” someone asks Ramana, “How will mind become quiet?“
Ramana answers, “By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts.”
The next question was, “What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’?“.
The answer was, “When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: ‘To whom do they arise?’ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, “To whom has this thought arisen?”. The answer that would emerge would be “To me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?”, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source.“
The idea is not to expect an answer for the question “Who am I?”. Any answer in thoughts or words will only come from the ego, and that is not real. The idea is to quietly probe within to see from where the “I” comes, and to turn our attention to the Real I, the ‘I-I’ according to Ramana, which is just Being-Awareness-Happiness without thinking.
Well, how do we live our lives, in the meanwhile? Here is the answer from Ramana Maharshi.
D.: How is work to be done ordinarily for an aspirant?
M.: Without self-identification with the actor. For instance, did you intend visiting this place while in Paris?
M.: You see how you are acting without your intention to do so? The Gita says that a man cannot remain without acting. The purpose of one’s birth will be fulfilled whether you will it or not. Let the purpose fulfill itself.
That’s great! So let’s start practicing all this. What are we waiting for? What do we have to lose, expect ignorance?! I call my Meditation Time my Happy Hour!