Monday, July 16, 2018

Mind & Happiness 58

A clear illustration that many have probably experienced occurs if we are watching a good film or an entertaining program on television while eating a meal, no matter how tasty & to our liking that meal may be, we will hardly notice its taste & we will experience no particular pleasure in eating it.  After the program & meal are both finished, we may notice that we failed to enjoy that tasty meal at all & we may wish we had eaten it when we were not distracted by watching the television.  Because we were more interested in the program or film we were watching than in the meal we were eating, we failed to enjoy the meal. And the reason why we took greater interest in enjoying the film than in enjoying our meal was that at that time our desire for the enjoyment of the film was greater than our desire for the enjoyment of the meal.

However, if we had been really hungry before sitting down to eat that meal & watch that film, we would probably have enjoyed the meal with great relish & would therefore have hardly noticed the film we were watching.  Even if the meal were not particularly tasty, if we had been really hungry we would have enjoyed it nonetheless.  When we are really hungry, that is, when our desire for food is very intense, we can relish & enjoy even the most tasteless meal.

Our hunger or real desire for nourishment is the best of all condiments. The spice of real hunger will give the pleasantest taste even to the most tasteless food, & even to food that would normally taste positively unpleasant.  Conversely, if the spice of real hunger is missing, we can eat even the most tasty food without particularly relishing it.

Is it not clear, therefore, that the relative degrees of Happiness that we derive from enjoying the objects of our desires are not only entirely subjective & dependent upon our relative degree of liking for those objects, but are primarily determined by the fluctuations of our Mind & of the successive waves of excitement of our desires, our anticipations & our ultimate satisfactions ?

In the midst of all this excited activity of our Mind, how do the fragments of Happiness that we experience appear ?  These successive waves of our mental excitement have their peaks & their troughs.  They rise to their peaks when our Mind is most agitated by its desires, & they subside to their troughs when our Mind experiences the satisfaction of anticipating or actually enjoying the objects of its desires.  During the brief troughs between the successive peaks of our desires, our Mind is momentarily calm & in that calmness the Happiness that is always inherent in us is less densely obscured & therefore manifests itself more clearly.

So long as our Mind is active, it is constantly fluctuating between the peaks of its desire or dissatisfaction & the troughs of its contentment or satisfaction.  Our desires & our fears, our likes & our dislikes, our cravings & our aversions, all agitate & impel the activity of our Mind to the peaks of its intensity, & such intense peaks of activity obscure our inherent Happiness & thereby make us feel dissatisfied, discontented & unhappy.

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"There is no Creation, no Destruction, no Bondage, no longing to be freed from Bondage, no striving for Liberation, nor anyone who has attained Liberation. Know that this to be Ultimate Truth."

  the "no creation" school of Gaudapada, Shankara, Ramana, Nome  Ajata Vada

 for very succinct summary of the teaching & practice, see:

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