silent thunder

On Happiness, Love, Contentment and the Nature of Self

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Some time ago I ceased being able, or willing to spend much energy trying to manufacture happiness in my experience of life, through the exploration and alteration of the external world and I turned within.  Some time after that I dropped any ability to put effort into the notion of happy being a desired state at all and released that pursuit once and for all it seems... now years later.  When I ceased looking without to create happiness, something profound happened.  I began to accept life as it is, to abide in my self wherever I was, in whatever conditions arose... and contentment was revealed.


Lately I'm with Marblehead and a few others here, on the notion of happy.  I don't want it.  I find it unsustainable and manufactured.  It's flame like nature seems to require fuel to sustain it and thus, when conditions change, the coin flips and despair/suffering arises.


For me, happiness is an inflated emotional charge state, whose flip side is despair and they always revolve around each other, two sides of one coin being flipped every time we encounter conditions in the world and allow them to dictate the quality of our experience.  Neither are sustainable for long as they require effort to maintain.  Happiness resolves into despair when the external conditions of what is responsible for our happiness changes, shifts or is lost.



Hope hollow like fear.
Both foster tension in mind.
Success like failure.


One imbued with hope,
tension takes a joyous form,


When fortune turns ill,
as seems inevitable,
fierce anxiety.


Bodies will suffer.
An undeniable truth.
Embrace misfortune.


Sage knows the self,
as a simple yet fine robe
impermanent shape.


Surrender the self.
In humility, find trust.
Now love world as self.


Happiness to me seems unsustainable, born of identification with the external.  Whereas Contentment is the ground work being, realized when turning within.


Contentment, the way I experience it, seems a neutral, bouyant, natural state that arises without effort when inner conflict is released, when unacceptance of the conditions of life resolves and natual essence is allowed to be as it is... (think Mencius' sprouts of virtue being cultivated).  Releasing all else reveals that which is our essential nature. Contentment isn't manufactured, nor does it rely on activities, or specific conditions.  This notion has been reinforced through the hardest and darkest (spiritually) years of my life.  There may be pain, there may be discomfort, there will be loss... none of that means I am suffering.  I suffer when I reject what is... when I expect, desire, or try to force what isn't to be what is.


When I ceased being able to put energy into finding my contentment in the external world (through teaching others what i think is right, expecting others to change their behavior to suit my expectations, judging others as wrong in the first place, judging the conditions of the world as right or wrong), I began to turn within. 


When I turned within, eventually a realization came.  Contentment was more and more the status quo.  And as these sprouts were cultivated, not through supreme effort, but again through constant release of notions of escape, alteration or subjugation, contentment revealed itself as a foundational, natural component of my essential nature.  As I released into this abiding within and ceased incessantly focusing on making the external into something my internal could harmonize with, the harmony within my natural state, emanated and contentment sustains effortlessly, even in difficult conditions.


This led to a most profound realization not long after, when I realized I no longer required a focus to be in love.  I used to think that love came from a person, place, or idea that made me love it.  Now I experience I am love and contentment.  When the chatter of incessantly using my energy to try and force the external world to adhere to notions born of my unacceptance of the universe as it is, quieted/ceased.  When I released all... that which remained was my essential nature. 


I am contentment.  I am love.


Ceasing to try and control the external, allowing myself to be the simple, beingness I am, releasing all notions of should/shouldn't and abiding only in the simplest raw presence of my own beingness... I realized love is not something I acquire through striving, effort and great knowledge.  Love is the ground state and blossoms in my experience when all the mental chatter, thoughts, world noise, assumptions/notions/concepts are released. 


Love and contentment is my natural state... and where I used to think that my wife, or my pursuit of knowledge, or walking in nature were the sources of my love... 'i love her/this/that', shifted and I now experience it this way.  I now see that these were the reflectors of my inner essential nature, strong enough in their emanations that they cut through the fog that was occluding me from realizing what it was that I was seeking... is what was doing the seeking.  It's what was there all along, underlying all, foundational.  Requiring no effort to sustain itself, it is that which sustains.


I am love... love is my essential nature.  I often forgot this, and on occasion still do, but thankfully I am reminded, either when those things that cut through the fog are near... or I quiet myself again and turn within to simple presence and beingness.


I no longer say or think "i'm in love"...  I am love.  I am contentment.  No effort is required to maintain this.  No effort could create it in my experience.  It is what I am.  I only sometimes lose touch with it, when through my mental chatter, my unacceptance of conditions as they are, or my desire to alter that which is, clouds over the pure, simple, raw beingness of it.

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