Personal Happiness

Happiness is the most elusive thing, it seems, for human beings to find. Happiness is something that everybody wants, or professes to want, so it must be a very difficult thing since so few people—relatively few people—seem to ever experience it. And if they do experience it, they sure don’t seem to experience it for very long.

I’m the happiest person I have ever met—plain and simple.

The reason I’m happy is because I have a very good relationship with life. My happiness is not dependent upon what happens to me today or tomorrow or what happened yesterday. My happiness is dependent upon light. And since light is endless, since light is infinite, since light—the inner light, of course, of self-discovery, of enlightenment—is happiness in itself, then if I can make myself available to light, which I certainly do, then I’m bound to be happy. Always.

Life is a game that we play. It’s a game in which happiness is the goal. Now, most people think happiness comes from experiences in the world. Possessions, they believe, bring them happiness—money, fame, fortune, personal relationships, achievements and accomplishments. And certainly, all of these things can bring a measure of happiness to a person’s life. For a while, the fulfillment of desire causes a type of happiness. But as soon as the experience passes, the happiness passes. Human beings are on a desire-aversion operating system—and if you understand the fallibility of this system, then you understand also that there is another system which is far superior—it’s really not that hard to be happy.

The desire-aversion operating system works in the following way. When you want something, when you have a desire for something—a desire for food, a desire for sex, a desire for achievement, a desire for a new car, a new life—or when you have an aversion—you want to get away from something, you’re afraid of something that makes you uncomfortable, you just simply don’t like it—you are immediately in a problematic situation. Because your happiness, your state of mind, in other words, the way you feel, is based upon something extremely physical, and your happiness is now a victim to fortune, and fortune is capricious, that’s for sure. If you want a new car, and if you get it, you’ll be happy until the car isn’t so new. And if you can’t get it, you’ll be unhappy. Or if you get it and somebody smashes into it, you’re unhappy. Or if it isn’t what you thought it might be, you’re unhappy.

And sometimes there are things that make you unhappy, what you call aversions—things that you don’t want in your life, that you don’t like about yourself, that you just simply, at this time, can’t get away from, try though you will. And if your happiness is dependent upon always getting everything that you desire and always avoiding everything that you want to avoid, chances are you won’t be happy, or certainly not very often. This is the human system—desire and aversion.

Even the fulfillment of desire doesn’t necessarily make you happy because there’s a satiation factor. You can really love apple pie and get some apple pie and eat it, and you feel good for a minute. Then you can say, “Well heck, I felt good eating that apple pie. Why not eat ten? If this is what makes me happy, let me just keep doing it.” But after a while, if we do the same thing in the same way over and over, repetitively, we get a sense of satiation. It just doesn’t feel good any more. It doesn’t taste as good. We’re not happy. Even desire, if taken to an extreme, doesn’t necessarily make us happy. It tends to make us actually rather cynical.

What makes us happy and what increases happiness is contact with light. The experience of light in a very pure form, if not the purest form, always creates happiness. And the experience of desire and aversion tends to create unhappiness. In the world of light, that is to say, as you have experiences with the inner light, which are gained through the practice of meditation and Buddhism, as you experience light, it immediately delights you.

Within the universe there is pure light. It’s a light that is beyond all darkness, and it does not give way to anything. It is the light of existence. It’s the clear light of reality, the dharmakaya. The very nature of the light is happiness. When you experience the light, voila! You’re happy. You don’t have to do anything, be anybody special, have a series of accomplishments behind you. If you can get there, you’re happy—if you can experience the light. The more often you experience the light, the deeper your immersion in the light, the happier you become.

In other words, it’s an object orientation mindset to a certain extent. That is to say, there is the light. There is the experience of the light. The light by its very nature is endless. It has no beginning. It has no end. Therefore you can never say that you’ve had the ultimate experience in light—so there is no ultimate level of happiness, it goes on forever.

The light is not quantifiable. It just is. And you experience it in meditation when thought stops, when you go beyond the senses. When you go beyond the limitations of the ego, the light is waiting for you.

Your experiences in the light become stronger, they become happier, and you experience it more frequently as you progress along the pathway to enlightenment. The pathway to enlightenment is happiness. And it really doesn’t matter what’s going on in your physical life—if you’re successful, if you’re in prison, if you’re dying, if you’re being born, if you’re somewhere in the middle—it really doesn’t matter, if you have contact with light.

Physical circumstance will not cause happiness. Or if it does, it immediately places you in jeopardy because once you’ve gained happiness from something that occurred to you, something you’ve gotten, something that you’ve attained, there’s the fear of loss. The loss of that thing, the object of desire which makes you happy—now you’re a slave to it. You’ve become bound to it.

Let’s say that your wife or husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, makes you happy, or your dog or your cat. If your happiness just comes from being in contact with them, if they leave you, you’re bound to be unhappy. You’ll be depressed. You’ll be miserable. Now you’re their slave. You’re the slave of the thing that makes you happy. You have to do whatever it takes to keep it around you all the time. You’re a junkie, and human relationships can be expensive habits. Career achievement can be an expensive habit. Anything can be an expensive habit. And you’re always afraid of losing it. Once you’ve attained something, there is the fear of loss, if that’s what causes your happiness.

The enlightened alternative is to be happy because you experience light. And then you can be married or not, have children or not, be successful or not. You can play in the world, and if you gain happiness from something, great! If you don’t, it won’t bother you because your happiness is so large, it’s so great, it’s so immeasurable, that you simply won’t be bothered by what goes on in the physical world.

I recommend to my students to make a lot of money. It seems that human beings have problems with money. Most of human life seems to revolve around the getting of money or that which money brings. And when people have problems with money, they cut back. They say to themselves, “Well, we don’t have as much as we used to, so we’ll have to cut back on the things that we enjoy.” I don’t think that’s the answer. I don’t think economizing is the answer. For example, the United States has an incredible national debt. Now, it’s good to economize in the sense that waste is waste. That’s obviously not the way to live, and you have to eliminate waste in your life as the United States has to eliminate waste in its spending, so it isn’t a deficit government.

But the answer for the United States, or the answer for an individual, is to make more money. If the country is bringing in more money than it’s sending out, or even if it’s at an even point, then there’s balance. If you’re having problems with money, the answer isn’t cutting back. I mean, you have to have the things you have to have—anything else is an extra, it’s an add-on, and maybe you need it and maybe you don’t. Sometimes we get out of proportion, and we think that we really need more than we need because we think it will make us happy. And that’s not true. But you do need whatever it is you need—to work, to live, to function—at whatever level is appropriate for you.

But the answer is to make more money. I suggest to my students that they go into computer science—unless they have a better field—because it’s the most lucrative of all fields, and to make absolutely a ton of money. And then money simply isn’t a problem. They don’t have to spend their life always worrying about whether they have enough to cover expenses. Many people do that, and they experience so much unhappiness. The obvious answer to money is to have tons of it. And so, if you know that that’s the answer to dealing with the physical world, then simply you figure out how to make more money than you really need and go do it. It’s really not that impossible.

In other words, sometimes we just have to get a clear sight of something, and if it’s so important, why don’t we just figure out what we need to do and go do it? We have to step back from the problem and evaluate it. It seems to me that in life all you really need are a healthy body, a healthy mind, a healthy spirit and a bunch of money. That is to say, money equals the ability to be mobile in this world—to travel, to live in a place that’s suitable, to not to be brought down or drained, not to be a victim.

I equate the inner light with that also. I mean, it’s the same operating system. Rather than economizing or figuring how to get by on a budget, why not just have tons of money? Why not have tons of happiness? Why not become so happy that no matter what happens in life as you journey, doing the things that are appropriate for you, that if it all falls apart it doesn’t matter because you’re happy. That’s, I think, the happiness equation—is just to be so happy, to figure out how one becomes happy and to go do it—that fortune is not a problem. You can always just fall back on your inner happiness.

And if you had a day where it went your way, great. But you hardly notice because you’re so happy because you meditate. And if you have a day where it all falls apart, then it really is insignificant because you’re so happy. And when death comes along, it isn’t a fearful thing because you’re so happy and knowledgeable from the pursuit of meditation that you’re simply not afraid. You can see what lies beyond it. You know that life is good—what makes us is good, and we are what makes us—and there is nothing to fear. And even sickness becomes an experience that we pass through in happiness because our happiness is not dependent upon how our body feels, but how our spirit feels.

Yoga, that is to say, Buddhism, is the study of how to be immeasurably happy. And a long time ago, individuals, through inner study and by examining life, realized that the way to happiness is through meditation, introspection—that happiness already exists somewhere in the universe. They looked at life and they saw that most people aren’t happy, or their experiences with happiness come and go, as do their desires and aversions and the fate that meets them. And they saw that this was obviously an inefficient system. They combed the universe and found that there is immeasurable happiness inside of us, not inside of our physical persons, but inside of our spirits.

We’re immortal spirits. We live forever. And within the spirit, within that which is eternal in us, there’s a place where there’s infinite happiness. And you can get to it, just like you can go to the refrigerator for food. And it’s always abundant and it’s always there. Now, I am not being optimistic or euphemistic or unreal in any sense.

Most people are just completely oblivious to eternity. They look at the sky and the stars at night, and they think that’s eternity. That’s just the senses having contact with the sense world. Outside of the physical dimension, there are other dimensions. There are astral dimensions and there are the causal dimensions. The causal dimensions are the dimensions of light, the planes of light. Happiness is in the physical dimensions, in a limited way, in the astral dimensions in a limited way, but it’s in the causal dimensions in an unlimited way. The causal dimensions, which I refer to as the planes of light, are happiness. They’re all different and they’re endless. And they, of course, border the shores of nirvana, which is beyond discussion, which goes beyond happiness itself to something else—a condition of such perfection that it cannot be expressed.

Meditation is the journey to happiness. As you meditate and as you enter into the planes of light, you’ll become happy, immediately happy. That happiness will enable you to compact your life, transform yourself and open yourself to those planes—not just when you’re meditating but eventually all of the time, so that you’re in a perpetual state of meditation. That is to say, you can be in this world physically and have all the myriad experiences that life has to offer, and at the same time yoke your awareness field, join your consciousness to the planes of light and eventually to nirvana itself. You can create a conscious opening and go back and forth between these places.

While you are at work, typing at the keyboard or doing whatever it is you do, or at school or playing or doing some sports, athletics, when you are in a very difficult situation where everybody is pounding on you because they’re not too happy, or you are just doing something bright and beautiful—at those times while you are physically engaged in your activities, your mind can be wandering through the planes of light forever, having constantly new and greater experiences that cause you happiness.

The trick to being happy is to get beyond the body, not just to the astral realms. The astral realms don’t necessarily make you happy. There are people who have access to the astral realms. But in the astral realms they are still who they are here, and that doesn’t create happiness. Going to the astral worlds is just like going to another country. You are who you are here, and when you go to another country, you’re the same person there.

But when you go into the causal realms, into the realms of light, at that time you become someone else. The nature of the causal realms is pure light. The light vibrates very quickly. And to be in the causal realms, to be in the planes of light, to experience them, it washes away the parts of yourself that cause unhappiness and pain. Or perhaps it might be more correct to say that it provides us with a better understanding of who we are.

And you will come to see that you are not necessarily the body or the person who has the experiences. Nor are you the personality, the ego, that reacts with pride or with anger or with hope. You’re not necessarily the body of desires, the thoughts, the memories. You see that you’re a field of light, an endless field of light, a concurrence of light, and that light, for a while, has taken shape and form in the body that you now occupy, in the universe that appears to your senses, and it experiences the play of life—the emotions, the dramas, the soap opera of existence.

Real happiness comes from the experience of meditation and from getting to a point where you like life. You can enjoy it, but you don’t center your happiness on what happens here. Meditation is a direct and vivid encounter with immortality. It’s not a ritual. It’s not based upon wishful thinking. It’s something that you go and do. It’s like swimming. And you jump in the water and there you are. You’re swimming. It’s an actual, very visceral experience. But the experience of meditation, the experience of the planes of light, which I would define as the experience of meditation, changes you. That is to say, it causes all the blockages, the meanness, the unhappiness, the self-destructive tendencies, to pass. When you take a shower, all the dirt is washed off. When you go into the planes of light, all the incorrect ideas, the incorrect ways of seeing and understanding life that you pick up along the way, on the journey, are washed away.

If you go into the planes of light in the morning and in the evening in your meditation, then you wash everything away that you’ve picked up. But you also gain ground, in a sense, because as you go into the planes of light, more light comes back with you each time you meditate. You get better at meditation. And each morning when you meditate, you can experience a deeper ecstasy. Each evening when you meditate you can experience a more profound reality. You can have a better understanding of life. In other words, the planes of light certainly give you power, the power to rise above circumstance, the power to rise above your desires and your aversions to happiness.

Your experiences in the planes of light will create a balance, a happiness in your life—just in simple things. But it gives you the wisdom, it gets you out of the trap of self. The trap of self is the trap that causes unhappiness. It’s the thing we get stuck in. We define ourselves too much. We’re very sure of who we are and what we’re doing. And we’re so sure, that we’re not very happy. Whereas the infinite intelligence of the universe, which is what we truly are—the pure light, the pure radiant spirit—is not so definable. It can take every form or no form. It can be all of this and something else that we don’t know.

When you meditate and you still your mind, when you relax a little bit and chill out and let go of the desires and the aversions for a while and enter into the light—if you do it with your full being, with your full body and mind and spirit, you’ll be purified. You’ll be energized, but you will also become wise. You will gain the wisdom, the knowing of things in this world, in other worlds and beyond worlds. It just comes to you.

The way we gain wisdom in meditation is not by having someone explain something to us. All the teacher does is explain how to get to the planes of light, how to go deeper into them, how to avoid the things that keep you out of them. And of course, an enlightened teacher, a fully empowered teacher, can lift you into the planes directly so that you can become more familiar with them and get to them sooner and more frequently. They speed up the educational process. But that’s all an enlightened teacher does. They teach you to laugh, to be balanced. But they don’t give you wisdom. You might gain some wisdom by observing how they act and react—wisdom of a certain kind. But real wisdom is gained personally in meditation. It’s something that you will gain in the planes of light.

No one quite knows how it works, meaning it can’t be expressed in words. But when you meditate, if you can stop thought or even distance yourself from thought and go into the planes of light, or have the planes of light enter you, you will come out of the meditation knowing things—things that perhaps are inexpressible. You might learn how to move through the dimensions. You might learn how to dissolve the self. You might learn how to use the siddha powers to heal, to do all kinds of things. That’s one kind of knowledge. You might learn just to be bright and clear and aware, to be more conscious, to be funny. Or you might gain the wisdom of immortality, the knowledge that life has, which is inexpressible.

Meditation is the short path to happiness. It is the way to become completely happy. It streamlines the process. It takes you beyond the desire-aversion operating system which offers very limited happiness and a great deal of frustration. Meditation, as you practice meditation—it’s no good just to talk about it but you need to do it—if you can bring an earnestness to your meditation, if you can really try, in other words, you will find that happiness is something that will run through your life constantly.

At first, when you begin the practice of meditation, of course, your happiness will be limited because you can’t get that deeply into the planes of light. But through the practice, you’ll gain a little bit of happiness, and that will inspire you to meditate more. And with consistent practice, you will gain access to the planes of light, particularly if you have a teacher who is enlightened, who will guide you and make sure that you’re getting into the planes of light and not into the astral. Then each day, as you progress along the pathway, you will be happier. And then you can go live your life, have your career, enjoy your sports, do whatever is necessary, but you will find that happiness will not be elusive. It’ll be who you are.

If you sit down and meditate in the morning, you will be filled with happiness, and that happiness will last you all day. Then, in the evening, you’ll meditate again, and you’ll wash away any of the debris you picked up during the day—wrong views, that sort of thing—that can lead to unhappiness. And you’ll be filled and flooded with a different kind of happiness, the happiness of the evening. And then you’ll be happy all night. Meditate in the morning and wash away anything you picked up in the dream state. It’s a cycle, the enlightenment cycle. It’s based on meditation.

The role of the teacher is to make sure that the practice is pure, that is to say, that the methods are taught properly. And by giving proper empowerments and by guiding the student, you make sure that they really are going into the planes of light and they’re not fooling themselves. Because the astral, and the astral dimensions are not places of great happiness necessarily. As I said, they’re just like journeying to another country. The teacher has to make sure that the student is truly meditating and that the student is progressing in their meditation, and provide the empowerments and the instruction necessary to do that. That’s all. That’s what true teaching is, to make sure the student is on the path and that the path is leading to deeper and greater light.

Then the rest is up to the light. As you go into the light, it will cause you to become happier and happier. And each day, you will gain a deeper happiness, a more subtle or perhaps a more profound happiness, and that happiness will free you from the desire-aversion cycle or syndrome.

It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? It is. It’s better than it sounds. And it’s such a simple thing that people miss it. It’s worth your while to sit, to practice meditation—if happiness is one of the important things in your life. It’s like making money. Make too much of it, and money is certainly not a problem—less of a problem. If you are just too happy, if you have an abundance of happiness, then life is bright. We see it more correctly.

Unhappiness is really an incorrect seeing. When we’re unhappy, we don’t see life as it really is. It means that we are not in a condition of light. We’re in a condition of veiled light, of shadows. We don’t see very well, and what we think is, isn’t. In the dark, you can’t see. You bump into things and you mistake them for something else. You stumble across a rope and think it is a snake, and you get scared to death. Or maybe it’s a snake, and you think it’s a rope and think you’re safe.

In light, we can see what is and what is not. We know what’s right and what’s inappropriate—right in the sense that it is truly the essence of all things, the suchness, the dharma, the ultimate good. And if we immerse ourselves in the ultimate good, it will free us from all limitations, from all sorrows, from all ignorance, and we’ll have this silly smile on our face or perhaps just inside our hearts. And that’s what illumination is.

Illumination, at least in the outer world, is to be happy, no matter what’s going on—whether you’re successful or whether you’re a failure, whether you’re up or you’re down, you’re in or you’re out. That’s truly illumination in the outer world. In the inner world, it’s different. It’s more profound. It’s more ineffable. It’s harder to express.

So be happy. Always be positive because that means you are seeing things correctly. And if you are negative, if you’re depressed, if you are unhappy, that simply means that you are not seeing life in its perfection. Rather than being frustrated about it, sit down and meditate. Clear your mind, be patient, follow the instructions of an enlightened teacher in your meditation practice, and then you will come to know all things and be free from all limitations and be happy. It’s really that simple.