Lasting success is largely based on the premise of awareness of reality and love. Giselle Bündchen, the highest ever paid fashion model, in the NYT interview in 2016 confessed: “Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life. I always knew that, even if I was not the most beautiful girl, I’d be the most energetic and hard-working. If you want to know the truth, that’s the reason for my success.” There are many other successful people luckily hidden from the scrutiny of the public eye, who do the same. And so has done great art: from the millennia old cave drawings to some glimpses in the overwhelmingly negative contemporary imagery; hard work grounded in love inspires and comforts.
ALL TRUE WISDOM SHARES LOVE
The undeniably successful top model learned the truth probably due to her abundant life experiences or she might had met an enlightened thinker, who casted the light on this potential for harmony and happiness in the world. Christians, Confucianists and Buddhists believe that love breeds kindness and compassion, so love is what we must ultimately seek in our lives. Yet, there many kinds of love. Ruling high above all of these loves with somebody or something is the one independent and unconditional love, the love of yourself. “The only thing that never changes is awareness. We change, our personality changes, as do other people and things”, said one wise man whom I met recently. As I dove into finding references, I realised that such wisdom has been orally shared for the millennia by well-regarded sages who tapped into the secret for contentment. Confucianists accept that some things are beyond our control.
And it all makes sense.
Building on the discourse of the Greek Stoics, Cicero, the history’s most celebrated Roman orator pondered happiness in his book On the Good Life. Paying respect to the Plato’s wisdom, Cicero’s elemental message piercing through his inspiring work was that “all wise men are happy”. Being in the process of reading this Cicero’s work my awareness was set to be given and to accept an eyes-opening personal example of this existential essence. Yet somewhat it contradicted the Stoic dogma of love not being able to deliver eternal happiness. Immature love to others can be troublesome as the best-selling author Alain de Botton wrote On Love, yet mature love and an acceptant and genuine love of one self is the road to happy life.
We all want to be happy. Contentment with one’s life is a primordial force that should be desired and achieved by every savvy human being. I wrote about the art of happiness in a recent musing, yet I felt that there was much more to be learned. Despite the nagging gut feeling that more has to be said about the theme, I did not know what. Yet, very shortly, as if some divine force directed the encounter, I was to learn the whole truth about happiness. Only partially some things are beyond our control, since by allowing awareness in, by purely being, we do not control the activity per se but we take control over our sense of contentment.
Usually, I find it easier to express myself through writing and thinking to myself than in conversations, but there are some gifted, rare people that inspire an in-depth talk, outpour of our true self, and put us at such an ease that we let go our defences and accept the pure reality. Eloquence is useful only when we enrich our knowledge, and so is the inner voice inside our heads. If overused, then fatigue overwhelms us and depletes the life’s vital energy to be happy, love and create contentment.
I am hinting on the one apparently omnipresent foe, a perilous companion that or whom(?) distinguishes us from the other living creatures on the Planet Earth. It is the human, evolved mind. Our mind sets hurdles to our attainment of happiness. Even if the desire was as strong as the roots of the perennial grass, we are constantly teased to fail ourselves. Unless, you open your mind to reality through a direct experience, an awakening, then you may scavenge on the debris of human thoughts. But you won’t find the answer in these messengers of intelligence, competitiveness, doubt, worry and in other emotions. The truth again is that the only aspect of your life that never changes is the awareness of being.
Due to the perceived cycle of existence nobody will probably ever know for sure or proof if this element ceases to exist, for its nature is ethereal. Perhaps, like the more commonly discussed soul, the awareness continues its journey beyond the deceased human body, but who knows? There is no point in discussing this, although religions, and the mind’s ceaseless hunt for reasoning cash on this ego-borne vanity.
The ego is the adversary to our happiness, trust on other hand is the friend of love. Trust can be difficult to plant in one’s life, but since love is one of the essential human needs, we must cultivate trust in others and ourselves.
CREATION: POURING OUT OUR EMOTIONS VIA ART
An example of the workings that our happiness defeating mind employs can be the tendency to selfishness. Where unconditional love is is not present, selfishness rules. When we dive deep into our mind, we feel lonely. Of course, if we are so hedonistically concerned with our self, it is a lonely place. Selfishness might had been created for us to feel better in this solitary misery. Unconditional love is naturally present in us and in our relationship with our own children. Nature made it so for the sake of survival.
Further, our mind dives into positive or negative periods. During the positive times we are elevated, intoxicated and attracting others with the fragrance of our happiness. We make friends, lovers, and just enjoy the pure being.
Whereas in the negative captivity of our mind, we estrange ourselves from others and contemplate the dark sides of thinking. Often, this is the emotional, creatively charged period for captivating art to be created. Whether it is a way to self-healing, an urge to remedy the sorrow and loneliness through the medium of a painting, sculpture, music or a script, is disputable, but for some it works. Turning to pen and paper, a computer, a canvas or a matter to mould with one’s hands can feel therapeutical. It is their tool to awareness, the medium to opening their sorrows to the space out there.
Perhaps this is what fascinates us about art, and today there is so much negativity in it. We live in the age of darkness in art perhaps because more than the admiration of and the love of beauty, proportion and reflection of the physical and ethereal world, the artists put their negatively charged emotions into their creations.
Whether you consider yourself as a creative humanist or not, try it. Express yourself through whatever medium appeals to you. It brings about the awareness of being that we need to cultivate for happiness. Plus, it clarifies your current position and brings you closer to feeling fulfilled. Penetrate into what you really have, not what you think that you should have.
THE JOURNEY TO REALISATION of AWARENESS
Yet, some of us need another person to show us this truth that our mind selfishly and unscrupulously guards from our awareness. Here, I am not talking about some religious guru or by the excessive mediation inhibited yogi, bur about an expert like a well-read psychologist and a sage, whose life’s experience can summon the millions years of humane wisdom. The yogi might get so enveloped in his meditation that the life’s essence may swoosh like a rabbit crossing the road right in front of him. The wise person that I was blessed to meet very recently pointed me to the direction that I deep down had already known. Yet, despite my psychology degree, I was unable to decipher the nature of humanness.
The realisation did not lay in my intelligence, the brain, the thoughts but in being able to simply realise myself being. Now, the fog that covered my recent journey cleared out. My first website was titled winebeing, and in it I attempted to express the happy, yet indulgent existence. By celebrating biodiversity, culture and the achievements of skilful human use of nature’s bounty in winemaking, I craved to yield happiness. As years passed and I imbibed on the delirious beverage, I came to understand that it was not happiness but the provision of immediate pleasure, the temporary illusion fuelled by alcoholic intoxication. Like many before me, I savoured the occasional pleasure and joy in wine, but it was not there to last. Drinking wine daily is unsustainable to one’s true well-being.
So I had to search for happiness elsewhere. Love for your other half is beautiful and can help guiding your loneliness, but it is not enough. First you must love yourself, be aware of your being, and let go distractions.
MEETING THE AWARENESS AND LOVE OF YOURSELF
He knew, and what he was about to tell me would change my life, profoundly. I read about gurus, usually men in a ripe age, who learned from the other wise men. Still, I thought that they must be somehow just wise people, who focus their energies of life on bringing enlightenment to others. But, this is not the entire story. The wholeness of their being is much more profound and should not be pondered about, because one would engage the one enemy that constantly fight in our heads, the mind. And this is where he started.
I actually did not know why I came to see him. Prior to our encounter, I was not even for a minute thinking about meeting someone so spiritually powerful, because my interest sparked from my natural curiosity and a certain physical ailment that has been bothering me in the recent years of my athletic endeavours. He was a physical therapist and mastered craniosacral methods of fixing the inner misalignments.
We talked, and above all I experienced something almost magical. The extraordinary experience was that of the awareness of simply being. This is one of the hardest, but without the mind’s forcing ego, the most natural, comforting and contentment inducing experience any human can allow to one’s self. Letting go off the ego whisper of the mind, analysing, comparing, discrediting, approving, and in other ways intersecting life’s smooth operations, feels so blissful.
“Just for a split of a second …” he said, and the surreal energy he transmitted suddenly took over my constantly streaming mind. Ah, I stared as if I was stricken by a numbing shot, feeling weightless, worry-free and strangely unfamiliar with myself. He smiled and softly spoke, asking me to describe what it felt like. What is felt like? I had to figure out what I was just experiencing. It felt amazing! There were no worries in my mind, they were just gone. This is a Tibetan technique of asking divergent questions so the respondent thinks “in different directions, the alternatives” that has been orally transmitted for centuries.
It allows for your personal connection with the vast space of your presence. We usually just use our mind so much. You must know the common heavy feeling inside your head. The shame is that we do not let the rest of ourselves to manifest. I had glimpses of this weightless, connected state when in nature. When I was alone exposed to the raw elements, the natural cycle of effortless being, I felt connected with the universe or what is that “awareness of pure being” called.
This calming technique is stronger than just deep breathing from the yoga tradition, and different from meditation. The latter is the control of thoughts, the observation of them and the mind is engaged, but the awareness of pure being is different, it is letting go completely. The stone drops, all problems disappear and we gain happiness. When any problem arises this moment of connection with one’s true nature, as this state is the only aspect of life that never changes, gives us the much needed time or better a moment of distancing oneself from that transient situation. Just be and that will solve all your problems!
Psychology is obsessed by the self, the ego, the consciousness, the subconsciousness, and all that is focal to the mind. It can illuminate some dark alleys of life and our behaviour, but it misses the point. The best way to help oneself, to feel better is to be smart and to step aside of one’s emotional turbulence. It will pass, any emotion that is present now will not be there forever.
Love of oneself is not as common as it should be. I cried, when I realised that I did not love myself. Not because of some misfortune, but just because I was not connected to myself. Without connection, there is no binding to that loved object, no commitment, no relationship. We must nurture our relationship to ourselves, and only then we can allow ceaseless happiness to penetrate our every millisecond of life. The Dalai lama and some other wise men that have been taught by their community, know and share their happiness. But you must discover it yourself. One can point you out there, but you must experience your inner reality, the awareness of self love for yourself.
YOU will not find contentment on a specific location, it is not about the place, but about your mindset. We are happier in some places than others, such as being in the nature on our own, but it is not about the exact latitude, we are not like vines, but more about the energy we feel in our mind. We create this energy, it is the awareness when we are comforted, we stop thinking and start purely enjoying. Like during an orgasm or looking at your newborn baby, in the moment you do not think, you are just being love.
So awareness of being, love of yourself, and wisdom are the three pillars of lasting happiness. Radiate love and wisdom, and the others around you fill follow. Spreading such contagion is the best action one can contribute to a better, peaceful and more happy world. We are all heroes if we overcome the hurdles of our minds and open ourselves to being happy.