Happiness is our true nature that is ever present; it is what we are. Because our true nature tends to be veiled by the ego, and we believe that the experience of happiness depends on outer objects and situations that the mind deems to be be agreeable, it is commonplace for individuals to be completely oblivious to the joy that they are. However, we do get glimpses of this truth when it reveals itself from time to time. In the main, this is when worldly desires are met; it’s that momentary surge of joy we get when we hold the keys to the new car in our hand for the first time, or at the unboxing of the huge, new flat-screen TV. Because these desires are superficial and egoic, they cause pain and suffering when they remain unmet, and only a brief experience of joy when they are met. Once a desire has been met, it dissolves away and the mind then focuses on something else, equally superficial, as the focus of its latest desire. It’s a vicious circle that can only be broken by the experience of Pure Being; which is the realisation of the Self.
The only desire of worth is the desire to love, which comes from deep within ourselves. It is the experience of Being, Presence, Bliss, Awareness, or whatever name you want to give it. Language is very limiting and there are no words that could ever describe it aptly. But, whether we are aware of it or not, it is ever present and ever shining in all its glory.
A long, long time ago in Japan, it was quite normal for marauding armies to ransack villages, with the villagers having to flee or be killed. In one such village an old Zen master sat peacefully in his very humble abode as chaos reigned outside. All of a sudden, a fearsome soldier kicked the master’s door open and stood menacingly in the doorway; the master was unmoved. The soldier sneered and said, “what are you still doing here, are you not afraid? All of the villagers are either dead or have fled, yet you remain here.” The master replied, “what have I to fear, and besides, where would I go?” The soldier became angry, and drawing his sword raged, “don’t you know that I am a man who can run you through without blinking an eye?” The old master looked at him and said, “don’t YOU know that I am a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?”
With a body or without a body; it is all the same to one who has realised. Live or die; the master knows there is no death and therefore remains unmoved. There is also the paradox here between the polar opposites of “doing” and “being”. The soldier wants to “do” (kill) the master, but that in itself is a fruitless task, as the most he can achieve is to be the cause of the master’s body evolving (effect) into a different form. You cannot kill anything in reality as all is consciousness and is in a constant state of flux. What would happen to the body? If buried it would eventually decompose and merge with the earth. If cremated, the cremation process would cause the flesh to evolve into heat energy and be absorbed back into the total energy mass.
The master remained in a state of pure knowing, enlightenment, awakening, bliss or whatever description you wish to use; all are just terms for “Being”. The master remains blissful regardless of which action the soldier chooses to take. He says, “besides, where would I go?” Indeed, where would the master go? There is only here and now; it is all we have.