I lived at an ashram/yoga retreat in the Bahamas for a few months recently and we (staff and some guests) would all rise every morning at 5:30 and be sitting in the temple by 6:00 meditating. At about 6:30 we would begin a half hour of daily chants…a long series of mantras put to music. One of those mantras went like this
“I am bliss, I am bliss, bliss absolute, bliss I am!”
Even in the Bahamas we had a number of cool nights and mornings, and of course not everyone was always wide awake or happy about being up before the chickens and sitting in satsung. I remember looking around the temple and laughing at the apparent irony in all the people bundled up in winter clothing, sitting there appearing grumpy and half asleep, staring at the floor singing, “I am bliss!” At the same time I sensed the truth in the words—that bliss is our natural state and often felt it as I sang! I am there now!
Yes…I am in one of my favorite places in Florida and I love the warmth of the gentle spring sun, the happy sound of palm fronds frolicking in a light sea breeze, the songs of Cardinals and Mockingbirds and the joyful cries of gulls and Osprey sounding all around me, the soft scattered clouds highlighting a brilliant blue sky, but that is all surface stuff! Other surface stuff should be causing me depression and anxiety! I am jobless, my funds are dwindling, I am alone, I have no idea where I am going or what I will be doing next week, let alone 5 years from now, and I have nothing except an old truck, a few tools, some clothes and a bit of kitchenware with no real home to leave it in. Now that I’ve listed all those reasons, I AM feeling a bit nervous! LOL!
What I really want to do though is dance…after I share the bliss with you! Why? Because I have finally realized that the ultimate purpose of absolutely everything we engage in (even if we don’t realize it) is to find the bliss…to find our way back to our natural state!…and when we do, there is nothing else we really need. How do we find bliss?…by quieting the mind. Yes…as long as we’re in the physical world, our forms require food, water, shelter, and in some climates, some kind of covering. These needs seem to require constant thought, but they come fairly easily to most non-human life forms…why not to us? Jesus said, “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Most of our bodily processes…healing, constant reconstruction, etc. take place without us even being conscious of them; why do we think the external world is any different? Where do we get the idea that the whole world will fall apart without constant effort on our part, endless input from our minds…and lots of stress? Have you observed lately the kind of stuff that occupies your mind most of your waking hours? I heard a speaker recently suggest that 80 to 90% of the thoughts we have today are the same ones we had yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that….endless repetition of mostly nonsense! Don’t take my word for it! Observe your own mind…for even a few minutes! Really! Start now……….
Ok…did anything useful come through? Did you notice anything new and exciting? Did any solutions to your problems reveal themselves?…solutions to our collective problems? If my mind is any kind of example….and I think it’s safe to say it is!…while thought is sometimes enjoyable and it can be fun to relive some of the best moments of our lives or to look ahead and dream of things being better than they are at this moment, and while it is sometimes necessary to focus for short periods on situations that require our attention, most of the really useful material that comes through does so without any effort on our part! If you read the biographies of great writers, artists, composers, mathematicians and others who have produced works of lasting value, I think you will find that most of them would say much the same thing…that their best work was produced without any real effort on their part…that it seemed to just flow out of them! Einstein didn’t sit around for hours and hours thinking hard to come up with solutions; he took long, quiet walks in natural surroundings. Do you think Handel could have produced the Messiah in 21 days if he had sweated over all the technical details, questioning himself at every turn? My understanding, and now my personal experience, tells me that the most important thing we can learn is how to get out of our own way!…how to live every moment of our lives as an open channel, a hole in a flute that the beautiful music of the universe can flow through! What do we gain from learning this? Everything we could possibly need…and BLISS!