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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Happiness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Happiness

Desiring Freedom and Happiness, They Will Elude You

So let’s try to understand what I mean. Although it is difficult to see, this is the simplest and most basic truth about our mind: as long as you desire freedom, as long as you desire happiness, they will elude you. “Well,” somebody says, “what are we doing here? What are we supposed to do? If we want happiness and freedom, if we desire it and we’re not going to have it, what are we doing here? After all, we are here because we want happiness and freedom.” Look at your experience right at this moment. At this very moment of your experience of yourself, what is happening? What do you see? You’ll see there is an experience of what is happening, and another part of the experience that does not want what is happening. Am I right? That part of you which does not want what is happening wants something else, like freedom or happiness. There is what is, and there is a part that says, “I want something other than what is.” Doesn’t that mean you’re divided? Doesn’t that mean you are in conflict with yourself? Doesn’t that mean you’re setting yourself against yourself? Part of your mind is opposing another part of your mind. That part of your mind opposing the other might be full of ideas and wonderful spiritual knowledge that says, “I want my essence. I want God and freedom.” But, what is that part saying? Isn’t it saying, “That other part of me is yucky; who wants it? I wish it would go to hell. I want to get away from it. I want to understand it so it will disappear.” This is what is called spiritual materialism, which is a dualistic, split perspective. There is a split in your mind, in yourself. There is what is there, and there is the part that doesn’t like what is there, that wants something else. How are you going to arrive at harmony, integration, happiness, and freedom when there is a war inside you, when you are acting according to division and conflict? How can there be healing? How can there be harmony inside you when one part of you is against another part? Is it possible? Look at it logically. Look at your experience. 

Existence Itself is a Delight

When we stop to consider, we recognize that happiness is not something we're going to get somewhere, nor is it the result of some action we take. The very fabric of our beingness is itself what we are always actually looking for. We seek pleasure, joy, happiness, peace, strength, power. But these are simply aspects of our existence. Our nature, our origin is the most precious thing there is. The existence itself is a delight. This existence, this delight, is the very center of reality, all the time. 

Happiness Comes from Realizing the Truth

One cannot seek happiness, for it is the result of realizing the Truth. The personality, which has security and pleasure as its aims, cannot be happy. Pursuing pleasure or safety will entail covering up unpleasant or frightening truths. This automatically closes Joy. For Joy is the radiance of the heart when Truth is appreciated. 

Happiness is Not the Result of Anything

Happiness, value, and pleasure are not the result of anything. These qualities are part of our fundamental nature. If we simply allow ourselves to be, this is our natural experience. You are the most precious thing in the universe, but you behave as if you are the poorest, most trivial thing there is. It doesn’t really take much to see this. Just stop the whirlwind that goes on. Let yourself relax and be there. You can allow yourself to do it wherever you are. You don’t have to be in the Canary Island to be happy. You don’t have to be with someone you are in love with, and who loves you, to be happy. Putting these conditions on your happiness is a degrading way of looking at yourself. Sure, you can be happy in the Canaries or with someone you love, but how about the rest of the time? You abandon yourself, then start looking for satisfaction. You feel that something’s missing, so you are always searching, becoming more and more frantic as all the things you acquire or accomplish don’t fill you. This whole pattern occurs because you have stopped being. If you just let yourself be there, there is nowhere to go, nothing to look for, because it’s all there. It is not that some people are satisfied by being and others not; no, we all feel satisfied when we are ourselves. It is a quality of our human nature. It is our natural endowment. It is the meaning of being a human being. The only thing we need do is to let ourselves be. 

Our Happiness, Our Joy, Our Fulfillment Arise from Actually Serving the Truth

So the function of the soul in life is not simply to maximize our pleasure, but to realize our more objective function as an organ of truth, as an organ of realization, as an organ of a much larger being, of a much bigger, universal reality. We come to realize that our happiness, our joy, our fulfillment arise from actually serving the truth. We serve the truth by being as pure an expression of it as possible. God or the truth doesn’t need you to do things for it, to walk around talking about it or buying it things, but actually to express it, to bring the truth to life. We serve the truth by manifesting it, because what the truth wants is to move from an unmanifest form to a manifest form. That’s why the Sufis say that God needs man in order to express Himself in the world. God manifests in the world through the purified ones. So our job is to be a servant. And to serve is to express. And to express is to be a clear and unimpeded medium for the truth. For that to happen, we need to be purified of our coarser elements. If we approach experience as if it were a lollipop, the objective function of the soul is not fulfilled. The more our soul is aware of the deeper realms and the more correct its attitude toward those realms, the more we express the truth. The deeper realm, the realm of objective reality, is ultimately the home of the soul—its origin, source, and nature. The absolute reality is the nature and origin not only of the soul but of everything. What better master to serve than the innermost nature of you and of everything! So being a servant is an exalted position. 

Realization of the Freedom Vehicle

To be an instrument of the absolute is to be its absolute servant, which is the same as being a complete, thoroughly ripened, and mature human adult. This is human happiness and fulfillment. This is the station of realization of the freedom vehicle, which is the reason we frequently refer to it as the body of service. We develop a new subtle body, which inherently recognizes its function as servicing the truth of Reality. It is a precise, clear, totally objective wisdom, completely free from subjective bias or reaction. This functioning may appear as a limitation when compared with the station of abiding in the absolute, and students tend to react to it in this manner, yet it is actually a deeper and higher realization. For in this station there is no preference at all; there is no need at all for any state or condition, not even for that of the absolute. Our freedom is that we are the absolute in its mystery, but at the same time we are also the individual soul with all of her development, life, and maturation. We are essence with all of its dimensions and aspects, but we are also the human being, with his perishable body, corruptible mind, and inconstant heart. 

Striving for Personal Fulfillment

People who are oriented toward the impersonal, universal spiritual life have a certain misunderstanding. It’s true that to forget about your personal life, to forget about yourself and become a monk or nun, can lead to liberation and enlightenment. But is that why we have a life? Are we supposed to abandon our life on earth to go somewhere else? The majority of humanity rejects this path, and continues to seek happiness and fulfillment here, in this life. So even though it’s not possible to have a fulfilled life the way most people try to get it, there is something very deep and true in that striving for personal fulfillment. In that yearning there is a seed of understanding that all of this life, including the universal and divine, is for us. Why are we here if the abundance is not our lot in a personal life, if we are not going to enjoy it? The way the ego goes about it doesn’t work, but the original impulse is not false. This is a mystery that is rarely understood.

The Ego, by Its Nature, Cannot be Happy in Any Fundamental Way

The individuality of ego, the main outcome of the separation-individuation process, Is primarily defined by Its boundaries. This individuality is dependent on the internalization of mother’s image and her soothing functions. However, the soothing functions, in terms of inner experience, are those of the Merging Essence, which is characterized by the absence of individual boundaries and separateness. Clearly, the outcome is that it is impossible to have a separate individuality and to truly integrate the regulating functions. The two are antithetical. And since the individuality of ego can never integrate these functions in any fundamental way, it can never be completely harmonious, and cannot, by its nature, experience deep contentment and happiness. Ego cannot exist without internal conflicts. This is in fact the general experience of most of humanity. It is also the assertion of most of the profound spiritual teachings, which state that ego cannot be happy or contented in any real or lasting way. 

The Happiness of the Supreme Person

You come to realize, then, that the purified, clarified personality, which is what I call the supreme person, is just a clarity. You experience yourself as the clarity. It’s not just that your mind is clear; all of you is a clarity, an absolute openness and clarity, completely light. When all the impurities go, you remain as a lightness, an openness. But this is a personal openness, a person who is freedom. You are not a free person, you are a person who is the freedom. It is complete personal freedom. As the past is digested and eliminated, that personal freedom remains as the freedom of the personal Supreme, or the eternal person. You are a transparent personal form of pure presence, a body of clear light. The supreme person is eternal in that you can experience yourself, personally, as timeless. When you become One, when the personality is clarified and unified, you will feel that it is an eternal oneness outside of time. It has nothing to do with time. Some people say that the self doesn’t really exist; and on this level, it feels like a kind of emptiness, a nothingness. This is because of its lightness. It’s not just that there is no gravity; it feels like empty gravity. You just light up; you’re full of joy. You are full of personal joy, personal happiness. Finally, you are You, completely; yet, who you are is the supreme reality itself, or the personalization of the supreme reality. It is not exactly nonexistence; it feels like nothing but it is a substantial nothing which is a qualityless essential presence. 

True Life

This is a true life, then: instead of trying to get satisfaction, fulfillment, happiness, love, we allow ourselves to have basic trust. Then all that we do, our relationships and all our activities, are an expression of the satisfaction, fulfillment and love. The true life is a spontaneous activity that arises out of our essence, and there is no need for the efforting kind of will. You’ve got everything. You simply need to see the truth, and what needs to happen just happens. You don’t need to do anything about it. The functioning of true will causes you to do what is needed: if you need to go buy something from the store, or to talk with someone about something, the impulse will come spontaneously. You don’t need to ruminate about it. All of you have had such experiences, when everything flows spontaneously. You just do what’s right. As adult human beings, we actually have the capacity always to do what is right, for ourselves and for everyone else. 

You Cannot Make Yourself Happy; You Can Only Stop Your Judgements

The problem is not that we want to be happy, but that we are going about it in the wrong way. When we really see that we are going about it in the wrong way, we quit. And then life can unfold on its own. We cannot make it unfold. We can quit our rejection, our judgment, our intolerance, but we will quit these patterns only when we completely and totally see what they are doing—that they are hurting us. We still don’t understand that our attitudes, ideas, and beliefs are actually responsible for our suffering. We pay lip service to this idea but we don’t know it completely and totally. So we continue in our old patterns. The work we do here is simply to see the picture completely, seeing exactly what it is you are doing and how that affects reality. This is the way that real freedom, actual change, will come about. To live in freedom and absolute fulfillment, we need a complete, radical shift, and such a shift can occur only when there is a complete understanding of what we are actually doing. All the work you do here is based on understanding what you do and how you interfere with the natural process. If you try to do anything other than understand the situation, your effort will be a blockage, a resistance, an interference. You cannot make yourself grow; you can only cease to interfere. You cannot make yourself happy; you can only stop your judgments. Growth and expansion are natural; they are the life force itself. And you cannot predict its direction. 

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