November 14, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
So what is the ultimate trick to being happy? You’d think after 85 days of examining this question, of probing, peeling away the onion of my personality, observing, etcetera, I’d have a quick, witty answer. Sadly, I do not.
I think practicing The Eight Limbs of Yoga, as they are set out by Patanjali, is only a piece of what it takes to get to that state of happiness. It is not the whole shabang.
As I write this I find I am not happy, nor sad. When I think back over recent days I can see this is the state in which I have been existing for quite a while. Have I traded in those high highs for a disappearance of the low lows? It might be so. I think probably I can exist in this manner and call it something else. After all, happiness is such a nebulous word.
Also, I have had to redefine Patanjali’s words to fit my life. Sometimes those words have looked more like Ruiz’ The Four Agreements. Sometimes, like a poem by Mary Oliver or Naomi Shihib Nye. Sometimes those words have simply needed to be replaced by the amazing color of the sky just before a snow storm. Early on, and still, those words have needed to be replaced by a song. As long as I kept my eye on the prize, in other words, Patanjali’s words were what I needed them to be.
I have received many emails and Facebook messages about my blog. These are, by necessity, comments people don’t want made public. Each and every comment has been a valuable tool for me. It has been like being inside someone’s personality and seeing my words from their prospective. What this has done for me is open me to a state of greater compassion. While I’ve known we all suffer, the messages I’ve received put a face on suffering. I will be forever grateful to those of you who have chosen to tell me your story.
I guess what I’m saying is The Eight Limbs of Yoga are only a framework in which to work, not the answer. If you can call the state in which I find myself “happy” then I would need to point out, this state has come about by doing the daily practice of simply being mindful, of focusing each day on not doing the things I’ve found that make me unhappy, and doing the things, I learned, that do make me happy. So ultimately, it is the practicing that has changed my life. And really, it is writing this blog every day that is a big part of the practicing. Under the thesis of We Can’t Give What We Don’t Have, this practice has taught me to give to myself, not selfishly, but with this simple intent: THE ONLY WORK WE CAN DO IS THE WORK ON OURSELVES. THE ONLY LIFE WE CAN SAVE IS OUR OWN.
With abundant tender loving kindness for all, including me, Chris