Not quite sure if it is possible: being happier than a seagull with a French fry.
Happier than a Seagull
When I teach about ‘happiness’ and explain other people about why I practice and teach yoga – ‘because I seek lasting happiness’ – I am often confronted with remarks like: “Isn’t that very superficial? Why then don’t you just indulge yourself in all kinds of pleasures, take drugs, party, etc.?”.

Comments like this are very understandable, however they are rooted in misunderstanding. Probably fed by the misuse of the word happiness and what we have come to associate it with. We usually think of happiness as having a nice chocolate ice cream, or spending time with your best friend, or reading a good book, or enjoying the sun. However the happiness that yogis seek is happiness that comes from not wanting anything. To yogis, happiness is not confined to a state of feeling. It comes form understanding the reality of the world as we perceive it – with all of our senses – along with understanding the ultimate reality. This ultimate reality or truth is what enlightened masters are trying to direct us towards. They have truly experienced that beyond what we experience with our senses there is deep within us ‘something’ that is shared amongst all and everything. They belief that ultimately in the core we come from the same, are the same, there is no right and wrong, there is no better or worse, there is no comparison.There is no past, no present. There is only now. In essence: there is no duality.

Obviously we live in a world, or rather, we belief in a world were there is a past and future, where time is a factor that passes, that we loose, that is longitudinal. We are convinced that there is beautiful and ugly, that there is you and me and we are totally separate identities. Essentially we live in a world of duality. This duality gives us pleasure, but also pain. It gives joy, but also suffering, it give ecstasy, but therefore depression. And as long as we are on the ‘good’ side we are all fine, but as soon as we experience the other end of the spectrum life becomes difficult and miserable. I know from personal experience that the experience of duality, and especially its dark deep depths is one of the best motivators to develop spiritually. First, my motivation was to only be at the good end. To only be happy and healhty, etc. However soon I started to realize that as long as I was even wanting that, the other would always exist. So next step: realizing non-duality.

Mm… intellectually I have the tiniest, little understanding. Experience? Fractions of a second in meditation. I am not sure if I will make it to more than that in this life time. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

In the meantime… I’m eager to hear your experience, thoughts, feelings about nonduality

 


Merel Martens

Merel is the founder of Parimukti Yoga & Meditation Center aiming to spread the beauty and benefits of yoga with everyone. For Merel, Yoga is awareness, both on the mat and in everyday life. Classes and teachings serve as an inspiration when stepping into daily life.

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