The finish line on the bumpy road we have traveled since the flood is finally within view; it is no longer a mirage beckoning me before disappearing as soon as I get near. I can see where we are going and we are slowly making it there sometimes with a few steps back but always moving forward. This has been a difficult process and those difficulties culminated at the end into tensions and realizations from the last two months. They were held at bay before releasing last week because even as things are getting ironed out, my limits on patience were wearing thin. But I am breaking free and see now that this was all one big opportunity.
Through it all, there were moments of joy, peace and happiness; moments when I could not look forward, and just had to be content with where I was because events were out of my control. I have thought about life, why things happen as they do and how it catches us by surprise and realized that there is not a finish line to happiness. The finish line is always a mirage if we cannot find happiness in the moment.
Eudaimonia (Greek: ευδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯monía]), is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing” has been proposed as a more accurate translation. often translated as “practical or ethical wisdom”. In Aristotle’s works, eudaimonia was (based on older Greek tradition) used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider (and also experience) what it really is, and how it can be achieved.
“To consider what really is and how it can be achieved”…this concept has been studied for thousands of years by yogis and psychologists alike. We all seek happiness and freedom. I am finally starting to emerge and stand tall where I am rather than in a vision of where I want to be. No longer will I live for the mirage no matter how difficult the situation presents.
When we live for something always out of grasp it will only cause more suffering because if we seek it, then we assume we don’t have it. I have it, I have always had it and while I have experienced some of the more difficult times in life recently, I realize I have it more now than ever because of that event. I feel I am in a state of being where I am passionately breaking free of old ways, vehemently seeking to develop into a more alive human being, in a state of emergence and it is the beginning of freedom and happiness.
Yogis call this state samvega – a complex state involving a kind of disillusionment with mundane life, a wholehearted longing for a deeper investigation into the inner workings of the mind and the self. Samvega, as described by the contemporary Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu, involves, “at least three clusters of feelings at once”: – – the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it’s normally lived; a chastening sense of our own complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly; and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle. Read more here.
Happiness is always within our possession, it resides below all of the mental chatter. Yet, our experience of it seems to be on a continuum and we glide along feeling great at times and then not so great at others. It is how we can handle those not so great times that really exemplifies our happiness. Can we disconnect from our struggles, our stale ways of thinking, and find “what really is”? Happiness is within, always waiting to be realized and sometimes the grasping at the mirage teaches us this truth.