Awaken to Happiness
According to the ancient philosophy of the Vedanta, there are two types of happiness. The first comes from things turning out the way we’d like them to, i.e. getting what we want. We say, “I’m happy because . . . because I have family and friends, because I got a promotion, because I have money and security.” This kind of happiness is inherently fleeting because it depends on external reasons that can be taken away from us at any time.
The second type of happiness, in contrast, is a state of being, not something we do or achieve. It isn’t dependent upon our mood or outer circumstances. Real happiness comes from having an unassailable connection to the deep state of unbounded awareness at our core. This state of being is our own inner joy that expresses the exuberance and wonder of being alive at this moment; it is our own self-luminous essence made conscious of itself.
How do we awaken to this true Self? By going within and putting our attention on the silent presence in our heart . . . the silent witness that is detached from sensory experience and at the same time enjoys that experience in complete freedom. You can do this right now by asking yourself, “Who is the one that is reading this article?” Become aware of the silent witness that is observing the unfolding of all the external events of your life. This eternal presence is your true Self.
The Path of Meditation
Meditation is one of the most direct and powerful ways to awaken to who we really are and to experience happiness as a state of consciousness that already exists within us. When we meditate, we go beyond the swirl of thoughts, memories and emotions that tend to keep us stuck in our ego’s story of who we are. We enter an expanded state of awareness and discover our own inner fountain of joy, a source of happiness that isn’t dependent on anyone or anything.
We may experience a realization of our true Self the first time we meditate, but most often the process of awakening is gradual. As we meditate regularly, we let go of the conditioned beliefs and accumulated physical and mental toxicity that cloud our perception of our essential spiritual nature.
In addition to meditation, the Chopra Center teaches other useful tools and practices for awakening to expanded awareness and happiness. If you would like to explore these practices, I invite you to join us for the 8-Week Happiness Course, a free online program that will help you connect to own inner source of joy.