If I Felt Any Happier, Religionists Might Call It "the 8th Deadly Sin"
Out of blissfulness comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.
-- Michael Jackson
Appearances Do Deceive and I Am No Exception
In my long working history, I was a "professional gypsy", just like with my outrageous over-twenty addresses where I used to live in these past 75 years.
Now, quite some time ago, when I described to my co-worker how I felt during my deliberate evocation of blissful emotions, he gave me a wide-eyed look and said: "No way! What you just described is how I felt when I tried LSD."
Then, at another occasion, while having lunch in another company's cafeteria, one of the guys at my table grabbed my cigarette pack, opened it and sniffed the contents, then gently closed it and put it back in front of me. "Just wanted to check what's the crap that you are smoking to keep you so calm."
At one job I was jokingly called "Brother Val" -- alluding at my monk-like emotional equilibrium.
And let me finish this "shameless bragging" with a certain Monday when my boss passed by my machine -- I worked as a machinist at the time -- and shaking his head commented on my whistling a happy tune: "Come on, Val, it's Monday, you are not supposed to be happy on Mondays."
I said: "O.K. boss, I'll do my best to be miserable."
I lied. Just like I lie in the elevator while participating in my neighbors' complaints about weather, or about "lawn mowing crew blowing again a shitload of cut grass on our parked cars". Well, you know, it's not good to look like an oddball in your neighborhood -- "people talk", and feeling happy without a justified reason these days is much more of an abnormality than feeling pissed without a reason, which is actually quite popular.
To so many, politics is a bloody arena of white glove gladiators -- to me it's but a circus with a bunch of pathetic clowns who don't really believe what they are saying.
And nothing is less of a pretense than my writing articles about politics. I regularly give a little hint to readers by always claiming to be a "political cynic" not trusting any politicians -- but it goes much further than that. I mean, I honestly, genuinely don't give a rat's ass for that circus.
However, with that playfulness in my mind, I will make a comment about any crap going on there, treating it with logic, kicking it around for another angle of viewing, in short -- have fun.
Talking with my aging friends about doctors, diseases, medications, treatments, and lab tests, can be quite entertaining -- though not particularly educational, with all those big Latin words they have learned in their profession of being sick.
But, where does all that attitude come from? The answer would be impossible without taking a peek in my daily practices of deliberate evocation of blissful emotions.
Your goal is not to battle your mind, but to witness your mind.
-- Swami Muktananda
Trying to Communicate Incommunicable
Life is good, because I can make it so, and the world is good, because it has sustained my life so far.
And then I sit comfortably in my reclining chair for my midnight meditation, rapidly dropping all contents of my mind. Soon I am in mental vacuum, with nothing left but pure awareness. Awareness about what? Awareness that I am aware.
From somewhere like another dimension of reality gently emerges this sensation of knowingness, so I am doing my knowing. Knowing of what? Can't say, I don't know, I just know that beyond that there is nothing to know -- and it can't be verbalized.
And I have no sensation of having a body. No identity, except for that ever present "I-amness". I am not I anymore, my regular self-image, with a name and all attributes of a personality, but I am not anybody else either.
Some thirty minutes later I gently swim out of those depths, now mentally crossing the bridge between two worlds. In retrospect, observed from my "regular" mode of functioning, I have some extremely pleasant concepts about what was happening back there, but it's self-deceiving.
The more refined we are, the more of strangers we are to each other.
It's like learning from a book on sexology what sex feels like. Here I gave you a description of my experience during meditation, but how can you possibly relate to it with mental tools of your own and unique conceptualizing?
Is that "it"? We can't drive a photo of a Ferrari. Processing it by your own parameters depicting an altered mental state, you are just forming your own mental picture which has nothing to do with my meditation.
Just like in all cases of communication, our mind is satisfied with approximation of common concepts valid to everyone -- but it doesn't to it much justice when we are sharing a deep experience.
Even if you were another meditation, the very "experiential texture" of your meditation could never match mine.
For, how do you experience yours? Is it anything like mine?
We cannot safely assume that other people's minds work on the same principle as our own. All too often, others with whom we come in contact do not reason as we reason, or do not value what we value, or are not interested in what interests us.
-- Isabel Briggs Myers
We Are All So Different
Indeed, would it ever be possible that our two versions of bliss are identical? Like, is your bliss felt something like a fine vibration with a vision of divine multi-colored dance of energies within your personal space that extends over the limits of your body, like a thick aura.
That personal space not really being "personal" but feeling like omnipresence, with body being a galaxy of some quantum events beyond comprehension, but yet somehow feeling like a warm, familiar home.
A home filled with unutterable love. What does love "mean" to you? I know, I know, we have this name for a concept that we all agree upon -- but something that each one of us experiences differently using colors from our unique emotional palette.
So, we make it communicable, pretending that we know what someone means when they say "I love you". But, think about it. If love was so uniform, wouldn't we have a happy Shangri La on this planet, all of us being telepathically tuned into each other's heart pulsating with love?
Our speaking may, and it does sound more complex than cat's monotonous meowing, but so oftentimes it boils down to a same undecodable crap.
Well, my friend, then this moment comes when we both realize the truth of our emotional uniqueness -- now willing to give up attempts to communicate what's incommunicable.
At that moment all this writing stops being a monologue, as we move on to subjects where sharing makes more sense. Like if I said to someone: "You know what meditation feels like? It's when your neuro-endocrine system gets flooded with crapload of those feeling-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, endorphin, exytocin, norepinephrine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and dopamine" -- and the person says:
"Now I got it, why didn't you say that before!"
Smile is such a nice way that we introduce ourselves.
-- Debasish Mridha
Nothing Really to Brag About
Now, how does all this emotional mambo-jumbo fit into my daily mental routine? After all, I am merely an old fart, nothing special about me, and I just learned to love my existential simplicity, that's all.
Well, it all fits together just fine. Of course, I am far from insisting on feeling blissful all the day long. But being able to shift my emotionality at will enables me to emotionally afford to feel all the spectrum of human emoting -- because my greatly reduced crappy emotions don't scare me, I can let them be, it's O.K. to feel anything.
Sometimes I let myself feel "my version" of anger, and observing it, going into its very texture -- it's even a kind of fun.
For one definite benefit of it, I got this great sense of inner orderliness, like a discipline, a sense of staying on top of experiencing no matter what. It stems pretty much from my philosophy that the whole life is nothing but a state of mind, and if I am not choosing the models of my experiencing -- who is called upon to do it for me?
People are busy being themselves, and I don't expect anyone to "make me happy", especially after seeing all their clumsy attempts to make themselves happy. Would you expect a mechanic to fix your car, if he can't fix his own?
So, I don't see myself at an end of a receiving line, waiting for favorable circumstances that would trigger some good chemical reaction in my poor nerves. Happiness is, to me, an inside job.
And just like I don't expect others to make me feel good, I don't allow them to make me feel bad. Oh yes, I'll quickly put you in place if you try to kick some shit in my direction, but even that I'll do with love. You know the kind of love, when your toddler starts exploring too much of dangerous parts of your living room -- so you lovingly put him in the playpen to cool down his engine a little.
Loving people is only hard when we take ourselves too seriously
Loving people is a full time job, otherwise you go nuts watching those unforgivably negative daily news, hear neighbor's kids making noise, or wonder if that fire engine really has to keep that siren on while having a green light. So much keeps testing your love for the mankind.
Well, I hope this article gave you, if only a vague taste of a mentality which values happiness, harmony, love, and peace of mind above everything else.
And I can't stop here without saying how I take absolutely no credit for any of it. It came to me naturally, without my "careful planning" with an ambition to make an impression. To me it would be like taking a credit for the color of my eyes.
By the way they are brown, and let me take a credit for at least one thing -- I mentally worked on them until I could drop my reading glasses not so long ago, back in my late sixties. So I am the oldest in family and the only one not wearing any glasses. O.K., O.K., you can stop clapping now.
The rest of it may sound like a shameless bragging crap, but truly and honestly, folks, I've got nothing to brag about.
Be well everyone, and don't forget to smile more often.
© 2020 Val Karas