Part V - Living Life

15. The path of unconditional happiness

To begin with, you have to realize that you really only have one choice in this life, and it’s not about your career, whom you want to marry, or whether you want to seek God.
People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy?
It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.

Most people don’t dare give themselves that choice because they think it’s not under their control.
Someone might say, “Well, of course I want to be happy, but my wife left me.” In other words, they want to be happy, but not if their wife leaves them. But that wasn’t the question. The question was, very simply, “Do you want to be happy or not?” If you keep it that simple, you will see that it really is under your control. It’s just that you have a deep-seated set of preferences that gets in the way.

Let’s say you’ve been lost and without food for days, and you finally find your way to a house. You can hardly make it to the doorstep, but you manage to pull yourself up and knock on the door. Somebody opens the door, looks at you and says, “Oh my God! You poor thing! Do you want something to eat? What would you like?” Now the truth is, you really don’t care what they give you. You don’t even want to think about it. You just utter the word “food.” And because you really mean it when you say you need food, it no longer has anything to do with your mental preferences. The same goes for the question about happiness.
So the question is: “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?”

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s not a question of whether your happiness is under your control. Of course it’s under your control. It’s just that you don’t really mean it when you say you’re willing to stay happy. You want to qualify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn’t happen, or as long as that does happen, then you’re willing to be happy. That’s why it seems like it is out of your control. Any condition you create will limit your happiness.
You have to give an unconditional answer.

You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy.
And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.

Once you decide you want to be unconditionally happy, something inevitably will happen that challenges you. This test of your commitment is exactly what stimulates spiritual growth. In fact, it is the unconditional aspect of your commitment that makes this the highest path. It’s so simple. You just have to decide whether or not you will break your vow.

Billions of things could happen that you haven’t even thought of yet. The question is not whether they will happen. Things are going to happen. The real question is whether you want to be happy regardless of what happens.
The purpose of your life is to enjoy and learn from your experiences. You were not put on Earth to suffer.
You’re not helping anybody by being miserable.
you get to choose whether or not you want to enjoy the experience before you die.
Events don’t determine whether or not you’re going to be happy. They’re just events.
You determine whether or not you’re going to be happy. You can be happy just to be alive.
If you can live this way, your heart will be so open and your Spirit will be so free, that you will soar up to the heavens.

This path leads you to absolute transcendence because any part of your being that would add a condition to your commitment to happiness has got to go. If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama.
This is the part that thinks there’s a reason not to be happy. You have to transcend the personal, and as you do, you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being.

You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Go ahead, take a look at reality. You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience.
You’re going to die anyway. Things are going to happen anyway. Why shouldn’t you be happy? You gain nothing by being bothered by life’s events. It doesn’t change the world; There’s always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.

This choice to enjoy life will lead you through your spiritual journey. In truth, it is itself a spiritual teacher.
Committing yourself to unconditional happiness will teach you every single thing there is to learn about yourself, about others, and about the nature of life.
You will learn all about your mind, your heart, and your will.
But you have to mean it when you say that you’ll be happy for the rest of your life.
Every time a part of you begins to get unhappy, let it go. Work with it. Use affirmations, or do whatever you need to do to stay open.
If you are committed, nothing can stop you. No matter what happens, you can choose to enjoy the experience.
If they starve you and put you in solitary confinement, just have fun being like Gandhi. No matter what happens, just enjoy the life that comes to you.

The key to staying happy is really very simple. Begin by understanding your inner energies. If you look inside, you will see that when you’re happy, your heart feels open and the energy rushes up inside of you.
When you aren’t happy, your heart feels closed and no energy comes up inside. So to stay happy, just don’t close your heart.

no matter what happens, you’re not going to close. You really do have that choice. When you start to close, just question if you’re really willing to give up your happiness.
You should examine what it is inside of you that believes there’s some benefit to closing.
The slightest thing happens to you, and you give away your happiness. You were having a great day until someone cut you off on your way to work.
What good came from letting it ruin your day? There was no benefit. If somebody cuts you off, let go and stay open. If you really want to, you can.

If you take on this path of unconditional happiness, you will go through all of the various stages of yoga. You will have to stay conscious, centered, and committed at all times. You will have to stay one-pointed on your commitment to remain open and receptive to life.
The great Saints taught that God is joy, God is ecstasy, and God is love.
If you remain open enough, waves of uplifting energy will fill your heart.
Spiritual practices are not an end in themselves. They bear fruit when you become deep enough to remain open. If you learn to stay open at all times, great things will happen to you. You simply have to learn not to close.

The key is to learn to keep your mind disciplined enough so that it doesn’t trick you into thinking that this time it’s worth closing. If you slip, get back up.
The minute you slip, the minute you open your mouth, the minute you start to close and defend yourself, get back up.
Just pick yourself up and affirm inwardly that you don’t want to close, no matter what happens.
Affirm that all you want is to be at peace and to appreciate life. You don’t want your happiness to be conditional upon the behavior of other people.
It’s bad enough that your happiness is conditional upon your own behavior. When you start making it conditional upon other people’s behavior, you’re in serious trouble.

Your mind will tell you that it’s not reasonable to stay open when these things happen. But you have limited time left in your life, and what’s really not reasonable is to not enjoy life.
If you have trouble remembering that, then meditate. Meditation strengthens your center of consciousness so that you’re always aware enough to not allow your heart to close.
You remain open by simply letting go and releasing the tendency to close.
You just relax your heart when it starts to tighten. You don’t have to be outwardly glowing all the time; you’re just joyful inside. Instead of complaining, you’re just having fun with the different situations that unfold.

Unconditional happiness is a very high path and a very high technique because it solves everything. You could learn yoga techniques, such as meditation and postures, but what do you do with the rest of your life?
The technique of unconditional happiness is ideal because what you’re doing with the rest of your life is already defined—you’re letting go of yourself so that you can remain happy.
As far as your spirituality goes, you’re going to grow very rapidly.
A person who actually does this every moment of every day is going to notice the cleansing of their heart.
They’re also going to notice the purification of their mind because they are not getting involved in the mind’s melodrama.
They will come to know a happiness that is beyond human understanding.
This path solves daily life and it solves spiritual life. The greatest gift one can give to God is to be pleased with His creation.

Imagine God asking if you like it here, and you answer no because…
“That tree is bent in five places; I want it to be straight. This person went out with somebody else, and that person ran up a hundred-dollar phone bill. This person has a nicer car than mine and that person dresses funny. It’s just terrible. Plus my nose is too big, my ears are too small, and my toes are weird. I’m not happy with it. I don’t like any of it.”
About the animals "The ants and mosquitoes bite you; it’s a terrible thing. I can’t go out at night because there are all these animals out there. They howl and poop all over the place, and I just don’t like it"
Imagine another person answering "Everything I look at just creates waves of joy inside me. I look at that bent tree; it just blows me away. The ant comes and bites me, and it’s just so amazing that a tiny ant could be brave enough to bite a giant like me!".

God is as high as it gets. If you want to be close to God, learn to be joyful. If you remain spontaneously happy and centered, no matter what happens, you will find God. That’s the amazing part. Yes, you will find happiness, but that’s nothing compared to what you’re really going to find.

Once you are thoroughly convinced that you will let go no matter what, then the veils of the human mind and heart will fall away.
You will stand face-to-face with what is beyond you because there is no longer a need for you.
When you are done playing with the temporal and finite, you will open to the eternal and infinite.
Then the word “happiness” can’t describe your state. That’s where words like ecstasy, bliss, liberation, Nirvana, and freedom come in. The joy becomes overwhelming, and your cup runneth over.
This is a beautiful path. Be happy.

16. The spiritual path of nonresistance

One should view their spiritual work as learning to live life without stress, problems, fear, or melodrama.
This path of using life to evolve spiritually is truly the highest path.
There really is no reason for tension or problems. Stress only happens when you resist life’s events.
If you’re neither pushing life away, nor pulling it toward you, then you are not creating any resistance. You are simply present. In this state, you are just witnessing and experiencing the events of life taking place.
If you choose to live this way, you will see that life can be lived in a state of peace.

What an amazing process life is, this flow of atoms through time and space. It’s just an eternal sequence of events that take form and then instantly dissolve into the next moment. If you resist this amazing force of life, tension builds within you and gets into your body, mind, and spiritual heart.

What is it inside of us that even has the ability to resist the reality of life? If you look carefully inside yourself, you will see that it’s you, the Self, the indwelling being, that has this power. It is called willpower.

Will is a real force that emanates from your being. It is what makes your arms and legs move. They don’t just move randomly by themselves. They move the way they do because you assert will to make them do so.
You use the same will to hold onto thoughts when you want to concentrate on them.
The power of Self, when it is concentrated and directed into the physical, mental, or emotional realms, creates a force, and we call that force “will.”
That’s what you use when you try to make things happen or not happen. You are not helpless in there; you have the power to affect things.

We actually assert our will in opposition to the flow of life. If something happens that we don’t like, we resist it.
But since what we’re resisting has already taken place, what good is it to resist? If your best friend moves away, it’s understandable that you don’t like it. But your inner resistance to that event for years to come does not change the fact that they did, indeed, move away. It does not do anything to the reality of the situation.

if somebody says something that we don’t like, obviously our resistance won’t stop them from having said it.
What we’re really resisting is the experience of the event passing through us.
We don’t want it affecting us inside. We know it is going to make mental and emotional impressions that will not fit with what’s already in there. So we assert the force of will against the influence of the event in an attempt to stop it from passing through our hearts and minds.
In other words, the experience of an event does not stop with our sensory observation of it. The event also has to pass through the psyche at an energetic level.
The initial sensory observation touches our mental and emotional energy pools, creating movements in the energy. These movements pass through the psyche much like physical impact ripples through water.
Amazingly, you actually have the ability to resist these movements of energy. The assertion of willpower can stop the energy transfer, and that’s what creates tension.

Eventually you’ll see that this resistance is a tremendous waste of energy. The fact is, you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things: that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet.
You are sitting inside resisting impressions from the past or thoughts about the future.
Think of how much energy is wasted resisting what has already happened.
Since the event has already passed, you are actually struggling with yourself, not with the event.
In addition, contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy away.

If you assert your will against the energy of an event that has already happened, it is like trying to stop the ripples caused by a leaf dropped into a still lake. Anything you do causes more disturbance, not less.
When you resist, the energy has no place to go. It gets stuck in your psyche and seriously affects you. It blocks your heart’s energy flow and causes you to feel closed and less vibrant.

This is the human predicament. Events have happened and we continue to hold their energy inside of us by resisting them.
we’re still struggling with past energies. Over time, the energies can build up to the point that a person becomes so blocked that they either blow up or shut down completely. This is what it means to get stressed-out or even totally burned-out.

If you allow each moment of each day to pass through you, then you can be as fresh every moment as you would be on a stress-free vacation.
It is not life’s events that are causing problems or stress. It is your resistance to life’s events that is causing this experience. Since the problem is caused by using your will to resist the reality of life passing through you, the solution is quite obvious—stop resisting.
If you are going to resist something, at least have some rational basis for resisting. Otherwise, you are irrationally wasting precious energy.

Why did you decide to resist this one? Something inside of you must have a basis for deciding when to simply let things pass through and when to assert willpower to either push them away or cling to them.
There are a billion things that don’t bother you at all.
we don’t all have the same preconceived notions of how things should be or how much they should matter to us.

you carry around with you your own set of preconceived notions of how things should be. It is based upon these notions that you assert your will to resist what has already happened.
Where did you get these preconceived notions?

Regardless of when they happened, they left impressions inside of you. Now, based on these past impressions, you are resisting the current events that are taking place. This creates inner tension, turmoil, struggle, and suffering.
Instead of seeing this and refusing to allow these past events to run your life, you buy into them.
Believing they have real meaning, you put all your heart and soul into either resisting or clinging. But in truth, this entire process has no real meaning. It just destroys your life.

you have to become very conscious. You have to carefully watch the mental voice that tells you to resist something.
It literally commands you: “I don’t like what he said. Fix it.” It gives you advice and tells you to confront the world by resisting things.
Why do you listen to it? Let your spiritual path become the willingness to let whatever happens make it through you, rather than carrying it into the next moment.
That doesn’t mean you don’t deal with what happens.
but first let the energy make it through you. If you don’t, you will not actually be dealing with the current event, you will be dealing with your own blocked energies from the past.
You will not be coming from a place of clarity, but from a place of inner resistance and tension.

begin dealing with each situation with acceptance. Acceptance means that events can make it through you without resistance.
Since you are dealing with the actual event, rather than stored energies stimulated by the event, you won’t assert reactive energy from your past.
You will find that you are able to deal with daily situations much better. It is actually possible to never have another problem for the rest of your life.
This is because events are not problems; they’re just events. Your resistance to them is what causes the problem.
But, again, don’t think that because you accept reality it means you don’t deal with things. You do deal with them. You just deal with them as events that are taking place on the planet Earth, and not as personal problems.

You will be surprised to find that in most situations there’s nothing to deal with except for your own fears and desires.
Fear and desire make everything seem so complicated. If you don’t have fear or desire about an event, there’s really nothing to deal with. You simply allow life to unfold and interact with it in a natural and rational manner.
When the next thing happens, you’re fully present in that moment and simply enjoying the experience of life.
You can then be conscious in the presence of whatever takes place, without building up blocked energies. When you attain that state, everything becomes clear.
In contrast, everybody else is attempting to deal with the world around them while struggling with their own reactions and personal preferences.
When a person is dealing with their own fears, anxieties, and desires, how much energy is left for dealing with what’s actually happening?

Up to now, your capacities have been constrained by constant inner struggles. Imagine what would happen if your awareness was free to focus only on the events actually taking place. You would have no noise going on inside. If you lived like this, you could do anything.
Your capabilities would be exponential compared to what you’ve ever experienced. If you could bring this level of awareness and clarity to everything you do, your life would change.

If you’re not trying to make people fit into your preconceived notions of what you like and dislike, you will find that relationships are not really that difficult.
If you’re not so busy judging and resisting people based upon what is blocked inside of you, you will find that they are much easier to get along with—and so are you.
Letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.

Your work is just what you do with yourself during the day while you’re spinning on a planet through empty space. If you want to be content and enjoy your work, you have to let go of yourself and let events flow through you.
Your real work is what is left to do after all else passes through.

Once the personal energies pass through you, the world becomes a different place. People and events will appear different to you. You will realize that you have talents and abilities you never saw before. Your whole view of life will change.
This happens because as you let go in one situation, it affects your clarity for other situations.

It is the path of nonresistance, the path of acceptance, the path of surrender. It’s about not resisting energies as they pass through you.
It’s the work of a lifetime to become that open, that complete, and that whole.

The key is to just relax and release, and deal only with what’s left in front of you.
If you relax and release, you will see that it puts you through tremendous spiritual growth.
You’ll start to feel an enormous amount of energy awaken inside of you. You will feel much more love than you’ve ever felt before. You will feel more peace and contentment, and eventually nothing will ever disturb you again.

You truly can reach a state in which you never have any more stress, tension, or problems for the rest of your life. You just have to realize that life is giving you a gift, and that gift is the flow of events that takes place between your birth and your death.
These events are exciting, challenging, and create tremendous growth. To comfortably handle this flow of life, your heart and mind must be open and expansive enough to encompass reality.
Learn to stop resisting reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey.