An AAHAA moment - True Happiness is possible only when it is Unconditional. All other feelings of happiness are transient. I have often heard of and even felt "unconditional love" towards others - but have questioned its veracity in my life since this love is directed towards people I know. This love came from a capacity to forgive and to accept that they have perspectives different from mine. Sometimes if there was 'wrong doing' I loved inspite of it. And so by virtue of the love being qualifiable it somehow lost its capacity to be unconditional. Then there is the love I feel for those who I may not know and who may not know me but whose troubles I know about. I feel for them and I send out blessings towards them - there is a sense of compassion in this love. Again this is love because they are in need. What I really want to be able to feel is love that is flowing outwards all the time. No judgments, no sizing people out, no first appearances or anything like that.
Then last night as I listened to a spiritual guru it dawned on me that it is not only love that needs to be unconditional it is Happiness. My happiness comes from within me and is therefore completely in my control. My definition of happiness though is based on my belief system - something that I have developed from the first moments I got associated with the physical world. My divinity remains untouched by these belief systems but my human side is acutely affected by them.
When I can go back to my core - my divinity - and look out through my mind's eye I can see that my happiness is measured by how I FEEL. When I feel good I am happy when I feel bad I am unhappy. When life goes the way I believe it should I am happy when it does not I am unhappy. There are degrees to this happiness and that too I gauge by my feeling-o-meter. Feelings come from past experiences of pain and pleasure that helped develop and establish beliefs. These beliefs have mostly misaligned me from my True Self. Whether a feeling is a good one or a bad one it comes from a belief that is mostly biased. The play of duality is what has established my beliefs. How I, the Authentic Me, sees something is often different from how my ego sees things. My opinions and views must not only be expressed they must also be understood and accepted for me to feel good. This is conditional happiness. This is the kind of fleeting happiness my little I is yearning for.
A friend ignores me and this makes me unhappy. Where does this feeling come from? If I examine this feeling I can justify my unhappiness because I believe I can expect my friend to be true to my friendship. My happiness is dependent on my expectation of reciprocal feelings towards me. My friendship was therefore conditional upon her feelings towards me. Unconditional friendship means that I am a friend because I love her and get pleasure from caring about and for her. Then whether or not she considers me a friend becomes immaterial. If and when she needs me, wants me, remembers me I am there for her. She may have kicked me to the curb but I never got to the curb - I stayed at her door. The pleasure I got from the friendship still holds true, for in my heart is the knowing that my love for her is unchanged. The kind of love a truant dog has for its master - how soulful and touching is that love? It is complete all on its own - independent of anything else there is. This love is independent of who she is and completely dependent on who I AM. How then can I be unhappy?
My belief system and my feelings are intertwined and when I examine my feelings and disentangle them from my beliefs the picture that comes through helps me align myself to my authentic feelings and therefore makes it possible for me to go back to my Source - my Divine Self. Feeling unhappy or sad or angry is considered 'normal' simply because I have developed a belief that it is so. What I forgot was that these feelings are only a mechanism to measure my beliefs which I must then consciously and continuously tweak. Instead of brooding over, crying, complaining and regretting, thus becoming unhappier, if I examine the feelings and figure out which misaligned beliefs they are coming from I can choose to correct them for future reference. This applies for happy feelings too. All happy feelings are not essentially in tune with the Authentic Me.
A friend praises me for my kindness and compassion towards her. I feel proud of myself and happy that she is so appreciative of me. Here like in the previous example my happiness is conditional upon my expectation that my feelings be reciprocated. This too is being decided by my misaligned belief that my happiness is dependent on her appreciating all I do. Like in the previous case my happiness to be unconditional must be independent of her response to me. There too I am at her door even if she has placed me on her dinner table. My love for her is independent of the meal she treats me to.
Beliefs that arouse opposite sets of feelings are ones that must be changed. I must remain stable under all circumstances. The emotions that arise whether they be elation or sorrow, love or anger, fear or indifference must all be used to bring myself to that plain where there are no bumps either way. Feelings will arise from moment to moment and every feeling deserves expression but every feeling also deserves attention. I must use my feeling-o-meter and bring myself to my core to find the stability that comes from my inner happy being. The happiness within me is complete on its own - I am complete within myself. People, circumstances, events will come and go and as they do so they will leave their mark on my ego self and on my beliefs, feelings and thoughts but if I can get myself back to the equilibrium and remain true to my Authentic Self being loving, compassionate and giving, Bliss will be mine.