Happiness

Humanity has discovered two great paths in its search for happiness.

The first, and by far the most popular, is the path of desire. Happiness from this approach depends on the fulfillment of our desires. For instance, I will be happy when I have this job, that car, this level of success, these relationships and these outer circumstances. Unfortunately, it is very common that the more we pursue these things, the more happiness tends to elude us. We find that after fulfilling our desire – a new car/job etc, we quickly discover a new desire for a better car/job. Fulfillment seems always just out of reach.

Of course, this happiness is also quite precarious. All the ingredients for this kind of happiness already mentioned, can disappear in an instant due to unforeseen circumstances. Where is our happiness then?

Then there is the other path which humanity has discovered – the path of aspiration. By learning to go beyond the intellectual mind and enter into the spiritual heart through the practice of meditation, we enter into our true self and the seat of our soul.

Here we will feel an expansion in our consciousness, we will feel inner peace and inner joy.

One of the exceptional things about this kind of happiness is that it does not depend on outer circumstances. This happiness is self-generated and comes from our own Soul’s spontaneous joy. It is unaffected in the face of the changing fortunes of life.

True inner joy is self-created.
It does not depend on outer circumstances.
A river is flowing in and through you carrying the message of joy.
This divine joy is the sole purpose of life.

– Sri Chinmoy

Knowledge

Broadly speaking, there are only two categories of knowledge. The experiential and the empirical.  Let us look at a very common substance, water, as an example to see the distinction.

Experiential knowledge includes our personal experience of its different states and properties that includes not only how we perceive it through the senses, but also the memories, emotions and feelings with which we respond to it.

By contrast, empirical knowledge is water’s materiality, its chemical composition as revealed by the experimental methods of the founder of modern chemistry, the French genius Antoine Lavoisier. He it was, who in 1783 sparked the two gases of hydrogen and oxygen in a test tube, to find a residue of dew-like drops that “seemed like water”.

Both of these forms of knowledge are equally REAL. The fact (and beauty) of a snowflake melting in the palm of the hand is every bit as important as the scientific explanation that its melting involves the loosening of the lattice holding the molecules of hydrogen and oxygen together.

The modern scientific world tends to favour the latter perspective, whereas spiritual knowledge is based firmly on the former.

Spiritual truths can never be fully explained, they can only be experienced and realised as they are to be discovered beyond the reaches of the mind and the senses. In our meditation and spiritual progress, it is our very own experience which will teach us everything we need to know. From my own experience, I find this to be immeasurably more real and convincing than any amount of words – either spoken, read or proven in a book.