Where’s the Bliss?

Where’s the Bliss?

Happy Monkey by Chris Lott
Happy Monkey by Chris Lott

Seems this is the topic of the month as I’ve come back to it again.

Terms like sat chit ananda and nirvana refer to an established awakening. Both reference bliss, so bliss is clearly an integral part.

And yet many awake people experience a deep settled peace but little bliss. What gives?

The first question is: are they established? We need that inner stability for bliss to be ongoing.

The newly awake can have an initial “honeymoon” period, but there is commonly lots of unpacking soon after the shift. At this point, it’s common for even the peace to be unsettled at times.

Once established, another impediment is a dominant mind. If the habit of falling back into the mind is still present, that will not help. It varies, but some people have to introduce a new habit of falling back to the Self for a time to deepen being. Then it becomes automatic.

The flip side of this is groundedness. If there has been a habit of falling back into air or space and not being present to the surface world experience, we’re also not present to the full range of being. We’re “space cadets” and may experience a dreamy satisfaction, but this isn’t bliss. We need to be grounded in the body for an integrated experience. I’ll come back to this further down.

We also need to recognize that bliss comes from within rather than from external objects or events. The passing satisfaction of accomplishment or new possessions never lasts. If the mind is still strong, we’ll be seeking happiness outside of ourselves as a noisy mind shadows bliss.

Bliss is essentially lively consciousness. A quiet mind brings peace and Self recognition, but bliss is a lively aspect that requires some refinement (sattva) to be recognized with the stillness.

Once established, purification rarely overshadows. Occasionally, huge ones trigger old dynamics and may kick up enough dust and drama to lower clarity. But if effective techniques for purification are known, this should be temporary.

And finally, some people get a little too abstracted in another way. The inner stillness causes them to reduce outer activity too. This reduces grounding and increases tamas, inertia.

It’s important to reverse that trend and get active to get things moving and maintain health. And then, the liveliness can roll across the silence. Life is bliss.

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  1. Jean

    “The inner stillness causes them to reduce outer activity too. This reduces grounding and increases tamas, inertia.”

    Oh yes that is what I am figuring out at the moment. There needs to be a fine balance maintained.
    Thanks for the great reminder David.

    1. Hi Jean
      Yes, I’ve been reminded of that myself recently. The physiology needs activity. Deep settledness is good, but alternated with a variety of activity. Something for flexibility, for cardio, and for strength. The combination, the alternation of rest and activity, is what grounds the inner development.

      Similar to sleep. We need enough sleep but not too much or too little.

      Periodically, it’s good to look at areas of our life to see if we’re maintaining balance. Food, activity, rest, social, work, etc. An imbalance gradually tends to amplify. If we don’t correct it, life will give us a push or something will go off the rails. 🙂

  2. Tim Owens

    David, I am very impressed by the fact that you actually tracked down a very clear picture of the devata of “monkey mind.” I have had long conversations with this little bugger over the years – he is a rascal.

    1. (laughs) A rascal indeed. Some devata have a lot of attitude and mind certainly likes being important and noticed. But he doesn’t want to actually be seen as then the jig is up. It’s an interesting trick to make yourself noticed without being seen. Entangling the ego and making it think these are my thoughts, etc. is part of the trick. 🙂

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