Much of life has become solely focused on material wealth. Money has become the focus all around the world, and through that focus the planet itself has become threatened by the ecological consequences. Yet the economic rationalism of the society always takes first place. The needs of the planet in terms of population and ecological balance always come second, even though in the last three or four decades there has been ever-increasing awareness of ecological damage.
As far as I can see, this whole chase for money, goods and survival comes from two basic ideas: we want to be happy, and we think we are a body that needs to survive. We all want happiness, but we think we can get it from a good bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a new partner, our soul mate or a bit more money.
Do these things really make us happy? Maybe for a short time there is enjoyment from getting something materialistic: ‘Oh, what a great holiday! I am definitely a bit happier.’ Hoping something on the outside will make us happy is a hook we human beings have invented for ourselves, always keeping us dependent on new desires.
But it is simply not possible for real happiness to come from the outside. Think how beautiful that is. It means that you can find it right now because you already have it. If you would just stop, you would find it. It’s just there, waiting for you, and all efforts to find it elsewhere take you further away.
Money in its essence is fine; it is a tool that humanity has invented, but it has become an obsession out of this fear that we will not survive. The fact is we are all not going to survive. If you see yourself as just the body, you are not going to survive. If you see yourself as the eternal Self then you are here eternally, forever and ever. The eternal Self is a never-changing, absolutely constant phenomenon.
This essential part of our nature is absolutely untouched by issues of survival. If we come into a deep understanding of the eternal Self then death and birth don’t exist. In presence, in consciousness, there is nowhere to go and nothing to acquire.
We are happiness itself, and it doesn’t cost anything. It is all completely given. Existence always takes care of us, even though our understanding is, ‘I have to do my life, and if I don’t do my life it’s not going to work.’ It may not work out the way we planned or the way we hoped, but the important thing is to be present for your life, the life that is actually happening.
We are so used to being in control, or wanting to be in control of our relationships, our jobs, our income, our entire life. It’s a habit; it’s all we know. The controller is the false self, the ‘somebody’. When you say ‘no’ from this false self, you can feel the energy of contraction in your body. Saying ‘yes’, without wanting to change anything, is surrender to life as it is. You can feel the expansion in your body. ‘Yes’ allows you to dissolve into life, into what is.
This kind of acceptance is very threatening because it leads to the deconstruction of the ego. The fastest way to give it up is to say ‘yes, yes, yes’, even in situations where you would like to say ‘no’ – particularly in situations where you would like to say ‘no’. This is extremely difficult because you will always come to some point where you can’t say ‘yes’.
These challenges present themselves every day. Most of them are quite small, but if you get in the habit and the flow of saying ‘yes’, you begin to live in an acceptance of what is, no matter what the situation. ‘Yes’ feels like a lightness or an expansion in the body. This will lead you to the happiness that is waiting inside you.
Natural happiness is actually who we are. It is the same nature as the birds singing. When small children are playing together they feel happy when they build their sand castles on the beach and they also feel happy when the waves come and break them down as the tide comes in. It is not really complicated. This joy is natural; we just have to make contact with it. The only thing preventing this contact is all the conditioning in our minds that tells us life should be a certain way.
In the world of duality, meaning the play of two, happiness and unhappiness are absolutely connected, but you can step out of that whole game and then there is no question about it anymore. Actually there’s not really happiness anymore either. There’s a deep, continuous sense of nourishment or wellbeing, and that foundation is not affected by happiness or unhappiness. You don’t feel better if you’re happy or worse if you’re unhappy. This foundation accepts everything. It is your nature, and it’s very ordinary.