Did I say your ordinary life is even better than happiness?
Our everyday experiences are full of moments when we allow ourselves to just be. The funny thing is, they mostly pass us by without any of us noticing. These don’t need to be anything special – just the everyday run-of-the-mill will do. You might find it in the same conversation at work, the next sip of an average tasting coffee, hearing that annoying dog bark over a neighbor’s fence while walking home at night in the rain. The point is, nothing special is required. Are you wondering what’s so unique about these moments and why I’ve dedicated a whole paragraph to something so ‘ordinary’ without getting to the gist of anything important?
There must be something else… how do you know?
For brief everyday moments we’re free from all the “I should / shouldn’t do this or that” because we become engaged by what we’ve always done. While doing all these ‘ordinary’ or even ‘pointless’ activities for a short time we stop thinking about it and just ‘get on with it’. With this temporary pause in thinking, we also temporarily pause our reaching and expecting. For the time being, our incessant directive nature and all the internal chatter it creates just eases off completely. We might miss it but this occurrence happens all the time.
Who needs meditation?
So to go a step further, what we achieve in the ‘ordinary’ is no so different from the goals of deep meditation – it’s definitely more accessible and perhaps even more ‘natural’. In some ways meditation can be burdened by our expectations that hinder the potential benefits. For example, I expect to be relaxed during meditation – but I can’t completely relax because I’m comparing my present relaxation with how I expect my relaxed state should be. It’s this expectation, this comparision, and these thoughts that tighten their grip as I struggle to turn down the internal chatter station. By simply allowing myself to let go of my expectations the noise stops, the frequency has shifted.
The fact is, we do this all the time but often fail to recognize it. We are so conditioned to believe the the ordinary can’t be extraordinary, can’t be meaningful that we dismiss what we already have. We’re so sure there must be something more to all this… but frankly there isn’t, really.
This realization is much better said by a wise Indian sage:
The state we call realization is simply being oneself
– Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsh
So when we recognize that the most profound experiences are just everyday moments without our self-made burdens that compel us to do this or that, there’s a good chance we’ll start allowing ourselves to enjoy life, as it happens.
Do you want to know about the “better than happiness” claim?
I see happiness as a natural state of being, more so it’s an uninhibited being grounded in an acceptance of what happens from one thing to the next. It is an acceptance that we are human beings with multiple imperfections, hang-ups, anxieties etc. – the things we usually beat ourselves up over are really just part of our unique human experience. When we see life more as a stream of experiences there’s less need to attach good or bad labels them. It’s about letting go and just being with no goal other than that.
This state (I’m not even sure if it is a state) surpasses happiness because it’s permanent. It doesn’t really require any special life situation because your life situation right now fits perfectly. It’s all about opening ourselves up and simply allowing ourselves to experience every aspect of our humanity fully.
And that’s why it’s far superior to happiness because its where you are right now and will be where you are from here on in.