On seeing Buddha, [Dona] went to him and said, “Master, are you a deva [a god]?”
“No, brahman, I am not a deva.”
“… a yakkha [a kind of protector god, or sometimes a trickster spirit]?”
“… a human being?”
“No, brahman, I am not a human being.”
“Then what sort of being are you?”
“Remember me, brahman, as awakened.’”
In human history we have never been richer, had more, created more or inspired greater technological advances.
And yet, we have never been so unhappy.
The World Happiness Report shows people in developed continents such as Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand are less happy than they were in 2005. This is despite increased economic benefit. The Happy Planet index (2014) shows that countries such as Indonesia are happier than any developed nation.
It is all too obvious from these studies that wealth and riches do not bring happiness or fulfilment.
There needs to be a change in how we perceive life and what we want from it. If following our current path of ongoing economic development in a bid to achieve personal and national happiness is not working, then what would work?
What path can we follow? And how do we find it?
Throughout human history, there have been teachers of consciousness who have led many to a higher level of happiness than most of us will ever experience, because most of what we seek is transitory. It does not last.
Success in business is temporary and disappears when we die. A triumph on the sporting field lasts just a moment, the focus turning quickly to the next game or the next season. A relationship can be wonderful one moment and disastrous the next. Children grow and leave their childhood home. A beautiful sunset fades. A blooming flower dies.
To find a higher level of consciousness requires you to step away from what you think you know and allow yourself to experience what is not available in the normal world of consciousness.
If you open your eyes, you will find the majority of the world is asleep, their consciousness running on auto-pilot.
Some people rise, have a shower, eat breakfast, dress and fall out the door, into the car, or onto the bus and go through the day with no thought of what they are doing or why. They are unaware and asleep. This is the sad reality.
If you wish to seek true happiness there is only one part of the universe that is constant. That is the spirit inside you.
This may seem strange to some but if you are ready, the idea of rediscovering your spirit will ring true for you. You will know you want to awaken. If you do not, you are still under the influence of the one thing that creates the unhappiness that you experience around you everyday.
You do not know this thing that influences you because it casts a mirror that makes it appear as if it is the external world that is at fault.
If only that job would be less busy, if your son or daughter would obey you, if that beloved person would return your love, if only problems would stop, if only money would start to flow… then you would be happy.
It appears certain to you that the root of your unhappiness is caused by factors outside of yourself. This is the delusion.
The true cause of your unhappiness and your suffering is within the part of you that makes the choices that puts you in these situations to begin with. This part of you does not want you to awaken or know the joy that every moment of life can bring.
Learning to discover, understand, and know this part of you is the first step to awaken.
So, to begin with, you must find and recognise your ego.
The ego for most is associated with Sigmund Freud. This idea posits that in order to be free and to live the life you were born to, to become enlightened, you must know this part of yourself.
Your journey demands that you know your ego, so you can recognise it and become free of it. Many of us do not even know it exists and have never really experienced freedom from it.
Likewise attempting to describe your true spirit to the unconscious is like describing a beautiful desert island with sparkling turquoise waters and plentiful fish to a nomadic desert dweller. It may sound wonderful but they have no concept of what it is really like.
Awakening can be the key to unlocking that awareness in you.
Living without the ego is pure joy. No matter what happens, your life can be one that holds no stress or fear or anxiety.
This is not controlled by will, it simply does not arise.
It is freedom from suffering.
Life becomes a dance, a dance of knowing yourself fully, of receiving what you deserve and a mystical journey that now calms the mind and heart.
Living from your true nature, you love like you never have before. Life holds no fear anymore because you know the truth. Life is seen for what it really is, an experience of no suffering, as it is impossible to suffer when nothing unreal can threaten you.
The old way of living is dying. The world is growing sick from the abuse of the ego and people are aware that unhappiness grows. There is also a growing awareness that what people are doing is not working in their daily lives. Many are seeking more. They are seeking to awaken.
We are all on a journey in life. That journey can be along a road that takes you to the forest or it can be climbing a mountain and standing on top to see the view.
To awaken is to see clearly and come home to the Divine in you. This is your ultimate journey.
When you take this journey is up to you. That you will is a certainty.
The 8000-year-old Tao Te Ching expresses it beautifully:
“When a superior man heard of Tao,
He cultivates himself diligently.
When an average man heard of Tao,
He is doubtful, vague and would give up halfway.
When an inferior man heard of Tao,
He laughs and thinks of it as foolish.”
You are constantly called to this purpose by the Divine. That you are loved beyond measure and that you are always safe and cared for. The more you seek to know yourself and the truth of who you are and conversely the influence of the one thing that causes your suffering – the ego – the more you will awaken.
The Tao says “One who knows other people is wise.
One who knows himself is enlightened.”
Brett Jones is the author of The Awaken Book.