This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Happiness, Desire, Dissatisfaction

A theme that has been coming around is centered on happiness, desire and dissatisfaction. I've been playing in the dichotomy. There's a dance to being happy, content and allowing desire to propel energy into new directions. Dissatisfaction has a sense of being threefold: 

1) Feeling dissatisfaction as a natural part of the human experience. 
2) Dissatisfaction is what propels human evolution. 
3) Dissatisfaction can be a source of self-knowledge. 

I'll address the three points briefly, thus: 

1) There's nothing to be done about #1! It's done, let's handle it. 
2) The Dalai Lama teaches desire must be present, including what propels one to move toward enlightenment. And where would we be without many billions of humans over time desiring to improve on __________ (fill in the blank)? 
3) I recall Angela Farmer, the inner body yoga teacher, presenting a way to view asana. In a demonstration she began in a simple seated pose then slowly moved into a complicated twist. Along the way into the tangled up posture Angela said something to the effect that we humans like to get ourselves into puzzles, quandaries. Everything can be gliding along calmly then we have an idea. We can't help it, it's what we do. She went on to say the journey of moving into the new territory is about presence, not losing ourselves or shutting off or closing down or powering through mindlessly. As we take the ride of desire and act we have the choice to do so with a conscious attitude. 

My take away is we can enliven our inner world of transcendence safely when we're the ones coming up with quandaries for ourselves. It's a nice place to exercise self-awareness while emotion and our habitual patterns arise. The outer world of course offers its share of material to handle and another is right around the corner. It's coming whether we're ready or not. Why not have a little practice under the belt? 

In embracing the happiness-desire-dissatisfaction three-legged stool I appreciate the tale of Arjuna found in the Bhagavad Gita. Behind the deep questioning is the desire to engage in this world ethically. The more compassion felt by someone, the more likely they will tend to get twisted up in angst. As Angela Farmer demonstrated in the asana workshop years ago, a greater or lesser degree of peril and conflict offers the opportunity to wake up. If we're given one thing over and over again in this life it is change. It's all in flux. 

None of this is profound really. Maybe anyone who has lived long enough settles down and comes to these conclusions. [However, I recall from where I started and have much gratitude for helpful teachers and practices and honor myself for working at it.] What is a little profound, and I'm not sure if I can articulate it, is how the simplicity of it allows me to touch the river of life, so-to-speak, in a deeper, richer manner. I suspect heart is in there too, along with surrender and trust. Chatter and tension fall away more so, taking a back seat. The logical realities that come with knowing how we humans function makes for a more efficient way to navigate this life and the mind-scape. The more proficient I become in managing fluctuations of the mind-stuff* the less I feel the need for outer circumstances to meet expectation. Interestingly, outer circumstances are aligning quite pleasantly. I wonder about the order of things.

This little thesis may or may not have articulated the connected themes at play for me lately. Take what works, leave the rest. Peace!

* Dr. V.S. Rao English Transcription of Patanjali's Yoga Darsan (also known as the Yoga Sutras)
Chapter 1, Aphorisms 2-3:  YOGAH CHITTA VRUTTI NIRODHAH
YOGAH=Yoga CHITTA=of the mind-stuff VRUTTI=modifications NIRODHAH=restraint
The restraint or hinderance of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.