It’s our nature to be happy!
As the name suggests, well-being is natural – that is, it’s a normal condition (if not an average one for most of humanity) and not just in the domain of some sages and saints. Our shared nature is one of balance and harmony, where suffering is not imagined or dwelt upon. In truth, in nature, there is no such thing as “suffering”. There is of course, pain, when an injury is inflicted, and grief when a loved-one passes, but there is no need of the attachment of more suffering to that pain. So it’s important when we look at natural well-being to understand the minds’ role in interpreting life and the events in it. Albert Camus once said: “Naming an object inaccurately means adding to the unhappiness of the world”. We could add here…” Naming obscures the happiness of seeing things as they actually are.”
Truth, Reality and Love.
Our natural well-being finds its foundation in truth, reality and love. Taken together, they form the ground of all our human and divine experience of life. And this grace of living in peace and contentment is what it means to be naturally “happy”. By “contentment” we mean contentment with the content of now – whatever that might be in the moment –confusion, anger, pain, fear…bills! And while all the major religions and philosophies contain an atrophied and desiccated resemblance to, and remembrance of, this truth, reality and love, our natural well-being is found in all of us only in the freshness of this living now. Natural well-Being is love; it flows- now gently, now firmly – from itself to itself…from spirit to spirit in thoughtless silence. Here’s how J.Krishnamurti puts it:
“Thought, always being old, cannot possibly enter into that silence which is always new.”
This aware silence is not a state that comes and goes – it is our unborn and undying native habitat AND it affectionately embraces all that comes and goes.
Memory and Me.
Our nature is like a clear blue sky; our minds conceptual descriptions – when believed –engage the clouds which would otherwise float by. Of course, this does not mean that there should not be clouds – they happen – but that the ego/ mind (which is nothing but beliefs) does what it does naturally by attaching an identity called “me” to these mind/clouds. A Me that uses stale, stored and conditioned memories of the dead past and projects that “knowledge” into a supposed future. All this stuff of the mind can be simply and directly seen without being personalized or grasped by an ego centered “me”.
Mind- a sixth sense.
It can be useful to refer to the mind as our “sixth sense” ( in addition to our five senses) This perspective helps us recognize the place and function of the mind, and how its conditioning – cultural, social, philosophical and psychological – presents a prejudiced and interpreted “reality”. It is this conjured reality which we “think” we live in that produces our thought-based personhood and all the suffering that separation inevitably brings.
Uncovering our nature.
Natural well-being is not something to be achieved, either in time or with practice. It is as close as our breath, and as obvious as reality. We discover it – or rather, uncover it – in relationship. From one perspective, truth, reality and love are found only in the experiencing of relationship. The nature of these relationships is both human and divine. And while these relationships may be viewed by the mind as between two things or two people, real relationship is one of self to self, wherein the lover and the beloved are actually one. So our human relationships from this aware perspective include both seeing this separate “other” and simultaneously also knowing that “other” that appears so different is our self in spirit…“God in drag!”
That knowing includes our entire human and conditioned experience – for nothing that happens is preferred or denied in awareness – but it is not limited to that experience. In other words, our divine non-dual awareness, which permeates our natural being, is aware of, but not limited by, the mind – nature of duality. This awareness recognizes that the mind is a beautiful tool; that it is binary and limited because it can only deal in two’s, contrasting and comparing, sorting into huge files what it likes and dislikes, compressing and expanding ideas and ideals of its own invention. Mind cannot conceive reality.
A place that rests.
There is a certain ease in natural well-being This does not mean a kind of constant comfort – although we may find refuge and solace in dwelling in awareness. Awareness is like a still pond over which the various breezes and storm winds of the body/mind pass from time to time. They come and they go in the welcoming presence of our natural beingness. This presence is our first nature which contains and reflects our second, human nature. Of course we’re using words to delineate and point to the wordless reality of who we are and what this is. So rather than take these words into our mind as knowledge to be believed or not believed, we may recognize that our natural well-being is not conceptual in its nature. It is beyond –way beyond – our body/mind comprehension. Our spiritual nature listens not with the mind but with a kind of deep infinite knowing or intuition. Again, this knowing has no dimensional qualities – it cannot be described, measured, or otherwise ascertained.
Our natural well-being resides wholly in uncertainty.
Uncertainty is the nature of all life –there is no control and nobody controlling. Life moves in unknown and uncertain ways, sometimes guessed and most often missed; at once changing and changeless. We see that everything we think we know about what’s going on, is not true because fragmentary and not complete. While we cannot describe this natural well-being, we can suggest it with phrases such as the following:
Truth is what remains when falseness falls away.
Reality is what remains when imagination falls away.
Love is what remains when fear falls away.
And let’s add one more foundational insight we all know from experience:
Peace is what remains when struggle falls away.
Natural well-being – enjoying what we are! – is what remains when all the above ideas about it fall away.
(This article first appeared in Awakening Clarity, May, 2012, thanks to editor Fred Davis)