I have been reading Paul Brunton\’s book Advanced Contemplation. I came on this chapter about happiness. Happiness is the American Dream. We think happiness is an inalienable right. And this situation has driven us crazy as well as made us sick and robbed us of integrity.
To preface this chapter on happiness, Brunton says, \” Outwardly we live and have to live in the very midst of cruel struggle and grievous conflict, for we share the planet\’s karma; but inwardly we can live by striking contrast in an intense stillness, a consecrated peace, a sublime security.\”
And in the first few lines he says, \”When people seek excessive entertainment and amusement what are they doing but confessing that few of them enjoy real happiness for long without some complimentary source of unhappiness.\”
And so for myself, things I\’ve been thinking about lately.
I am a person who has solved most of life\’s annoyances either because of a good salary or because I abstain from many social activities and norms. In fact the things that bug me are extremely small. What I know is my daily spiritual activities are my life\’s blood. This is where inner peace is born. The one thing I can do with my life is generate inner peace.
Inner peace is a situation which does not come from this world. It can be brought into the world, to the extent the practitioner is adept and matured.
Alcoholics Anonymous gives us the satisfactions of right living found in step 12 of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. \”Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be. Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God\’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God\’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God\’s scheme of things–these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.\” [underlines mine]
And so I venture out onto the trails of Seabrook.