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August 20–24, 2014
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The Psychology of Loving Awareness
Jack Kornfield
November 15–16, 2014
Tucson, Arizona

Search Weekly Wisdom

Wise Words
Our authors and book editors offer these choice written selections for your contemplative reading and inspiration.

Gangaji: The Diamond in Your Pocket

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Searching for Happiness

In the heart of every human being I have spoken with, I have seen a command to somehow find true happiness, true fulfillment. Sometimes this desire is even stronger than the instinct to survive. As you know from your own experience, the search for happiness can take many avenues. In instinctive ways, it can be a search for pleasure, comfort, security, or a search for some known position in the herd of humanity. Usually, when we have accomplished some level of success in terms of pleasure, comfort, security, and position, we recognize that none of it truly satisfies this deeper command, this deeper call for true happiness. We may have moments of beautiful revelation, and certainly moments of pleasure, yet usually underneath it all is the fear that we will never find permanent peace or true happiness. Or our fear of losing whatever peace and happiness we have attained causes a tightness and contraction as we constantly try to hold on. Usually we feel a deep distrust that peace and happiness are really possible.

Sometimes, in a blessed life, there arises the call of the spiritual search, the search for God, the search for truth. We recognize that the usual means “don’t take care of this command.” We put aside what we have called “mundane existence,” and turn towards spiritual life.

Unfortunately, the same conditioning that directed the mundane life usually attempts to direct the spiritual search as well, and it then becomes a search for spiritual pleasure, spiritual comfort, spiritual knowledge, or spiritual security. Sooner or later, you have to become disillusioned with that search also. You find pleasure, obviously. You reach ecstatic realms. You feel secure when you sense that God or truth is present, and are comforted when you feel held by that presence. But until you recognize that you have never been separate from that, you will continually thrust to find it somewhere, to find God, based on the belief or the hope that God will give you happiness. This belief or hope is founded on a pretty infantile understanding of what God is—some thing, some force, some place that can deliver everlasting pleasure, comfort, and security to you.

I have discovered that it is actually impossible to find happiness. As long as you are seeking to find happiness “somewhere,” you are overlooking where happiness is. As long as you are seeking to find God someplace else, you are overlooking the essential truth of God, which is omnipresence. When you seek to find happiness someplace else, you are overlooking your true nature, which is happiness. You are overlooking yourself.

I would like to offer you the invitation and the challenge to stop overlooking yourself, to simply, radically, and absolutely be still—to put aside, at least for a moment, all of your ideas of where God is, or where truth is, or where you are. Stop looking anywhere. Stop seeking. Simply be. I am not talking about being in a stupor, or going into a trance, but going deeper into the silence of your heart where the revelation of omnipresence can be revealed as your true nature. I am asking you to be still in pure presence. Not to create that, not even to invite it, but simply to recognize what is always here, who you always are, where God always is.


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