Our ego is primarily concerned with attaching to things of the world. That’s how it creates a solid sense of “self”-identity.
I’m a “me”; I own a big house and a new red car.
I’m a “me”; I have lots of money.
I’m a “me”; I have many beliefs, certainties, and opinions.
I’m a “me”; I have lots of thoughts and feelings and virtually all of my thoughts and feelings are about the past or the future.
Our ego does not like living in the moment because the present moment is an annoyance that has to be endured so we can get to the exciting future we are imagining for ourselves; or return to a painful past so we can continue ruminating about it.
The things our ego attaches to so-as-to create a sense of “self” are nothing but impermanent illusions created by our own mind. The past is over and done with, and the future hasn’t happened yet.
The present moment is the only reality there is.
Happiness is Learning To See Deeply Into Reality
I know……your car is real, your money is real, your house is real. Your thoughts are real. And your feelings are real. Unfortunately, all of those things are subject to the laws of impermanence. They will all pass and disappear. If you build your happiness around them, you are setting yourself up for a life of disappointment and unhappiness.
Learning to see deeply into the present moment is the key to happiness in life.
I do not have the power to convince you of the truths behind these statements. I cannot make you see the dangerous illusions that your ego uses to create happiness. No one, myself included, can convince you that your ego has you building your life on the shifting sands of illusion. No one can awaken you.
But the moment you begin to look deeply into reality, you will see these things for yourself. You will begin to wake up.
Our ego’s illusions are like a warm cuddly blanket. If you are happy with your life and find meaning in who you are, awakening and throwing off the cuddly illusions that your ego has created for you can be very difficult. But if you are not happy; if your life has no passion or purpose; if your life is a struggle; then waking to the illusions will be far easier than you might think.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can wake yourself to the reality of the present moment and begin to develop the spiritual practice of looking deeply into the present moment. Think carefully about these suggestions. They are key insights that will help you achieve happiness.
Suggestion for Happiness #1
Words are only concepts. We see trees, mountains, clouds, butterflies, birds, other people, dogs, cats, spiders and rocks every day. But until we awaken to the present moment, our ego will tend to see all trees or butterflies as a word or concept that describes a category called “tree” or “butterfly”.
Awakening to the present moment and seeing deeply means learning to see the actual thing that is in front of us. To experience it as a unique, moving, changing, flowing, becoming, and dying reality; to smell it; to really “look” at it; to touch it; to actually “see” it.
When we are fully present in the moment and “know” that the Divine Evolutionary Impulse to “Become” has taken 13.7 billion years to create “this” thing from pure hydrogen, only then will we see the miracle that it is.
When you learn to see the world in this way, you will find yourself surrounded by wonder and awe. You will never again be bored with life.
Suggestion for Happiness #2
Learn to see that nothing in creation is a separate object. Everything in creation is part of a bigger reality; part of a larger system.
For example, think of your ankle. Now think of your knee. Now think of your hip. All separate things right? However, when we put them all together we have a leg. They are not separate things any longer. They are simply parts of a leg, a leg that is part of a body; a body that is comprised of other organs and billions of separate cells, atoms, and electrons.
When we learn to see deeply into reality we begin to see that everything in creation is an integral part of a larger system.
The leaves on a tree, the roots of the tree, the ground that the roots dig into are all interconnected parts of the eco system of the planet that birthed us. The rain, the sun, the wind, the nutrients in the earth; they are all the “separate” things the tree needs to absorb carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen so you and I can breathe.
When we learn to look deeply into the reality around us, it becomes clear that nothing stands alone as a truly “separate” object or thing. Everything in creation and everything in nature is inter-connected. Everything.
The concept of separate human beings is also an illusion. We are all part, or cells of a larger system we call a “culture”. Various cultures create a global culture. The global culture is responsible for the health and well-being of the biological life support system that birthed us, and now allows us to live on this planet. We don’t live on the earth, we are an interconnected part “of” the earth.
When we learn to see the world in this way, sustainability, compassion and cooperation take on a new meaning. Each of us has a part to play in the well-being of our planet. True happiness comes when we discover our life purpose and what it is that we are meant to contribute.
Anything we can contribute by ourselves alone is too little. Only when we work together can we create what our world needs to thrive. There is nothing that will create happiness better than a purpose filled life.
Suggestion for Happiness #3
Learn to pay attention and search for the truth on both sides of every issue. Dualism, the concept of either/or is an illusion. Time is an illusion. They are only concepts created by our ego.
If there were no self-consciousness humans on this planet, there would be no hot and cold, only temperature. No good and bad, only natural processes. No right or wrong, only what “is”. There would be no time, only the present moment. A flower is not aware of time.
Dualistic either-or thinking and other illusions of the mind create virtually all of the pain and suffering and unhappiness we experience in life. Illusions created by our minds that do not exist in the present moment include……
- Our ego’s fixation on the psychological concepts of past and the future
- Our belief that all created things are separate unconnected objects,
- Our ego’s unwillingness to accept that everything in the created universe changes and is impermanent,
- Our ego’s belief that impermanent objects have the power to bring lasting happiness,
- Our ego’s dualistic thinking that creates conflict and violence through the creation of categories called “otherness”
When we learn to look deeply into the reality around us, we will begin to see these illusions clearly. When we look deeply into ourselves, we will see that unhappiness is created in our own minds, and the reality that we are not our passing thoughts and emotions; we are simply pure observing consciousness.
We will awaken and know that virtually all of the pain, suffering, and unhappiness we experience in life is because we are at war with the universe; we have not looked deeply enough at “what is”.
We have refused to experience life in the present moment; the only place where happiness and the sacred can be experienced.