Directly or indirectly, all the choices we make in life are intended to bring us into a deeper state of happiness and fulfillment. This is always our goal, whether it be choosing what we eat, who we associate with, or where we invest our time and energy. However, although our lives are filled with choices intended to establish us in happiness, in our heart of hearts we feel emptiness. We are very full with ideas on how to obtain happiness, but this has not resulted in a fullness within our hearts. Something is missing.
This is the common predicament of our times. We may have mastered the art of gaining temporary sensory pleasure, but when it comes to real and lasting happiness – happiness that completely and utterly fulfills us to the very core of our being – we are all too often bewildered.
This unfortunate situation arises from our lack of clarity regarding who we are. Most of us go through life convinced that we are the material mind and body, and so we look for happiness through material means – but actually, we are not material at all
According to the ancient yoga scriptures and other bona fide scriptures of the world, we are not the material body or the mind – we are eternal spiritual beings temporarily wearing the material mind and body. The gross physical body can be compared to outer clothes and the mind or subtle energy body can be compared to under clothes. Just as we are not the clothes we are wearing, we are not the material bodies we are wearing either.
When we mistake ourselves for these material “clothes,” we unknowingly make them the center of our lives, and look for happiness through trying to satisfy the various urges of the mind and bodily senses. It does not matter whether we are contemplating the flavor of a jam or the very meaning and purpose for our existence, if our perspective is arising from the erroneous belief that we are our mind and body, then our results will be temporary and superficial. The distant promise of happiness will come and go throughout our lives, but happiness, itself, will never set up permanent residence in our hearts.
Because we are not the mind and body, no matter how diligently, faithfully, extravagantly, or ardently we serve them, we will not find any real and lasting happiness in this. There is no more potential for finding real and lasting happiness in making the mind and body the center of our lives, than there is in making the shirt, pants, etc. that we are wearing at this moment the center of our lives.
As we are eternal spiritual beings, we must seek to know our spiritual identity and align our lives accordingly. Only in this way, can we enter into the state of deep, meaningful, and lasting happiness that we are longing for. We have innate spiritual tendencies and qualities, but they have become covered through misidentifying with the mind and body. By engaging in a genuine process of spiritual realization in direct association with our spiritual Source, our consciousness can become purified. As the material influence on our consciousness is dissipated, our true nature – our spiritual nature – becomes revealed.
According to the wisdom shared by the ancient yoga system, the recommended method for spiritual realization and consciously linking up with our spiritual Source is mantra meditation. A true mantra is not something anyone makes up. It is the Absolute Truth in sound vibration. This spiritual sound vibration descends from the spiritual platform to the material world without losing any of its potency. In mantra meditation, a person hears and chants or sings this spiritual sound and thus is directly relating with the Supreme. This has a profound purifying effect on our consciousness.
Through mantra meditation, we begin to taste the sweetness of spiritual happiness – and with sincere, daily practice, our hearts and minds are gradually purified of material misunderstandings and misgivings. As the artificial ideas about ourselves fall away, our true spiritual identity shines through. Within our true nature and loving relationship with the Supreme that is inseparable from it, we are able to find the perfection of all that we long for.
The deeply meaningful and completely satisfying happiness and love that we have been mistakenly looking for in the material mode of living, can be found only in a life of spiritual integrity – a life that arises from our conscious awareness of our eternal science and identity. Fortunately, we do not need to have any special qualifications or skills to find our way back to our original nature. Simply by earnestly and humbly accepting and applying this invaluable gift from the yoga scriptures, we can experience the sublime reality of a life that is centered in the Absolute Truth. By choosing to practice mantra meditation daily, we are choosing to return to the life of natural happiness and harmony that is the purest expression of our being.
Author: Malia currently lives on beautiful Hawaiian island, spending much of her time as a volunteer for a non-profit organization that teaches the science of bhakti yoga and offers free/by-donation yoga events to the community. She was introduced to bhakti yoga through Bhakti Yoga Shack several years ago and continues to learn through her work and studies there. Her intention in writing about yoga is to offer others the same opportunity that she was given to experience the absolute fulfilment, peace, and joy that comes of returning to our natural state of consciousness in loving friendship with the Supreme Person.