An Experiment in Unmitigated Happiness

Posted by David Eby on 2nd Oct 2020

Okay everyone – raise your hand if you are a fellow addict of getting things done – hooked on that wonderful feeling of accomplishment that comes from crossing things off of the “to do” list, whether it might be cleaning the floor, planting the garden, or writing a book.

(you can put your hands down…)

Recently I have been working on new directions for my life, and have been taking steps to begin to manifest them – hard to do when you already have 3 jobs and a six-year-old at home. Monday through Friday I’m working at the school, teaching cello lessons, leading a choir, recording, and editing, and administrating the music world of Ananda. I am always hopeful that the weekend can be a time to work on other creative projects, and I went to bed last night hopeful of all the things that I could accomplish today. In fact, I think I was too driven, for I could feel my will power kicking in, tensing my stomach, gearing me up to push through challenges.

For me, one of the hardest things on the Spiritual Path is to remember what it is that I most deeply want. (One of the benefits of community: being surrounded by others who haven’t forgotten!) My pain comes from the forgetfulness of joy, of peace, and of the love of God. I often find myself fishing around for that soul gratification, like a teenager rummaging through the refrigerator, who knows full well that there still isn’t anything worth eating.

I awoke early this morning, still focused on my own personal agenda and ignorant of my soul’s potential for joy. As I sat to meditate, I finally wondered whether what I was hoping to do was more for my own ego gratification, or whether God had something else in mind for me to learn (isn’t it always?). Ten days ago, after getting frustrated with a situation, I was able to work through this with the thought “It isn’t what I do, it’s how I do it.”

No such luck this morning. I felt unable to deal with the frustration of today’s upcoming obstacles in my path and could feel the onset of grouchiness begin to creep into my whole being. NOT the way to begin a meditation.

So as I began to meditate this morning, I vowed that today I would experiment with staying happy in myself, no matter how much or how little I was able to accomplish. Just with this thought, I felt the sleeping citizens of my consciousness begin to awaken, now willing to engage in these new thought patterns. My body became newly energized with positive life force. My eyes, having been droopy for the past few days, immediately cleared up. I dived deep into meditation, detaching myself from accomplishment gratification.

Now why is it that whenever we take on such a challenge, we’re tested immediately? My daughter Caitlin awoke a good half hour earlier than usual, I dripped sooty wax on the altar cloth and spilled pancake batter all over the kitchen counter. Thankfully, I’m still on track with the experiment, and can feel the forgotten bliss of higher consciousness return, trumping all sense of “I did all this today!”

As Paramhansa Yogananda said,

"If you make up your mind to be happy, no one on this earth can make you unhappy."

Let this day be a victory for us all.

To learn more about David, check out

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