Often, when I come out of Stillness from my morning sitting, I am left with a flow of creative energy and think "what a great time to go update my blog!" However, as soon as I sit down in front of the computer, I find that the creative flow has not yet resolved into a word-like substance. And so the updates keep getting put off until I actually drag myself into putting something onto the page. I use this self reflection to preface this entry, because I am still in that flow of creativity - and this is what is emerging. I am going to trust that it will take us all somewhere before I'm done.
There are many ideas that occur to me during the day - and just as quickly disappear. I'm quite sure that at least some of them are brilliant - and just as sure that most are not. But whatever I may come up with while I'm NOT at liberty to write doesn't matter so much as what comes to me as I sit here now - or anytime I take keyboard in hand and grind something out. Now - just to be clear - I am not complaining. I actually rather enjoy the whole process. . . which leads me to this: While driving across town the other day, I watched a cloud of birds wheeling in the sky and felt a rush of joy rising with them inside me. I thought, "I'm so happy! My life is good. I am blessed with a wonderful partner, right livelihood, a safe and comfortable home. . .." And then I began thinking about how much of my happiness is based outside myself. Some much of it comes from my relationship with my wife, Patricia (aka "the Lovely and Talented") and I started questioning if there was something "wrong" with my happiness because it seems to be so based in externals.
I took this question home and sat with it; put it on the back burner and let it simmer; and what I've come up with is this: Our happiness in the things around us is based on the choices we make, which in turn is based upon our inner dynamic. When my inner dynamic was clouded and wounded by past karma, I could not make the decisions in my life that led to happiness. Instead, I often chose things (relationships, jobs, experiences) that simply continued the state that I was in already. It took many years of concerted effort at self healing to be able to make healthier choices, less burdened by the experiences of my past. As I was able to make these choices from a more conscious place (due to many years of meditation, etc) I found that I was happier. Was that happiness based simply in the rewards of the choices I made? Or was the happiness the inner root of my outer experience? I suspect the later.
When I am enjoying a beautiful vista and I feel my heart swell with appreciation, I realize that it is not just the beauty of the view that is involved, but also my capacity to appreciate it. The same is true with anything or anyone who I respond to with appreciation, love, gratitude or joy. When I make offerings to my ancestors in the morning and notice how much more strongly I feel them, it's not because they are any more present than before, but rather that I am now more open to them.
Has it been mere fortune that allowed Patricia and I to find each other and to be so happy together? I suspect that it is much more than that. It seems to me that, as we grow and develop, we find those things in the world that most clearly reflect our own nature - and in doing so, we reflect the nature of those we find as well.
What I have discovered in this reflection is that the root of our happiness and appreciation of the external is still internal. It is our own inner Self that looks upon the world and sees itself reflected there. As we become more aware of the nature of that reflection, we grow in love and compassion, not only for ourselves, but for all others as well. Truly - to know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.