Thursday, January 20, 2011
True Happiness Comes Only from Self Understanding (and the Work it Takes to be True YOU!)
I read this article on Opening to Happiness with interest this morning. I like it's pragmatic correlation of Buddhist practice and psychological rationale. So this is a little different post than I usually offer, but I enjoyed the time to follow the impulse. ;-)
I am reading a book called The Steps of Essence, by Hanns-Oskar Porr, that describes the first call to becoming who you truly are with this analogy: In the movie, The Matrix, Neo can take a blue pill that allows him to live every day in bliss, but the trade off is that he gives up his autonomy and control to an unknown force that renders him a mindless slave - happy, but mindless. OR he can take the red pill which will afford him to learn the truth about himself. He will understand the forces that control him and learn to gain freedom from them, but at a steep price. The road will be hard; he will enter into dark places of overwhelming fear. But he will learn to master his fear and to hold it in tension with all the good that he finds. The journey will reveal the truth and the truth will guide the journey. He will learn who he is. He will become his most authentic self. Happiness will look more like self-acceptance and deep joy, for Neo will be the Hero of his own life.
I was intrigued with this because I think I missed this point in the movie. Or maybe not, it has been awhile since I saw The Matrix, but I am familiar with the choices that the pills afford. So, the first step is to say, ok I am willing to take the hard road. But here’s the catch: everyday you get the pill choice again...Will you choose to wait for happiness to present itself to you, to be a victim of life, a sort of bystander to your own existence? Or will you choose to to be the Hero of your life, to confront your fear, put aside some of those things you think you "need," and ride the wonderful experience of your true Self? The choice to hold the tension between what should and should not be is the demand of truly living YOUR [authentic] life.
At my niece’s graduation, the priest gave a sermon on "The Road Ahead" for the grads. He said that Jesus would ask them at every turn, “Do you love me?” To answer to this question, we must make the choice of pills. If we answer yes, we take the red pill. We agree to be Christ-like in love which is to love ferociously, and, yes, to suffer for it. To love is to be vulnerable. It is to bear all the sweet goodness of your divine Self to the other, with no defense; to be completely compassionate. The red pill requires us to be loyal to truth, above all else. And the truth is, Love is who we are! Every day we are faced with the choice to be either authentic or robotic. Every day we choose to take the high road or the low. Everyday we can allow the circumstances of life to control us, or we can choose our destiny. To know ourselves as love requires incredible courage and strength. To remain positive, optimistic, “happy” requires us to be a warrior for love and kindness, even at those times when we would rather not be. To truly live into love, which is our authentic nature, is to encounter hurt, absorb it and love harder.
We can run from the demands of life and relationship and never know who we are, or we can meet life head on with the Wisdom (yes, this choice is a wisdom choice) that happiness means more that just getting what I want. Which pill will you take?