Happiness: “What you are looking for is WHO is looking” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi
This is our 2nd multi-part series in support of Jimmy Hurley’s GoFundMe campaign to raise $90K for his stage 4 prostate cancer treatment … he needs all the help he can get, especially financial so he can complete his treatment …
… Jimmy is a long time Stillness Speaks community member and a generous supporter … our “call to support” him began in our newsletter on Sep 18th, and continued in another newsletter of Oct 2nd – both of which were an appeal to our subscriber community … We are most grateful to the Stillness Speaks community for generously raising approx. $8,000, to-date, (total raised is $23,850 as of the publish time of this post) … funds raised so far, via this campaign, will help him make the next treatment appointment .. but he will still need two more treatment sessions … hence the goal of $90K.
His latest video update of Oct 30th, on his GoFundMe page, is most encouraging and heartwarming:
Compassion is the underpinning of any act of kindness and all of us helping Jimmy navigate this challenging time is indeed that! … As Meister Eckhart reminds us: “You may call God love, you may call God goodness But the best name for God is compassion” or as His holiness The Dalai Lama says:“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Indeed, one could say that compassion is one of the inevitable behaviors that is initially encountered and then deepened, on the journey of self realization or awakening. As we meet the daily rigors of life, the “practice” encourages us, directly or indirectly, to be compassionate not only with ourselves but also towards others and their circumstances and challenges. This, in turn, makes it easier for us to help others in need …
It’s no wonder that His Holiness The Dalai Lama – the man known for his compassion for all beings – reminds us that “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.”
Aside from helping Jimmy for the reasons shared above … it also turns out that he has some writings that are relevant for Stillness Speaks – which are well worth sharing here. His explorations into nonduality and our True Nature resulted in an unpublished book Zero Distance that’s about “A paradigm to understanding WHO YOU ARE And finding lasting happiness and peace” … which is the focus of this 2nd series.
Jimmy’s other pertinent writing is his essay on spiritual identity, titled Release The Releaser, from Greg Goode’s book Real-World Nonduality … which was our 1st series, in support of his GoFundMe campaign.
So, in this post – the 1st of this 2nd series – we explore happiness through Jimmy’s unpublished book Zero Distance. He starts the book by addressing the matter of happiness, which he claims is everyone’s ultimate goal – whether expressed or not … whether acknowledged or not. He explores what is happiness and then delves into the common problem encountered by almost everyone: the fleeting quality of happiness …
All text below (except the blockquotes) is directly from Jimmy’s book Zero Distance … and is published here with his generous permission …
Seeking Happiness: The Goal
As my first teacher Lester Levenson would say, “Everyone wants the same thing, to be Happy. Everyone is seeking the same thing in their every act; peace, love, security and happiness.”
Although it may be difficult for us to see and understand the connection when witnessing a senseless or heinous act the fact remains. At the core of everyone’s behavior can be found the desire for one or a combination of these four needs.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you are in any way conscious of your self and have done any introspection. What is surprising to me is that even people engaged in the pursuit of understanding themselves and the nature of life’s experience don’t really make the deep connection that they are looking for peace, love, happiness and security where it does not exist. In the work I’m doing these days, which is Hypnosis, one of the main points to get across is you can not be truly happy if you do not see and experience the truth of what happiness really is and where it can be found.
Think about it for a moment. If you were going to, let’s say, Miami how could you get there if you didn’t know where it was. Or if you were prospecting for gold and didn’t know what it was how could you find it? Not just what gold looked like but what it intrinsically was. Many people during the prospecting days of the American West were disappointed by fool’s gold. And yet isn’t that just what we do when we seek happiness where it doesn’t exist or believe it to be something it isn’t? You might be thinking, is he kidding, I know what happiness is. But not too fast, stay with me and you’ll discover something that is priceless.
So then, what is happiness?
Something that may shed some light on the answer comes from one of my favorites of Lester’s sayings and is a series of questions and answer’s he came up with during a crisis in his life where he suffered two heart attacks and was told the prospects for a long life didn’t look too good for him. He was 42 years old at the time so you can well imagine it was an intense period of introspection.
They go like this:
What Is Life? Life is action calculated to re-establish the equilibrium of Peace. Our feelings are our attitudes toward that action.
What Is Peace? Peace is knowing that no one, or no thing can touch the real me, “I” remain serenely at Peace, totally imperturbable. ~ Lester Levenson
Discovering and knowing this real me for yourself is easier than you might think; it only takes earnestness on your part and a willingness to being open to see the facts as they are and nothing more. My job, and somebody has to do it, is to take you to that threshold. Your job is to have ears to hear and eyes to see and just be patient for in reality there is nothing you have to do, actually can do, other than this. Why, because you can consider this a direct path to the truth of, ‘Who You Are.’
The truth reveals itself to you….as your very self, for as Francis Lucille said, “You are the very consciousness in which all you know appears.” To put it another way, Saint Francis of Assisi said, “What you are looking for is WHO is looking.”
Let us begin to examine and thereby fully appreciate the meaning of these two statements and see how it connects to happiness.
At first glance one might say happiness is having a good paying secure job, a loving relationship, a fine car, nice home, supportive family, good health, the usual things one might think, right. But tell me how many of the above things do you have, or have you had and are you feeling truly happy, satisfied, safe and secure. Chances are your answer is sometimes, not really, it doesn’t last or not yet. That’s the one I love, I’m happy but if I could only have, be, or do XYX, then I’d be really happy. You’re familiar with the IF ONLY attitude, aren’t you?
If you’re really honest with yourself you’ll have to admit that when you first got anyone of the things mentioned above you felt happy, perhaps even joyful but it hasn’t lasted, has it? Where has the happiness gone? If it were really in the things we acquired then every time we’re with those things we would necessarily have to be happy and that’s not the case, is it? The happiness we find is fleeting.
If satisfying desire brought happiness we in the Developed World should be the happiest people on the planet. And wasn’t it the great Buddha who said, desire is the root cause of our suffering and unhappiness. Don’t get the wrong idea and think I’m suggesting that there’s something wrong with having things in life. Having things is fine, have the very best life has to offer and enjoy it to the fullest, just don’t have your happiness dependent on them; because all things come and go, nothing lasts in the relative world.
Lester Levenson put it this way; our desires/wants (3) create a sense of lack in us which feels uncomfortable and we set out to eliminate this uncomfortable feeling by acquiring that which we desire. Once satisfied, once we have that which we wanted the uncomfortable feeling of lack is eliminated and we feel happy. All the while our attention is on the object of our desire and we think IT is causing our happiness.
Listen carefully as I repeat this sequence again and be open to the full impact of its meaning. We first identify with the feeling of wanting/lack inside of us and in, by and through this very identification we feel like something is missing. If you have a feeling of lack you’ll feel a sense that you are lacking in some way; you’ll have an uneasy feeling that something is missing in you….that you are less than. Then all your energy will go in the direction of trying to satisfy this feeling by getting what you want.
Now once you acquire that which you wanted, once you have it, the feeling of lack has been eliminated or leaves and what is exposed is your true self (the real me) and that is what feels good. You are feeling you!!! You are momentarily no longer feeling separate from yourself or life. But our error is we project the cause of happiness onto the object because that is what we are identifying with now and we completely overlook the truth of our actual experience which is accruing within us. We have made an improper conclusion based on an inference and not the facts. We are guilty of this same error in reference to our belief that we are separate for life and the people and things around us but we’ll have to wait a moment before we cover this point.
Can you see now why we covet our things so tenaciously or go after them with such a vengeance? Which isn‘t to say we shouldn’t protect or enjoy the things we have and love. But rather to suggest that our happiness isn’t dependant on what we have just as our unhappiness isn’t the result of not having something.
Look at it this way, if I believe that you are the cause of my happiness, that you are responsible for my safety, then I will do most anything to insure I keep you around and happy. I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth because YOU have what I need. Isn’t that what we do with relationships in the beginning?
But then haven’t you also noticed how the love you feel for your significant other is different now than when you first met. Why?
Stay tuned for the next part … where Jimmy answers the above Why … and then goes deeper …
And, … Please visit Jimmy’s GoFundMe page by clicking here and contribute whatever your heart calls you to …
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