Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happiness is the Way

Winter Sadhana ~ Day 1

The back of our house ~ February 2010

Today begins my next round of intentional sadhana practice.  By combining a few weekend days here and there, this 40-day journey will lead me through the first day of Spring.

In addition to this structured guidance from Yoga Journal, I am currently reading Happy Yoga:  7 Reasons Why There's Nothing to Worry About by Steve Ross.  It is a timely discovery that is helping me understand what I've been experiencing lately ~ this inexplicable sense of happiness.

You see, yoga philosophy teaches that we ARE the jewel in the lotus.  We ARE the happiness we seek.  Those things that we look for outside ourselves are within us all the time.  If something that we acquire fleetingly on the outside brings us happiness, joy, bliss on this inside ~ it is only because those things already exist within us and are being tapped into by that experience.  Yoga says, "Hey, you can have that stuff all the time!  It is not dependent on outside circumstances!"

Here's a brief story:

"You're living on a mountain of gold and you don't even realize it.  Every time it rains, the dirt and much are washed away and the gold is revealed.  And you run out into the rain, scooping up fistfuls of gold and dancing around.  But you mistakenly think that the rain is bringing the gold, so you worship the rain, and you make sacrifices with your schedule to please the rain.  When there's a drought, you become poor, starve, and bemoan the absence of the rain.  But the gold is always there, just beneath the surface, and the rain has simply been revealing it.  If you'd just dust off the mountain the slightest bit, you'd see it for what it is.  Scratch the surface!  Look deeper! 
There's no need to rely on the rain to reveal your happiness."

~Steve Ross
in Happy Yoga (pg. 14)

Currently, we are ensconced in a winter ice storm.  With the previous snowfall still somewhat on the ground ~ and the gray, cloudy skies ~ it doesn't look very appealing outside.  However, the world is still its beautifully same self as on a bright sunny day in summer.  Mother Nature is still working her daily magic underneath.  Only the externals have changed.

I like the above photo because it helps me to see past the coating of ice and know that my same cozy, warm, sturdy house exists underneath.  It endures through all the seasons.  When I look at the photo, I see that each icicle represents what yoga calls a klesha (similar to a cataract or veil) that has been covering my true, divine nature.  By studying, embracing, and practicing the teachings of a yogic lifestyle, I am removing all that covers my blissful, happy self.

"There is no way to happiness ~
happiness is the way."

~The Buddha 

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