The Pursuit of Enlightenment, Temporary Pleasure or Escapism;
You may bounce fleetingly from one to another, be prisoner to a life stuck in the stage of illusion or be a devoted server of that which is greater. Wherever you may think you are or desire to be, let’s explore the 3 levels of material happiness from the heights to the depths.
1 Virtuous Goodness
Rare like a red diamond this level of material happiness is felt only by those who dedicate themselves to mastering their senses and mind. This, the highest form of material happiness, is said to lead to enlightenment; to self-realisation. Why is this so rare? Because it requires of you a lifestyle of self-discipline and not only a sense of control but of conscious choices. To act with will power you may say. To most this not only looks unattractive but is rather unappealing. “You mean I have to cut out of my lifestyle the habits and desires that I succumb to most days?” Yes, my friend. That is exactly what I am saying. Let’s get specific and say perhaps some simple go to favourites like; alcohol, stimulants, judgmental thoughts, lies and half truths, any act of harm (from words you think and speak to your actions. This includes harm to animals and nature to) will all have to go. Sit with that a minute, Muse on the magnitude of changes you may be required to slowly make. To most a lifestyle devoted to mastering the mind is too isolating, demanding and disconnected from the glamour of everyday life that is just too shiny and pretty to say no to.
If this does resonate with you, and you see yourself as one of the few red diamonds slowly polishing yourself for good, you will know what sacrifices you have already made and those you will in time. You will already know the benefits of having made conscious choices, why you did them and, how you could not go back to how you were before as it isn’t even an option you’d ever consider. You are committed to the Path as an entire lifestyle, not a 9-5 job or a dabble to be cool, seen, liked or just experience. It is who you choose to be as it connects you closer to what you really are. Soul. Here to serve while you deepen your studies, mediate and purify your body, heart & emotions and, mind.
The most common material happiness is passion. This is the work had play hard approach to life with entertainment, sex and pleasurable encounters infused with the intoxication/s of your choice, be that food, drugs, shopping etc. Mind-numbing is the carefree escapism of weekend partying and purchasing. This is the oh so seductive way that many find impossible to resist. Is this something you resists, try to, or just give in to the whims of your animal nature’s desires?
The trouble here is that at some point all the sweetness turns bitter. When all the passionate, sensual and sexual gratifications, mundane accomplishments lead you to dissatisfaction, disappointment and distress or even disaster. Just take a look at the fashion industry form sweat shops and slave labour to dyes polluting water ways, communities polluted and landfill from off cuts of fabric being one of the largest waste contributors in the world. Or, what about the slaughtering of animals for food, fur and sport. Let alone the dehumanisation of people as others vie to gain more and more power at the cost of others. This is why even if you are in the pool of passion you can begin to at least bring awareness to your choices and actions.
Passion is a hashtag, clickbait, go to word for marketers, sellers and everyone in between. It comes with the allure of giving you that feeling you long for; fulfilment, joy, pleasure, ecstasy, happiness … but you and I are wise enough to know it is not only just a fleeting moment that passes all too quickly, it also leaves you often feeling it wasn’t enough, you want more and you’ll find a way to get it, whatever the ‘it’ you are chasing is.
This is an ideal place to observe yourself if you can step into the witness and watch as you make your next purhcase or make that next unconscious desicion motivated by the illustrious desire of passion.
3 Rock bottom / Ignorance
Most people are able to stay out of this place where those who dwell here are said in the Bhagavad-Gita to be “blind to self-realisation”. This is seen as a perverse place of devotees dedicated to drugs, drink, addiction and wasting away as life passes them by. Intoxication mixed with day dreaming, there is a perpetual clouded darkness that engulfs this kind of self-destructive person. Aimless and in a world of 24/7 delusion – it is life in a wasteland from beginning to end.
This may seem quite dark and gloomy but it is possible for a soul to journey from rock bottom to realisation. I have had clients who have recovered from a life of sex, drug, alcohol, masturbation, shopping and violent addictions to now be on a purpose driven path of service while continually doing the deep inner work of self discovery. They show up each day the best they can while honouring their truth. When some days are harder and others more smooth, they have the conviction and will to continue, even if it is only one tiny step or a giant leap. With time they grow stronger of heart and mind, more connected to something greater than them. They now also know what they too are part of – the entire conscious fabric or one Soul.
I share this with you for you to bring awareness to where you are along your path and along this scale of material happiness.
From here you make like to Muse on some questions;
- Are you finding joy in where you are and what you do?
- Are you aware of any habits or addications you don’t like which you have?
- Would you like to make changes?
- If so, what is one change you would like to commit to?
- What can you do today, right now to take action on this?
- Do you set time aside, even 5 minutes, each day to go within, stilling the body, closing the eyes, silencing the mind and breathing deeper than you may usually?
Is there a light at the end of the material happiness tunnel?
In this world of illusions and consumerism, with the hottest trend still remaining materialism, it’s a tough choice to move past all that is outside you, beckoning from behind the windows of storefronts, Instagram feeds and websites. All that can be yours today with a click of button or the swipe of a card. But there is a choice and there is Light, for those who choose.
Be it the path of love, spirituality, mediation, yoga, Tantra, service – however you identify your ‘wisdom’ – it is in these you will find a nonmaterial life where ‘happiness’ awaits. For it requires you bring nothing but yourself, buy nothing but that which is already within you, and acquire nothing you weren’t already born with but which waits dormant inside your very being.
May you find your way with love, wisdom, truth and beauty.
With Love, Elise / S*M
If you’e curious as to my muse-spiration for this article it was the Bhagavad-Gita and a book called ‘Hiding in Unnatural Happiness’ by Devamrita Swami.