The Enlightenment Cycle
Happiness is the most elusive thing, it seems, for human beings to find. Happiness is something that everybody wants, or professes to want, so it must be a very difficult thing since so few people - relatively few people - seem to ever experience it. And if they do experience it, they sure don't seem to experience it for very long.
I am the happiest person I have ever met - plain and simple. The reason I'm happy is because I have a very good relationship with life. My happiness is not dependent upon what happens to me today or tomorrow or what happened yesterday. My happiness is dependent upon light. And since light is endless, since light is infinite, since light - the inner light, of course, of self-discovery, of enlightenment - is happiness in itself, then if I can make myself available to light, which I certainly do, then I'm bound to be happy always.
Life is a game that we play. It's a game in which happiness is the goal. Now, most people think happiness comes from experiences in the world. Possessions, they believe, bring them happiness - money, fame, fortune, personal relationships, achievements and accomplishments. Certainly, all of these things can bring a measure of happiness to a person's life. For a while, the fulfillment of desire causes a type of happiness. But as soon as the experience passes, the happiness passes. Human beings are on a desire-aversion operating system - and if you understand the fallibility of this system, then you understand also that there is another system which is far superior - it's really not that hard to be happy.
The desire-aversion operating system works in the following way. When you want something, when you have a desire for something - a desire for food, a desire for sex, a desire for achievement, a desire for a new car, a new life - or when you have an aversion - you want to get away from something, you're afraid of something that makes you uncomfortable, you just simply don't like it - you are immediately in a problematic situation. Because your happiness, your state of mind, in other words, the way you feel, is based upon something extremely physical, and your happiness is now a victim to fortune, and fortune is capricious, that's for sure. So if you want a new car, and if you get it, you'll be happy until the car isn't so new. And if you can't get it, you'll be unhappy. Or if you get it and somebody smashes into it, you're unhappy. Or if it isn't what you thought it might be, you're unhappy.
Sometimes there are things that make you unhappy, what you call aversions - things that you don't want in your life, that you don't like about yourself, that you just simply, at this time, can't get away from, try though you will. If your happiness is dependent upon always getting everything that you desire and always avoiding everything that you want to avoid, chances are you won't be happy, or certainly not very often. This is the human system - desire and aversion.
Even the fulfillment of desire doesn't necessarily make you happy because there's a satiation factor. You can really love apple pie and get some apple pie and eat it, and you feel good for a minute. Then you can say, "Well heck, I felt good eating that apple pie. Why not eat ten?" (Rama laughs.) "If this is what makes me happy, let me just keep doing it." But after a while, if we do the same thing in the same way over and over, repetitively, we get a sense of satiation. It just doesn't feel good any more. It doesn't taste as good. Bleah. (Rama laughs.) We're not happy. So even desire, if taken to an extreme, doesn't necessarily make us happy. It tends to make us actually rather cynical.
What makes us happy and what increases happiness is contact with light. The experience of light in a very pure form, if not the purest form, always creates happiness. And the experience of desire and aversion tends to create unhappiness. In the world of light, that is to say, as you have experiences with the inner light, which are gained through the practice of meditation and Buddhism, as you experience light, it immediately delights you.