The human mind
as a ‘cause’ for celebration.
The awakening soul
feels joy, and begins to see, that joy
‘Is’ the celebration.
In the process of spiritual awakening it is interesting how much attention is given to a practice based on the level of suffering that is experienced and identified with. For me personally, the sensations I have experienced from being released of mental suffering is what prompted me to surrender to a spiritual practice in the first place. When I first felt this release, I knew that I had found what I was looking for and began my journey with the intention of maintaining that position. And through the years it has helped evolve me in so many ways, each time, building a stronger foundation in this position of sacred joy.
However, I am just now opening up to a new discovery during one of my Self-Inquiry meditations and I wanted to share it with you. All this time I have been focusing on being the witness of my suffering so as to be able to observe, learn and maintain my position. But until now, I never considered the possibility that Joy may be, in a way, the same as suffering.
I think the easiest way to demonstrate this is to write it out like a formula and then discuss it further. Hopefully I can articulate this.
Action <— Sense of Suffering <— Awareness —> Sense of Joy —> Action
In a state of awareness we become a witness to everything else unfolding, ‘Senses of joy and suffering’ as well as the ‘actions’ of both. However, when we live in the position of our senses our only course of expression is not to witness but to ‘do’. Through Awareness, the senses are the celebration, instead of the action being the celebration.
It is easy to see this in suffering. When people feel hurt or depressed, some tend to reach for something that will either numb or hide the feeling. Some may turn to chemical dependency, electronics, or any other action that will get them past this sense of pain. But through awareness it becomes easier to witness and observes these feelings without feeling the pain from them as much or if at all. In this viewpoint it allows us to work with it and understand it better, instead of reacting to it.
Picture a pot of boiling water. Living in the senses is like grabbing the pot without gloves and burning your hands. Immediately, you rush (into action) to the sink for cold water to treat it. Picture the same pot of boiling water again. Living through awareness is like standing next to the stove and feeling the heat in the air coming off of the pot. At that point you know, that you must use gloves to handle the pot. An understanding and learning was created through this point of view.
When Joy is experienced through the position of the senses, our first expression is to celebrate through action. No matter what celebrating may be interpreted as, there seems to be a need to manifest it in honor of that joy.
When someone celebrates a birthday, most likely there will be a party. Celebration with friends, family, food, alcohol, or whatever a celebration may mean to that individual. There will be fun! And why not!? This is the human experience we are having so we absolutely should celebrate any moment that excites our soul! But living through the senses alone, there could be a tendency for indulgence and losing the perspective on the occasion and creating unhealthy situations. Just like if someone parties too much and they get drunk and put themselves in harm’s way. Or if someone celebrates by way of a big feast and they over eat at every occasion and become full, overweight and in a state exhaustion so they can’t fully be present. And in living through the senses we chance developing habits because we associate joy with eating or joy with intoxication. These are just two examples of many kinds.
Living through awareness allows us the opportunity to witness the joy. It gives us the ability to feel the connection that is created within that moment of joy and revel in it, without the need for action but just to experience joy itself. Joy becomes the act of celebration at a soul level. In that subtle space, no action is required. Just being present amidst joy and allowing ourselves to express this joy at a sensory level.
It’s not my intention to denote celebrating life in our own way. This is a human experience we are having, it’s meant to be lived at this level. But at the same time, I believe it would be a goal in my own spiritual journey, to develop that positional awareness of joy in order to find balance in it all. Gaining freedom from a lot of my own suffering has filled me up with great joy and it allowed for celebration. I feel it is time, to be still inside of this Joy and really feel every nuance of that divine bliss, instead of indulging my own senses in its honor, then growing numb to it. I want to feel it completely and celebrate this connection with the divine. In this way, I feel an even greater awareness can grow.
Essay and poem by: jeffrey vionito