Happiness is a natural by-product of doing the things that make our little heart sing and our little toes dance. Having our heart in what we are doing is all there is to it. How hard could that be? When is the last time your heart was in what you were doing? Why did you stop? What are the blocks, the stops, the barriers preventing us from living with our heart in what we are doing? Conduct an inquiry. Get to the bottom of it. Why are we not living with our heart in what we are doing? What would have to happen in order to be able to live that way? What does our heart want that we aren't giving it? Why are we holding out on our own heart? Whose side are we on?
There are the Who, What, When, Where, How questions to be answered. The Tao and the Atman team up for the them all, with The Atman being the essential Self/Soul/Essence/Being (the Who) within all living things, and the Tao being the Right way (How) to do What needs doing, and When to do it. And Where is always here and now. Throwing or lot in with the Tao and the Atman, leaves us with only having to develop our relationship with both in order to follow the flow of life from beginning to in. The only catch is that we have to play our part as it needs to be played and get out of the way in each situation as it arises. It means sincerely being devoted to serving the true good of the whole, with no contrivance and no interest in the outcome. We just do what is ours to do, with nothing to gain or lose, and it all works out just peachy for all concerned. We have everything we need to do what is called for in all conditions and circumstances of life. What could be wrong with this plan?
There are eight tools for getting us through anything/everything, and for getting us in the center of the sweet spot of where we need to be in every time and place of our living. They are: 1) Compassion --for ourselves, and for one another (that would be for all others)-- and for our circumstances/situation in life. It begins with compassion and flows from compassion, and depends upon compassion. Compassion is unconditional and equally applicable to all things everywhere, any time. It is the ground of our existence. If we do it without compassion, it won't be worth doing. If you are going to practice anything, practice compassion-- for everything throughout your day all day long. 2) Awareness takes everything into account, contains everything, considers everything, with compassion (of course), and without judgment, opinion, or expectation. All things are just as they are, "Thus Come," "right out of the box." Awareness receives everything in a "This is the way things are, and this is what can be done about it, and that's that" kind of way. Awareness is without emotional attachment or reactivity. Awareness is the operational attitude of emergency room personnel, or emergency medical technicians, triaging a situation and responding to it in ways appropriate to the occasion in each situation as it arises. Awareness is the primary and absolutely essential attitude for sizing things up and dealing with them as they need to be dealt with, one after another, moment-by-moment, day-by-day, all our life long. 3) Acceptance greets everything with Rumi's warm welcome expressed so well in his poem, "The Guest House" (Googleit). Everything is exactly what we need to grow up some more again. And growing up some more again is "what it's all about." Growing up some more again is the essence of the Hero's Journey, and the Spiritual Journey, and every other journey there is or may ever be. We are never Grown Up. We are always growing up. Evolving, becoming, moving, developing, shifting, changing, showing ourselves who we are and what we are made of. There is more to us than meets the eye-- any eye, especially our own eye! And our life is exquisitely designed to provide us with the experiences necessary to bring us forth, expressing, exhibiting, incarnating who we are in each time and place (here and now) of our living. So, greet the day, and make it welcome! 4) Silence is the sine qua non for balance, harmony, spirit, life, vitality, virtue, character, Original Nature, and living centered in the sweet spot of who we are and what is ours to do. Everything flows from Silence! Imagination and creativity are grounded in Silence! All that we as a species have ever produced came right out of Silence! Meeting what meets us in Silence is the necessary ordeal for meeting what meets us in the world of ordinary, apparent, reality. The Silence is practice for the Noise of the 10,000 things, for the Dust of the World. As we learn to appreciate, embrace, yearn for, enjoy, relish Silence, we prepare ourselves for all that waits in the situations and circumstances of our daily life. Silence is the source of all that we need to find what we need to do what needs to be done and what needs us to do it in each situation as it arises forever. We cannot be anything worth being until we can be quiet. On a regular basis throughout the time left for living. 5) Perspective is how we see what we look at. How we see determines what we see when we look at what we look at. How we see is conditioned/controlled by the 10,000 things. The way we see things is determined by where we have been and what has happened to us from birth to here and now. We all are at the mercy of the way we see things. Programming the way things are seen is the aim of all propaganda, and everything that has come to us about how to see what we look at is a form of cultural propaganda-- stemming from the people we hang out with, socialize with, associate with, that form our culture-within-the-culture. When the way we see things changes, the people we spend time with is likely to change. And if we change the people we spend time with, we are likely to change the way we see things. All of which is a result of awareness, particularly as it relates to #6 below. 6) Self-transparency is seeing ourselves seeing. Seeing ourselves thinking. Feeling. Knowing. Acting. Doing. Living. Being... We do not move, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, until we see ourselves moving-- until we know what we would go to hell for-- until we know where we stand and what we stand for, "Without hope, without witness, without reward" (Steven Moffat, Doctor Who). Self-transparency is not kidding ourselves, but knowing ourselves as we are, "just so," "Thus Come." With the kind of compassionate awareness and acceptance described above. This kind of knowledge of our essential selves, lends itself to a budding knowledge of our Self-- The Atman within-- and positions us to live aligned with ourselves, with our Self, and in accord with the Tao. 7) Sincerity (Non-contrivance) is the basic requirement of self-expression. We live to be who we are-- for no reason other than being who we are. We do not live to get anything out of it beyond the experience of being fully alive by being who we are in the moment of our living in each situation as it arises. When we meet the moment and respond to it by offering/doing what is called for there as only we can, with the gifts/daemon/genius/virtue/character/grace that are peculiarly ours to offer, we have done all that anyone can do, and that is being as alive to the moment as possible. 8) Spontaneity is acting without contrivance, without agenda, without motive, without plans, or schemes, or strategies, or intentions, or purposes, or ideas, but simply rising to every occasion by offering what is called for, and letting that be that. Live in the service of these eight tools for living, and you will be where everyone has been searching for from the beginning of the species, and, maybe, before.
What comes packed in our DNA? How did it get there? I talk a lot about our Original Nature. What is constant in everyone's DNA, and what is inherited from our parents, unique to us alone among all people on earth for ever? How did it get there? How often do new things get there? What is the process of transmission? How do innate releasing mechanisms get into our DNA? Can new ones ever come along? When in the history of our DNA did they first occur? How does "experience" become "inherited"? Does the idea of God predate the experience of God? Where do ideas come from? Can we experience anything that is not "expected" by our DNA? What can we not experience? Why not? We are born into a culture of assumptions and expectations. How could we ever know that a response to our environment is inherited via DNA or originates in the sea of cultural assumptions and expectations that immerses us at birth? It feels (to me) as though the Tao and the Atman are explanations/grounds of experience, but experience could just as easily be based on the cultural expectations and assumptions of Tao and Atman. Experience is created by expectation and explanation. That is the foundation of superstition, horoscopes, black magic, voodoo and religion. If we take anything on faith it is instant and everlasting that whatever we take on faith becomes an irrefutable fact like that (snaps fingers). We are susceptible to suggestion, and cannot separate culturally created expectation from personally experienced reality. How objective can even science be? Isn't that the very ground of the "hypothesis not fact" presumption that serves as the basis of all scientific endeavor? We have to constantly check our own observations because we cannot trust ourselves to see what is there and not what we expect to be there? How do our expectations have us where we are? How can we free ourselves from our presumptions, assumptions and expectations in order to see reality separate from our presumptions, assumptions and expectations? How do we know we aren't just making up everything we think we know to be so? Truth and illusion are separated by what? "The edge of the coin"? (Ortega y Gasset)