“Happiness exists perennially within you. It is your normal state. You have not to seek it. You will be happy if you get rid of the obstacles called pain, which are in the modes of mind. Happiness is not a secondary thing, but pain is, and these painful things are obstacles to be got rid of.”
–Annie Besant, Opening Quote
Day 289 – Yesterday and last night, I listened to several podcasts–one among them about self-awareness. I’ve been (once again) toying with the idea of getting my doctorate, but the cost always stops me, as well as subject area. I thought that a semester of pre-calculus would curb this, providing learning, but I always return to this…this longing. Although an ancient longing, this longing, nonetheless, makes me unhappy. Today’s reading on happiness spoke to me on many levels.
Rolf writes: “Nondoing is the key to happiness.” Am I happy doing more (I volunteered) at work? Well, sort of. I feel like I’m finding my way to what I can do. Again, Rolf reminds us Aristotle’s words: “What we have the power to do, we have the power not to do.” Rolf is very clear that happiness is simple, writing: “We are compelled to act out in ways that cause pain to ourselves and others. We act the way we do, we believe, because we are so unhappy. What we fail to see is that we are so unhappy because of our behavior.” This search for more-doing, more-output, more-title causes me unease; in fact, I figured out (with the podcast) that I am, in fact, jealous of a colleague with a full ride working on her doctorate. And jealousy translates to coveting, although I was thinking of this degree for a very long time.
On this note, Rolf also warns us: “We have our scripts for life and we adhere to them unquestioningly.” Time on the mat with breathwork and meditation have taught me much, and I am still learning. There isn’t a need for credentialing. In fact, once I embraced this idea that I am not practicing yoga to “take the edge off, or to loosen up, or to get in shape,” I begin to step back and look at the scripts I’ve been following throughout my life. I can see when this “doctorate” thing pops up.
In my insecurity to prove myself, to validate my wisdom, to seek validation, and (for more positive reasons) to learn, I have considered this degree or that degree, but when it comes down to it, what makes me happy? Camping on a mountain with Fred. Searching for seashells on a beach. Early morning hours. Writing. Reading. Teaching. Crossfit. Gardening. Learning. Dancing. As such, Rolf writes: “We practice yoga to become free. Pratyahara is about becoming free.”
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