By Gurudevi Nirmalananda
Enlightenment will not give you happiness. Instead you will abide in unending inner bliss. This bliss is not the same as happiness, not even the same as lots of happiness. Happiness is an emotion; bliss is a state of being. Happiness comes and goes; bliss is constant. Happiness is dependent on external things; bliss is independent, ever-arising from its inner source. You look outside for something to make you happy, but you look inside for bliss, which is always there.
Inner bliss is an inner fullness, suffused with peace, joy and compassion. These are not ordinary emotions. Yoga describes them as “divine emotions,” not only because they are divine, but also because they come from a different direction.
Ordinary emotions begin with external things (people or events), which your mind gloms onto and won’t let go of. Your mind churns your heart, whether creating excitement, anxiety or pain. Your entire nervous system goes haywire and you “feel” your feelings. Your feelings are physical sensations caused by your thoughts, which is why we label emotions as “feelings.” The events can even be long gone but your mind replays them, so you experience the feelings again and again, even getting stuck in a reactive loop that no one enjoys — not you nor the people around you.
Divine emotions arise from the deepest dimension of your own being, your own capital-S Self. Meditation is the most efficient way to go looking for the source, which is why all of yoga’s practices are ways to prepare for meditation. Exploring your own existence, delving inward to the source of your own beingness, you discover your Self, the One Reality who is being you. Grounded into the inner infinity, you are being the One while knowing your own beingness.
When you open your eyes, you can stay grounded in the inner infinity of your own Self. Now that expansive bliss and beingness can pour through your mind and emotions — this is what we call “divine emotions.” They come from a divine source, an inexhaustible source, the source of this universe, which is the source and substance of your own Self.
Ever arising within, this bliss fills your thoughts and senses. You see differently. You think differently. You breathe differently. You step into your relationships more fully, more expansively, yet what you have to share is profoundly different, for you are sharing the bliss of Consciousness-Itself, your own Self. What a way to live! You can’t get there by yourself. Just like anything else you do, you need to learn how to do it from someone who already knows how. More than mere learning, you need a boost, like a little kid sitting on their dad’s shoulders. That’s called grace, the divine gift that reveals your divinity to you. That’s why I studied with my Guru, and that’s why he sent me here to help you. If you want to be enlightened, you’ll need to put some time and energy into it. It’s a great goal, the greatest of all goals! But to attain your goal, you need both: self-effort and Guru’s Grace. Do more yoga.