The name and form of the spiritually enlightened Saint experiences the pangs and sorrows of life, but not their sting. He is neither moved nor perturbed by the pleasures and pains, nor the profits and losses of the world.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,
SELF KNOWLEDGE AND SELF REALIZATION
In this world of opposites—pleasure and pain, dark and light, love and hate, self and other—it is a given that we all will experience loss and disappointment. People we love may leave us, may hurt us, may break our hearts. We will watch as people we love die. We ourselves may be facing enormous challenges: of health, home, love, money. All of these together make up some portion of every life ever lived on this planet. To imagine an absence of these things in a life is ludicrous. To insist that happiness is available to me only to the extent I am not facing loss or sorrow or fear of death is almost to guarantee that I will never be happy, except in fits and starts, here and there, when I am able to ignore for a moment the inevitabilities of life.
What is required is simple: the work of the spirit, our work in consciousness, is to expand into the Truth of our Being. To know ourselves as that which is beyond all the pairs of opposites, that which is never touched by the ups and downs that are a part of every life.
As I know myself as this greater thing, I can begin to imagine a happiness that is great enough to encompass even this sadness.
We are meant to be happy, joyous and free. We are meant to enjoy our lives. Not just up to the moment it gets scary, but even then.
Today I will imagine my spirit great enough to hold whatever sorrow I may be carrying. I will insist on seeing the space within that surrounds the sorrow/fear/loneliness, rather than just the feelings themselves. I will imagine that God smiles upon me no matter what I’m going through, and I will ask if maybe I might try smiling myself.