Reader Question: Can there be happiness without unhappiness?

Words and poster design by Brian Thompson.

Reader Question:

Since the mind functions in duality, can there be happiness without unhappiness?


You cannot separate happiness from its perceived duality; therefore it is always relative to (and conditioned by) its perpetual sidekick, unhappiness.

Happiness and unhappiness are two aspects of the same thing, which is the false sense of self's search for inner stillness. This is nothing other than the ego's desire for either what is to remain as it is, or its desire for what is to be different than what it is, which then causes the appearance of both emotions to arise within the body.

In other words, happiness cannot exist without sadness—they rely upon one another. They are forever entangled.

Happiness always fades and disappears—just as every sort of appearance within awareness does—and in its place, unhappiness inevitably arises.

And the wheel of suffering turns once again.

Beyond this perceived duality, however (and it remains as nothing but a misperception), happiness and unhappiness can be transcended altogether by going beyond their relativity to one another, which is the very thing the egoic mind clings.

The bliss of contentment is then revealed within every moment, regardless of situation or circumstance, as absolute reality—that which exists beyond the duality of the discriminating, personal mind.

This unparalleled, unconditioned equanimity is the foundation for our entire sense of being—wheter we're aware of it or not. It is a presence of being that is empty of the mind’s projections, which only serve to divide the totality of any given moment into limiting concepts of this and that, mine not mine, good and bad, right and wrong, happy and sad, and so on.

The ultimate reality is what is, regardless of whether the ever-present inner peace of pure awareness is awakened to or not. Awareness exists within us, as us. It is the true nature of Self.

No longer seek happiness—wanting it only separates you from realizing the profound sense of wellbeing that is only present in the absence of desire.

No longer wish this present moment to be different than what it is. Embrace what is, simply because it is. Wanting the present moment to change only creates suffering.

Desire what is, and what is will no longer be a problem.

Desire every moment, regardless of how it might appear to the ego.

Be aware of the mind and the labels it places onto people, places, events, and things, but do not identify with any of them. Observe the mind’s activity the way you would a storm cloud passing overhead—remain unattached, yet curiously aware.

Embrace both the joy and the pain that arises within life. No matter what appears, know that all is well—realizing, this too shall pass.

When you subdue the "wanting” mind, and its opinions of the present moment have been silenced (or blissfully ignored), place your awareness on awareness itself, rather than focussing it on whatever perceived duality is arising within the mind.

If you allow your life always to be conditioned by the ego's desires, then you will forever be swinging between happiness and sadness.

You may say that you're ok with this, that any suffering experienced is worth it so you can feel its flipside of joy, but the duration in which happiness is maintained soon dwindles. It will no longer last as long as it did. The elation which used to last for weeks now only lasts for a couple of days, and what used to last for days, now only lasts for a few brief hours. Because of this back and forth monotony, the mind eventually tires and attaches itself onto what it perceives as being negative, and it then sinks into despair, where it dwells in its own misperceived, falsely-imagined misery.

The solution is to know yourself as Presence—the field of infinite awareness that is beyond the appearance of things, which all things arise within. Realize your Self as the presence that is witness to the mind, but is altogether free from its delusions.

No longer react to whatever appears within the mind or the world. Realize your inner bliss, which is beyond the limiting concept of finding happiness.

Identify within nothing other than the totality of awareness—which arises within everything, everywhere.

Empty the mind of all its selfish desires. Desire nothing other than this present moment, because it’s all you truly have.

You exist, now—not you, the person. Not you, the ego. You—Awareness. You are always, and only, Now.

This moment is You.