There is a great proverb that says, "This too will pass." This proverb reveals a great truth, that exposes the passing nature of the world, and experience. If it is a sad experience, it shall pass. If it is a happy experience, it shall pass.
Ultimately, all shall pass.
Jesus Christ told his followers, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." The Buddha said, "Nothing is permanent". Is there happiness to be found in this world? Can happiness be found in a world which is passing?
It is clear then, that we must look for the eternal. We must not conceptualise the eternal. As the Buddha says, “Our theories of the eternal are as valuable as are those which a chick which has not broken its way through its shell might form of the outside world.”
Thoughts are passing, so the eternal cannot be thought. The discovery of the eternal must be non-phenomenal. It cannot be seen to come and go.
A famous Indian saint, known as Ramana Maharshi, explained how one makes this discovery. In his spiritual instruction he states:
"One must inquire into the thought ‘who am I?’. As each thought arises, one should inquire with alertness, “To whom has this thought arisen?”. The answer that would emerge would be “to me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?” the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will subside."
"When the mind stays in the Heart, the ‘I’ which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine." He further explains, "What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in it like silver in mother-of-pearl."
"The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I” thought. That is called “Silence”. The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is “I”; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self."
How then can one find happiness in this world, when one is already beyond the world?
As Jesus Christ said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world".
Photo Courtesy of Ian Dooley