How To Be Really Happy!

Chidren Living in Dark Cellars

The following is a conversation between two fictional characters who are concerned with the problem of suffering in the world.

Light Wind: People are suffering so much.

Praying Hands: Yes, but they don’t realize they are suffering.

Light Wind: Can it really be suffering then?

Praying Hands: If a child is raised in a dark cellar, it is all the child knows. It has no desire for sunshine, the sweet fragrance of flowers or pleasant afternoon conversations with others.

Light Wind: So, without knowledge of what it could have, the child has no desires for these things and is not suffering.

PH: Yes, desire is the cause of suffering. But, in this example, we are talking about suffering that results from desire for something that is known – sunshine and flowers – and the child doesn’t know about these. There is also suffering that is the result of being out of harmony with existence such as thinking one’s self to be separate. This is still suffering that is due to desire, but it is subtle and hidden and the child suffers from this. The child is so accustomed to the suffering that it thinks it is the normal state.

LW: So, Praying Hands, why not leave it at that? Let them be.

PH: Because you and I suffer wishing the child could enjoy Nature and the warmth of social contact and the bliss of the Divine. We can’t help it. It comes up from our hearts because the Universe also desires this for the child. Even the Universe is suffering to see the wretched living conditions of the child. On a deep level the soul of the child feels something is wrong. It doesn’t know why or what it is. There is no contentment and this is suffering.

LW: Isn’t this the state of being for most everyone?

PH: Yes, we have all been brought up in a dark cellar so to speak. The confining walls of the cellar are made of our likes and dislikes – our desires and fears. It is a small, dark cellar formed from blind social conventions and brainwashed beliefs given to us by our parents and teachers because they too live in their own dark cellars. There is the dampness of selfish thinking which causes mold to grow and there are the insects of self-importance which scurry about leaving unseen trails in the dirt on the floor. These are our only companions.

We have been taught that we are separate from everyone and everything including Nature and, therefore, we are led to accept the prison of our cellar. Unifying currents such as love and compassion have been removed as much as possible. If these are mentioned they are immediately dismissed with ridicule – we are told that there is no safety in love and that it is only for the weak minded. There is not a drop of love to be found and so our hearts have withered and died. We are like the walking dead.

LW: So, Love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, mercy, affection – these are the core of what we are missing in our dark cellar.

PH: Exactly! Love and love alone is what makes life beautiful. The other qualities such as compassion and kindness are the children of Love. Love comes first, then the children of Love. Love is another word for the Absolute. It doesn’t have any particular object that invokes it. It is self-luminous. The children of Love - kindness, compassion and so on - all must have an object such as a person, animal, plant or the earth to invoke them. For example, we could not have compassion without suffering people to invoke our compassion. We could not have affection without another person to be the target of our affection. Love is not like this. It stands alone. It is, regardless of who else or what else. Back to your statement, yes, the darkness of our cellar is the absence of Love and her children.

LW: So we are each really a child that is truly living in a dark cellar.

PH: Our true nature is like that of an innocent child and our light-hearted innocence has been lost – forgotten in the darkness of our cellar.

LW: Why don’t people know this? Why are they not aware of it?

PH: Who can say? It’s a mystery. Some attribute this to the force of Maya, the Cosmic power of illusion.

LW: Why would Maya do this?

PH: You are asking the age-old question – why is there suffering. We can only guess. One way of looking at this is to take responsibility for our suffering as well as the suffering of others and do something about it.

LW: Is Maya not to blame then?

PH: Well, there is Maya but we don’t have to accept it. We can walk away from it once we see clearly the nature of Maya.

LW: How will this “clear seeing” of Maya happen for the child in the cellar who has known only ignorance?

PH: You are right Light Wind. The child isn’t going to get “clear seeing” on his own. Someone or something has to plant a seed of awakening. Somehow the light of pure awareness begins to grow brighter in the child and, from this, an awareness of his suffering begins to take place. This light of awareness is like lighting a candle in the cellar. We begin to see the true state of our existence and our suffering comes into view. This creates a desire to end the suffering and so begins the search and journey from not-knowing to knowing.

LW: Maybe someone tells the child the truth.

PH: Perhaps, but until the child is ready to wake up, he will ignore any such advice and even laugh at it. But for one who is becoming aware, such words will be welcomed like a starving person welcomes food.

LW: This is awful Praying Hands! Almost every single human being is caught in a dark cellar and they know only suffering! I feel so badly for them. What can we do?

PH: For those that are still dreaming that they are separate, we can only try to make them comfortable. There is nothing you and I can do to bring them to the Truth. However, the Divine, the cosmic light of existence that oversees and orchestrates all activity can wake them up at any time.

LW: Why not wake them all up?

PH: We can take one of two views of this darkness. Either it is somehow a good and necessary occurrence in the grand scheme of things which has been well planned by a benevolent Cosmic Mind, or the universe is nothing more than mindless matter that shuffles around chaotically in the corridors of time with no plan whatsoever in which case the darkness and suffering are accidental.

LW: In either view we have no choice but to accept the darkness and suffering.

PH: Yes Light Wind, our intellects can accept it. However, if we are somewhat awakened ourselves, our hearts won’t be able to turn away from it. We will be compelled to act with compassion to do what we can to remove as much suffering as possible. This is because Love is the foundation of existence. We will go from cellar to cellar speaking the Truth that we are all children of the Divine and it is our birthright to enjoy the bliss of love and freedom from the confining cellar walls of ego. Most will tell us to leave them alone. Some will be ready to listen. These are the ones we are looking for.


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