The first of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths tells us that life in this world is suffering. Perhaps a more accurate translation would be that life is a bundle of discontentments. Our concepts of what we think life should be are like bloody toes that we continue to stub on the rocks of what life really is. Thus, we are caught in a perpetual meat grinder of suffering that possesses us from our childhood to the grave.
Anyone who has an ego or feeling of “I” and “mine” feels this discontent and that they themselves are somehow lacking, insufficient and even wretched.
This book is an exploration of a way out of this condition. We can call it the path of spiritual happiness. This happiness is not the same as worldly happiness which has sorrow as its counterpart. Spiritual happiness has no opposite and it is sufficient unto itself with no other cause for its existence. Because it has no dependence on anything in the material world, we refer to it as being “spiritual” but we do not mean to attach the idea of religion to it. Spiritual happiness is bigger than religion and by “spiritual” we mean it is something of the spirit and not of the empirical world.
This happiness is our true nature and is therefore available to every human being at all times regardless of circumstances.
“Pleasure or pain are only aspects of the mind. Our essential nature is happiness.” Ramana Maharshi, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
Happiness is like a juicy apple hanging in a tree. We will not be able to taste the sweetness of the apple by simply looking at it. We will need to walk over to the tree, put up our hand, pull the apple from the tree and then bite into it. In the same way, reading this book alone will not give us the sweetness of our own inherent happiness. There are some things we must do.
Happiness is an eternal attribute of the Absolute like love or silence. Bliss is another word for this happiness. Just below the surface of our bubbling, simmering empirical world is an indescribable joy and bliss that fills the vastness of eternity.
To rediscover this happiness will require effort on our part. It is an effort that is fun and rewarding and this makes the journey - the adventure - relatively easy and delightful.
The author would like to bow before his guru Mata Amritanandamayi who is commonly known as Amma or the Hugging Saint. Without her grace, this book could not and would not have been written. The reader is invited to explore the author’s metamorphosis at the hands of Amma in the author’s autobiography Into the Mystic. Also at this website, one can purchase an introductory booklet to Amma’s life and teachings titled A Pilgrim’s Guide to Amma. The same book is additionally available as a website at www.ammaguide.com.