How to handle joy?
Ektaji, at present, I am on the verge of going through a big change in life. Whatever I have known till now is suddenly being metamorphosed into something larger. All three aspects of people, situation and things are in transition.
From a materialistic and familial point of view, everything is great. I should be very happy. But I am unable to grasp or fully embrace the new beginning. So I opened Ashtavakra Gita and stumbled upon ‘you are not the doer’. I felt free after being reminded of it. But with all the love and goodness pouring in, I feel inadequate to receive it. I am responsible for this change, I feel helpless to be given so much.
In misery, I can feel the depth of pain because I lose myself in it. From an early age, I have lived with the death of near dear ones and gone in misery and risen back up. I feel as though i know pain and the sense of no control over it; but in joy, i feel restrained and not free. I don’t know what is holding me back. This change is frightening. How can I increase my ability to enjoy joy?
That’s a lovely question Priyanka! People always ask the question, how do I handle misery but nobody asks how do I handle joy?
You have hit bulls eye by identifying that in joy also one feels restrained and not free. Very few and fortunate come to this marvelous realization. So pat yourself on the back!
Buddha said, “Life is misery”, irrespective of pleasure or pain, it is misery, don’t deny it. There is a tax that one must pay for every pleasure. Every pleasure leaves a heavy attachment behind and that creates an agami karma. Understanding this in theory is simple but actually being able to identify the feeling of ‘restraint’ that pleasure creates is a marvelous realization!
Now be with this realization and don’t let the pleasure drag you into vasanas. It is very easy to get lost in the Maaya of this material world of people, situations and things, especially when everything is hunky-dory.
Be in it but be untouched by it. How to be untouched? Just like if you were given a drama to act, you act with your 100% into it but still you remain untouched. Let all the pleasure and pain be at the periphery, remember that your center is pure and untouched either by pleasure or pain. Pleasure belongs to the external. At the core, you are pure joy irrespective of what is at the periphery.
When you live life moment to moment with this realization that “I am not the doer” and “I am not the experience-er” even, then an amazing peace dawns on you that cannot be shaken by external pleasure or pain. Remember – “Na kartasi, na bhoktasi, mukta evasi sarvada” – I am not the doer, I am not the experience-er, I am free always!
Be free! Free of both pleasure and pain! You cannot say that “I want to be free of pain and not pleasure”. It does not work that way because pain and pleasure are like the 2 sides of the same coin, one cannot be without the other. If you want pleasure than you must be ready to pay the tax of pain. If you want to be free, then be free of both pleasure and pain. That is the only way out of misery! That is the only permanent solution! Then only have you realized the highest truth!
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