By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
June 18, 2019

Most of us take up the spiritual path in earnest when we begin to understand the principle of non-sensuality. The true teaching of non-sensuality, as taught by Patanjali, is that nothing outside of us can bring us true happiness. Until that realization, we are drawn into the thought, “If I just had that                   (fill in the blank: new car, relationship, job, etc.) then, I could really enjoy life.”

That kind of happiness – the fulfillment of a desire – is fleeting. For with every satisfaction on the physical plane we find an equal disappointment lurking around the next corner.

We begin to look for a different kind of fulfillment – one that is lasting and has no opposite in this world of duality.

I recently realized the flipside of this same coin is the tendency to place our misery outside ourselves. Strange thought, huh? We think, “I’m only upset because of my                 (fill in the blank: nasty boss, nagging spouse, beat up old car that won’t start, lack of money in the bank, etc.).”

Rarely do we take responsibility for our own happiness and misery, and that is why we remain on the rollercoaster of life. Up and down, pleasure and pain, happy and sad.

“Happiness comes, not by helplessly wishing for it, but by dreaming, thinking, and living it in all circumstances. Persons of strong character are usually the happiest. They do not blame others for troubles that can be traced to their own actions and lack of understanding. They know that no one has the power to add to their happiness or to take away from it, unless they themselves allow the adverse thoughts or wicked actions of others to affect them.”

–Paramhansa Yogananda, “How to Be Happy All the Time”

Nayaswami Jaya shared an important and funny story. He was teaching in India when he was asked the question, “You’ve been meditating for forty plus years… what are your powers?” Jaya responded humbly, “I don’t have any powers.” Then he thought for a moment, “Actually,” he said, “I do have a power. I have the power to choose to be happy in every moment. I don’t always use that power but I do have it.”

We all have the power to choose to be happy in every moment! As Paramhansa Yogananda said, “If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”