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The Grass Isn't Greener Over There

The Bliss of Living With What the Universe Gives You

by Paramananda Ishaya


The Silly Cycle

The unfortunate thing about being a human is that we are endowed with this silly little thing-idea called the mind. This thing is never satisfied for long. Maybe it seems okay for a while when, according to its ideals everything seems to be going smoothly. For many of us this period of grace where everything seems okay does not last long. Before we know it we are back in the silly cycle.

The silly cycle happens when the grass is greener on the other side, then; when you get to the other side the grass is still greener on the other side…ad infinitum.

I need not say more since this habit is obvious. The question is how can we break this cycle or more accurately how can we see through it. I say see through it because this little habit is so ingrained in us that to break it would be like trying to break a Mountain. By seeing this mind trick clearly we will dismantle the power this trick has over our Joy.

Why would we want to see through the cycle? Because by seeking a better life we are avoiding the incredible greatness of the one we have now. Happiness is not over there but here right where we are now. We waste our lives outside our own universe where we exist. We don’t actually live out there somewhere but right here. We are here reading this article right now not in some other less sexy article… wink.

The comedy is that your universe has real potential to be Joyful without changing a single thing. The problem is we don’t see the real universe, we see an idea of a better one. (Calculate how much time you have wasted thinking about changing your circumstances to something better, you probably have done more fantasizing than eating, walking and showering combined. How do I know this? I do not have a degree in greener grass, but have spent my time thinking and looking for it, but at least I didn’t smoke it)

Our natural way of being without this grass-seeking mind is contentment. While we may not destroy this tendency with one big smack we can certainly gain freedom from it since it is a product of learned behavior. There is no reason why we have to continue to live our lives as slaves to the silly cycle.

The wonderful news is that when we see through it to the foundation of stillness underneath, we uproot its reach in every area of life. This is powerful since the grass is always greener. It is greener in finances, relationships, work, image, self-worth and my personal favorite in the position on the ladder of consciousness. Everyone if honest will place themselves on a scale in one of these departments of life and let me take a guess it is not totally okay. No I am not a psychic but a fellow human who is aware of my own mind and its tendency to see the grass is greener over there. Prehaps the only difference is that I no longer listen to it, at least for the most part and therefore can rest right here knowing that this is all there is and all god has for me at this moment. Yes I prefer I burger and a coke with ice now but alas, I don’t have one… waaaah!

Can I change it? Improve it? Can I get a better car? Become a better speaker? Get more money? Better girlfriend? Yes to all of those except for the girlfriend because she can’t get any better or better looking. (I am not that silly) So you can improve almost anything in theory and you should try but not by thinking about it. Thinking about it will not make you permanently happy. That cycle does not work, ever. I understand this may seem difficult for some but by moving towards clarity on this subject we can begin to see the reality that you do not need anything to be happy.

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?”

Charles Schulz

The mind might tell you that you can move onto better pastures but that is not what I am talking about. Of course you can always move in a direction to success betterment, higher consciousness etc. But the point is you will always be where you are right now and you cannot run away from that. So why not be happy with where you are at? Ah Ha! Now we see the problem. You can’t be happy because you are stuck in the cycle. Don’t worry seeing it and learning not to take it seriously is a great start and if you continue to do that it will unravel its silliness it divine timing.

And guess what; if you can learn to be content through a path of joy you are instantly more conscious without even lifting a finger. This is the effortless momentum of awakening. It is happening now.

You wouldn’t take something silly serious would you? What we are talking about here is absolute stupidity of the highest (or lowest) order. It deserves laughter. So go ahead and start laughing at its illogicalness and uselessness. It is a silly habit and nothing more than that.

What makes us happy?

So if finding the grass (not the smoking kind) does not make us happy what does?

Being content with what is in your Universe right now is what makes you happy. This seems difficult because sometimes we like what is there and sometimes not. It is not the things or situations appearing in our Universe however that determine our Joy. This is the trick because the mind will take a look around and see all the faults. My room sucks, my boyfriend sucks, my refrigerator hums too loud, my eyebrows are way too bushy… my life sucks. The good news is that it’s okay that it sucks (I agree, it does suck, God did a terrible job at setting it up, if I designed it we would have way more water slides like el rollo in Mexico). The mind is designed and programmed to look at everything in this way and let’s face it the mind itself sucks, so there.

Let me contradict myself here and say that there is nothing that actually makes you happy. Now if I was to end the conversation here that might be a little depressing but I have the greatest of all news for you, something very exciting to share with you. You are already happy without all those things. Wowzer.

The trick is to see that you are already content and that the things that the mind evaluates its happiness on are irrelevant to what you are. What you are is the peace that is beyond the things and the mind itself. (Yes, the mind is a thing)

By the way you have done nothing to deserve this happiness nor can you do anything to earn this lofty contentment but you can indeed see it. This is the invitation in these words and hopefully in the resonance behind them. Take a breath, you are exactly where you need to be. Go ahead and try to leave where you are! I want to see you do it.

Note: Shanti and I were laughing the other day about the idea of levels of worth.

There was a talk with Eckhart Tolle and Steve Taylor the other day. Eckhart had mentioned that last year he was on the top 100 most influential spiritual leaders and that he had lost his position to the Dalai lama. So they we laughing about the comedy of how we get placed in these positions of worth (I am paraphrasing).

So I was saying to her can you imagine after we die there is a line up in heaven where the most influential got preference. You can apply this line up it to anything but for spiritual people it goes like this… St Peter at the gate says, “those who wrote spiritual books, line up here. Okay you didn’t, then get in that line up over there. Over a million readers, stand over here with Eckhart. All Hay house authors stand here. How many workshops did you attend? Only three… back of the line buddy.” Lol. It’s a big comedy. It’s a big laugh isn’t it that we can judge our worth in these ways.

Having goals… not the goal of having

Having a goal in life is wonderful because it gives direction and a feeling that we are living on purpose. Without that we can feel like we are floating around and lost which is not fun and in many cases leads to depression. If you are like me however and have no clue about where you are supposed to go or even have a particular passion then let me give you some advice that helped me.

Just pick something and move towards it. I am speaking practically now not necessarily about spiritual practices. Of course if you feel passionate about becoming a monk then by all means. But what about ordinary life, like work. We are supposed to do what we love. I have never really found a job that I love, I know many people have found one and I think that is great that they can live there passion. My passion is to teach people meditation but as of now I don’t make enough money doing that to pay for rent so I have a full time job.

If I could pay the bills with closing my eyes all day I might give that a shot. Anyone want to sponsor me? Lol. Actually I did try that for a period of time but ultimately the heart wanted a more complete life. Besides I was so Blissed out that I started to just wander around smiling and staring at things for far too long. One day I was in a “floating on bliss” state and I stopped and heard angels singing in a hill near the retreat centre. I listened to them in awe, it took me a few minutes to realize that they were just bees buzzing, but in that state I guess it didn’t matter since they sounded angelic to me despite there bee form. This was when I thought I better get a real job.

Putting me in a coffee shop where I will be serving hot drinks to people in that state would not be a good idea. First I would have to stop drooling to be able to function. Of course if your goal is to drool then obviously that is okay, just make sure you have a towel and somebody to watch over you so you don’t fall over and hurt yourself.

So direction in life is valuable especially when we are young and trying to find our way in the world. For me, like other young people this was difficult. I was jealous of the kids that rushed off to university full stream ahead. Yet, also earlier on I started to see that the people I was jealous of did not really have a goal but a goal of having.

The goal of having is like an empty pit that never gets filled up. There isn’t enough to have that will satisfy us totally. Of course we all know this deep down if we are honest. So the goal is not really achievable but more a habit or programming than a goal. The world is taught by having things on the outside we will feel safe and secure and ironically the opposite happens. Now we need to protect everything we have, argue about it with our partner and defend our positions about it. It is like a constant carrot dangling in front of us and we get stressed out living in this cycle.

The truth is that there is never enough because that which is seeking it is born out of lack and cannot be complete. It is not complete because it is not based in reality.

At first when I saw all of this as a young person I rejected the whole idea of goals and getting because to be totally honest I didn’t want to be another sheep. But I didn’t have the clarity at the time to see the whole picture; I threw the baby Jesus out with the bath water. Life did not improve for me but seemed to get worse. Why? Without a goal, I became self absorbed, lost, apathetic and saw the world as a hopeless maze of uselessness. In other words it was depressing to see the meaninglessness of life.

From the perspective of clarity and openness (spiritual maturity) seeing the fact that the goal of having is meaningless is entirely liberating. Why? Because it loosens the power that the ego has on controlling our happiness based on external rewards. It does not dissolve the ego necessarily but redirects the attention inward to see that what we are is already happiness and that by having something else will not change what we already are.

By giving up goals completely before we understand our true nature is inviting disaster. By giving up the goal of having however is an invitation for joy and contentment in what we already have both on the inside and the outside.

Now that we have re-prioritized our attention on a goal instead of on the goal of having the part of us that feels separate (aka ego) can still have anything it wants. By picking a goal (this could be literally anything we want) we give the separate individual with a separate mind what it wants. We give it something to chase. By giving it something to chase, like money, a relationship, a dream vacation we can tell it to shut up while we enjoy our life. Here is your goal now shut up! In a gentle way we can now focus on where our true joy is located. It is located nowhere outside because it is already FULL inside now and this is the joy of discovering that you really do want everything you have right now.

This does not mean we don’t save for that dream vacation and enjoy the heck out of it when we finally go but that everything we have is a bonus. Did you know that about life? Life as it happens when we are content with what the universe has given us is extra icing on the cake.

By focusing on the highest desire, spontaneous miracles will shower all over your universe.

This does not happen over night (or maybe it does) but by having clarity on this changes how our world will show up for us. This is how powerful you are. You have the opportunity to see that you indeed are already happy. This is a fact. If it is not seen, then there is an investment (interest, seriousness, identification) in something on the outside that will make you happy. Don’t despair. Welcome to the club. All we can do is continue to remind each other. Simply observe what really makes someone happy permanently. We all know what makes someone superficially happy, just go outside to Starbuck’s and see the faces light up as they get their iced latte, wait that’s me too, hello there!

The way of Being

There is not really a way of being since whatever is happening now IS the way of Being. What we really want is to live like Being (Stillness/silence) because if we do that we are totally content and blissed out. By exploring the silence this becomes inevitable.

The good news about the inward journey is that we are simply re-discovering how to be what we already are. As Anthony de Mello puts it, “Our life is in a mess.” Once we stop denying this fact we can start to do something about it. This is easy if we have a path to rediscover what we are. Since obviously we are already what we are, how difficult should this be?

Logic tells us, it would be the height of simplicity and efforlessness. This is the only reason we don’t experience it. Our mind is complicated and confused with thinking and learned ideas about who we are. The wonderful news is that all your ideas are wrong. Yes even your most enlightened ideas are wrong. Why? Because what you are is not an idea. What you are is beyond anything you can come up with. How lucky are you… you infinite you, you.

Note: the other day I was talking with Shanti about the habit the mind has to judge what we are doing in life. I should be doing better… etc. All of a sudden I noticed a little innocent bug about a centimetre long crossing the sidewalk. To my surprise I started yelling at the poor little bug as it was moving across. “What are you doing with your life!? Where are you going!? Why don’t you find out your purpose!? Why don’t you do something important with your life, instead of just walking!?” Of course we started to laugh at how stupid that was and my yelling had no effect on the bug at all it just kept on walking and ignoring me. I still don’t know its purpose or if it has done some deep inner reflection, or sought out an elder wiser bug for advice.

If you treat your mind like this innocent bug and let it be directed by the unknown (secret: It already is anyways) you will be directed by blissful intelligence instead of limitation. It’s okay to not know where you are going, who cares?!

Ants are also more intelligent than humans. I have proof. I watched the discovery channel and these ants came to a crack in the sidewalk which to them must have looked like a canyon. Instead of discussing and analyzing or re-commenting about their problem over and over they all started to crawl in to form a bridge. Each ant pilled up on each other like a circus act until they made a bridge for the thousands of other ants to effortlessly cross over.

The art of Mediation in daily life

By having a practice that you can rely on to take you inward to discover the silence you guarantee that you are moving towards freedom and joy. The Source has been called many things in the past, such as stillness, infinite and God. What is important is that this source which we seek out as the goal of meditation is absent of all movement or change. This is why it has been called nothingness and also why it is mistaken as a blank void. This nothingness is actually fullness, completeness and requires nothing to make it more complete. So don’t bother trying to add to it.

Our experience of life and meditation (which are not actually two things) will always have movement and change. The point is not to stop that but re-discover that which does not move. The reason why it is a source is because it is the root of all change and movement. In its purity it remains still, absent of all objects, therefore we call it pure subjectivity. It is the calm lake. Our mind is like the lake that is sometimes disturbed, distracting us from the wholeness underneath. Our focus in life is primarily on the surface trying to get to the calm ripples yet always we have the whole lake at our disposal. Dive in and explore.

To understand all of this is complicated and unnecessary. To live the aliveness of stillness in daily life is what we want. This is the whole point to a practice, whatever that may be. Going inward is the return to the wholeness of what is always our essential nature. It is simple, easy and available with the right tool to do the job.

When we take time to go inward preferably two or more times a day eyes-closed we infuse our life with the fullness of what we are. This puts the whole power of the lake or ocean behind our little existence and time on the planet. Suddenly our life gets easier as we can see through the drama and have the sight to see with clarity. The clarity has always been there we have just had our awareness off in some strange direction in our head.

So the bottom line is going inward to discover the silence is paramount. All good comes from this exploration.

What is important?

By discovering what is important we can line up are ducks in a row. Our focus on what matters to us creates a priority in the Universe to get us what we want. We can have it all but not if we are scattered in our focus. Clarity is important because we can see where we are going. I don’t mean a mental picture of where we are going but an easy and simple goal, like peace, joy or freedom.

The universe can more easily give us freedom than anything else because in truth we already have it. The secret is freedom is all the universe wants to give us, which may explain why whenever we are unfocused things tend to go a little messy.

Of course the universe will give you, the car, the job and the sexy partner but, we must be clear with what is really ultimately important. What is eternal and what is temporary? Don’t worry if you don’t understand all this right now because by simply starting to move towards your hearts desire everything good will come out of nowhere to help you on the path.

Lying on the fresh green grass looking up

Have you heard the expression, “wherever I go I take my head with me.”

This is true and you also take everything with you. This has always been the case. There is no escape. This is your universe. This is your gift. It is an invitation. To accept the invitation is to enjoy the grass you are lying on. Some enjoy the warm sun as they look up on a clear summer’s day. Others prefer lying under the shade of a tree enjoying the beauty of the contrast between the bright green leaves and the bright blue sky.

This is the life, why not begin to enjoy it.

Paramananda was born in Calgary Alberta in 1975 and currently lives in Vancouver British Columbia where he works as an Electrician.He first learned how to meditate in 1999. Since then he has dedicated his life to exploring and sharing the freedom of this path. In 2003 he began to teach meditation and offer retreats based on the teachings of The Bright Path. These teachings reveal all that is required to walk this path with joy. He teaches that the silence and the humility of not taking yourself seriously are the foundations to seeing that you are already free. He is the author of A Path of Joy Popping into Freedom and The Way of Nothing Nothing in the Way www.paramanandaishaya.com


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