enlightenment

Pure, unworried relaxation of the mind is happiness

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The master idler,
to whom even blinking is a bother, is happy.
But he is the only one.
— Ashtavakra Gita (Bart Marshall, translator)

The Ashtavakra Gita is a famous Hindu spiritual text. In it, the enlightened sage Ashtavakra and the enlightened king Janaka talk about the non-dual nature of reality. I love this particular passage because it is so outrageously counter to our usual notions of virtue. Laziness isn't a good thing -- is it?

In a way it is. For the one who resides in the Self, there is no worry about action. Action simply takes place. Thought comes and thought goes, but because there is no attachment to the individual self, those thoughts don't carry the sense of doing. So in one sense, even when the sage does, he does not do, because he does not identify himself with the doer, and does not worry about the outcome. He is simply the space against which doings appear and disappear. So in that sense the sage is always perfectly still. He is the unchanging background to action.

In another, even more literal sense, the sage just does not think as much as others. Because so much of thought is simply the anticipation and regret connected to thinking that one is a person, the sage's mind tends to be clearer than most people's minds. So there is less thought and also less action. He does not act impulsively or out of need, but spontaneously out of the deep sense of stillness. To break that stillness with even a blink is a shame, a bother.

A quiet mind is a happy mind

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Self-realization or enlightenment is valuable chiefly because it indicates that the mind has seen its own boundaries. Now, like some kind of billiard ball, it's going to bounce against them until it loses its energy and finally comes to a rest. The realization of the true, eternal calm of the Self is not enough to immediately quiet the mind.

To quiet the mind, the mind must slowly wear away all its old habits and desires, which were based on the illusion of being an independent doer, thinker, and enjoyer. It is merely an image, a shadow, and when it grasps that, it falls silent.

It must grasp and fall silent without ever seeing for itself. It cannot see the Truth. It can only intuit it from the sense of reverence and awe -- and perhaps bliss, yes -- it gets at times when it falls silent. Technically those experiences are mental experiences, however, and not experiences of the Self per se. Still, those are the experiences upon which the mind must grow less dependent over time.

Trusting in them, it must slowly grow faith, rest in the knowledge of its own image nature, and grow quiet. And in that quiet the true happiness of the Self will shine, as through a perfectly clear window.