Happiness isn't what it used to be, but then again, we are not what we used to be, either! We are evolving and realizing more of our human potential. That is not an easy statement to back up with all the evidence of collapse and chaos that has been with us since the start of the century. But what is really going on? In the big picture we are evolving into the oneness of the family of humanity. We're not there yet (far from it), but the handwriting is on the wall: we are going to have to solve our global problems as a global family. It is humanity itself that must rise to save humanity. The interconnectedness of our issues is becoming apparent at all levels: economic, environmental, energy, and food issues are all forcing us to deal with situations outside of ourselves that are impacting our own well-being.
The wound of humanity is rooted in our lack of understanding of the interdependency of all life and thus far, humanity has demonstrated a tremendous lack of humanity towards humanity. We have been like cells in the same body fighting each other. Imagine your hand sneaking up and attacking your face! We need our visionaries to help us awaken to a larger understanding of how interconnected all of life is.
Happiness in difficult times is hard enough to come by, but in this evolving global community, our happiness is ultimately interdependent within the world in which we live.
Is Being Happy Politically Correct In Tough Times?
These are tough times. Isn't it rather trite to focus on happiness in such times of suffering? Tacky? Politically or spiritually incorrect? The question gets raised in discussions of happiness. The truth is that happiness is harder to come by at present because of all of the disruptive influences, but it is a wonderful tonic for these times!
We are just starting a Saturn opposite Uranus Cycle that will happen five different times from November 2008 through the summer of 2010. This last occurred 1964-66 and was, as now, a time of tremendous upheaval of the status quo. The news here is to not look for solid ground for quite awhile, so if your happiness is based on waiting until things settle down again, you're in for a long wait. It is better to find fleeting moments of happiness during these wild and crazy times. There is a great affirmation of this intention:
"I do not need things to go right in order to be happy.
I do not need people to behave themselves for me to love them.
I am free!"
Wouldn't it be great if we could sustain this liberated state? But it is most often a fleeting moment, like a whistle on the wind: there for a moment and then gone, swallowed up in the chaos of our times. This is unconditional love and happiness that doesn't require everything to be just right with everyone around you for you to feel good. When we quiet ourselves to what we think we want and need, the pure joy of being will surprise you by its ability to take delight in that which is already there and free.
Hexagram #22 from the I Ching1, Grace, teaches the path of clarity within, quiet without: "This is the tranquility of pure contemplation. When desire is silenced and the will comes to rest, the world-as-idea becomes manifest. In this aspect the world is beautiful and removed from the struggle for existence." This is the world of art, beauty, nature, the fleeting moments that they are, allow us to temporarily set aside our worries and bathe in the sweet glow of existence. This is grace.
Compression of Time
From all accounts our experience of time is going through a rapid acceleration. Those who interpret the Mayan Calendar and its teachings tell us that the acceleration of time that we are now experiencing is going to continue and double many times over before 2012. Saturn rules time and Uranus has just obliterated our old understanding of time, so it is best to let go of your old concepts of how long things take to happen, or how much you can get done in a given period of time, or how long it takes to accomplish something. Carrying an old attitude about any of these examples of time would certainly lead to acute frustration. You have to let go of control and breathe. It's like driving in Naples: if you try to play by the rules, it just doesn't work; you have to surrender to the flow and go with it.
From my book, The Pursuit of Happiness,"This quickening of consciousness is leading to increased intuition for many and to increased anxiety for just as many, depending on how skillfully you are handling it. This increased energy is a doorway to heightened awareness. Breathe into it and ride the wave to increase intuition, rather than trying to quell the wave, which only creates anxiety."
Breath is too simple and too free to be respected for the amazing resource it can be for dealing with anxiety and pressures concerning time. Practice saying to yourself, "I release and let go of that which is outside of my control" as you breathe deeply into your belly and slowly exhale. Imagine the feelings of a smile breaking over your face and breathe those feelings of a smile deep into your entire being. As you slowly breathe out, send your smile as your energy contribution back into the collective. You are now a planetary light worker.
It's no small thing to interject some light into these troubling times, and light workers the world over are grounding a new vision of a higher way to live on our planet together. "Together" becomes the emphasized word for where we are heading.
Awakening Into We
I call these times "Awakening Into We" because collective issues are increasingly pressing in our individual lives. Finding personal happiness without dealing with these collective issues would be pretty much impossible during these times other than for fleeting moments of grace. This is revealed through the current astrology transits of the outer planets, which deal with collective transpersonal issues to begin with. They are all in the collective social signs of Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. To find your personal way in this era you will need to accommodate for the collective issues impinging upon you. Without accommodating for these collective issues, you would personalize everything, believe that the trouble is all yours, and have a heck of a time!
Let's consider these collective issues through the elements:
From The Pursuit of Happiness, "This is the evolutionary step for humanity, to unite together as one global intelligence. Humanity can solve these great puzzles before us, but not simply with our individual minds. Each of us is only operating on a mere fraction of the mind's potential and it could be that we only need this minimal amount for our individual lives. The 85% of our mind that we are not using is the collective mind, the Universal Mind of Humanity that we are cells of consciousness within, and as we unite with each other, we access that greater global intelligence through our intuition."
Synergy is a process in chemistry when two chemicals come together and their combined effect is greater than 1 + 1 would suggest. With synergy, 1+1 = more than 2. This happens in good conversations at the mental level when ideas get activated that neither person had before the conversation. This is how to access the unused portion of our brain. We are not going to solve our collective problems with 1 + 1 = 2 type of thinking. We need to come together synergistically, activating more of the global brain than was previously drawn on.
The global brain is awakening and is experienced by us as a quickening. To stabilize and align with these growing energy surges, there is probably no greater tool than breath work. Even the simplest technique of breathing deep into your belly and slowly exhaling for several breaths can have an immediate and beneficial impact on your ability to align with intense energy. Then start paying attention the increased subtle nudging in consciousness that is your intuition.
We had the great fortune of attending the Dalai Lama conference on compassion last spring in Seattle. One of the highlights was the interfaith panel discussion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu as the centerpieces of this exquisite discussion. It was really quite amazing to witness these two senior religious ambassadors in their interactions on stage. They were as light-hearted and playful as two young boys together, both truly happy souls and happy to be there, yet these two have both witnessed as much suffering in their lives as anyone. Their happiness was a demonstration of their teaching, a return to the innocence of being, born out of deep compassion for the suffering of others.
This might seem counterintuitive to some, who would question how is it possible for happiness to be an appropriate response to suffering. With this belief, it might seem wiser to shut yourself off from the suffering around you if you really want to be happy. The conference on compassion taught that we are all interconnected whether we want to be or not, or whether we know it or not. Thus, when we try to shut our self off from other people's pain, we feel it anyway, as a background emotion that remains nebulous and unnamed, felt but not acknowledged. When we allow ourselves to open our hearts compassionately to another's plight, actually share in the feeling, and then bless the emotional energy and send back healing love, this is the doorway to the innocent heart displayed by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
Although this teaching is simple, it would require an awakening to the mindset of interdependence; our individual well being and happiness is interdependent on the happiness and well being of all others. This would require an evolutionary step for humanity.
Compassion comes from feeling the suffering of others and having a desire to alleviate that suffering. Suffering is a heavy word and many would shy away from anything at all connected to that word for fear of getting pulled down into it. A technique that can be helpful in skillfully opening to the emotions of others is to "Feel it, bless it, and lay it on the lap of the Divine," and this can be a helpful technique for following through on living with compassion. Be open to the emotions of others, but don't hold onto these feelings; keep them moving through you. Feel the emotions, bless the energy, and then send back love and healing energy.
The Collective Impact is a Two-Way Street
We have been focusing on just how much each of our individual lives are becoming impacted by the growing influence of the collective. But it is not just a one-way street. The collective is made up of all us individuals, and this is our part in the process. Ask yourself, if the collective is made up of all us individuals, are you pleased with your contribution? The energy, thoughts, and emotions that come in are just how it is; what you do with them is up to you. As each of us does our own work of processing, healing, and loving, we send out a little bit of happiness that makes the air just a little bit sweeter for others to breathe.