• Aliki Reddy

The Direct Path to Peace and Happiness

The direct path to peace and happiness is simply to know ourselves as we truly are. When we discover that we lack nothing, we spontaneously stop looking for fulfillment outside of ourselves.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:


  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.


* All quotes are by Rupert Spira, from the video: The Direct Path to Peace and Happiness



1. To Know Happiness, You Must Know Yourself

"Everybody loves happiness above all else and, for this reason, everybody seeks happiness above all else. And most of us seek happiness through the acquisition of objects, substances, activities, circumstances, states of mind, relationships, etc.

Whilst these may seem to give us brief moments of peace or happiness in our lives, they don't give us the lasting peace and happiness for which everybody longs.

Happiness is your nature. You are happiness itself. This is the great understanding, the great open secret that lies at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions. Happiness is the very nature of our self.

It is for this reason that self-knowledge is really the core of all the great traditions. It's why the words, "Know thyself" were carved above the entrance of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, indicating that true knowledge of oneself lies at the very foundation of Western Civilization.

So what does it mean to know oneself? It means to know what we essentially are.

Most people's knowledge of their self is so thoroughly mixed up with the content of their experience - that is, their thoughts, images, feelings, memories, activities, relationships, etc - that, whilst they know their self, they do not know their self clearly.

And it is this lack of clear self-knowledge that is responsible for the obscuring or the veiling of the peace and happiness that is the very nature of ourself."

COACHING NOTES:

How well do you really know yourself? Many of us haven't given this question our serious consideration, which explains why we tend to float through life as though we're just a bunch of thoughts and feelings trapped in a mind, body, and life story.

But now it's time to give this question some attention. What does it really mean to know yourself, to know your essence? If we don't stop to find out, we may forever be chasing an idea of happiness that we think comes from outside of us.


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2. You Don't Need to Become Anything

"If we want to have access to our innate peace and joy, it is first necessary to know ourselves as we essentially are. How do we discover what we essentially are? We simply discard everything that is not essential to us. When everything that is not essential to us has been discarded or let go of, only that which is essential in us remains.

We do not become a new or a spiritual or an enlightened self as a result of this investigation into our true nature. Our essential self, our true nature, is simply revealed as a result of this exploration.

When we go to sleep at night, we take off or discard all our clothes, and when all our clothes have been discarded, our naked body simply remains or is revealed. We don’t suddenly become a naked body. We are always essentially, relatively speaking, a naked body, but most of the time it is covered with clothes.

It’s exactly the same thing with our naked self or naked being, our essential being. When we take off all the layers of accumulated or conditioned experience that is not essential to us, our naked being or essential self remains.

We do not become our naked being or essential self. It is simply revealed underneath the layers of conditioning or experience."

COACHING NOTES:

Notice any misconceptions you may have about the need to become better, more spiritual, or to attain your idea of enlightenment.

To use Leonard Jacobson's words, "the great paradox is that we already are that which we are becoming." This is a journey of seeing, unveiling, and unlearning. As we explore our true nature, our non-essential self begins to drop away revealing the truth of who we have always been.

Stay open in the coming days as we explore more deeply.


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3. The Ever-Present Background of All Experience


"Let’s embark on this exploration now. Ask yourself the question: what element of my experience is essential to me?

Are any of our thoughts essential to us? Obviously not. Our thoughts are continually appearing, existing briefly, and vanishing. When a thought vanishes, we do not feel a little bit of our self vanishes with it. Thought is simply something that appears to us and then disappears. We are that which is aware of the thought.

Likewise, no memory is essential to us. Memories are continually appearing and disappearing in our experience, and often there are no memories but we are always present.

Likewise whatever emotion or feeling may be present is not essential to us. Our emotions and feelings are continually appearing, existing, and then vanishing. They are like clouds in the sky. No cloud is essential to the sky. The sky is essential for the clouds but the clouds are not essential for the sky.

We are simply that which is aware of the emotion as it appears, while it exists. And, after it disappears, we remain ourselves, open, available, present, aware of the next experience, whatever that might be.

No sensation of the body is essential to us. Take the tingling sensation of your face or chest or hands or feet - all of these sensations appear, exist for a while, and then vanish. None are essential to us. We are that which is aware of them.

Likewise our perceptions of the world: sights, sounds, tastes, textures, smells, all of these are continually appearing, existing for a certain amount of time, and then vanishing. We are that which perceives them. We are that which knows them. We are that which is aware of them.

In other words, we are nothing that we are aware of. We are simply the fact of being aware, or awareness itself. Everything apart from the fact of being aware changes, disappears.

That fact of knowing, being aware, or awareness itself is the one constant factor in all changing experience. It is the ever-present background of all changing experience, just as the transparent screen is the ever present background of the constantly changing images in a movie.

Whatever each of us was experiencing two days ago, two years ago, 20 years ago has changed, but the awareness with which we were aware of each of these experiences remains the same.

Nothing ever happens to awareness. It is ever-present and changeless. Just as, relatively speaking, nothing ever happens to the screen upon which innumerable movies play. Just as no movie harms or stains or destroys the screen, no experience hurts or scars or destroys awareness.

We, awareness, are always in the same pristine condition."

COACHING NOTES:

Knowing yourself as the ever-present background of your experience, as the one who is aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sense perceptions changes everything.

Suddenly, instead of being trapped in the story of your life, at the mercy of your circumstances and conditioned beliefs, you discover a fresh openness in your being and largeness of heart that encompasses all your human experiences from the seat of awareness.

By zooming out, you can begin to see yourself as the space in which all things happen.


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4. Returning to Unconditional Peace


"We, awareness, are like the open, empty space of a room. We are all now sitting quietly and peacefully in our rooms where we are at home but we might not be sitting peacefully. We could be dancing, we could be fighting. The space of the room would remain exactly the same. It would not share the agitation of our activities.

In other words, just as it is the nature of the space in our room to be unmoved or unperturbed by whatever takes place within it, so, likewise, we, awareness, are never disturbed or agitated by whatever takes place in the experience.

We, awareness, are simply open without resistance to all experience.

We do not need to be made open through effort or practise or discipline. It is the nature of ourself, awareness, to be open without resistance to all experience, and unharmed, unmoved, undisturbed, unchanged by experience. And this is what is meant in traditions when it says that our nature is peace.

We, awareness, are inherently peaceful and our innate peace has nothing to do with what does or does not take place in experience. Just as the stillness of the space of the room in which each of us is sitting, has nothing to do with whatever does or does not take place in that space.

The peace of our true nature does not depend upon the condition of the mind, the body or the world. It is not necessary to change the content of experience in any way in order to have access to the inherent peace of our true nature. Just as it is not necessary to turn off the movie in order to touch the motionless screen.

We are free at every moment to soften the focus of our attention from the content of experience - thoughts, images, feelings, etc - and allow our attention to come back to our self, come back to awareness.

This coming back to our self, this returning to our self from the adventure of experience is the essence of prayer or meditation. It is a direct path to peace and happiness."



COACHING NOTES:


There's always a movie being played and it's the story of our life. It's full of characters, events, and daily adventures. However, we can get so caught up in these adventures that we completely lose ourselves in the story.

Remember that you are "free at every moment to soften the focus" of your attention, to step back from the drama that's going on in your life, and return to yourself as awareness.

Peace is your nature so you don't need to try to find it. Simply relax back into yourself, let go of your story (even if only for a minute) and discover the peace that is beyond understanding and always with you.


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5. Not Seeking Fulfillment


"Notice that, just as nothing that takes place in experience disturbs our self, the presence of awareness, so nothing that takes place in experience adds anything to us or removes anything from us - just as nothing is added to or removed from the screen when a movie begins and ends.

The screen is always in the same whole condition. So, likewise, we, awareness are never aggrandized or diminished by experience. We do not stand to gain anything from, nor lose anything from experience.

This does not mean that we, awareness, reject experience in any way. We, awareness, are totally open, without resistance to all experience. But what it implies is that we, awareness, have no vested interest in experience.

We do not approach experience from a sense of lack, seeking to be fulfilled or completed by it. We, awareness, are already self-fulfilled, complete, whole, in which nothing is lacking. And the common name for this absence of lack is, of course, happiness.

Hence, it is said that happiness is our nature -the happiness that is prior to and independent of the content of experience.

What I am suggesting is not a reason for disengaging from activities and relationships. The implication of what is being suggested is simply that we should not engage in activities and relationships for the purpose of seeking peace or happiness.

If we seek activities and relationships for the purpose of finding peace or happiness we will, sooner or later, be disappointed, and, as a result of this disappointment, conflict will inevitably begin in our relationships. This is not a reason for not having relationships, this is simply a reason for not seeking peace, happiness, and love in them."

COACHING NOTES:


Wait a minute... is Rupert telling us not to seek peace and happiness? This is the complete opposite of what we have been told, what we believe, and what we have been doing.

What Rupert is pointing out here is that when we approach a relationship or experience "from a sense of lack, seeking to be fulfilled or completed by it," we become lost in the illusion of being small, separate, and limited. We buy into the lie of not being enough.

"We, awareness, are already self-fulfilled, complete, whole, in which nothing is lacking. And the common name for this absence of lack is, of course, happiness." Of course, you don't have to believe these words, but check them with your experience. Think back to all the times you got what you wanted in life. How long did that make you feel happy and fulfilled?


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6. The Most Important Thing You Could Ever Discover

"If we want peace, happiness or love, we should find them where they live, where they belong, in our own being. And then seek an activity and/or a relationship in which to communicate and share and express and celebrate our innate peace and joy.

The reason this approach is sometimes referred to as the direct path to peace and happiness is simply because, in this approach, we go directly to the source of peace and happiness, that is our own being, our own self.

We do not go via an objective experience, via thinking, feeling acting, perceiving, relating. We go directly to the source of happiness in our self. This is the essence of all the great religious and spiritual teachings.

Happiness is the nature of your being. Know yourself as you truly are and you will access your innate peace and joy.

This is the most important thing anybody could ever discover and, having discovered it, it is then up to each of us to express and communicate and share this understanding in the world. There is no greater contribution we could make to humanity."

COACHING NOTES:


The direct path to peace and happiness is simply to know ourselves as we truly are. With this knowing, spontaneously, we will stop looking for fulfillment outside of ourselves, and discover that there is a pure and vast stillness within that can be accessed at all times, no matter what the circumstances.

In this stillness lies our true nature of awareness - that which is aware of all our thoughts, feelings and everything that makes up our human experience. In this place, there is no lack whatsoever, and in this place of no lack, there is peace, happiness, and love.

How do we practically access this wonderful, blissful place? It's not by doing anything, but rather by ceasing to do everything that hinders our innate well-being.

Children are our teachers - notice their lack of thinking, conceptualising and judging their way through life. When they are still very young, they are always completely present and one with whatever the moment presents.

The awareness they have is the same awareness we had when we were children, which is still the same awareness we experience today, beneath the veil of conditioning.


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