I am just back from a fabulous yoga retreat in God’s Own Country, Kerala – life is not over if one has not experienced the energy & lush landscape of this region and that is the subject for another very important conversation 🙂 The retreat was intense and light – a balance that is difficult to achieve & enjoy! The yoga and meditation ensured that each day had a rhythm of flexibility & surrender – so when we had 2 powerful sessions of personal inquiry, let us say, it was easy to explode, heal & soar.
Our amazing facilitator Hari led us through the understanding of 9 primary emotions, the Navarasas, that run common through all forms of Indian art & knowledge systems – paintings, dance, music, yoga, and Ayurveda. The premise of the session was that because we have various conditionings that prevent us from totally experiencing these primary emotions, we develop secondary patterns that are repressive or oppressive. Makes sense so far – yes?
Then he began to list the 9 emotions:
- Shringara Love
- Hasya Laughter
- Karuna Compassion
- Raudra or Krodha Anger
- Veerya Courage
- Bhaya Fear
- Bibhatsya Aversion
- Adbhuta Wonder
- Shanta Peace
As soon as he got to the end, I nearly took off from the floor. Do you see it too? Yes that’s right – there is no happiness in that list! For the remaining 50 minutes or so of the session, that is where I stayed. As a coach, if I could have a rupee for every time I hear the words: I just want to be happy – well at the least, I’d be able to hire someone to write this for me 🙂 You know what I mean…
Just look around – the pursuit of happiness is not only the viral trend of the ages, it is also a possibly trillion dollar industry! And it makes us most unhappy that we cannot be happy. So imagine a possibility that it is not primary, basic, part of our essential nature to be happy. What if happiness is actually a by-product and as such accidental? What if we shifted our focus from wanting to be happy first and foremost to being happy when we are happy?
Basically, what this means is that totally experiencing one of these primary emotions can (maybe) bring me a moment or moments of happiness. I met an old friend, we shared some old memories & fell into uncontrollable laughter….aah look, happiness! I stand at the edge of the ocean watching the sun disappear at the horizon turning the sky into a palette of reds, golds & then purples. Total awe….and then quiet happiness! And we can go on…
As I am writing this, I just let out a big sigh! When I shift the goal from happiness to something that comes naturally to me and something I can do easily, then I am in flow. There is no effort, there is nothing to remember or strive for, nothing that makes me feel like I am missing out or incomplete.
WOW that is wondrous! PS feeling happy I am 🙂 or as my beautiful friend Keerthi would say: happy is coming!