Why You Should Stop Reaching For Bliss
Some days it feels like there’s a million things we’re reaching for in life — more money, more love, more acceptance, more bliss…
…And along with all of that comes stress and heartache that we’re not getting those things we’re seeking. It’s like they’re somehow just out of reach. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. Sometimes it’s absolutely infuriating!
Bliss is one of those things that most of us (at some point or other) have felt we would like a lot more of. Actually, most of us think that the only times we can experience bliss is during sex, on drugs, after a few too many beers or maybe after that third or fourth chocolate-cream-donut! But that’s not the bliss I’m talking about here… and it’s not the bliss you’re really yearning for when you do use all those other “temporary” things as substitutes.
What IS real bliss?
Personally, I think Joseph Campbell summed it up perfectly when he made the following two statements…
“Bliss is that deep sense of being present, of doing what you absolutely must do to be yourself” … “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”
For me, Bliss is beyond happiness. It feels like a very calm sense of happiness… Perhaps like a nice warm bath, rather than a hot shower… It feels absolute, in contrast to the slipping-through-my-fingers feeling of event-based happiness. But the main aspect of Bliss comes usually because you’re doing what you absolutely love doing, with the knowledge that you are supposed to be doing that exact thing — and that everything else will fall into place because you are following your bliss.
So why should we stop trying to find bliss??
Simply because you can’t find it… It was never missing in the first place. It doesn’t exist outside of you and it isn’t separate from you in any way. You can’t attain bliss. It’s always there, within. It’s a state of being that occurs when you’re living according to your purpose/dharma and not trying to fight with life anymore. It’s like a giant green light in your mind that signifies “Yes! That’s it! Just keep doing that!” whenever you’ve allowed yourself to push aside the ego-driven identity (the “projected you”) and slip back into the path of destiny (the “real you”).
By ‘reaching’ for it in some way you’re creating the illusion of separation and distance in your mind, and so you’re actually pushing it further away.
You just have to wake up to it
Firstly, you’ve got to trust that life is on your side (and it is!). And secondly, you have to trust that you’re supposed to be living a life you love. Okay, it’s not necessarily a simple thing to do, and I suggest you just try to move towards it incrementally. There’s a lot of approaches in my book to get you there, so for now I’ll just give you an overview and point you in the right direction.
“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind [do you find an] adequate perception of the world.” —Hans Margolius
To ‘wake up’ and get an undistorted view on things you have to get really quiet (you could meditate, or maybe just swing your arms and legs and head around in a really weird random way until your mind is so confused it simply shuts the hell up!). Once you’re there in that wonderful place of ‘no-mind’ ask yourself the question (yes, right now!): “What do I really, truly (perhaps secretly) love to do, and what would my life look like and feel like if I was just doing that?” … I bet you’ll get a glimpse of the bliss even just thinking about it in this way.
For me, I’ve always loved writing. I wrote poetry and short stories as a child. I’ve always edited and re-written other people’s work (when they let me!) and I’ve written hundreds of blog posts for various businesses and purposes. I have always enjoyed those moments, even when writing on a topic I don’t feel particularly passionate about.
I got a real taste of consciously following my bliss when I started writing my first full-length book (a fiction novel that is yet to be finished). It was during one of the darkest times of my life, but I knew that I had to write to stay sane. The book seemed to have no real purpose, except I still felt totally ‘on purpose’ when I was writing. It was a total fantasy and yet, oddly enough, it felt like the only connection to sanity I had in those dangerously dismal days. How do you explain that? I couldn’t at the time. All I knew is that it felt good … actually, it felt BLISSFULLY amazing.
But don’t be like me
Do you know the sad part? …. It took me 10 years after that blissful writing experience to realise that I should figure out a way to just do what I loved doing and nothing else. So don’t be like me. Don’t waste the best years of your life at a dead-end job that you hate. Don’t even spend too long in a job that you like, but one that you don’t really LOVE. Focus your entire being on discovering what you truly love — what takes you into your bliss — and figure out a way to live your life doing just that.
Getting back to wonderful old “Joe”, I’ll leave you with another of his quotes to consider…
“I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” —Joseph Campbell
So go! Bliss yourself to life… don’t work yourself to death.