A Mood Called "Bliss"

>> Monday

On vacation many years ago, I was reading the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's holy books. It's basically a conversation between Arjuna (a charioteer about to go into battle) and a spirit. The spirit is urging Arjuna to let go of his attachment to the outcome of the battle. And all throughout the book, there is a continuous urge to let go of desires, to give up desiring.

This gave me an idea. I was on vacation and I had plenty of time, so I decided to try an experiment. I did a kind of meditation that lasted for several hours. I normally fidget a lot and have a hard time sitting still for long periods, but without any goal to sit still for so long, I was quite content to stay sitting there for hours because what I was doing made me feel contented.

All I did the whole time was notice when I had a desire, and then decide to let that desire go.

For the first time I realized I don't have any control over what I desire. Desires come up on their own. Just sitting there, one desire after another would pop up. I wanted to move my position. I wanted the pain in my leg to go away. I wanted to get up and have something to eat. I wanted to get rich. I wanted people to like me. I wanted things to go well at work. I wanted I wanted I wanted. One after another, this seemingly endless fountain of desires came forth. That part I had no control over.

But I did have some control after that point. I can decide on a desire or not. I may have the desire to have a beer, but then I can decide, "Nah, I don't really want one, now that I think about it."

In other words, I don't really control whether or not a desire comes up. But I do control whether I hang onto that desire or let it go (by deciding against it).

So that's all I did for several hours. I payed attention to when a desire came up, which was several per minute, and then each time, I decided to let the desire go. I simply decided No, I don't really want that now.

I achieved a kind of bliss I didn't think was possible without heavy medication. That was one of the most deeply peaceful experiences I have ever had in my life. I was completely at ease. I had found bliss and tranquillity.

Of course, most of my life is oriented toward goals, and that's the way I like it. I don't want to simply sit still and live in peace without doing anything worthwhile. But I now know where it comes from when I am discontented. It comes from desires. And I know that any time I want to decend into the well of deep peace and quench my thirst for bliss, I have a way. And now you do too.


David 9:14 AM  

I've tried this a few times since reading the post and appreciate the results. I haven't been on vacation, so I haven't been able to indulge in hours of meditation, but for short periods before bed it's been quite relaxing.

Just letting go of desires as the came up really demonstrates for me how they are not as permanent or absolute as they sometimes feel. It also lets me see that I don't actually agree with many of the thoughts and desires that pop into my head. Good stuff.

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