Finding Our Bliss
I’m sitting outside a coffee shop. I look up to the sky around the Marina and through the wispy clouds I see dots heading down to Earth. These dots are in fact parachutists, jumping out of a plane and skydiving above Dubai from 13,000ft. Before the parachute opens, they freefall at 120mph. It’s an experience of a lifetime and when I see those dots in the sky, I always think to myself, “That was me. I actually did that!”. Not only was it the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever had (and seriously scary the moment I knew there was no going back), but what I hadn’t expected, was the absolute joy that followed the moment the parachute went up. The best way to describe my experience was freefalling into a meditation in motion.
Everyone asked me afterwards, would I do it again? My response has been the same: “No, unless a friend needed me to join them”. Most people say “yes” and immediately want to ,experience the thrill again. For me though it was all about those few minutes of complete calm, flying in the sky like a bird and having complete trust in the universe (and my tandem skydiver!) that I was safe. It was Bliss.
I’m watching a heron by the lake and it is completely still. Even when it flies off to hunt it’s prey, it does so with such grace and with apparently little effort. To enjoy a blissful, peaceful and calm state as human beings, we always seem to need to put in the effort and work first.
This gets me thinking about other activities that I pursue, that require effort to achieve Bliss. Yoga involves stretching our bodies into positions that look impossible, using muscles that may have been dormant for years. I sometimes shake during yoga – a sign my body is working hard! Yes, it’s tough but when we enter into stillness (shavasana) at the end, boy does it feel good.
I love to Hike. These sometimes involve challenging walking conditions, endured to experience nature in all its glory. It is nothing like driving through the mountains and admiring them from afar, we are ‘in’ the mountains. To be able to appreciate a beautiful view, we must first climb up and over rocky terrain. We put in the effort, to experience the Bliss.
But what if the one thing we appear to be searching for in our lives, is actually within us? And that maybe we just need some help accessing it?
During a full Yoga Nidra Meditation Practice, the journey takes us through our deepening levels of Awareness and ends with Bliss (Anandamaya Kosha). There is zero effort required, as we lie down in a comfortable position, close our eyes, and are then guided into our state of Bliss. It does, however, involve complete surrender of our mind and body. Something that might actually require effort!
Absolute surrender goes against our body’s survival mechanics and can make us panic. We seem to feel much more comfortable acknowledging a blissful state when it comes after effort. Which is why you will see more people running, cycling, hitting the gym, than meditating regularly.
My Dad once said to me, “I just want you to be happy”. He never told me how though! It has taken me a few years, but I finally discovered that there is no need to chase Bliss, as it is already inside of me.