Hands reaching for happiness

Consciousness and happiness

Consciousness and awareness are two words we see a lot these days. People talk about being awake and positive. Waking up to old systems that failed in the past and finding new ways to expand self awareness, awareness regarding our families, our lifestyles and our planet. The question is what does all this mean and what does it do for us all in terms of progress?

There are so many misconceptions out there regarding what it means to be conscious and what expanding consciousness means. Originally the word was used in the ancient texts such as the Vedas and the Vedanta, the Tao Te Ching and Buddhism. In the 1970’s it was part of the revolution which became known as the ‘new age’ and now is slowly creeping its way into what we call ‘normality’ in our households and lifestyles.

A traditional explanation of consciousness is to ‘be’ conscious or namely to be aware. The Vedanta, which is the philosophical side of the Vedas, traditional texts of ancient India, speaks of awareness in several ways. The word satchitananda is made up of three words – sat, chit and ananda. It translates from the Sanskrit as ‘existence, consciousness, bliss’.  ‘Sat’ means material existence here on this planet. ‘Chit’ means self awareness and awareness of the outside world. ‘Ananda’ means a state of continuous joy. Satchitananda is at the heart of this ancient culture as a way of living our lives in happiness.

The question of how this pertains to us is in that key word, happiness. Everything on this planet, even the planet itself is in pursuit of peace or happiness in some form. Often the pursuit of happiness is misconstrued in dysfunctional activities. Many of us think that greed, power, fame will bring us happiness but this has proven false over the years. People who are icons and we perhaps feel ‘have it all’ such as Michael Jackson, Elvis, Robin Williams, Princess Diana for example. Later we discover they did not have such happy lives. Whilst we admire their fame and money we find that deep down they suffered great unhappiness in some form or another. The traditional explanations of what ‘consciousness’ is can assist in this area. If we look at these ancient texts we can find explanations not so far removed from us despite the centuries of distance from the time they were written.

Often the pursuit of happiness is misconstrued in dysfunctional activities.

The Bhagavad Gita and Upanisads, traditional texts of the Vedanta mentioned above speak of consciousness and awareness in relation to humanity. These texts expound the philosophy that as conscious beings we need to be aware of the direction our consciousness is focused. We all are aware of our bodies that interact with the world and other people. We all are conscious of our mind and feel emotions and we all have an intellect capable of discriminating our thoughts. This body, mind and intellect are capable of playing the role of an observer of our body, emotions and thoughts. Therefore we are aware, conscious and if we take responsibility we are also in control of our body, emotions and thoughts.

We often take ourselves to be the perceiver of the objects in this world, the feeler of our emotions and the thinker of our thoughts but this does not sum up all that I am. There is something missing in this picture. We could say that we are more than just our thoughts, emotions or the restraints of our physical body because we have a consciousness and awareness of all these and more. We are conscious of all these when we are awake but when we go to sleep and we dream we are conscious of another state, in our dreams. We may have won lotto and be enjoying ourselves on the beach while really we are just dreaming in our beds. See how easily we dismissed this world when we go to sleep? Then when we are in deep sleep our consciousness may not be aware of anything but we wake up and we realise we slept so well. In all these three states – waking, dreaming and deep sleep we have some memory, some awareness of what happened, so we must have been there. Yet we move so easily from one state to another – every night.

In the same way our consciousness lends itself to different things in life, to different issues, to different thoughts, to different emotions and to different physical pursuits. Wherever we fix that consciousness that is our reality and that reality can be one of sadness or joy.

So where is your consciousness at present? Are you lamenting the woes of yesterday and afraid to let go of the past, or are you able to do that conscious shift to a brighter future? Everyone talks about ‘letting go’ of our past and issues, yet the actual action of letting go is one that is difficult. What do you need for your consciousness to move on from the past to a brighter future?

I am eternally grateful for the years I spent at the feet of my teachers listening to the Vedanta, Buddhism and other philosophies that laid the foundations to be able to discriminate and disconnect from the woes of this world. Does it always work? No. We are all human and it is very easy for our consciousness to fall into old patterns of attachment to negative habits but if you can lay the groundwork to have a bag of tools to use, then after your initial human reaction, you can ‘wake up’ and grab one of those tools to move you forward to a brighter future and happiness. My tools have been yoga, tai chi, meditation, philosophy, religion, energy healing, Reiki, Theta healing and the list goes on. Find what tools resonate with you and someone who can assist you to shift your consciousness into a better place. That fulfills the goal of the pursuit of peace and happiness. That is satchitananda.

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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