His Holiness the Dalai Lama refers to something he calls our Basic Common Humanity. In essence, we all want to be happy, we all want our lives to be easy and free from suffering. The first, it seems is a matter of practice and intention more than it is something we get from the outside.
Of course we might consider the fulfillment of Maslow’s fundamental needs in The Pursuit of Happiness, and positive social connections can also make the practice of happiness that much easier as well.
As for suffering, that may simply just be a matter of equanimity, which I think is addressed in most, if not all of the worlds wisdom traditions. Of course as long as others are suffering, our lives are not entirely “free” from suffering, which leads us to the value of work. That, I suspect however, is another conversation.
It is the longing for life to be “easy” that has my attention this morning.
Yesterday afternoon I attended a San Diego Integral presentation recapping the recent Global Integral Conference. Both events were of course unsurprisingly, held online. Among those sessions reported was that of our beloved Roger Walsh, an exceptional wisdom teacher, academic, and petitioner of global regard.
Roger spoke of Maslow’s hierarchy, reminding us that later in life Abraham had added on top of his pyramid, a sixth stage of Self-Transcendence. Roger invited us to go further, after transcending the self, returning, as in the 10th ox herding print, to Selfless Service.
Speaking from another perspective, Roger also played on the old “Integral” call to Grow Up, Clean Up, Wake Up, and Show Up, adding to the list, Open Up.
Returning to the threat of adding capstones to Maslow’s pyramid, Roger continued past Selfless Service into Transcendence of Motivation. This place has been showing up for me, this Opening Up and letting life and creation, time and space as evolution, “move through” this medium of Being. It is there that life appears to become “easy.”
When I am no longer living life, but life itself is living me, the paradigm shifts entirely. It is no longer we struggling in the darkness, instead drinking down the mystical and exquisite privilege of witnessing this cosmic unfolding through every moment of life.
There are some who have embodied this understanding to exceptional degree, so far I am not one of them. Or perhaps I am…
At least four of the seven days last week, I spent in physical distress which radiates through both the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects to varying degrees as well. In conversations where I had hoped and imagined exquisite insight and connection, I found myself brokenhearted and shattered.
My body bled, work was lost, and precious time passed in stupor and distraction. Yesterday it was determined that we will need to find and hire a new Care Partner (who will be excited to join the collaboration of building MettaCare.) This is a mixed blessing as the project will take time and attention away from the construction work already on my plate. All of this is certainly not “easy.”
Almost without exception, I did not sleep last night. A little stunned and delirious I made my way to the morning, about 70 minutes of sleep at the final hour, and then slow rising.
Yesterday was spent largely recalibrating my body, mind, and heart focus from the eddy of the day before, today I will attend to the weekly reorganization of that focus, now with new major projects on the books.
Still, somewhere within Open Up, somewhere within the transcendence of suffering, there is a sense of life’s ease.
Roger also said something important about opening up to the life living us, and I think this is the important part, not attaching outcomes, but bringing our very best we can to the work at hand. In that, for me at least, is the happiness in life.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…