Have you seen yourself arise into happiness and then subside back into darkness? Do you therefore assume that the happiness can only come and go, that you can’t simply always be happy?
If so, then you need to exercise deeper discretion. Not all positivity is happiness – the positivity of the ego is doomed to cycle forever until your physical death, while the bliss of the eternal is outside of time and does not waver.
Physical health and mental health come and go. Financial wealth, physical security, and reputation likewise arise and subside. If your definition of happiness depends on these things, you’re evaluating life through the framework of your ego. There is no lasting happiness there, in your imaginary separation from God.
It’s good to practice affirmations, focus on positive thoughts, and look for things to celebrate in life. But it’s not good to try to use thoughts of the eternal divine grace to combat depression while trying to cling to occasions where you feel powerful, victorious, or superior. Those seemingly positive ego-based emotions of security and success keep you in the darkness just as surely as an outright refusal of all things spiritual.
As long as you focus your energy on obtaining or keeping the happiness of your lower mind, the crippling fear that lives in your ego will always resurface. That’s the cycle that might make you imagine that happiness is fleeting. That happiness is fleeting, but that’s not happiness – that’s the flush of ego validation that keeps you away from real happiness.
Feeling sad that you’re overweight and feeling happy that you’re thin are two sides of the same coin.
Feeling anxious because of debt and going out to celebrate a huge payday are points on the same graph.
Despairing in loneliness and then dedicating all of your heart only to your special companion are fundamentally no different.
Dedication to Constancy
To be released from the cycle, let go of your clinging to victories of ego. It won’t be easy, because it’s an addiction just as palpable as all of those other addictions that can destroy your vision for all beauty and loveliness. But, for the cultivation of happiness, letting go of the limited joy of your ego is just as essential as letting go of the pain of your ego.
That letting-go is a part of mindfulness and Zen. It’s wonderful to be unattached and undisturbed whether the river rages or moves serenely. One can never be happy unless one can sit like a frog. A dedication to constantly letting go is a dedication to constancy, and can sustain you in happiness.
But there’s another, bigger constancy that you can dedicate yourself to. It is that glowing light you sense in serene scenes of nature. It is in the little gladness you get when you make someone smile and the big gladness you get when you help someone recover and remember. It’s that fundamental unity that you’ll sense if you do, in fact, sit like a frog. All things are ripples of one big, happy ocean of grace. I can’t describe it, because words belong in the exchange of egos and that glowing light that floods across creation is beyond time. But that light is there, if you seek it, and it’s constant.
And when you start living with a dedication to that constancy, you’ve found faith. That’s what faith most fundamentally is – a constant dedication to the infinite light, a belief that you can let all the imaginary mental structures you’ve set up dissolve without fear of what lies beneath. In that dedication, your happiness will be constant because it’ll rest on the constant truth of love.
Through your ego, you can make a fleeting happiness in a narrative of a turbulent past and myriad plans for the future.
Your spirit, that lives in God, is true and constant happiness right here, right now – in this moment, where time intersects with the eternal.