Happiness, Spirituality, and the Grit to Make a Pearl

A terrorist attack occurred at a Tunisian beach resort in front of a hotel with many tourists. As the firing begins a man tells his girlfriend to run to the hotel. He stands between his girlfriend and the terrorists preventing them from shooting her and as he blocks her he is shot. He survives and is taken to hospital where he recovers. His girlfriend is safe.

When the terrorists appear and the shooting started he is unlikely to have been thinking happy thoughts. What feelings he had I wouldn’t want to guess as I’m not him. What he did though was to spontaneously save his girlfriend even if it meant he could have been injured or killed. Silly question this, but as he was shot would he have been likely to have been thinking and feeling happiness? How about pain? At that moment he hadn’t been thinking about his happiness or that it was important to be happy. He was prepared to sacrifice himself.

He was prepared to do what he felt to be right. Likely if he hadn’t and if his girlfriend had been shot he may have regretted not saving her for the rest of his life, But that is just a guess, as I’m not that man.

Sometimes, there are more important things in life than being happy. At least in the moment, in the short-term. If someone sacrifices themselves and lives, then for the rest of their life, in the background, there is a sense of peace within themselves that they did the right thing.

What makes people happy is doing the right thing at the right time.

That is one aspect of happiness, anyway, and actually happiness is a complex issue. 

It is a spiritual truth that God is in all of us. That means that love, peace and happiness are within us all. In all lives. But then, why aren’t people always happy, and instead can be terribly depressed, or angry, or addicted, or the victim of abuse or crime, or they can be in pain, or filled with unsatisfied desires.

There are some so-called spiritual teachers who would claim that someone who isn’t happy is doing something wrong, and they are making the wrong choices with their thoughts. But then, what they say is merely their opinion based on what they know. (Also this piece of writing is merely my opinion based on what I know.)

We have many, many lives and in all these lives the soul gets to learn through a vast amount of different experiences. The soul grows in consciousness of itself in this epic spiritual journey. As it does this, the soul realises what it isn’t, until the wonderful point where it realises what it is (usually with the helpful input of someone who has already reached and gone past that point).

The soul builds and balances karma as it goes through these lives. The karma generates the experiences that the soul goes through and learns through. The soul extends part of itself into Life and as its spirit grows and is refined, in each of the human lifetimes, it also has a personality to do the experiencing. The soul can wear a different personality for each different lifetime. During that lifetime the personality evolves and changes over time as it learns from Life.

The experiences, at least from the personality point of view, can be good or what we often think of as bad (painful, upsetting, disappointing and so on). To the soul, which has part of itself in time and most of itself outside time, it is just experience.

So in some lives, there will be a lot of happiness. In other lives, due to the karma and also how the personality reacts to the experiences, there won’t be much happiness experienced, and the emotions experienced will be what the soul needs for its learning and development, like the grit in the pearl. For the soul, being happy all the time isn’t the goal. The goal is to have a vast range of experiences and emotions, and grow through that, and arrive at the Goal, in which there is happiness, though it really is a Divine state of Love.

So if you are experiencing the grit, that is OK, though I appreciate you would rather be experiencing happiness, and it might not be much consolation that your soul is doing OK.

Now, having read all of that you know more than many so-called spiritual teachers!

If you aren’t experiencing happiness, your soul might be OK with this, though it will also be quite fine with becoming happy.

It isn’t wrong to experience all kinds of emotions other than happiness. It is natural and normal for humans to experience emotions. It is part of being human.
What is unnatural is to try to block emotions and try to force a state of calm because of the deluded idea that being calm and continually happy is a spiritual goal. It isn’t. Even when you are experiencing intense emotions the very core of you, where God is, is experiencing Love and peace. It can never leave you.

Emotions are energy that is supposed to flow. Suppressing emotions because someone tells you inner peace and happiness is what you have if you are “spiritual” (or their version of spiritual at any rate), is an unhealthy thing to do. Emotions can be like fuel to actually help along the spiritual journey if allowed to move and be expressed in the right way. Mind you, emotions can also be destructive to others and self if expressed in a negative or inappropriate way, and slow down the spiritual journey. But suppressing and stifling them is also unhelpful.

I came across a story about a woman in India whose husband had died. She was trying to put a brave face on matters. She was known to a spiritual person called Meher Baba (means compassionate Father) and she visited him. She was smiling, holding it all in, trying to be happy in front of her Master, as being happy is generally the thing to do to keeps ones’ energy up. Generally, but not always. Meher Baba knew her husband had died, and he spoke to her about her husband and his death in a way that got her to feel what she was holding inside. The tears flowed, the emotions flowed. Meher Baba wanted her to know that it was important to allow her feelings to flow, as this would lead over time to a new equilibrium and a sense of a new happiness.  

Humans are amazing in that they have emotional energy which they can experience, and this energy can inspire great things, and be the fuel to create great things.

Emotions that are suppressed can literally get stuck in the body, and the body is like a recording device. Emotions can be held in the body for many decades, and bubble up to the surface after years, along with the memory of the events they are associated with.

It is understanding emotions and knowing how to deal with them which can be one way of becoming happy.

Emotions can be self-generated. If we have a positive personality in this life to learn from, we can have a positive perspective on life and think positive thoughts, leading to happy emotions and a glowing aura as well. If we have a “negative” personality to learn from in this lifetime, well we get to learn to overcome that if we can, and learn to appreciate, to praise, to be grateful, and to forgive.

Some lives we have, it can be very hard to experience happiness. For instance, if there is depression, painful physical illness, or mental illness. Dealing with the emotions and physical and mental pain can take a lot of effort. But humans have the capacity to do what they need to do and persevere. Spiritual sound bites about happiness don’t work in these cases, and if there is going to be some kind of helpful intervention, it needs to be compassionate, long-term, and given with an understanding of the person and what they are going through.

Say if someone has been through a terrible experience and has PTSD, the negative energy of the experience is in their aura, and the emotional energy is in their system as well, perhaps on continual loop, so its effects are constantly being experienced. It can take time and help to remove this energy and the emotions to allow in more happiness.

If someone has experienced a breakdown of some sort or an intense mental illness, their aura can be shattered. They can be very tired and happiness comes in small moments. It can take time, rest, love and support for healing to happen.

Then there are other issues where life can be a constant battle to stay positive and for life to go on. For instance, with addictions. Survival, and happiness has to be literally fought for, for an addiction to be overcome.

It is not unusual to hear that to be spiritual and therefore happy we have to be desireless. People can react to this kind of comment in different ways, and it can be an ego thing eg “I have less desires than you therefore I’m more spiritual”. Or, “Oh no, I have desires, so I’m not spiritual. Quick get rid of them.” Fun and games.

But remember in different lives we have different karma. We do have lives where we desire to have lots of things such as money, power and possessions. It’s just experience. Then we get lives where we desire little. At some point we have lives where desires mean nothing to us, we are just not interested in them and put no energy into them. So if you have a big multi-million dollar yacht right now, enjoy it while you can.

There are some humans who have intense desires. They have an intensely fierce desire God. Their love and desire for God are extreme and they constantly have their inner eye fixed on God. These people are called masts (pronounced “musts”). Their desire draws God’s energy to them so that they have a huge energy field, and are like spiritual generators. They often are unaware of their external circumstances because the only important thing to them is God. They are God intoxicated. They live totally for God. Of course, they get looked after and aided on the inner planes along their spiritual journey.

There are different routes to God, and like the masts, some of those routes involve having desires, though not so intoxicating or intense. As previously mentioned, in some lives, having desires is what needs to be experienced. If you want to think about desires of a spiritual orientation, you can have the desire to love and support others. These others could be a partner, or a relative, or children, or friends or strangers who you don’t know yet, or animals or the environment. If the desire has love in it like this, then it has a spiritual basis, and as mentioned before, life is about doing the right thing at the right time, so being true to yourself and doing that is better than listening to other people’s opinions about what they think you have to do to be spiritual.

In what other ways can happiness come about?

This list is just contains a number of suggestions:

Do what feels to be the right thing at the right time.

Say the right thing at the right time. 

Be true to yourself and think about things. Don’t take other people’s opinions as gospel (not even this; think about it!)

Learn to trust your heart, and trust your feelings.

Develop your third eye and intuition (helpful for looking at people’s heart centres so you then know who to trust).

Be around people who encourage you, and who will also tell you if they think you aren’t on the right track. 

Look after your health. Do what you need to do to be healthy.

Do loving things for yourself; love yourself.

Be kind to yourself; eg. hot chocolate, nights off, and relaxing.

Do loving things for others; love others.

Let yourself receive; learn to receive.

Appreciate yourself! And others.

Forgive yourself. And others.

Spend time with people you love.

Know that you have talents and interests. Find these and use then and do them.

Be in places you enjoy. See sights you enjoy. Listen to sounds you enjoy.

Be out in Nature.

Learn new things, take steps outside your boundaries. Keep growing.

Do the things that make you happy, now and in the long term.

Remember God.

© 2022 Jonathan Barber