How incredibly sad therefore when we read and hopefully come to realize that we have everything we need to be happy, at peace and content, inside ourselves. We need to look to nothing but ourselves.
You have certainly heard the phrase, “Happiness comes from within.” And you have probably given that your nodding assent. But really feeling that is another matter.
More than a year ago, I had asked myself while meditating what do I really need to be happy. And I came up with the following: to offer others joy, to be in the company of loved ones and friends, to respect my mind, to respect my body, to be in touch with nature, and to live within my means. (See the post, “How To Know What To Do” in my “Dear Buddha” advice blog.)
What I did now was review those items, and with each one found that I do indeed have everything I need within myself. Certainly that is true of offering others joy. As for being in the company of loved ones and friends, even if I am alone, I can be in their company in my mind. Everything I need to respect my mind and respect my body is within myself. As for nature, even if I were someplace where I would have absolutely no contact with nature, I have a storehouse of nature experiences in my mind. Living within my means is something that is also within myself or within my control, although at the moment because of a situation I put myself in years ago, it is not something I can achieve. All I can do is work to be as close to that as possible under the circumstances.
At this stage in my practice, the knowledge of what I needed to be happy came from deep inside myself. This was part of the rock of my spirituality. But the knowledge that I had everything that I needed inside myself to be at peace and happy was still the result of analysis; it did not come from within myself. Nevertheless, this deeper knowledge was helpful in my practice, so long as I was present, free of the intervention of my mind, because if I'm in my mind, all is lost.
As a postscript, the perfection of this truth, it coming from deep within, occurred some months later, as related in my post, "The Heart's Embrace." And so the truth that I have everything I need inside myself to be at peace and happy is now also part of the rock of my spirituality. It has changed how I look at myself and the world around me.