Happiness is found not in sensation but in absorption
We often equate happiness with sensations. If something tastes good, if something looks attractive, if something smells delightful, we think that by getting those things, we will get more and more pleasure. Indeed, most technological progress is geared towards providing us greater pleasurable sensations, either by altering our physical situation or by linking us to a virtual world replete with pleasant sensations.
Today through technology, we can access far more pleasant sensations than even kings could a few centuries ago. But are we happier? Not really, as demonstrated by spiraling statistics of mental health problems.
Why are pleasant sensations not making us happy? Because such sensations are peripheral to who we are. The pleasure they provide is like tickling. When tickled, we feel some pleasure and start laughing. But that laugher is not happiness – if it were, we all could just get a perpetual tickling machine and be happy lifelong.
Why are sensations peripheral to us? Because they act only on our physical covering, not on our spiritual essence. Gita wisdom explains that we are souls, who are parts of the whole, the all-attractive Supreme, Krishna. He is eternal; we are eternal; and our connection with him, once realized, can provide us eternal happiness. The Gita (05.21) states that when we turn away from external sensations and focus on spiritual reality by practicing yoga, we access imperishable happiness. The process of bhakti-yoga connects us with the highest spiritual reality, Krishna, by spiritually channeling the power of our emotions.
To spiritualize our emotions, bhakti-yoga provides us insights and practices for cultivating determined remembrance of Krishna internally and engaging in his purposeful service externally. When this dual connection with all-pure Krishna purifies us, our attraction for him increases. The resulting purified devotional emotions power us to everlasting ecstatic absorption in our beloved Lord.
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