'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
What is the logic of saying that our True Nature is that of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss? The essential word which sums this up for us in our present, limited state, is 'happiness'. Happiness is our natural state. How can this be said, when every day appears to contain so much which falls short of happiness? Do we even truly understand what happiness is? Is it to be rolling about the aisles in hysterical laughter? Is it to be pushing our body to its limits through participation in extreme activities? Is it chocolate?
Even in asking these questions we come to have an inkling that it is none of these things. For those moments have no lasting power. All that happens is that, in our low times, we think back to those moments and wish to recreate them or to have yet more, bigger and better, happy experiences.
If those moments of pure joy elude us how can we say that happiness is our True Nature?
Think on water. It gets teased and transformed into a other forms such as ice or steam and all the stages between. No matter how much this happens to it, it always finds its way back to its natural form, which is liquid water. Water is water no matter its intervening states and it will always return to that state when all enforced conditionings are removed.
Satchitananda is our 'water state'! All our minor experiences of 'happiness' are merely our expression of the desire to reach that natural state and everything we do in life is an attempt to return 'home' to happiness.
The kind of happiness which remains always. Ultimate contentment. Peace personified. Unconditioned Love; for universal Love (with the capital 'ell') can only enter us when we start to strip away our conditionings of body, mind and intellect; working through and reducing our vaasanas; pay our debts through living out our prarabdha (destiny) and seeking not to add further to our karma account. All small joys in life are provided by that prarabdha to show us a desirable state for which we must strive, but at a much higher and subtler level. All the sorrows of life are provided by that prarabdha to help us burn our vaasanas (debts).
Work on getting to know Your Self. How? Through sravanam, mananam, niddidhyaasana. Upon having heard of it, listen further and seek out those who write or teach about the Self. Having listened in an engaged way, take the learning inside and reflect deeply upon it, bringing out doubts and questions. When intellectually satisfied upon any point, meditate profoundly upon it and make the intellectual understanding into a personal experience.
All of Vedanta is given not for intellectual gymnastics, but for direct experience, so that we may return to our Natural State. For as long as we are investigating and digesting, we come to 'know' and talk about Self, but it is not yet a part of our being. This is called as परोक्ष ज्ञान /paroksha jnaana - knowledge about an experience. Through our yoga, be it karma, bhakti, raja or jnaana, we seek to purify our antaH karana (mind, intellect, ego and connecting consciousness), we must work to have our Knowledge become Real, where the mind firmly roots in Self and is a direct and personal experience - अपरोक्षानुभूति /aparokshaanubhuuti.
Move from the abstract to the integrative Self. This is happiness.