Stop the pursuit of happiness

What had Thomas Jefferson in mind when he considered essential to add the right to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence? Life and liberty were of course vital rights that the forefathers of this country had to fight for when the British army was abusing the colonists and the colonies weren’t allowed the sovereignty to decide their own destiny.

But the pursuit of happiness? I’d like to understand the intention behind the words. I believe that it was not about individuality and not about possessions. They were fighting for freedom and I am inclined to agreeing with those who think that they were referring to happiness that can only be achieved when you work for freedom and for the public good.

The pursuit of happiness  is since the declaration of independence a goal linked to the American way of life. People have come to pursue happiness or what they believe happiness is through the most extraordinary ways. Money and fame have become avenues that supposedly take you to Heaven on Earth. But soon people realize money can’t buy happiness.  People achieve riches and fame and they party, drink alcohol, consume drugs, have sex, all in pursuit of happiness. Every time they get a quick peak at a brief sensation of elation that feels to them like heaven, but because it doesn’t last they go for more of it until it become obsessive and destructive. They are always unsatisfied. Longing, always longing.

Divorce between the soul and the ego might be the big culprit of people’s lack of satisfaction. The soul is capable of experiencing utmost joy and peace. The ego is greedy and lonely and afraid. It can seek experiences that can elevate the body to the heights of elation or manic moods but cannot achieve joy on its own. Joy is a less intense experience, but more sustained.

The pursuit of happiness has been misunderstood. It’s not about the individual, but about the collective; it’s not about possessions but about achievements. It’s more about doing the right thing than a lot of things!

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The power of meditation

One of my favorite gurus is Osho… a controversial figure. He dared speak the truth even to the face of his placiddetractors. He blurted blistering opinions on almost anything from the medical establishment, to corporations, to schooling, to meditation. He was a witness to the fusing of two worlds, the West and East worlds, a fusion he deemed necessary because he didn’t seem the split that characterized the world would help us go forward.

We hear often that we live in a free world, but this is just a sweet chimera. Half of the world has been and continues to be under more or less obvious oppressive regimes. This has being going on for centuries. And the West… well, just look at the media reports on the NSA surveillance and now the more recent New York Times’ report unveiling how the AT&T has a deal with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, to which it has provided with 26 years of phone call records. Privacy has gone through the drain.

Osho understood freedom and the illusion of freedom very well.

“The freedom from something is not true freedom.
The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not the freedom I am talking about.
My vision of freedom is to be yourself.”

In “Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic,” a compilation of nearly 5,000 hours of Osho’s recorded talks, we learn not only about his life but also about the importance he gave to meditation.

Meditation, he said, is the only thing that can give us freedom. It will free us of the mind.

Psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis, he said, work on the mind and make us more conscious of the mind. Instead, meditation makes us observe the mind and to the extent we stop identifying with it, we transcend. Transcendence IS freedom.

Osho encourages dynamic meditation and practicing it alone… if you feel comfortable with it. The group, according to Osho is for people who have grown uncomfortable with their egos. They can “dissolve” into the group and forget about their egos for a while.