Discovering Radical Happiness

We need to be able to bring the practices of Basic and Interconnected Happiness into a unified whole. We can begin by understanding how Interconnected Happiness and Basic Happiness support and enhance each other. When we are in the present-moment experience of Basic Happiness, we no longer are distracted by involuntarily chasing our thoughts. Through cultivating a consistent attention to needs of others, which forms the basis of Interconnected Happiness, we appreciate and begin to live in accord with the natural interdependence between ourselves and our world and all its inhabitants.

We need the strength of meditation’s mindful awareness to stabilize love and compassion so that it begins to rise in every situation. When we think of others, we forget about ourselves. The preoccupation with ourselves is the very basis for the constant measuring of experience, comparing of ourselves against others and how we think things should be. At the moment where great love and caring for others becomes predominant in our mind, our habitual self-centered way of thinking has completely dissolved. At that moment, if we have been training in being present, we can experience ourselves and the world around us in a radically different way—unmitigated by our usual habitual patterns of thoughts and emotions. That way of being is the essence of being radically happy.

Relax the Clinging

As we bring Basic Happiness and Interconnected Happiness together we will have to confront to opposing forces. First as we become Basically Happy, there may come a slight fondness or expectation for experiencing the peace that is discovered in meditation practice. This might lead us to reject the chaos and discomfort that comes along with being out in the world.

If that happens, we are once again in the land of depending on circumstances. Furthermore, as we gain familiarity with being Interconnectedly Happy, we may develop a slight attachment to the agenda of helping others or be subtly holding onto the expectation that we will be recognized for our deeds. Practicing compassionate action we can learn how to be present in activity, even when the world seems to be chaotic. This can overcome even a subtle fondness for the peace of meditation. When we are able to simply remain in the present moment, the constant evaluation of experience—the ever-present comparing—is cut through. Remaining present while acting for the welfare of ourselves and everyone else, we are able to accomplish our aims without too much attachment to the outcome or being recognized for our deeds. 

Being Radically Happy is the result of learning how to live free from the grip of constant hope and fear.