Let’s close our eyes for a moment. Can we envision our personal bliss? I am trying to formulate a simple answer. It turns out, it is not so easy to quantify. There are many factors that would have to come into play for me to feel “bliss.” We are the seekers. We seek recognition and love, or external factors. Moments of solitude can give us an opportunity to look inwards. In meditation and yoga practices we are advised to find contentment with what we have now, and who we are now.
Bliss is a psychological construct of happiness at the highest peak. From such a high place, the only way is down. Since bliss is a temporary existence, I have come to appreciate a balanced state of mind. I appreciate the calm and creative moments. When I feel off balance I tend to turn to an espresso or wine for a quick fix. Deep down I know a beverage isn’t the long term solution. Ironically I am often asked, “how are you so calm all the time?”
As a child, I would overhear my mother say that I was perpetually relaxed, or a pensive little girl. If I am somewhat equanimous in nature, it is truly supported by daily exercise. Still, I am occasionally thrown off balance by hormones, sleep patterns and circumstances. During times of stress we can see the patterns of impermanence, that bliss cannot stay for long, yet will visit with us again. Maybe our bliss is to stop chasing it, as expressed in the Freudian idea of the pleasure principle.
If I were pressed to provide a definitive answer about being in a state of bliss, those memories would be centered around the sudden love I felt, beholding the tiny faces of my newborns. This intense and selfless love showed me that I am not tethered to my cravings or material wealth in order to feel appreciative of my existence.
So is the act of seeking bliss in the yoga realm another craving or desire? I don’t really know. Bliss is often referred to in Sanskrit as ananda, which is linked to the virtue, or santosha. Santosha is literally contentment in its fullest sense.
As someone who is nostalgically revisiting the remnants of my younger life as I enter mid life, I feel pleasure turning to the guidance of my elders. Our elders have so much life experience, and often inspire with their wisdom and humour.
Perhaps my long answer for bliss encompasses all the facets of optimum health of everyone I know and love. Bliss is laughing with great company, and thriving in loving relationships. I must confess there are major external factors that create summer bliss. Recipe for evening bliss: a few bottles of Whispering Angel amongst my favourite personalities, watching the orange haze of the sun setting westward across the sky. Cheers!