A Japanese stone guardian lion.
Last night I went to see Avengers: Endgame. I went by myself because one of us needs to look after the baby.
Usually it’s me, because I don’t go out much.
In fact last night was the first time I’ve seen a movie by myself, and the first time I’ve instigated going somewhere for pure enjoyment.
It was wonderful! We have an old Art Deco cinema run by volunteers, and it’s incredibly comfortable and inviting.
It might sound like a small thing but that’s exactly why I’ve never done it. A simple pleasure of going to the movies was easy to deprecate and deny myself in the name of some mistaken seriousness or austerity.
I thought self-denial was virtuous and I cut out all kinds of things. I quashed my own desire to experience life and explore it.
So the real satisfaction and delight last night was not the movie itself but acting on this deeper desire to go out and do something, even inconvenience others, for the sake of my own enjoyment.
Another small milestone to celebrate on the path of feeling good all day!
Old spiritual hang ups.
Committing to feel good all the time has quickly shown me obstacles I’ve been putting in the way of happiness.
I used to think we have to choose between worldly happiness and spiritual happiness.
Lots of spiritual teachings claim that the world keeps us stuck in illusion, ignorant of the truth. Worldly happiness is presented as a false promise, whereas true happiness is spiritual.
But the dichotomy is false. We don’t have to choose, because all happiness, fulfilment and abundance come from the same source.
Spiritual gifts and material blessings are the same, grounded in our desire and the inspiration that asks for them, and the source that provides them to us.
Is it good to receive wisdom but bad to receive wealth? Is the desire for freedom a true expression of our innermost being, but the desire for a beautiful home is not?
I thought that the desire for anything material or worldly was some kind of trap that would keep me stuck in Maya, stuck in delusion, stuck in a fallen world.
Even though God promises us abundance, even though the Old Testament is full of all kinds of worldly prosperity, even though God swears he wouldn’t hand us a stone when we ask for bread.
What does it mean to want something, but also worry that having it would be bad? It means we are resisting our own desire, and fighting our own happiness.
My determination to feel good all the time is like setting out to clean house. All kinds of crazy junk appears and I find myself thinking “what on earth was I hanging onto this for?”
It feels good to let these things go.