By Gurudevi Nirmalananda
Bliss is not the goal. Consciousness is. This can be confusing because most seekers are looking for bliss. But Consciousness is what matters. Still, bliss is incredibly important. Why? The need for bliss is built into you.
Your body is hard-wired for bliss; it’s called your parasympathetic nervous system. Your body has bliss software; it’s called your endocrine system. Your mind and heart run on bliss. Without bliss, your heart dries up and your mind leapfrogs from anxiety to anxiety. It is not a pretty picture.
When you get even a drop of bliss, you spontaneously exhale with a sweet sigh, “Aaahh.” All your biological systems stand down from red alert and you become human again. Being human means you have the capacity to shine God’s light and love into the world. You have this capacity because the source is within, what yoga calls “your own Self.”
The bad news is that, without bliss, people decide that life is not worth living. The good news is that bliss is easily attained. Though lasting bliss takes preparation and practice, instant bliss is instant. That’s why my generation, coming of age in the 1960s, was focused on sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, I can see that we settled for too little.
Bliss can be a continuing inner experience. It should be! That’s yoga in a nutshell. Yet bliss is not the goal. Consciousness is. But what is Consciousness? For that matter, what is bliss?
Consciousness is your knowing that you know. You don’t merely know things. A dog or cat knows things, but you know that you know. This is called Consciousness, technically the “self-reflective power” that humans have, unique amongst all other creatures. You are able to see that you see. You even think that you think. There are multiple dimensions within you, awaiting your exploration. The deeper you go, the more blissful it becomes.
This brings us back to bliss. What is bliss? Bliss is the sensation you experience when you rub up against God. In yoga, you find God within. So bliss is the sensation you experience when your personhood is being filled by God’s light and love from the inside-out.
People usually associate bliss with half-lit rooms and half-conscious states. Most of the world accepts being drunk, drugged or half-asleep as a substitute for God. For a yogi, it’s not enough. Unconscious bliss is unconscious. Personally, I always wanted more. I want you to want more.