by Dr. Tom Egenes and Dr. Evan Finkelstein
Dr. Finkelstein: What do you think about happiness, Tom?
Dr. Egenes: Well you know I think that happiness is one of the main features of what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has to say out there. And if he wanted to say it really short I think that what he would say is that happiness is not out there, happiness is in here. It’s that we find happiness by our own state of mind, by our own state of consciousness, it’s peaceful, it’s energetic, it’s filled with love, it’s filled with contentment, and then we act with that state of mind.
Dr. Finkelstein: Yeah, I remember… you know… If I am in a bad mood and I’m walking through a park there could be very beautiful trees and birds and friends come by but if I am in a bad mood I can’t really enjoy it. But if I am in a good mood I enjoy it tremendously, you know, so very often people think that happiness is really mostly contained in the objects that they are experiencing and to a certain extent that’s true because you know strawberry ice cream some people prefer, some people prefer chocolate ice cream but regardless of the ice cream you prefer, if you are not happy inside it’s hard to enjoy really anything and if you are happy inside it’s pretty easy to enjoy almost anything.
Dr. Egenes: One way of thinking about this is that it’s not what’s on the TV set, it’s the TV set. So if your TV set is this big and it’s one of those old, old TV sets it doesn’t really matter what’s on it. But if you have a big, flat screen TV and it’s clear then what ever comes on it looks really, really good.
Dr. Finkelstein: …looks good…
Dr. Egenes: Yeah, so it’s like that with consciousness. When consciousness itself is shriveled then it doesn’t matter, you can be in a wonderful home in a wonderful environment but you are feeling anxious. Like that when consciousness is content, it’s expanded then you are sitting anywhere and it’s still beautiful because you have that state of mind.
Dr. Finkelstein: Right. And it’s interesting too that one of the things that Maharishi says is that the nature of the Self is bliss, the nature of the Self is supreme happiness and what he means by the Self is that state of unbounded Being that a person can experience through the process of Transcendental Meditation. They actually experience increasing waves of happiness and they come to a certain level where happiness has come to a level where a person feels completely content and satisfied and fulfilled, there is no feeling of lack there, everything is completely perfect and that’s the state of Pure Being, and that’s the state Maharishi said of supreme happiness; the highest level of happiness when one comes to that level.
Dr. Egenes: There is a wonderful sutra in the Yoga sutras that talks about a farmer, and says that the farmer doesn’t cause water to flow. The farmer removes the barriers and then the water flows automatically. And it’s kind of like that it’s that we don’t cause ourselves to be happy. All we do is remove the barriers of stresses and strains in the physiology and then we just allow our nature to be what it is and in our natural state, like a child with beautiful skin, beautiful… the child’s natural state is to be very, very happy. And it’s the same thing with us, the nature of life, the basic nature of life is happiness, sukham, joy, ananda.
Dr. Finkelstein: Yes, the happiness increases as the consciousness expands. The very nature of consciousness is bliss, is happiness, and as we have more consciousness available to our experience then our happiness is naturally growing and growing in a very spontaneous way.
Dr. Egenes: One of the very first books that Maharishi wrote, “The Science of Being and the Art of Living” starts out with one sentence: the purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. That is so important because sometimes when Maharishi’s run across with religious figures or people who said that the nature of life is suffering, that is such a wrong approach. That the nature of life itself is happiness, everyone seeks more happiness: the bugs, the plants, the animals, everyone is moving more and more in their own way, in their own good way towards more happiness, that is the nature of life.
Dr. Thomas Egenes
Thomas Egenes received his BA from the University of Notre Dame and his MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. He is Associate Professor of Maharishi Vedic Science and Sanskrit at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.A.