It always puzzled me. If you ask literally anybody on spiritual path, can the true happiness be found in the external world, or is it actually to be found within of ourselves, majority will agree with the latter. Would you agree with that, too? But then, when it comes to real life, this belief seems as short-lived as soap bubble. Usually it is enough for us to feel this little craving for chocolate, wait for a little longer for the bus in the scorching sun or it can be even something as simple as your partner not fulfilling your expectations the way you like it… And it becomes enough for us to forget completely that happiness is not something you can find in the outside. Suddenly we become deeply convinced that we are going to be happy exclusively when our expectations about the external world will be fulfilled - and, ideally, right here, right now.
So where the real happiness is happening? In the outside - or inside you?
In fact, even science is on the side of spirituality here. Be it temporary human happiness or feeling of bliss experienced in deep meditation, from scientific point of view, it is the experience happening right there, inside your own brain - not anywhere outside you. When you actually deprive your senses from external pleasures on purpose and dive deeper into silence, like Paramahamsa Vishwananda guided us to do during silent retreat in Puri (you can read more about this experience here), this is when you truly get to understand that true happiness, true bliss and true fulfillment really starts within you. And that you are completely free to feel happy and fulfilled, even when your expectations are not fulfilled. Because true happiness cannot be limited just to sensory experiences.
So when I was still there, I thought to myself: from where this idea that we can find happiness anywhere outside ourselves even comes from? Where does it have its origin? And why is it so easy to believe it, when our expectations are not fulfilled?
And then I looked at myself and my own mind… And it became so obvious. So simple. The moment you truly understand that happiness and bliss can be find only within you, and that it is not dependent on any external factor, is the moment when you need to take full responsibility for your own mind and anything it produces. The moment you truly embrace the idea, that happiness is only to be found within and that it is an actual choice, becomes the moment when you need to also accept that you are the only person responsible for your happiness - and that is the moment, when you cannot blame anybody and anything anymore for your internal state. And the idea of such radical responsibility is not something that our mind wishes to embrace easily.
It takes a lot of courage and practice of self-awareness to truly integrate this understanding into our daily life.
But this is why I feel so grateful for the gift of Atma Kriya Yoga that we have all received. Because, gradually, little by little, with every breath that we consciously take, it makes us more aware of our inner universe and guides us towards higher understanding that the true source of all happiness and bliss is in the Atma, the Soul alone - every other little happiness we experience in the material world is just a mere reflection of it. And the more we feel connected to our higher self and to the Divine, through the practice of Atma Kriya Yoga, the more we start to realise, that we are the only ones responsible for our happiness or lack of it - because the Soul, which is within you is ever in bliss. And if you are not able to feel this bliss always, it is only because you are sometimes getting clouded by temporary impressions produced by the mind. But if you control and silence this mind, when you do your sadhana with devotion, and continue doing your japa kriya throughout the day, you naturally become more conscious, aware and responsible in your thoughts, words and actions - and this is where true happiness starts.
Think about it next time, when your mind will try to convince you that you need some chocolate real badly. Delay satisfying this craving for a little while, observe your mind and see what happens. Maybe you will abandon the idea of having it, or maybe you will still want to have it. But the important thing is that you will remind yourself that you have a choice - and whether you choose to have it or not, your happiness doesn't need to depend on it. Because it never had anything to do with that.