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Chapter 8: Going beyond the Senses

According to one’s inclination towards pleasure or pain, when one focuses on the pleasant
it is the happiness-oriented mind,
and when one focuses on the unpleasant
it is the misery-oriented mind.
The doer is that which arises from the actions
of the embodied soul in its efforts
to achieve happiness and to avoid misery.
The senses - sound, touch, sight, taste, smell -
are the causes of both happiness and misery.
When the soul is identified with its karmically acquired body, this is a diseased embodied soul.

In order to reach your innermost emptiness that is enclosed by the five bodies, your being that is bound by these layers of bodies, it is essential to understand the nature of happiness and of misery which cause this bondage.

The body does not bind you, it cannot. It is your idea that the body can give you happiness that binds you. If you have the idea that a prison can deliver happiness, you become bound even to the prison.

Here it is necessary to understand that it is not the same as when someone else locks you up in a prison; this prison we are talking about is of your own choosing and no one else is responsible for putting you there. So to become free from this bondage is very difficult but also very easy. It is difficult because you yourself have created this bondage and therefore you must be enjoying it, otherwise there would be no reason for you to stay this way. If someone else had tied you up, you would not be enjoying it. But you have bound yourself, hence the difficulty. It is also easy to break free from this bondage because you put these chains on yourself, so whenever you choose they can also be broken. If someone else had bound you, just wanting to be free would not have been enough; a struggle would have been needed to break the chains, strength would have been the deciding factor. And if the other had been stronger than you, your freedom would not have been certain.

If we have chained ourselves, then we must be enjoying it in some way; it cannot be altogether painful. Maybe this happiness is only an illusion, maybe it only appears to exist - yet still it is. Maybe it is dreamlike - maybe it is like a mirage, where there is no water, it only appears to be there. When you are thirsty, even something that just appears to be water is enough. A thirsty man cannot afford the luxury of thinking about whether the water seen in the distance really exists or not, he will simply run towards it.

All our striving is centered around happiness and misery; therefore it is essential to understand the real nature of happiness and misery. Maybe it is just because there is the possibility of being either happy or miserable that this becomes the cause of our bondage.

What is happiness and what is misery? They look contradictory, quite opposite to each other, but it is not so. They are two sides of the same coin. We do not notice it, but a strange thing happens: what we call happiness today becomes our misery tomorrow, what we call misery today may become our happiness tomorrow. In fact tomorrow is too far away - just within moments our happiness can become misery. It is possible also that even as we are calling it happiness it has already become misery.

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