The Secret of Happiness: Good Flow

More and more people today spend their time as disconnected as possible from their bodies. Like Rahu (the shadow planet represented by a head without a body) they crave an ideal reality, one less confined by the messy demands of physical reality; and, like Rahu, their search for satisfaction by denying the body is but very rarely more satisfying than is the search for gratification via sensory indulgence. And while the sole reality on which we can rely in this world of ours is that each one of us is mortal and will surely die, the relative reality of corporeal existence cannot be successfully gainsaid until death, or enlightenment.   

And while we are alive, why not be happy? Not satiated, or merely gratified, but filled instead with sukha, which is Sanskrit for “happiness, health, ease, and a general state of well-being”. Sukha, which is formed from the prefix su (good) and the word kha (space) literally means, “a condition in which the spaces of existence are doing well”. Consider the testimony of Pharrell Williams:

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

“A room without a roof”, open to the skies, is free of any limitation to rising; being in such a state of upliftment is one symptom of happiness. Another is that “happiness is the truth,” that true happiness feels, well, true – it resonates within us at a deep and powerful level. It does so because of prana, the life force, which is for the cells that make up our bodies the Supreme Reality, the truth of life concentrated into harmonious movement, the inspiration of all that transpires in living tissue.

As an evolute of the Air Element prana (like air) must always be in motion; and Air can only move appropriately when an appropriate Space exists for it to move in. In Ayurveda vata, which is created from Air & Space, represents a force that performs tasks as it moves through the body but that cannot offer vitality to that body because it has lost the deep, subtle centeredness that characterizes prana. Like Rahu, people who are overwhelmed with vata will search in vain for what might offer sukha but will never be able to obtain sukha until they learn to minimize vata and maximize prana within themselves. 

The fact of the ever-increasing complexity of existence makes cultivation of Air and Space more essential than ever before, which makes following a niyama ever more essential. A niyama is a practice of restraint, usually one performed daily, that provides the organism a focus around which to organize itself and on which to rely. Of the myriad niyamas that one might commit to, the best for health are those that focus directly on prana.

I personally prefer to promote my prana circulation via singing and chanting, for which purpose I find the Hanuman Chalisa of great value, both because it is a beautiful composition that is as fun to croon as it is to bellow and because Hanuman is prana itself, in embodied form. Even if you don’t understand its words, and even if you don’t feel inspired to envision Hanuman as a handsome difficulty-dispelling monkey, your prana can benefit from worshipping the force of life as you sing its praises in these forty verses.

Jaya Hanuman!