Is it possible to increase your happiness or success by pushing your “energy pendulum” in the direction you want it to go – toward more possessions, greater fame, and more intense pleasure? Doesn’t the pendulum always swing back in the opposite direction? There are times in this ceaseless cycle of hope and disappointment when we feel repelled by the sheer monotony of it all. Finding ourselves no longer attracted by the excitement of a meaningless chase, we long for rest. But only if rest is sought within can lasting peace be really ours.
Any rest we find outwardly – in retirement, let us say, to a quiet cottage by the sea – is as temporary as our emotional joys and sorrows. That “peace” ends when we come to experience it as boredom. When this happens, we set out once again on our former quest for excitement. And so —interminably—it goes on. Everything in existence is balanced by its polar opposite. Heat is balanced by cold, light by darkness, and positive by negative. In humankind, duality is found in the opposites of male and female, joy and sorrow, love and hatred.
Wherever one quality exists, its complementary opposite will be also be found. The overall level of an ocean is not altered by the height of the waves at its surface. The higher the wave, the deeper is its trough. Our essential consciousness, similarly, remains unaffected by our emotional ups and downs. Pleasure and pain, success and failure, fulfillment and disappointment – these are but waves on the surface of calm, intuitive feeling. The Law of Duality is present in our lives, too. Because our emotions are tied to the post of ego consciousness, every joy that we experience emotionally must be balanced in our own emotions by an equal and opposite sorrow.
Every personal success must be balanced by an equally personal failure; every personal fulfillment must be balanced by a corresponding personal disappointment. The only state in which joy and other positive feelings are not balanced by opposites is in the state of super-consciousness. There, the waves of emotion subside in calm, intuitive feeling Joy, love, and peace are realised, then, as absolutes, not as relativities, for they are attributes of Pure Consciousness. Calm feeling is intuition. When that calm feeling is disturbed, it becomes emotion.
Until clarity of feeling is achieved, the one who meditates will be forever vacillating in purpose. Without devotion, indeed, in the form of deep yearning for the truth, you will not feel the incentive even to try to meditate deeply. Wisdom without devotion is like knowing that there is a good restaurant next door, and even committing its entire menu to memory, but not being hungry enough to go there and eat. The feeling quality is what makes it possible to commit oneself to the spiritual search.
– Swami Kriyananda