Dear Francis, Thank you for your very clear answer. I don’t mean to belabor this point. I understand very well what you say about the importance of experiential as opposed to theoretical understanding. The reason I ask this question is because it seems that no degree of happiness lasts forever, even when ignorance is not involved. I notice a continual cycle of opening and contraction, opening and contraction. Opening is marked by enthusiasm, joy, energy, and love. It follows a sustained trajectory of varying intensities before giving way to contraction. Contraction entails a mild sense of desolation and loneliness, though not fueled by any object or lack thereof. It eventually gives way to a new opening. Without such contractions, or some reminder of pain, how can one know one's state as happiness? If one were to remain in a permanently happy state, how could such a state even be distinguished? It would require at least the slightest opposite to give it contrast, and thus definition. I am young, and still given to many enthusiasms and ardors and intensities. Perhaps age alone entails a greater evenness of experience. Yet I know from experience that no spiritual experience results in permanent ecstasy. So many times after a powerful glimpse of Truth I have thought,“I’ve finally arrived.” But I now do not believe there can ever be one such final glimpse. The Truth seems to be ever as it is, but not one’s understanding or experience of it, which is a great paradox, because ultimately one is not at all separate from the Truth. Thank you once again, Jay
In ignorance, the background of our experience seems to be misery and lack. On rare occasions, we seem to be lifted above this level by evanescent sparks of joy, but a sense of impending doom remains, poisoning the joy which is never pure, free, absolute. In wisdom, the background is fully revealed as peace and satisfaction that fuels the flames of joy, love and celebration. My friend Yvan Amar said it beautifully: “Peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace in motion”.