This excerpt from the book Ecology of Joy is reprinted here by permission of the author. No part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or photocopy without the express permission of the author. The book will be available soon through AMGK Publications.
Speak of the child as the Divine with His holy attributes, love, beauty, life, the truth, and joy. Let the child be the Divine who holds all the joy, beauty, life and love in the world. Decide that joy is that mysterious force which makes every thing move in this universe. Joy, then, takes on many names, fondness, kindness, strength, but still remains the same essence present everywhere in the world. Every sentient move the child makes is directed by his original Self, a sentient joy, the Divine. Every interaction of the child with his environment brings about changes which result in a diversified creation. The distribution of the essence of joy, love, beauty, and life, about the child and his actions, varies with the purpose and the amount of joy involved in the actions. The distribution and the exchange of joy, love, life and beauty among living beings make the ecology of joy.The purpose of the ecology of happiness is to educate the children to value joy, love, beauty, and life in their everyday life. Educators and parents tend to think that as long as the children are happy and perhaps showing some signs of affection, the children are getting the best chance for a human education. Unfortunately, that is not enough. Telling children to be happy will not make them better human beings as they grow up. Making them happy will certainly give a great chance for the children to develop some of their potential. But that potential can merely be learning academic subjects in better conditions.
What happens to all the tender feelings when the child has become an adult? We don’t have to wait so long to notice a lack of spirituality. From age seven the main functions of the brain are set. If these functions don’t include the study of love, joy and beauty, the child has already wasted the best potential of his childhood. It is not enough to make successful graduates if their social life is unhappy. It is also not enough to make moral adults who are just as passive because they can’t pass their inner blocks.
The Ecology of Joy introduces Neohumanism to the creative and joyful minds of the children. This neohumanist education must be started as soon as the child is born.
When all the beautiful things that have been said about humanism are applied, not only to humans, but to the entire creation and its creator, then we have Neohumanism. The values that dignify the human beings are extended to the animals and plants. Earth ecology becomes relevant just as a social system relies on the ecology of happiness. Human life, just like any other life is a constant self emancipation in search towards an ever increasing sense of happiness.
The Sense of Self
The child’s original sense of Self is a sense of Joy. Therefore the true identity of the child is Joy. In this paper the sense of Self is described with five absolutes: Joy, Love, Beauty, Life and Truth. These five qualities are no restrictions to the infinite attributes of the Divine. They have been selected to match four stages of creation.
The four stages of creation are: universe, nature, society and a person
These four stages are hypothetical; they are a convenient way to introduce the world to the child.
The sense of Self in relation with Creation
Joy is the sense of Self that underlies the creation of the universe.
Beauty is the sense of Self that inspires the creation of nature with people, plants, animals and the inanimate world.
Love is the sense of Self to inspire the people of a society to live in harmony4. Life is the sense of Self for all living creatures and the creation of person.
Truth manifests itself as a sense of morality and correctness. It inspires people to live a moral life and act with a sense of correctness. It is also the spiritual force that compels all living beings and the person to emancipate and resume themselves in Joy.
What is Joy?
Joy is a mystery. We know how it feels, but we don’t know what it is. We feel Joy as happiness, bliss, love, beauty, strength, peace… all in one. We experience Joy.
Throughout these pages and for practical purpose the word joy indicates happiness and also beauty, love, life, and the truth. To avoid annoying repetitions the word joy is often used alone.
Joy is not mere happiness; it is sentient joy.
Happiness and love are not just congenial feelings, like sensations that feel good but are just passing moments. Joy is sentient. Sentient means having its own awareness, intelligence, and consciousness. Joy is consciousness. Life is conscious. Whatever happiness or love the child may feel, even little, is the manifestation of the Divine’s consciousness. Joy is a conscious flow manifested through the child (Joy is the child). The love the child feels is alive with its own soul—the supreme consciousness.
The little child is touched by the Divine with every moment of happiness.
Joy is a sentient force the child must use.
The happiness and love the child feels are no mere feelings devoid of power. We all know that positive feelings always give strength. Thus, let Joy move mountains! Joy, love are creative power—the power to create the entire universe, the power to alter anything in the world. Let Joy and Love be a power children can induce in their hearts and minds. Joy and Love may be presented as a powerful flow, a force that flows like sentient energy, a magical force that makes things happen or solves unhappy situations. Let it be a force to alter one’s environment to make a better world, to protect and serve, a force the children can increase through practices, a force that can be developed with appropriate skills, a force that requires attention and focus, a force that requires not only carefulness in its use but also altruism, a force that teaches unselfishness. Let the children feel the sentient force flowing through them and give them confidence.
‘She looked for a clean piece of paper. Then she wrote a line with her prettiest words for me to read. When she finished, she folded the paper very carefully, attached a red ribbon around it, and offered it to me. I was touched with a good feeling inside. But she was happier than me. I could see how her aura was shining; it was brighter than mine.’
Train the child to think that creating beauty, joy, love, life is a must—a prerequisite to life.
Life is the practice of beauty, joy, love, and the Truth. It also implies that there cannot be life without joy, love, beauty. Unhappy persons, objects or situations also have some tiny amount of joy, in which cases joy, love, are often called by other names (strength, toughness, etc.)
The child must practise beauty, joy, love, and life as a mean to grow and perform in her society.
The child grows by learning. At home and at school she learns to fit in this world, to gain self confidence, and also about reading, arithmetic, etc. She has also to learn about the practice of joy, beauty, and love, which should come as a subject of its own. The performance that is expected from the child (speaking clearly, a sensible logic, politeness, etc), should also include excellence in the practice of joy, love, and life with the people, the animals, the plants, and the inanimate world that constitute her environment.
“You’ve been so patient with that silly boy that it has changed you. I didn’t notice it until you looked at me in the eyes. … You have become so beautiful!”
The child must equate her inner beauty, joy, love, and life with the beauty… she sees around her, or the beauty she herself exalts.
The beauty, joy, love the child perceives in the world around her also exists in her heart and mind. If beauty, love, or joy were not already part of the child it would be impossible for the child to appreciate the same in the world around her. Therefore, let the highest experience of beauty, joy, love, (even for a few seconds), show the actual qualities of her heart and mind.
The child must equate her expression of beauty, joy, love, and life as the result of lots of trials.
Joy, beauty, and love the child feels (and expresses) must never be taken for granted. Let the child know that the happiness, the love… she feels is the result of previous practices. If she wants to keep on being happy or be happier, more beautiful, and more alive, she must keep on practicing.
The child must perceive her expression of beauty, joy, love, and life as the manifestation of her higher Self.
The true identity of the child is (the Divine which manifests) joy, beauty, love, life, the Truth. The child must be aware that she is not her body, but the manifestation of the Divine. Anything aesthetic she does is therefore the doing of her divine self. She must practise joy, love and beauty to keep on being herself, (and discover new joyful depths of her Self.)
‘As soon as Little Cloud came in, her aura brightened the room, and the colours of the walls and all the things around her became vivid. Everyone looked at her, then looked around, and they all saw the beautiful brightness of her presence.’
The child must maintain her happiness (love) despite the ups and downs of life.
The child must never allow happiness (love) to escape from her. She must remain herself despite unhappy situations. In unhappy situations the feeling of joy may change to love. In harsh situations the feeling of love turns into pain. Then let pain be a sacrifice, a cleaning process to reach a new level of love and be able to experience more joy, more love and more beauty, later on, after the unhappy time has passed. If the child refuses to accept the pain as a sacrifice for her own improvement, then let her make it a sacrifice for the Divine who is bringing her closer to Him through the cleansing process. The spirit of sacrifice will automatically restore love.
Imagine what strength this principle may give to the child’s mind. Instead of crying on her misery the child is encouraged to stand for her Self, the Divine.
‘The shock was so strong that she fell on the floor. Her happiness fluttered away immediately. But a strong sense of Self came to her.’ Where I come from, I’m a special girl,’ she thought. A soft feeling remained in her heart. She knew who she was, and she was great!’
The child should never remove the happiness of any other living being—not even his own.
Removing happiness, (as in hurting someone, being angry at someone, not helping when one could, etc.), from plants, any animal or human being… is a cruel and foolish thing to do.Removing happiness implies denying happiness altogether; one’s own as well.
The first person not being happy is the offending child himself. When fighting someone (to remove his happiness), the first thing the child’s mind must do is to remove its own happiness in order to be in control and fight. (The mind removes the child’s true identity (happiness) so it can take over.) The child should never permit his mind to remove his own happiness for any personal reason. A fighting child is always an unhappy child, and once the child has removed his own happiness the child is no more himself—just an empty machine that pretends to be a human being.The energy that has been stolen will have to be returned.
The child must never allow his mind (and body) rob anyone’s energy (which feels like happiness), because the energy (happiness) that has been stolen will have to be returned. Returning energy (happiness) is always unpleasant and painful, and it often happens when we expect it the least (little incidents and terrible accidents).
Happiness cannot be stolen or imported; but energy can. It is always energy that is stolen. When energy is stolen, the flow of happiness transforms into a flow of Love or pain.Incidents and accidents happen so we may learn from them.
Every incident and accident happens for some spiritual reason. It is often the retribution of some past actions. Instead of being just upset one must learn from the lesson so that the same incident or accident never happens again. If an incident should happen repeatedly it only means that once wasn’t enough for the lesson to be learnt.
‘Someone grabbed her bag and ran away with it. Little Cloud tried to run after him in a frantic pursuit. But she stopped to take a big breath and concentrate on what she was feeling. She felt mixed feelings; she was upset. After breathing slowly and deeply for a minute, she found Love in herself again. Actually, she found trust in herself, and Love followed! Instead of running after the boy who was teasing her, she asked the teacher to get her bag for her. The boy couldn’t tease the teacher….’
Magic is the practice of wonder
Magic belongs to wonder. When a miracle is scientifically explained it is not magical anymore. What truly is magical is the wonder it triggers in one’s mind. Wonder is about supra-aesthetics, the mysterious beauty that is beyond explanation. The practice of joy and love leads to wonder. Practising wonder is practising joy, love and beauty with a great flow. Practising wonder is doing true Magic. Let the children learn and practise Magic. Let magic be an ability the child can exercise at will to affect people’s lives, his own and the world’s, with direct acts of goodness.
“Little Jimmy was crying but he stopped when Sybil wiped the tears from his face. I think she knows some Magic.”The child must make the difference between sentient joy and the feeling of wellness.
Sentient joy, happiness made of consciousness is often experienced with mixed feelings of physical or psychic wellness and not duly recognized. With every happy feeling there is an expression of the Divine and there is a wellbeing feeling that the mind senses. The child must learn to make the distinction between the two. Learning to recognize the true expression of love and joy (as opposed to the body and mind’s sensations), will bring true spirituality with all the wonder and magic it implies.The mind is a machine that prefers energy to happiness.
The child must be aware that his mind is a machine that pretends to be the child. It appears that the child lives inside a machine (the body and mind). He must know that the machine wants energy—not necessarily happiness. Therefore the child must watch over the machine, and never let go of his happiness or love. Let happiness and love be the masters of the machine (not vice-versa), and let them be the one who do all the beautiful things a child can do, for happiness and love are the true identity of the child.The mind uses anger… to collect and focus energy—not happiness.
Hard emotions such as anger, hatred, cruelty, etc., are ways (for the mind) to practise dark magic. Instead of using happiness the mind uses energy. The mind gathers energy through anger, hatred, cruelty, and focuses it to make something happen forcefully. In other words the mind focuses energy to force on something to happen. Dark magic only hurts and doesn’t work.
‘Amandine was a nice little girl, but whenever she wanted to say something nice, she would tell the opposite. And so she would shout at her dog like a police-girl, or reprimand her friends on any occasion. One day she shouted at the boy she loved the most—Nimmy. Nimmy got shocked and disappeared in front of her. On that day she learned that love must only be shown with kindness and sweetness—not some silly pretend.’The happiness replica
The mind’s replicas for happiness are: pleasure (for its congenial feeling), energy (for its strength), attachment (for merging), doing (for creating)….Flowing with Joy
Study happiness by practising it. Observe that happiness is felt with a flow streaming outwards — not inwards. Flowing outwards is reaching out and connecting with one’s environment. When appreciating beauty, building, being positive, one is flowing outwards. Flowing inwards is retreating on oneself and disconnecting from one’s environment. Whenever reacting, feeling upset, uncomfortable or in pain, one is flowing inwards. Therefore you must induce a happy feeling for whatever you do and flow outwards.
‘She was silent. But something inside her was very loud. As soon as I called her name she burst with excitement!’
The purpose of doing something is always to learn how to do it with happiness.
The world is a big school where we learn to live with happiness. Every task or obstacle is an opportunity to learn to develop happiness. Every action, work or performance, anything we do must be done with a feeling of happiness, Beauty, Love, or Truth. All the little things life makes us do are drills and exercises.
Every task the child does is an opportunity to learn a lesson related to happiness.
Every obstacle, job or duty—every task—comes to us for the purpose of learning some lesson. Learning a lesson means to look for answers. Nature asks the questions and the student must find the answers. For example, Nature gives the task to a child to learn how to build a tower of cubes without getting angry when it breaks down. The answer that the child must find is how to put a stop to anger. Through the encouragement of his peers and teachers the child may learn to relax and control his mood. Anger indicates a low level of energy; it is a behaviour for the purpose of collecting energy from its environment. By inducing a feeling of happiness the child will find in himself the energy he needs to face his obstacles. In this example, the answer is that the tower must be built with some positive feeling—happiness. The answers always come with some amount of happiness; they are often called realisations; a deeper understanding of how to live.
Whatever we do without happiness will have to be repeated again.
Doing something without a feeling of happiness is failing the purpose of the action. It is missing an opportunity to learn. Therefore the same or similar task will present itself again and again until we have learnt to do it right. The task may be the same; it may also be different; it may be presented in a different situation, but the question about anger (in our example) will remain the same. The task may be delayed in time. The child may have to wait several years before facing a similar situation, but the question will remain until the child has found the answer. It is better to face an obstacle today than wait for a lifetime. It is also better to do every single thing we do with a feeling of happiness than wait until the question becomes more and more intense; because as time passes, Nature puts more and more pressure. That is to say, the child will experience more and more anger and troubles.
Once sentient happiness is earned its strength remains for ever.
It may happen that some days the child feels happy and that on some other days he finds it more difficult. Nevertheless, when he regains his feeling, the intensity that he felt before will return—it may even be more intense but not less. This is not the case for energy.
The ability the mind develops to collect energy may be lost in time but the child’s ability to feel happiness will never be lost.
The amount of energy that the mind is able to collect today may or may not be the same later on—and will be lost in the course of time. It takes skills and congenial conditions to collect energy from people and one’s surroundings. For example, you have learnt to talk smartly to people and can attract them to you, and when doing that you earn some satisfaction. In other words you know how to collect energy by talking to people. Now, let us suppose you become older and start losing your memory. What will happen to your precious oratory skill? You won’t be able to use it. That way to get energy will be lost for ever. Even if you should get a new life, you would still have to learn everything from the start again, including the skill of speaking beautifully. Energy will fail you soon or later; happiness will never leave you!
The abundant energy children manifest will vanish as they become adults unless they learn to develop and use happiness consciously before it is too late.
The abilities the children manifest must not be taken for granted. It is only by studying and using it consciously and methodically that they can preserve it as they grow into adulthood.
You don’t need to deny the world in order to keep yourself happy.
You don’t have to deny your problems and difficulties and pretend to be happy. Happiness doesn’t work that way. You must begin working on happiness from the way you are—not from someone else you would pretend to be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get an intense feeling. The little you feel can definitively be a precious start. Never think little of yourself. Never assume that today’s failure is the failure of a lifetime. Your mind will always have a long list of reasons why you should not be happy. If you fail today, relax and try again tomorrow; never quit! If not happy, the feeling can be about an inner secret, a beautiful, painful Love, a deep longing…. Pain is also a way to flow positively. Pain provides tremendous inner greatness and strength.
Dada Caetanyananda’s full book will be available from AMGK soon.