I was talking with a friend the other day and she said her greatest joys were with other people. Immediately, I foraged through my memory to see where my highest highs had been. While many involved other people, there were plenty of times I was alone when I felt connection, grace, open-heartedness, and a soul soaring oneness with all that is. Once again, I was reminded we don’t have to choose, we can have both delights, with company and alone. There’s even the possibility of oneness with god, or whatever you call the indescribable force greater than you.
The problem with relying on relationships to catalyze your sweetest, deepest, and most profound joy is the dependence it requires. Why limit yourself to only one avenue to bliss? Plenty of people who have eschewed human contact, or lived in monastic silence, have communed with god, nature, and the universe in intensely satisfying ways.
Knowing your capacity for joy does not depend on having intimacy with others is especially important in the aftermath of divorce, break-up or death. Understanding how solitude affords opportunities for spiritual sustenance creates more optimism, confidence, and resilience. The yogis like to say, “That which you seek is already within you.” If you believe relationships are the only path to happiness, you can always deepen your relationship with yourself. There are many routes to ecstasy. Taking a walk in nature, listening to music, watching the clouds drift across the sky, practicing yoga, meditating, or simply focusng your attention on a cup of tea or favorite food.
Relationships, with their knack for holding up a mirror to ourselves, are just as often the cause of misery as miracles. Luckily, our repertoire for achieving bliss is far larger. Of course, human connection can be amazing; and, it is natural to desire it. But, by allowing other experiences to awaken your innate ability to channel joy, and discovering reliable catalysts to heighten your happiness, you can access bliss more easily and feel better more of the time. Whereas, if you wait for rapture with another, you may be emotionally treading water until that person appears. Telling yourself you can only feel your best in relationship limits your spiritual and emotional potential.
If you would like to try a little experiment, just pay attention to one good thing today. It might be petting your cat or dog, it could be eating mindfully, laughing, or finding something new to notice in your environment. Maybe, you just pause and look out the window. By consciously focusing on almost anything, you can expand your delight in living that minute.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang