One of the things we all have in common is that we want to be happy: to experience pleasure, joy, good health, fulfillment and a sense of purpose.
The ultimate state of happiness is known as “bliss”, an all-pervading sense of love, peace and well-being with what you are and all that exists. Bliss is the feeling of heaven on Earth, a perfect state of contentment, balance and peace which is undisturbed by any external circumstance.
Bliss: the ultimate state of happiness, peace, unconditional love, inner knowing, emptiness and marvel coming from a sense of being one with all that exists.
If you’re fortunate, you may have had one or even a few experiences of bliss throughout your life. Most commonly, your first experience of bliss may have come from an external experience such as the birth of a child, a sense of awe before nature, a spiritual high or even, a sexual experience.
Bliss can also be self-generated, meaning that it can be generated by your choices, actions and level of awareness (rather than an external experience).
Yogic philosophy teaches us that ‘bliss’ or ‘bliss consciousness’ can also become your permanent state of being, associated with unity consciousness and self-realization.
What Does Ayurveda Teach Us About Bliss?
Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga teaches that your emotional well-being — how happy you feel – is closely tied to the relationship between your body, mind and the world around you. It offers a variety of simple, natural principles to make blissful, conscious living your daily reality.
Here are 9 basic principles of ayurveda to cultivate and enhance blissful living:
- Recognize Bliss As Your Natural State.
Ayurveda teaches that bliss is not something outside that you need to achieve, but your natural state of being when you relax as you are.
This may seem hard to believe at times, in an age where stress and anxiety run rampant.
However, you will notice that when you take time to relax — for example, by taking a long walk in the forest or by looking up at the night sky — your worries and mental conversations quickly subside, and a sense of peace, harmony and wonder naturally emerge.
- Bliss Comes Through Daily Discipline
Real pleasure is rooted in self-discipline. This may seem counterintuitive if we want to believe that bliss is an irresponsible, laissez-faire kind of happiness, but part of us knows that this is not really true or sustainable in the long-term.
Real bliss comes from your daily self-efforts to cultivate your highest self and values (sattva guna). This includes eating well, exercising, cleanliness, proper rest, moderate work habits, thinking well of others and kindness in speech.
Daily spiritual practice (or sadhana) including a combination of meditation, breathwork and yoga, is one of the best tools for the activation of your highest attributes and to induce a naturally self-generating state of bliss.
- Bliss Comes From Your Belly.
Ayurveda teaches us that good digestion is the foundation for a naturally happy mood.
Once we recognize the importance to good digestion in our overall health, we are more likely to start taking better care of it.
If you suffer from digestive issues, do not despair. Ayurveda provides a variety of helpful tips to improve digestion and to help your body heal from food allergies, acne, anxiety, gas, constipation, ulcers, slow metabolism, and to promote a pleasant relationship with your next meal. Keep reading…
- Bliss Comes From The Balance of the Doshas
Ayurveda teaches us that there are 3 mind-body types (or doshas) : vata, pitta and kapha. Each of the doshas has a different way of communicating its needs to us.
- Vata (air and wind elements) may communicate as fear, anxiety, restlessness and ungrounded thinking;
- Pitta (fire and water elements) may communicate as anger, control, aggression, impatience and intensity;
- Kapha (earth and water elements) may communicate as laziness, apathy, depression, greed and a resistance to change.
Caring for the doshas may include a combination of diet, exercise, herbs, natural therapies and self-care. The more balanced your doshas are, the easier it is to reside in your natural state of peace, happiness and equanimity.
- Bliss Comes from Ojas (Glow or Vitality).
Ayurveda also recognizes that bliss comes from a subtle substance called ojas, commonly recognizable as the healthy glow of someone who is truly happy. Ojas is the subtle essence of kapha dosha, the by-product of healthy digestion and living a life that you love.
Ojas grant strong immunity, resilience to stress, bright eyes and natural fertility. Some of the best ways to cultivate ojas is through daily spiritual practice (sadhana), good digestive habits and seasonal detoxification (panchakarma).
- Bliss Comes From An Alignment With What You Love.
One of the fastest ways to experience bliss is to follow your inspiration and explore the things that you feel most passionate or curious about. This may include arts, yoga, spirituality, travel, politics, writing, inspirational reading, a special project or hobby, or a new friend.
Aligning with what you love doesn’t mean avoiding your responsibilities or necessarily quitting your day job. Most of the time, it involves taking small, sustainable steps toward what you know is right for you and what you love the most. Obeying the longing of your heart is one of the surest ways to connect to your inner joy, and to unite body, mind and spirit.
- Bliss Comes When You Don’t Need to Be Happy All the Time.
The blissful state actually comes most easily when you don’t try to be happy all the time, or to avoid any painful emotions or experiences. Often, it is through the friction of our challenges that we learn our greatest lessons, including patience, compassion, integrity, resilience and surrender.
It’s also helpful to understand that bliss does not actually come from your emotions, but from a deeper recognition of what you are and what you’re connected to.
- Bliss Can Come From Good Company.
Bliss is contagious: your mind naturally copies the mental and emotional patterns of those who surround you, emulating the highest frequency influence.
Try to surround yourself with those interested in cultivating wisdom, compassion and higher spiritual values. Here, satsang (or the company of the wise or a realized teacher) is one of most purifying influences and the greatest blessing.
Time spent alone, in silence or in nature can also help to clear the mind of unnecessary thought patterns and to connect you to spirit. As much as possible, try to avoid conversations based in gossip, fear and negativity.
- Bliss Comes By Doing Nothing.
Ayurveda and yoga provide countless tips for mind-body balance and natural joy. However, the truth is that you actually don’t need to do anything to realize your natural state.
Bliss can come over you any time, at any age, in any experience or even, in the midst of your worst mistakes.
Your mind will give you all kinds of reasons to make you wait to be blissful: when you’re taller, skinner, richer, healthier … But the truth is, bliss is immediately there when you take a step back to enjoy the pure, wild and loveable adventure that you are.
To live in bliss is to trust your ever-present goodness and in the fundamental goodness of all life that surrounds you. It is endlessly present in your smile, your kindness, your grace, and your sincere daily efforts toward truth, courage, love and freedom.
About the Author
Briya Freeman has been teaching courses in meditation and natural healing since 2011, including The Bloom Project, an online course for women in natural self-healing and radiant living.
Briya is a long-term student of Berdhanya Swami Tierra, a female mystic and shaman of South American origin. She also holds studies in ayurveda at Anjali School of Ayurveda (Kerala, India) and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa.