Bliss

What is this notion of bliss, this most venerable of a concept? What is it about it that is so unattainable, so desirable, and so fulfilling all at once?

I would argue that the definition of the word is not necessarily the experience of the word; for to you and me, a standardised definition we may come to some agreement upon, but exactly what evokes this state of bliss in us, will undoubtably vary greatly.

So what exactly IS bliss?
Well it seems that bliss is a totality. It is a plenum of total joy, of ecstasy and happiness. It doesn’t have to be loud or abashed (although it can be), but it is not the same as being content – because content almost implies that you have everything you need, to be happy. In that moment, you are sure if you were to think about it, that you have everything you need. But perhaps bliss excels that. Perhaps bliss is an orgasm of what everything that makes you content brings you.

Contentment (as amazing a feeling and notion as it is) seems to come from an experience where you slowly come to realise you have everything you need. You may be aware of the experience or not; but you certainly are in it, for in the duration nothing bothers you.

Bliss; is more of an explosion. It has suddenly come upon me, that I am happy, as happy as I can conceivably imagine being in the moment, and I am overwhelmed by it. It is a cheering moment, a Eureka. It’s having all your desires met or surpassed in the moment, and having nothing else to replace them.

It’s one thing to be sat at home, reading a book, perfectly relaxed on some idle Sunday afternoon with someone you love; but it is quite another to have been trapped in a car in some snowstorm overnight on Saturday, and then walking in the door to the warmth and release of stuffy clothing you were absorbed by, on Sunday morning, realising you have a favourite hot meal waiting for you or ready to be easily prepared, and then suddenly checking your phone to find that you and the same person from before are off all of Monday also. Or perhaps you come to find, through some random monotonous chore, that some memorable item you thought to have lost a long time ago, in fact has been found again. Or perhaps the person of your greatest desires, seems to equally be befallen with you.

The two experiences of content and bliss are wonderful, and arguably the barometer for happiness you should aspire to; but it seems that one is a slow peaceful understanding, while the other is quite a violent event suddenly coming upon you.

And here, I believe is where the interesting part lies. We can agree on the definition of content. We can agree on some standardised understanding of bliss. But, we could rarely agree on the definition of bliss, because bliss is unique… to you, now. What you believe to be bliss, is defined utterly in the moment. It doesn’t have to be the happiest you’ve ever been, because you could find this experience of bliss when you have been made very unhappy by a colleague at work, and then find out simultaneously that this employee has been fired for bullying, and you have received a promotion. So while this moment may not quite compare to a wedding day, the birth of a child, or the realisation of some life long dream; relatively, it was the happiest you could conceivably imagine being at that moment. And you got it.

These unique, rare little moments, that seems to come too few and too far apart – you got one.

And so, by its nature, as fast as it arrives, it may dissipate. Just as some kind of detonation seems to cause its damage at its inception, and then seems to leave rather quickly. Fleeting as all things are, unfortunately this state of bliss will leave, because eventually you will conceive of new things, in a new moment, that could bring you new happiness. But if the moment is kind however, it will dissipate slowly and not all at once. And you will be left with this slow, after-climax, that you can enjoy. And if you find yourself very appreciative, and understanding, you may transition that moment of bliss, into content, and by its very definition, be perfectly happy with all that you have.

And that, is a most wonderful thought to think.

With all of the above in mind; I ask you specifically… What is bliss?

The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.