Following and Practicing Bliss
I’m contemplating a different way of looking at Joseph Campbell’s advice (which I try to follow and, indeed, my life is largely based upon) to “follow your bliss.” The notion that we must do so, must “follow” our bliss to live fully and authentically, in this talk referred to connecting with dharma, is, indeed, what I believe one must do to create the life one desires—to achieve the outcomes we hope for our future. However, I’m thinking now that this word, “follow,” as vital and salient as it is to the concept, is actually misleading me (no pun intended) as to how I’m living my *daily* life and/or experiencing happiness and fulfillment in the here and now. So future-oriented have I been, so intent on “following,” that in my mind it has become a chase, and a tiring one at that, to follow my personal “bliss,” which is becoming a successful writer and college teacher.
In this way, I’ve turned what I need to do to get there—eg completing my masters program, aka reading and writing—into a sort of tedium, when it IS the bliss, what I love, and so have chosen to “follow” in the first place. Thus, for pleasure, fun, happiness, in the *here and now*, I’ve been looking elsewhere—forgetting the simple concept and truth that it is not the destination (alone, at least) but the journey that is to be enjoyed. I’m doing what I love already so that I may do more of it in the future. So why am I looking elsewhere when I’m already doing what brings me fulfillment—or rather, why have I not been allowing myself the pleasure and joy right now that what I’m already doing could bring? Why am I making my own contentment so elusive by tying it to lesser pleasures and desires, making my life so much more complicated than it inherently is and, indeed, making myself unhappy when this IS the life I want—already, here and now—I don’t only need to follow my bliss, I need to *practice* my bliss.
I see now that I have not been being mindful or practicing gratitude. I will change this :)