Follow your bliss has become a popular catchphrase found on a blossoming array of self-care sites and, like the word awesome, is so overused that its original meaning has been obscured.
Following your bliss is not the same as personal pursuit of pleasure, though it has come to be used in that way. When the phrase was first introduced by mythologist Joseph Campbell, bliss was translated from the Sanskrit word Sat-Chit-Ananda (being-consciousness-bliss), with Ananda or bliss being understood as the culmination of the search for Self that brought the individual to a place of union and deep peace.
Bliss is eminently a spiritual state of being.
You may wonder if making this distinction matters. It does because too many have been led to believe that following personal passions will ultimately satisfy them and bring them the lasting happiness they seek.
When that search doesn’t satisfy them, they assume either that the object of their pursuit was faulty or misguided and they choose a new one to begin the search over again, or they may believe that they simply didn’t try hard enough. Inevitably, the result is disappointment and confusion.
Wisdom guardians know that the exhilaration of personal pleasure is temporary and for pleasure to be sustained, it must be constantly sought after. Though they delight in moments of happiness, they observe that following pleasure’s fleeting nature will not fulfill the most basic and intrinsic human needs, which is why after reaching a goal or acquiring the object of desire, the same emptiness we had hoped to satisfy predictably returns.
So how does one follow one’s bliss, in the true meaning of that phrase?
Primarily in two ways.
Unlike mere happiness, joy is a deep and ongoing contentment with what you value most in life. To do this, ponder these questions: What stirred your fascination and excitement in childhood? What activities or experiences bring you the greatest joy when you engage with the world? Wherein do you find belonging and serenity? Often, the answers are right in front of you. A close, life-time friend may also be able to provide helpful insights.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to navigate this in isolation. Many have spoken of enigmatic forces coming to support them when they wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to their path of self-discovery. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once expressed, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too.”
Cultivate a perspective that is kindled by gratitude for everything around you and a trust in the beauty and mysteries of life. Finding your unique way to achieve this state is a personal journey, and no one can do it for you. While others can offer suggestions and books can provide advice, you are the one who must patiently and persistently uncover your essential connection and unity with all that is.
The virtue of finding the kind of peace and contentment that radiates when we follow our bliss, in the true meaning of the phrase, cannot be overstated. Indeed, perhaps the greatest gift we can give our loved ones is the security of knowing that we are truly joyful in who we are and what we do, and that consequently they can take comfort in our sense of well-being.
Have you heard the phrase “follow your bliss”? What has it meant to you? Do you think you can rediscover the world with wonder, curiosity and delight?
Tags Finding Happiness