Feel the JOY
Just like you and most, I have struggled with bringing and saving feeling joy and happiness within myself. As I approach fifty years of my life, I find myself to be writing this book about happiness and joy, an activity that is perhaps the least compatible with my training and education. The only qualifications I have to embark on such adventure is that for the last few decades core of my being has been unhappy and dissatisfied. Some of this, perhaps, led to some serious medical conditions such as allergies or hives. I constantly took medications to control the symptoms, felt miserable most of the time, especially in the mornings. I went about my daily work routine throughout this period, sometimes hiding signs of allergic reactions and most of the time sadness, living inside the core of my being with a smile that could fool anyone. My doctors had no remedy for this unhappiness; they were glad to give me antihistamines for life to control my allergy symptoms. In theory, there was no real reason for this state of my unhappiness. I am and have been blessed: a beautiful and loving wife with a good heart, two wonderful boys, a good job, great father, brother, sister, friends, and I could go on and on. Today, I feel joyous from within myself and have been symptom free of chronic allergies for many years. It is not the medication which did it. Although, I must admit the medicines did help relieve symptoms to a degree. In fact, I had to give up medication to heal myself from within. What caused me to be in that poor emotional state and for that long? What turned this around? The most notable change has come from altering my own perspective. It has made an incredible difference in my emotional well-being. In short, my perspective as a whole starting with who I am to how I relate to others around me and how I see the world around me has undergone a deep change. This book is about this change. As I look around, I find my old paradigm widely shared among many from all walks of our society. For most, it leads to conflict and confusion in the form of stress with a wide range of symptoms. Simple unhappiness to diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension, and one can go on are results of stress caused by inculcating such a paradigm. It will be my hope that this book makes a similar difference in your perspective and inspires a happier change in your life. All my life I have been a hard-core man of science. I always looked to science to find answers. Even though my current perspective is not rooted entirely in science, science has been the route to get there. To my readers with little or no scientific background, I have tried to make this message appear as little scientific as my abilities have allowed me to do so. Unfortunately, my inabilities may have rendered moments where I could not explain difficult scientific concepts simply for all to grasp. I offer my sincere apologies to my readers for my subjection. I do recommend readings to clarify these ideas further.
There is so much information on this idea and so many who have taken on to tell so much, yet most of us struggle with being and staying happy. In fact, most of us cannot even imagine our existence where our being is bubbling with feelings of joy and happiness, emanating from our core, for any significant time. Achieving everlasting happiness has been the holy grail of human achievement. The principal promise of religion, spirituality, innovation, education, hard work, or play is achieving immediate or some future state of happiness for self or others. We see all around us people with a wide diversity of perspectives. Many studies reveal religious or spiritual people are happier. Many studies show married people are happier. Many of us believe that childhood is the stage of most happiness. We often wonder if others are happier than we are, especially if we see someone with qualities such as material richness or good looks—handsome, beautiful, or successful or smart; our mind wonders the possibility that they must be happy or at least happier than we must. Most of us can never know for sure how others feel, but in general form our impression that cycles of being happy and unhappy are universal and spare no one. Most of us instinctively deal with these cycles and respond in almost universal way. We try to eliminate or mitigate episodes leading to unhappiness and amplify the states of being happy. We do this to the best of our capacities and expertise; some of us are better able to save joy in comparison to others.
One is sure that feeling joy is important to all of us. Why is that so? One would think the answer should be clear and precise, but it is not. To some, the answer appears to be clear because it “just is.” To others, if we cannot be happy again, we believe life is not worth living or, in extreme cases, consider even killing ourselves. Most of us know that chronic unhappiness leads to all variety of illnesses. Even after knowing this so clearly, most of us end in unhappy states, most of the time. Latest scientific studies have repeatedly shown that the human brain is wired for bliss. Still happiness eludes most of us. What does make us unhappy? What does keep us unhappy?
Does happiness or joy provide satisfying final meaning to our existence? Our journey will begin by addressing the core issue of meaning. Does meaningful existence make us happy or joyous? Or joyous existence is meaningful in itself. This immediately leads to an age-old question, who decides the meaning? Philosophers have struggled with this question for decades. Or “who is it that needs to be happy or decides meaning?” Of course, since we are talking about “our” happiness or happiness of “self,” we naturally conclude that it is self or “I” that is at the root of all this inquiry. We end up asking “who am I?” Alternatively, “Who is this self?” Once we understand the true nature of “I,” we can address the happiness and meaning associated with “I.”
As we search for the “I” that likes to be happy, we find several candidates. Of course we start with the most obvious, me with my name, titles, education, place in the society with certain face, body weight. Myself, the one I can see in the mirror. Great! Are we getting close, or it just seems that way? Then we may be awakened by that voice, “I think I know that this is not all I am, maybe there is more to myself than my physical self.” Who is doing the thinking? Who is it that is doing the act of understanding or doubting? Maybe there is a little “I” within my physical body that I cannot see in the mirror. Is this the one which needs to be happy? Has science found any such entity called inner I? It is clear that most of us do recognize the big I or the physical I. However, in a quiet and unobvious way, we all seem to recognize this other “I” or inner “I,” especially as we express ourselves in our everyday language and describe our feelings. Here is a real case of a mother who described the following:
Expression of Self
“I’m in my early thirties and the married mother of two young children. I have a good job, and my husband and I get along well. My problem lies within myself. I suffer from something I can only describe as “self-loathing.” It started as a teenager (with cutting my arms, drinking, smoking, running with the wrong people). Now I try to keep it all neatly tucked away in my psyche. I’ve been to therapists and take antidepressants, but this lingering self-hate always surfaces. My symptoms cause me to withdraw, hit myself with hangers, and say and think the most horrible thoughts about myself. Even with my accomplishments, I do not think much of myself. I’m not suicidal, but I often entertain thoughts of cutting my arms and legs or having someone else beat me until I’m black-and-blue as though I deserve punishment for being who I am. I compare myself to others nonstop and sometimes withdraw for days if I meet someone I envy. It’s awful! In addition
to antidepressants, I’ve resorted to taking the painkiller Tramadol daily as it tends to lift my mood and help with these feelings of inadequacy. I do not want to pass this on to my kids, whom I love more than anything. Why in the world won’t this stop?”
It is clear that an inner “I” exists, at least in our expression, and is intimately entangled with our concept of self. It turns out that understanding nature of this inner “I” is essential for our happiness. As I will describe later that it is the inner “I” that needs to be happy and keeps us contented and joyful. Where does this inner “I” reside? It is a question which humans have been searching for since ancient times. Could it be any organ in my body or a cell or a molecule or may be an atom that is part of my being? Or perhaps
a combination of many atoms or molecules or cells or maybe organs that represent this inner “I”? Or on the other hand, does this inner “I” exist beyond space-time, in another domain? One thing is clear, “I” that seemed so simple at the start is not so. Between the physical “I” that I can see in mirror and the informational inner “I,” I am confused. Which is my true self? Our journey will begin, by understanding the nature of “I.” Then we can address what makes it happy and what will keep it happy.
Approaching the subject of this inner “I” has not been easy, and it has been a goal of humanity since knowledge began.
Perspective, My View of Self and Whole
A perspective related to my view of who I am and how I see myself to be connected to all that surrounds me is the most notable mark of human existence. It affects all of our lives. It provides us meaning or may be the meaning of meaning. Is there something I can change about my perspective that can intensely affect my pleasure meter? The answer is yes. One can become blissful in an instant by effectively changing one’s perspective and understanding toward one’s life, existence, reality, and eternal truth.
It is my perspective of the nature of my true self and the nature of its perceived reality. To most, the nature of reality as understood by our collective conscience still rests on our perceptual beliefs, conventional deterministic ideas based on Newtonian physics, which has deeply penetrated all aspects of modern human soul and psyche. The legacy of this science is the proposal and reinforcement of self as distinct and separate entity. I am me and you are “you,” and we are all separate. We have believed in such proposal for many generations as our senses reinforce such understanding. The science of physics has undergone extraordinary development. The newer findings are radical in nature and are nonintuitive. They present a different picture of the reality that we belong to and offer a new image of ourselves. The new image is such that “I” is not so isolated from the rest. In fact, the rest is entangled with the “I” in a manner that cannot be easily separated. This view presents a different model of behavior. For example, hurting others may mean that you are hurting yourself. Stealing, giving, all have new meanings. Helping others is like helping us, and therefore, it feels so good as well.
With advancements in science of quantum physics, the role of observer has become central to grasping the nature of our true reality. We will start our journey by addressing this profound issue. Human observer and the means or machinery to observe are critical to make sense of the observed universe. Is it the true nature of our reality? Our senses confirm that we are separate from the rest. Nevertheless, the connectedness at the quantum level as one defies this description of reality. How do limitations of our senses affect our view of the true nature of us and the reality we observe and interpret? Can one address the nature of unconscious matter or “I” less matter, conscious matter or matter with “I,” such as us or maybe life in general and arrive at the possibility of all to be intimately connected to nonlocal or grand cosmic mind? What kind of perspective leads us to unity consciousness as implied by science of quantum mechanics? Does the quantum nature of universe turn our concept of reality upside down?
SELF or SIMPLY INFORMATIONAL SELF
As I described in Road to Digital Divine, the first book of this series, our modern understanding of our universe is rooted in science of information and computation rather than the old laws based on classical materialism. The new broader laws of information are superseding old classical laws of matter and energy. Our universe emerges as one informational entity or a grand cosmic mind or digital divine where all entities are reducible to entangled quantum bits that are instantaneously connected to one another. It is as if our universe is a grand living entity made up of digital information bits or quantum bits, the informational atoms of this new universe. It implies that we are all informational entities as well and are all digitally or informationally connected to this grand entity. The consciousness from this perch will be viewed as intelligence that separates us from this grand informational whole.
A simplified informational image of “I” or myself emerges. It arises by the interaction of three minds. First, the cosmic mind, which contains all that is material and immaterial connected though local and non local interactions. Second the emotional mind, which is my physical body. It is contained in the cosmic mind. Third the rational mind, which resides in my emotional mind. In other words, “I” or self is an informational entity, comprising of the systems of devices guided by two local minds or intelligences, viz. rational and emotional but rooted in grand quantum information distribution system or the cosmic mind.
My self, with the help of these three minds converts randomness into information allowing me to operate as an informational entity and make sense of my world. What is its true nature? Is there a connection of this informational “I” or self to the inner “I” we talked about earlier? Does knowing our true nature make a difference in our emotional state of being?
The answer to both these questions is “Yes”. We will find that our happiness very much rests on our understanding of the true nature of “I” or self which is ultimately rooted in broader laws of information.
The informational self has two basic natures arising from its roots in laws of information. First, “I, mine, or my,” emanating from the emphasis on binary computation leading to evolution of egoic entity, a widely recognizable human personality trait in modern societies. I, my, and mine signify the focus of self on self-interests or goals to benefit ourselves rather than others. Second, “us, ours, and we” emphasizes the nature of this self that is for others. I propose that this nature of self arises from the basic nature of the quantum BIT itself leading to altruistic behavior found wide spread in the animal kingdom. Therefore, the self that arises from this emphasis is what I have described as our quantum self. It acts for the benefit of community rather than the individual self. It gives rise to saint like nature in humans. It will lead to a very different community than the community full of egoic entities. Which community will ultimately prevail? Which of these two extreme tendencies of self will survive? Which of the self is my true nature? The knowledge of this truth is not trivial, and in fact, it is nothing short of enlightenment. Once understood mentally and experientially, it has potential to fill us with the incredible joy emanating from deep within.
An excerpt from the book Joy From Deep Within, Nature of Quantum Self
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