Something to Cheer About!
Hip hip hurray for You.
Published: December 5, 2011
Happiness keeps the applause going.
Dublin is a beautiful city. I am often invited to speak there. One year, I shared a platform with Dr. Deepak Chopra, the renowned spiritual teacher and author. We had a thousand people packed into the hall that day. I began with a talk entitled From Hell to Happiness: A One-way Ticket. I think I was about 20 minutes into my talk when I first heard an odd gurgling sound. As I searched for where the sound was coming from, I noticed a young mother and her small baby sitting near the front. It was the baby who was gurgling, and quite musically, too!
Now, I want you to know that I thought my talk was going quite well. I was espousing beautiful, sacred principles of truth that were undoubtedly insightful, enlightening, very wise, and a joy to behold! However, it was soon clear to me that this little baby had an audience. The musical gurgling had grown louder and was now echoing all the way down the hall. I graciously gave way.
“Excuse me,” I said, addressing the young mother. “How old is your child?”
“Ten weeks old,” she replied.
“Girl or boy?”
He looked absolutely beautiful. Everyone was now straining their necks to take a look. “Would you mind standing up so everyone can see your beautiful baby?” I asked. The young mother did so without hesitation. And one thousand people sang out “Ahhh!” in perfect unison. We all melted. And then, guess what? One thousand people started clapping. And cheering!
When the ovation finally died down and the mother returned to her seat with her child, I was left to get on with my crummy old talk. A thought then occurred to me that I put to my audience. “Do you realize,” I said, “that if this young mother had held up a forty-year-old man or woman no one would have gone ‘Ahhh!’ and certainly no one would have clapped and cheered?” The laughter that followed made my point.
What exactly had this baby done to earn such a tumultuous ovation of love and positive regard? Surely it had nothing to do with IQ, academic excellence, résumé, business acumen, or financial status! He couldn’t kick a football, he was no actor, and he was too young to have his own talk show. All he did was sleep, gurgle, dribble, and pass wind. Adults tend not to get ovations for that sort of stuff.
I believe this young baby reminded us of something about ourselves. He was a symbol for our Unconditioned Self. This Unconditioned Self is the real “you.” It is the essential you that outlives the body. It is the “real you” that promised to be the presence of love, the light of the world, and God’s angel on earth.
Your Unconditioned Self is your original potential. It is the memory of God that you forget about as you grow up and stuff happens, i.e., bumps, bruises, school grades, puberty, heartbreaks, job interviews, rejections, parking tickets, the rat race, traffic, the mortgage, a pension, etc.
Since time began, the wise ones in every culture have carried a torch for the Unconditioned Self. This Self is like an inner light with no “off” switch. You may lose sight of it, but it never goes out. Zen masters called this Unconditioned Self your original face; Taoists, the uncarved block; Christians, your original innocence; Hindus, the eternal bliss consciousness; Alchemists, your inner gold; St Francis of Assisi, your eternal loveliness; Thomas Merton, your secret beauty. And so on.
It is your lack of faith in your Unconditioned Self, i.e., your inner light that leads you into dark places and dark stories. Every time you betray your original power and innocence you participate in illusions of separation, struggle, smallness, fear, and unworthiness. Shift happens when you consciously reconnect to your wisdom and your light. This is what true healing is all about.
Remember today that happiness is not an it! Happiness is not in things; it is in you. Happiness is your inner light that has no “off” switch. Be still for a moment. Stop the world. Close your eyes. Sink into your heart. Let every in-breath be a symbol of your intention to connect unconditionally to love, life, and joy. And let every out-breath be a symbol of your willingness to let go of separation and fear. Do this until you touch something infinite. Keep going until you make contact with your Unconditioned Self. Eventually you will discover the soul of who you really are. And all the angels will applaud. And guess what? They will cheer too!
Robert Holden, Ph.D., is the Director of The Happiness Project and Success Intelligence. Robert coaches leaders in business, education, politics and healthcare.