Finding Unconditional Happiness
by Tara Springett
In 2001, I had a life-changing experience. After many years of meditating and after many highs and lows I suddenly accessed a well of unconditional happiness within me that has never left me since.
The way it happened was quite amazing. A good friend of mine told me about a wonderful Buddhist teacher by the name of Garchen Rinpoche. For some reason this made me quite excited because I felt a very strong connection with this teacher even though I had never met him and there were dozens of other Tibetan Buddhist teachers that I could have met instead. But something within me felt incredibly drawn to Garchen Rinpoche and I started to pray to him or rather talk to him in my mind.
At some point I ‘asked him’ how I should meditate and I seemed to hear this answer: ‘just be happy’. And that was it – ‘just be happy’. So I sat down in my usual meditation position and tried to ‘just be happy’ – and to my surprise it worked. I was immediately flooded with a great feeling of joy that expanded further and further until it reached a level of bliss and even ecstasy.
At that time feelings of bliss were not new to me – I had experienced many of those during the years of meditation before. But these happy feelings were a bit like the weather – they came and went and I had no control over making them happen. The more I had tried to be happy, the more it usually back-fired and I ended up with some sort of mental stress that counteracted any amount of joy that I had gained from my effort.
All this was to change once I received this amazing mental advice from the teacher I
had never met. Suddenly joy and even bliss were at my finger tips at any moment and even at times of great mental anguish. I still got upset or angry about things and people as I did before but now I could simply switch back to the unconditional happiness that was always there – just like the sun is shining behind a thick layer of clouds.
All this happened nearly 16 years ago and over the years the experience of unconditional happiness has only deepened and spread into every area of my life. I was not only happy, I also gained incredible spiritual insights and experiences. In Tibetan Buddhism this experience of unconditional happiness is called maha mudra or dzogchen and I will remain ever grateful to Garchen Rinpoche for introducing me to this wonderful state of mind in this mysterious way.
Tara Springett is a fully authorised Buddhist teacher. If you wish to receive spiritual guidance from her click here