I abandoned the blog, I abandoned my readers, and I abandoned my pursuit of bliss in a big mistake.
What happened? I made the all-too-common error of confusing bliss with livelihood. While I still maintain that our livelihoods should bring us satisfaction and even joy if we're lucky, our bliss does not rest anywhere external.
Fundamentally, bliss is gratitude and equanimity, even in the face of great challenges and long odds.
When the economy imploded last fall, I made the mistake of thinking that bliss would be unattainable for all of us. My business was suffering, and it hardly seemed to be the time to encourage others to leave paying work to pursue something insubstantial. That was a mistake, to a certain extent.
I now see, in retrospect, that the world's cycle is always rising and falling, falling and rising. We must not ride the outside of the wheel, must not be attached to fortunes or failures, but we must be at the center, at the hub. There we will find balance and peace and bliss.
So if you have a crappy job, it does not mean you cannot have bliss. If you have a great job, it does not mean you have bliss. Bliss only comes from finding the center in any circumstance, during any event.
So instead of asking, "What is bliss?", we should also ask, "Where is bliss?", and, "Who is bliss?" and, "Why is bliss?"
For me, after suffering a very strong re-action to the world's falling fortunes and struggles, I came to a place of detached observation. I still participate in the world--passionately at times--but without attachment to the outcome. Instead, I choose to act--not react--according to my own beliefs, principles and values. If the world challenges me, so be it. I am not here to please the world. I am here to be here. I am not exactly here to please myself, either. I am here to acknowledge and venerate my time here, make something of it that is in service to spirit and not ego.
I went to the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit recently, and was amazed by the glory of the ancient Egyptian society, now lost. The world as we conceive it--the trappings, the politics, the buildings and men--are all impermanent. But we can each profoundly know what is permanent--the blissful constant of the universe--because each of us contains that spiritual beauty.
Slave or pharaoh, merchant or priest, none of us individually can spin the wheel of fortune in our favor or out of our favor. But what actually turns the wheel? Isn't it the axle, moving through the wheel's center? As a centered, blissful being, even the slightest pressure--a leaning more than a push--has more power to move that wheel than does anything we might try at the wheel's rim.
What passes for power in the ephemeral world is simply force. Real power--and real bliss--emerges like a divine light in the middle of darkness, and it never uses force. Its ability to do good in the world can only--has ever only--come from its ability to inspire men.