There is a clear through-line across time and culture regarding the pursuit of happiness - only there is not always a clear understanding of what happiness means. Is it peace? Prosperity? Love? Some separate state that puts you above the need for those things? We know we are pursuing something important, something that will solve the riddle to our lives, but what exactly is this thing we are attempting to find? Is it the same for everyone? How do you become happy? In my personal experience, happiness is one of those elusive things that when you look at it, you no longer can see it. Pursuing it for itself thus seems useless unless you can know what exactly makes up the happiness you crave.

Curriculum AUM does not attempt to narrow everything down to this one word: happiness. Instead, it describes a state in which many elements are at play to create a whole body/mind integrated system based on the beauty, intricacy, uniqueness, and similarity of the individual and humanity. It is a method for the pursuit – a treasure map.

The Yoga Sutras are another system that describes a method for the pursuit. Sutra 1.33 says, “A clear and tranquil mind results from cultivating; Friendliness towards those who are happy; Compassion toward those who suffer; Joy toward the virtuous; and Impartiality toward wrong-doers” (Ravindra, 35). This gives a succinct method for living a life: treat others with kindness, love, and respect, no matter their circumstances or treatment of you. There are many ways to accomplish this, both mentally and physically, and the sutras show different techniques from these different perspectives. For example, sutra 2.33 says of the mind, “When negative thoughts and feelings arise, the opposite should be cultivated” (Ravindra, 92), while 3.46 says of the body, “Perfection of the body is expressed in beauty of form, vigor, strength, and firm stability” (Ravindra, 143). By focusing on both mind and body, we can learn to cultivate the day-to-day life describe in sutra 1.33 and “all the coverings and impurities of knowledge are totally removed” (4.31, Ravindra, 167).

Similarly, Curriculum AUM describes the eight harmonics – joy, balance, peace, prosperity, beauty, wisdom, compassion, grace – as things that can be practiced both in the body and the mind. By practicing these things, the mind/body connection can be maintained in all the difficult situations which we find ourselves in during our daily lives. It is a method for wholeness that does not require seclusion, but rather integrates the secular life with the philosophical.

Both Curriculum AUM and the Yoga Sutras are guidelines for how to live daily life; not just personally, but in all interactions with the world and others. In this way, you achieve wholeness and learn that what you are pursuing is in fact... the pursuit.

Written by Elizabeth Gray
Body Banter