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Sat Chit Ananda—The Joy of Being Awareness

by Brian Tom O'Connor.

Sat Chit Ananda is a term that has made its way into western popular culture from the Upanishads of Hinduism. I am no scholar of Hinduism, but the term is so often used in modern spiritual talk that it’s become almost as common as chakra, nirvana, dharma, karma, mantra, or yin and yang.

Sat Chit Ananda is most often translated as "being, consciousness, bliss," and some translate it as "existence, understanding, happiness." Sat is often described as absolute truth or absolute being—that which never changes. Pure existence. Chit is often described as pure consciousness—"the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the eye of the eye." Ananda has been described as causeless joy, happiness for no reason.

Here's my experience: When I turn my attention around from the content of my experience to whatever is aware of experience, and then turn around once more and look out at experience from awareness itself, I'm flooded with joy. It's a joy unrelated to whatever is actually happening in my experience. It's a joy that seems as if it has always been there, and always will be there, waiting for me, steadfast and unchanging. It's a joy that's unaffected by the external experience. The act of looking out from awareness is the act of identifying as awareness, being awareness. I, Awareness.

So that's why, when I think of Sat Chit Ananda, I think of it as the joy of being awareness. I don't believe it's the lofty goal that the ancients have reserved for a select few. I don't believe it's a state that requires many years, or many lifetimes of meditation and purification to experience. I believe it's available right here, right now, to anyone. It's here when your mind is quiet and it's here when your mind is active. It's here when calmness prevails and it's here when all hell breaks loose, but we often don't notice it because noisy minds and frenzied activity grab all the attention.

But you can simply turn your attention away from thinking and struggle, and towards the calm, spacious, all-inclusive awareness that's already here, lovingly, patiently waiting for you.

I highly recommend it.

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