The word bliss has been infiltrating my world lately. As many of my readers know, my book Writing for Bliss was published on September 1, and in a recent lecture, Deepak Chopra also addressed the concept of bliss. His book Quantum Healing, originally published in 1989, was revised and re-released in 2015, and the one chapter that caught my attention was called “Body of Bliss.”
Chopra said that according to Veda, the Hindu scriptures, bliss is referred to as Ananda, where reality takes on a sense of splendor. He suggested that those in the West are uncomfortable with the word bliss, but perhaps that was more the case when his book was originally released. I agreed when he said that those who have been touched by bliss tend to feel as if they’re suddenly being exposed to life as it really is. Further, he said that to experience bliss is a sign of complete enlightenment. One of the many advantages of being in a blissful state is that when blissful, an individual is completely aware and, as such, can irradiate disease through both mindfulness and meditative practice.
My discussion of bliss mainly pertains to writing for bliss, but at the same time, it suggests that writing can lead to a state of bliss that facilitates the healing process. In my book, I define bliss as a natural direction to take to maximize your sense of joy and sense of fulfillment and performance. In many ways, it is a more powerful word than happiness. Sometimes people equate bliss with being in a state of euphoria, but in truth, it is about learning what brings you joy, which is often connected to what you were meant to do with your life—that is, your calling. Mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell coined the phrase “Follow your bliss,” which is another way of saying to follow your heart or to listen to your authentic inner voice, which I also discuss in my book in detail.
To find our bliss, we eliminate habits, situations, and relationships that no longer serve us and replace them with those that do. Finding our bliss is about bringing into our lives all those things that bring out our potential and help us live life to the fullest. Once we open our eyes and are aware of our bliss, opportunities begin to come our way.
For years I’ve known that my bliss revolves around writing because whenever people have asked me when I feel best, I respond by saying, “When I’m writing.” This is true whether I’m penning poems, blogs, essays, or books. I also know that I’m blissful when studying, which is one reason why I returned to school for two advanced degrees during my middle age.
Another example of following one’s bliss relates to young adults who are contemplating their career paths. Since so many of us have an innate desire to please our parents, sometimes this means following their desires and expectations while pushing aside our own dreams or the messages of our inner voice or heart. While this behavior might be subconscious, many young people might consider pursuing the career paths of one of their parents or those they think their parents would like them to pursue. They may continue down that path until they come to the realization that another one would bring them much greater joy.
My own story is an illustration: My grandmother always wanted to be a doctor, but her dreams were shattered as a result of wartime. My mother, in turn, was a medical receptionist. So, it’s not surprising, given my family history, that I began my career as a registered nurse and nursing administrator. But although I enjoyed working in a hospital with patients, I came to realize that what really made my heart sing was writing.
At times, life flows in a way that allows dreams to become easily realized, whereas at other times, pursuing them is a more conscious decision. For me, it was the former, because I had to resign as a hospital administrator and submit to bed rest when I approached the third month of my first pregnancy. This confinement led me to do a great deal of writing, thus returning me to the bliss of my childhood. I ended up extending that bliss by tapping into my professional background to become a medical journalist, reporting on the latest research and findings.
As my experience shows, following one’s bliss usually involves connecting to your life theme, which I discuss in depth in my book. I believe that following your bliss is a key component to achieving happiness. Bernie Siegel, in his book (1986), says that if people manage their anger and despair, they typically do not get sick. He believes that those who are happy, in general, stay healthy. He says, “One’s attitude toward oneself is the single most important factor in healing and staying well. Those who are at peace with themselves and their immediate surroundings have far fewer serious illnesses than those who are not” (p. 76).
Thus, finding one’s bliss is not only a state that brings with it a great sense of peace, happiness, and well-being, but also encompasses emotional and physical health.
Chopra, D. (2015). Quantum Healing. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
Raab, D. (2017). Writing for Bliss: A Seven- Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.
Siegel, B. S. (1986). Love, Medicine & Miracles. New York, NY: William Morrow.