In the same way, we cannot be happy in being unhappy. We cannot accept unhappiness or sorrow, being ignorant or being mortal. In fact, our life is a process of constantly trying to get rid of these things; we are always trying to learn new things. The information industry as in the television, magazines, newspapers, radio and the internet, survives because of the curiosity in us. We want to know what is happening. Pursuing knowledge is one of the most important activities in our life. Another very important activity is to try and push death as far away as we can. The healthcare industry survives because of our innate desire to avoid death. The entertainment industry survives because of our innate desire to be happy. We are constantly trying to search for happiness, search for knowledge and search for immortality. If I ask you how much happiness you want, you will tell me you want all the happiness. If I ask you how long you want to be happy in a day, you will tell me that you want to be happy 24 hours a day. If I had my way, I would not want a moment of unhappiness. I want to be happy everywhere, at all times, at all places and under all conditions.
Thus our life is a process of searching for or seeking these three things: knowledge, immortality and happiness. If you analyze all the activities that we do, you will find that everything that we do is prompted by one of these three things. We are trying to become happier than we are, or trying to avoid death, and live as long as we can, or trying to pursue knowledge. Why do I want to become free from mortality? It is because I have concluded that I am subject to death. Why do I pursue knowledge? It is because I have concluded that I am ignorant. Why do I pursue happiness? Again because I have concluded that I am unhappy. So my pursuit of knowledge, my pursuit of happiness and my pursuit of immortality arises from a conclusion about me that I am, by nature, ignorant, unhappy and mortal. This is my conclusion about myself.
But is it the reality about myself? Am I really mortal, unhappy and ignorant by nature? No. Then why do I take myself to be so? This conclusion arises from the confusion of taking one thing to be the other. As we saw earlier, the ‘I’ is the union of both, person and personality. The personality is a vehicle for the manifestation of the person. The true nature of the ‘I’ is the person, the Consciousness, or the Self. However, I equate myself with the body and take myself to be a mortal being; I equate myself with the mind and take myself to be a limited being, and I equate myself with the intellect and take myself to be an ignorant being. This is how the yoga or the union began. We habitually equate ourselves with the personality and thus entertain notions about ourselves being mortal, unhappy and ignorant and suffer on account of these notions. All the pain and suffering in our lives is on account of our not being able to separate the two entities of person and personality, and can be traced to these erroneous conclusions. We are trying to solve the three problems of death, unhappiness and ignorance all the time, but these are not legitimate problems because the truth or reality about I is not what I imagine it to be, but something else.