Definition: Ananda is a state of bliss or divine joy. It is considered to be one of the highest states of consciousness. It comes from the basic verb ‘nandati’, which means ‘to rejoice’.
The child represents our inherent blissfulness. Sunflowers are an exuberant expression of nature, following the sun as it moves across the sky – a metaphor for following our bliss.
“In non-duality there is bliss; in duality – experience.”
— Nisargadatta Maharaj
Cidaananda Rupah Shivoham, Shivoham
I am the form of consciousness and bliss, I am the eternal Shiva. — Nirvana Shatakam by Adi Shankaracharya
A yogi doesn’t settle for easily obtained pleasures, yogis want the whole pie… the state of bliss. Once someone has tasted sugar, no words are needed to convince them of its sweetness. Bliss happens beyond our thinking mind, it is a TOTAL experience – and when it happens the sensation permeates our whole being.
The sages teach that your essential nature is sat-chit-ananda, truth, consciousness and bliss. These are not ultimately separate things: bliss is the experience of consciousness, consciousness is truth, truth is bliss.
If bliss is our nature, why do we need to work for it? We’re conditioned to reject our own nature, just as we are taught to shame a naked body. Children are a perfect example of this – easily blissful for no apparent reason and with no shame for being naked. One sees in their eyes pure presence, a joyful and natural state of consciousness. As we age, we become embarrassed by our naked form, and just like our bliss we cover it with many layers in case it makes others uncomfortable and reveals the misery that is accepted by society.
Great mythologist Joseph Campbell said that if you want to know your purpose all you must do is simply, “Follow your bliss”. Whether you become a painter, a singer, a carpenter, a yoga teacher or an entrepreneur, you must follow the sense of fulfillment that comes from the recognition, “Ah! This feels good. This is why I’m here”. Whatever you give yourself to totally in this way is an important part of your spiritual path.
If you receive this card, don’t be afraid to follow your bliss… as it’s the universe’s way of showing you the path to your purpose – even and especially when it seems hard to follow. Living your bliss has an uplifting effect on those around you and gives others permission to live their own.