Happiness living is sought by everyone, but probably not understood by many. This is not surprising because the idea of living happiness comes to life through our perceptions and perceptions are built into our psychology through our experiences, situations and social norms. Being a part of the social fabric, many times this idea of happiness is handed out to us by our social value system and ecosystem.
Ironically, we seek happiness, without really knowing what it is. This obviously is going to lead to a situation, where all efforts to reach the state of happiness go in vain. And a very fatal conclusion is drawn, that happiness itself is an illusion. It is a mirage.
Fortunately, this is not true. Happiness is definitely not an illusion. In fact, illusions about happiness, cloud it beyond recognition and understanding. Every living human is born with the right to be happy all throughout his life and he has all wherewithal to attain it.
We just have to approach it with an open and logical mind and make a conscious effort to experience it.
Why Choose To Be Happy?
Before we embark on seeking happiness, let us see how it would enrich our lives.
- A happy person attracts success. Being successful, you justify being in the activity you pursue. You become a source of inspiration and a role model for others to follow.
- There is a direct relationship between the happiness index and the health index. Happier the person, healthier he is. It is always said the body follows the mind. Since the mind is happy and positive the hormonal and immune system are at their peak form and good health is ensured.
- According to happify.com a happy person is always very helpful to others and is empathetic and compassionate. Once elevated to the rostrum of happiness, somehow a person feels obliged to help his fellow humans and other living creatures. Philanthropy catches his interest. And this, in turn, makes him happier.
- A happy person is always surrounded by well-meaning friends and develops a good social support system. Because of being happy he exuberates a lot of positive aura and, being well-meaning in his intent, attracts lots of people.
- The conversations and deliberations of a happy person are always more meaningful. Happiness has this ability to elevate the character of a person. He becomes more inclusive and understanding which makes his conversations more truthful and hence more meaningful and convincing.
- The creativity and productivity get a boost. The positive aura that comes with happiness, nurtures the best of creativity and productivity. He gets in sync with his surroundings and nature and somehow seems to have tapped into some unknown resource pool.
- Living a happy person lives longer and fruitful life. Probably nature wants such people to be around longer and spread happiness and love.
What Is Happiness In Life?
Truthfully defining an intangible emotion is beyond the scope of words, but still, attempts have been made to explicate it.
“Ultimate happiness comes by overcoming cravings of all kinds” – Buddhism
“Living a good life is a life of excellent rational activity. If, not, then it is of moral virtue” – Aristotle
“One realizes, oneself to be the self in all” – Advait Hinduism
“The experience of living joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile” – Sonja Lyubominsky.
“Happiness is the state of feeling, or showing, pleasure or contentment” – Oxford English Dictionary.
Happiness Is A State Of Mind
All these definitions converge on the idea that ‘Happiness’ is a state of “mind” and there could be various ways to attain it.
Remember it is not a destination, that once reached will be permanent. What will make the feeling of happiness permanent is being in that state of mind?
So conclusively one can say that, if it is a state of mind, and the mind is yours, you can learn to train your mind to be in that state of total bliss.
The mind has this inherent quality to go astray. It takes you to all sorts of places you do not want to be in. Do not follow your mind, instead learn to train it. You should not follow your mind; your mind should follow you.
Yes, easier said than done! But have we not mastered professional skills with persistence and patience? If you can learn to fly an airplane, if you can send a rocket to the moon, if you can replace heart and kidney, can’t “you” train “your” mind. Be logical and reasonable. You can.
The reason why you have not been able to do it could be two-fold
- you may not have taken the right path to do it.
- you may not have put in the persistent, requisite effort.
Walking down the wrong path will lead you to disaster. Walk the right path to experience happiness. If not fully realized, at least the pleasant breeze of happiness will graze your cheeks sometimes. Is this not much better than walking into a disaster?
The biggest hindrance in attaining the state of happiness is the various illusions, we have about happiness.
Leave the job of riding a bike blindfolded to the magicians. We cannot attain happiness, blindfolded, or seeing through illusions.
What Are Illusions?
Illusions arise whenever a “real sensory perception” is misinterpreted in the mind. This can happen because of a conditioned mind, preconceived ideas, fear, expectations, belief system, and so on.
The above figure shows the two-line segment one above another. When you look at it, prima facia, the upper segment looks longer than the lower segment.
But the reality is, both the line segments are of the same length. What you “SEE” and what the “reality” is, are different. That is how an illusion works. You are intelligent, your mind is not. Illusions exist in our psyche. One has to be very rational when confronting illusionary situations. Preconceived ideas, could aggravate the matter further.
This simple exercise conclusively proves the existence of illusion. Once we accept its existence, then only we can go to the next step of avoiding or circumventing it.
We as a society, do carry illusionary ideas about happiness and it needs to be busted. An open unbiased and rational approach will bring forth the truth.
Happiness is the final destination and once reached it is permanent.
No! Happiness is not any destination to be reached and to be settled in permanently. It is a state of mind. And once this state of mind is developed you can enjoy the feeling of happiness, till the time you make conscious effort to be in it. The journey is always more pleasant and enjoyable than the destination. Happiness living is associated with the journey of life, rather than being a terminus.
Feeling good all the time is happiness
This again is a great illusion. A compulsive drug addict under the influence of narcotics feels good all the time. Does it mean he is happy? He is not at all happy. In fact, he has become insensitive to all feelings. It has been scientifically proved that an even-keeled person is much happier than a person who rides the giant wheel of joy and grief. What goes up comes down they say.
Do not get carried away by situations. Maintain your poise in good times and bad times. Be objective and behave objectively.
Being very rich to be able to afford anything and everything is happiness
No myth can be bigger than this. Money does enable you to buy anything you want. But then as you buy something expensive, in some time, dissonance sets in and your expectation goes up. The expensive gadget that you bought no longer lives up to your expectations and now you long and crave for something better and a feeling of dissatisfaction/unhappiness creeps in. Material things can give you comfort and convenience and this may be a small part of your happiness agenda, but it can never be happy as a whole. Remember the joy, you experienced when you bought your first car? How long did it last? In all probability, you must have sold it by now.
Happiness is in having something for the self
On the contrary, a feeling of happiness blooms when you share with others. It is often said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”. Happiness is definitely in giving and not in taking. The celebrations and parties with folks are the greatest fun. Can you enjoy a new year party all alone? Being Santa Claus is the greatest happiness. That is why you find Santa Claus always smiling as he hands out the gifts. Hoarders have only lines of worry on their foreheads, no joy. “Give as you receive”- be a part of the happiness chain.
You have to be lucky to be happy.
This is a fallacy to the core. Lady luck smiles only on people who put in an effort. A constant conscious effort needs to be put in to be in a state of happiness. It is not handed out on a silver platter to anyone.
To be able to do what you want is happiness
This is freedom and not happiness. Of course, freedom is a milestone en route to happiness. An enlightened slave can be happier than an ignorant master.
You can have quick routes and quick fix for happiness
No shortcuts can take you to the abode of happiness. In fact, shortcuts will cut you short. A dedicated, focused, and conscious effort may lead you to happiness and nothing else. Patience, faith, and determination are the best companion you can have when on a quest for happiness.
Happiness comes from external sources
Happiness is the attribute of every soul. It is within you. Stop looking out for it. It can never ever come from external things. You have to learn to adapt and control your reactions to external things in such a way that internal happiness is not swayed away or drowned in the external milieu.
Happiness can be harnessed by controlling other people
Making people behave in such a way, that makes you happy is such futile and worthless activity. Forced and unnatural behavior can never lend happiness to you. Force and fear have never been known to breed joy and happiness and it never will.
You have to build your kingdom of happiness and not annex it. Love, joy, and happiness flow out of free will. Accept this and work for it.
Some extrinsic energy or inspiration can get you happiness
The only inspiration and energy that you need are already in you. No external energy can propel you into the coveted domain of happiness. It is ‘you’ who has to work for ‘your’ happiness.
Energize yourself with the thought that “life is meant to be happy and I will be happy”
Stay clear of these illusions and find yourself in the realm of happiness.
Happiness is your birthright and you need to stake your claim on it. It will come to you naturally if you do not get entangled in the misconceptions and illusions about it. In fact, internally the feeling of happiness is always with you. Look into the eyes of a toddler, he is always joyful. Wonder eyed, he looks around and finds everything interesting and is happy doing the silliest thing, like playing in the mud. Playing in the mud is no joyful thing to do, in fact, it is dirty. Yes, but the happiness in his heart makes the mud seem like gold.
That is the secret and that is the recipe for happiness if you can have one.
Nature is very simple and straightforward to understand but we humans have messed it up with our own perceptions and ideas. It is high time we straighten it up and look at it, as it is. Start living your best life!
HAPPY CITIZENS BEGET HAPPY NATIONS AND HAPPY NATIONS BEGET HAPPY WORLD