WHAT IS HAPPINESS ?
It is a well acclaimed fact that all of us want happiness and are afraid of pain and grief. The question, however, is ‘what is real happiness?’ We can never achieve happiness without understanding its real nature.
Since we are so fascinated with the outside world, we tend to look for happiness outside us. Palatial homes, fancy cars, fat pay checks and societal status are often some of the most coveted reasons that seem to make us happy. The idea of minting money, going to clubs, watching movies, freaking out with friends, travelling to different places suddenly spurs our imaginations and makes us do the most mundane jobs and lead the most disturbing lifestyles. Little do we realise, that we actually end up wasting our precious lives in all these activities
Ideals are talked about when happiness and prosperity of a nation are discussed. However, my question is, that even after having all the comforts, does one’s life become smooth to sail through? If your answer is yes, then shouldn’t people having all these comforts be happy? Alas, on a closer scrutiny, money and fame are often found to be oxymoron vis-a-vis happiness. The developed nations wherein people are loaded with all the comforts are the ones wherein the citizens are mostly disturbed, impatient, impulsive and mostly worried.
To my utter shock, a Wikipedia search of a list of well-known people with depression produced a startling 193+ results. The likes of Owen Wilson, Kurt Cobain, John Denver, J.K. Rowling, Parveen Babi, Gwyneth Paltrow not only fare in the list of names of celebrities who have earned fame in their respective fields, but also in the list of celebrities who suffer from depression.
Some thinkers go ahead and say “Happiness does not lie in objects of enjoyment; happiness or unhappiness lies in imagination”. However, in my view, it is indeed unkind to regard oneself happy by imagining that one is better off than the poor and the unhappy. This attitude, on the contrary, satisfies the sense of pride of possessions. This can never be called happiness.
Yet others claim happiness to be satisfaction of desires. Lets for instance presume that you go to see a blockbuster movie, it makes you happy. You go again to see the same and then again-then? What happens? The same movie which was providing happiness first, has now become a punishment for you. What happened? Think upon it, and you will get the answer yourself.
I would like to mention here that firstly is not possible to satisfy one’s desires. In today’s materialistic world, we have countless desires. As one of them is satiated, new desires spring up. Thus the eternal current of desires continues for ever. Thus, happiness in this context can be described as an illusion which is created by desires.
Others claim happiness to be associated with people around them, in nurturing good relationships and developing social connections. But, I’d like to mention that how long do these relationships really last? In this dog-eat-dog world everyone wants to get associated with you for their own selfish motives. Even, if you get lucky enough to have good people around you, can anyone ever empathize with the pain that you, as an individual, endure? Say for instance you get ill. Even after having so many people around you to take your care all the time, are you really happy? I’m sure you know the answer.
After contemplating on everything said as above, our root question still lies unanswered, ie ‘What is real happiness?’
In reality happiness does not lie in the satisfaction of desires because real happiness lies in the absence of desires, not in their satisfaction. However, it would be wrong to say that desire dies out after its fulfillment and that should be regarded as happiness, because absence of desires does not mean their satisfaction, but their absolute absence. Pleasures arising out of sensory joys are not happiness. They are, in fact, unhappiness because they have the restlessness, which makes one unhappy.
Our major problem lies in the fact that we try to search happiness where it doesn’t exist. Our negligence in this regard can be compared to a traveler who has to reach Los Angeles but has boarded a Yemen flight. Is it even remotely possible that the said passenger will reach LA? Even a layman can answer this question very wisely.
If we can so easily decide this, then why do we so conveniently fail to realize our destination and the way to reach the same? Happiness is indeed an attribute of the soul, not of inanimate beings. However, we so called intelligent humans try to search it in inanimate objects and spend our entire lives in it.
For getting real happiness, we have to see within, to know our own being, for our happiness lies in ourselves. The soul is a depository of eternal bliss, full of everlasting joy. Therefore, those looking for happiness outside will remain mere wanderers. On the contrary, those in pursuit of happiness should turn their efforts towards their inner beings.
Real happiness is a matter of experience, not of speech, nor of demonstration. Just as one cannot achieve the soul without experience, in the same manner one cannot get real happiness without the experience of the soul.
Happiness is not to be possessed, it is to be enjoyed, to be experienced. As such there should be no desire for happiness, for desires themselves make us unhappy. Spiritualism can be experienced only by the absence of desires, (since that is not feasible for us) or at least by an intent to reduce our desires.
To all questions like, ‘what is happiness?’ Where does it lie?’ ‘How shall we get it?’ there is only one answer, only one solution and that is the experience of the soul itself. And the first and the foremost means to achieve this everlasting experience is by pondering over the fundamentals of life…
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