‘Degrees’ of Happiness

‘Degrees’ of Happiness

Those who work hard to acquire their Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees and even their PhD’s should also consider securing a Degree in Happiness. Paper certificates are not enough to carry us through the voyage of life, we also need an education in mastering happiness. Imagine if happiness were truly an art – how many of us would claim to pass in that subject?

‘What is happiness?’ is a question that has intrigued individuals for eons. They have climbed the highest peaks, dived to the deepest oceans, sat in caves for months and isolated themselves on islands, and yet still not found the secret to this billion dollar question.

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No one, including our schoolteachers, ever teaches us to be happy. In fact, since we have raised the question, no one should ever need to teach us to be happy! Happiness is an innate quality, meaning it emerges from inside. You know it when you are happy; you are comfortable in your skin and there is a flow happening in your life.

We are not talking about happiness of the fleeting kind, such as that which results from buying a new car or going on vacation. These really only make us happy for a few moments. I am referring to a deep-rooted happiness in the soul that stays firm and solid no matter what happens. For such a lasting stage of joy, we need to create a powerful state of mind; a stage for the soul from where to perform all deeds. Just as the stage of a theatre has to be strong and firm for actors to be able to act upon it, so too, our stage of the mind has to be stable with happiness if we want a life full of happiness.

happinessThe only time we are not happy is when… we are not happy! See, just as there is no such thing as darkness there is only absence of light. So too, we are never ever non-happy, we are just ‘not happy’ – there is a difference. Our happiness will always be measured against our previous episodes of happiness, and not against when we were last sad.

Lack of happiness therefore is a dis-utilization of thoughts and feelings. A lack of focus on happy-ness! When we are not in this feeling, it is then that we become melancholy and miserable.

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Animals and humans alike tend to be lazy at heart. They rarely want to work for something, they prefer the easy, comfortable route. And so, if happiness can come easily through material means, then why not!

Take shopping for example. Taking pleasure from buying things may give one a high of happiness. So, on the surface it seems that every time one goes shopping a person is adding to their happiness quota. But the contrary is true. They are just increasing the quantity of the ‘drug’ each time, and since the effects will wear off sooner each time, they will want more and more in order to just maintain the Status Quo. But the more we rely on this kind of a drug, its effect will wear off and the more we are going to need to shop in order to maintain that same high feeling.

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If you believe that something gives you happiness, then it can also take your happiness away. Try to be mindful of this fact. Nothing outside of you can give you any more happiness than what you are feeling right now. Don’t hand people or possessions that button of power to inflate you one moment and pop you the next.

happiness3Humans tend to seek success, fame or acquisitions as they see these as a means to their ultimate happiness, while the spiritual path dictates that you just be happiness. Take some time daily to emerge the happiness from within you and then there will be success and all the other things you seek. However, a note of caution: by the time you get to those things, you probably won’t desire them any longer, as you will be happy already. Then they no longer control you – you are absolutely free of them.

One definition of real happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in alignment. We always feel uncomfortable and ‘unhappy’ when we do not live up to our principles and values, or upto our word. Being true to ourselves is the greatest recipe for happiness.

It’s time… to look at what makes us truly happy and to turn off the switch to those things that take our happiness away.

© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK

 

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