Happiness is in Your Hands
Happiness and sorrow are two very common emotions, yet are they both essential? Some have the notion that to experience happiness you have to experience sorrow (in order to know the difference), but is that really so? Or: is it possible to constantly stay in a state of happiness? Or are we so ‘comfortable’ with, or ‘addicted’ to our sorrow that life just does not feel complete without a little of it everyday?
How many situations do we create each day for ourselves from which we then take sorrow? It could be setting ourselves up for expectations, only to find that the other also has their own set of expectations waiting to be fulfilled! Or, is it that we are wanting the clouds to disappear, or our colleague to be in a better mood, or our favourite football team to win the match before we can feel happy? The list of things that can take away our happiness is endless if we allow it to be. Yet we do exactly that, we wait for the circumstances around us to be the way we want them to be, and only then can we ‘be happy’. Or we try to do the impossible and try to control the situations around us, when in actual fact we need to be controlling ourselves.
What are the reasons why we create sorrow for ourselves?
1) We do it out of habit; we are just accustomed to it. Patterns were formed in early years and we continue to repeat them as adults without giving them a second thought. For example, say in your childhood, you ran to your parents to give them a hug and say good morning to them. But every time they turned you away from far and insisted you first go and brush your teeth. So the pattern (and hence the sorrow) is that I cannot get love unless I am clean. Later in life, you may feel this way towards your spouse or others.
2) We are comfortable with it. We are stuck in our comfort zones. We call it a ‘comfort’ zone even though it is uncomfortable, yet it is very familiar and known to us. Anything unknown is likely to be uncomfortable. So we stay with what we know rather than to delve into the new, where they may be risks and changes involved. It could be the example of an unhappy marriage. One stays in it because to leave would create a lot of uncertainty.
3) We enjoy it. Yes, we sometimes do enjoy our sorrow! It creates drama in our life, we get to become the drama queens, without which life might be boring! So a little spice and action helps to get through life!
4) We get attention. Like young kids who play tantrums, or like the squeaky wheel that gets oiled, we too feed off our sorrows and get the desired attention. And once we get the attention, it make us a little bit happy again… for a while!
5) We are addicted
Yes, we are addicted, and all of the above fall into this category. Sorrow is like a drug. We get a hit from it, a release of a neurotransmitters that make us feel we are alive.
The most important question might be:
Did the sorrow take away my happiness or is it that I lost my happiness, and sorrow set in? Which comes first?
Happiness or bliss is our natural state. We are not naturally sad, nor we do strive to be sad all the time. Hence, sorrow comes and goes like clouds which don’t allow the sun of happiness to shine through. So realise that happiness is there all the time! It is we who either take sorrow from the circumstances, or create sorrow from a situation, causing the happiness to play hide and seek for a while.
Recently a group of about fifty of us were on a remote mountain top, some 2000m above sea level. The electricity went off on a few occasions for long stretches of time. We were without light, heat, hot water and all the other comforts that go with it (no phone charge), yet because these meditators had an inner training over time to adapt and accommodate situations, and more importantly had practiced over a long period of time to not allow anything to take away their happiness, everyone remained calm and cheerful. As they lowered their expectations and heightened their awareness, they remained unperturbed. It became high end camping, and suddenly everyone was in gratitude for what little they did have!
Let us also not take sorrow because of someone else’s weaknesses. We become disappointed when someone does not fulfill their promises, we become annoyed ourselves when someone else becomes angry, we become peaceless due to someone else’s restlessness. So who is influencing who here? Surely the positive one needs to ‘inspire’ the negative one!
So it really is up to us whether we take sorrow from the situation or not. An interesting video came my way recently. It was comparing the responses of a chief minister of India and PM Modi when both encountered faulty microphones during their speeches. One reacted rudely, whilst the other remained calm and cool. Which would you rather be? A slave to the circumstances, or a cool king?
It’s time… to stay happy no matter what. Happiness is your innate treasure, yes you may share it, but no need to give it away completely!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK