They say elephants can grieve and dogs can laugh, but it is only a human being who is capable of the entire spectrum of emotions. Depression, malice, bliss, and the many shades in between are uniquely human.
But out of all of these different emotion's happiness is the most important one for all of us. Every task which we perform, every decision which we make is directly or indirectly driven by our happiness or our want to become happy. But who decides our happiness? What decides whether we are going to be joyful or miserable?
Martin Cruz Smith
once famously said
"Happiness is the maximum agreement of reality and desire."
If you observe your own life, you will notice that every decision which you have taken from your childhood to your present is to fulfill your desire. It might be as simple as deciding what to eat tonight or which shoes to wear, or as complex as deciding which college to go to or whether that girl or boy is right for me. Each of these decisions is made to meet your desire. In fact, without desires, your life will be meaningless.
But there is a small problem with these desires. Most of your desires are not really about yourself. You just picked them up from your surroundings. Instances of this have gone up even more with the age of social media.
One of the issues with social media is people look happier than they are. No one would post their defeats on social media. People are posting pictures of when they were really happy, they're modifying those pictures to be better-looking. Even if they're not modifying those pictures, they're selecting the pictures for the best lighting, the best angle. All of this creates a warped image of a world where everything is perfect and which is filled with happiness. This fuels your desire for such a life.
This relationship of comparison and desire is never-ending. Even if you fulfill a desire, there will always be a bigger goal and this will result in an endless cycle. It is important to understand that we desire not for more but for all. This is the gift and the curse of desire. On one hand it will always push you to do better in life, on the other it will cost you your peace of mind and happiness.
So, what is the solution to this problem?
चित्ते प्रसन्ने भुवनं प्रसन्नं चित्ते विषण्णे भुवनं विषण्णम् ।
अतोऽभिलाषो यदि ते सुखे स्यात् चित्तप्रसादे प्रथमं यतस्व
This means, "If our mind is happy, then we see the entire world as a happy place. But if our mind is gloomy then the world seems dull and despondent. Hence, if you want to desire something, desire happiness of mind first."
Most of us are dependent on external validation for our happiness. Have you ever felt bad because of how people perceive you? Or because of what they say about you? We often feel down when something that we dislike happens around our lives. Everyone has gone through this atleast once.
As TEDx speaker and a monk, Gen Kelsang Nyeme
has said “Happiness is all in your mind”.
It is you who chose to be happy so dont give control of your happiness to a third person dont let them decide whether you are going to be happy or sad at the end of this day.
But there is a small problem with our mind. Our mind is like that one neighbor who always finds faults in us. They will give you all the reasons why you shouldn't be happy or why you are not good. But to chase perfection is foolish. If you take a pause and look around, you will notice how lucky and special you are!!
Afterall happiness can never be expected from an external source. It is something that should stem from within. It is your mind that chooses to be happy and not the surroundings. In the golden words of Katarani Blom
(TEDx speaker), "You don't find happiness, you create it."
So, don't let your desires or your surroundings control your happiness.
So my question to the readers this week is:
Are you ready to take charge of your happiness ?