What Makes You Happier Than Being Happy?
My father used to tell me: “Always be content with what you have.” Whenever he says that I would argue with him, “then what’s the fun in life? If you are contented, then there is nothing to be earned in life”
I didn’t understand the real meaning then. And he was not able to explain it logically and scientifically.
There is a Sanskrit word – “Santushti” which is almost equivalent to contentment. Being contended has lot of advantages.
If you are contented, the most dangerous and stressful emotion named “jealousy” will not affect you. The most miserable state of ignorant mind named “comparison” won’t affect you. So contentment will make a lot of differences in you in terms of hormone production and psychosomatic diseases – you know why.
That is, if you move ahead with contentment, you would be mostly relaxed. For instance, if Mr. A says: “I have an ordinary car. I am contented with that.”
So Mr. A won’t get fire underbelly when he sees a luxury car or his eyes won’t turn green if somebody known to him comes out of a luxury car.
And, in the event of Mr. A feel desirous of luxury car, his thoughts will be: “I am contented with this car. But I just feel the “want” of a new luxury car. I know it is not a need, but a want…”
So, the contented man Mr. A work towards buying a luxury car, he doesn’t mind even if he cannot buy it. But eventually he will buy it, slowly but surely.
If you are not contented with the small car you have, you will always remain discontented. At a later stage this attitude helped me a lot. I always feel contented. “I get whatever I deserve,” I would tell myself.
Contentment can also lead to a state of happiness. In Sanskrit, we call happiness “Sukh”. But in most of other Indian languages we use the word “Santosh” for this state of mind.
Yes, your religions talk lot about happiness. But I do not want to discuss about your beliefs, spirituality and religion here.
Religions see happiness as a selling product labeled in spirituality brands. It can help you being happy only if you have faith in it. If you don’t believe it won’t help.
Many Gurus and Holy scriptures may talk tall about unconditional happiness. Practically, I do not understand its meaning. “Be happy, come what may…” it is a spiritual statement. I also tell people “don’t worry, be happy” as a solace. Good words won’t hurt any.
But honestly speaking it doesn’t work with me that way. I have discussed with many people – comforts and ambience make many people happy, not their beliefs. Obviously happiness is related with external factors, for most. It may vary. I am mostly happy – I am happy when I am alone, I am happy when I am with company too. There are many people who feel miserable when they are alone. Incidentally, I don’t feel unhappy being alone.
But I can’t be happy if I am hungry. I can’t be happy if I am sick or suffer from any diseases – I have these two limitations. Similarly the definition of happiness differs from people to people. We cannot generalize that.
So, let’s go by facts.
On mind level, happiness is an outcome of ego! It is just a feeling of a pleased ego in your mind.
Science sees happiness as an activity of hormones and neurotransmitters like Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, Endorphin etc. So, you can create happiness by increasing the levels of these hormones or in taking these chemicals.
In short, seeking unconditional happiness or “happily ever after” are just myths. So, if one put the ultimate goal of life as “happiness”, he/she is heading for frustration or depression.
“Live happily ever after” is a myth. In practical sense, the everlasting happiness is a non-existing thing.
According to our ancestors, the goal of a human being is “Purushartha” which means earning wealth in a dharmic way, fulfilling desires and wait for death to happen. It doesn’t say happiness.
I can hear your question: “Uday, if happiness is not the ultimate goal, then what?
Have you noticed, all our prayers end up with “Om Santhi” ?
Santhi = Peace.
The moment your mind says, “I am at peace”, you will be totally relaxed. You can be at peace even if you are not happy. We have seen that happiness and contentment are depending upon many external factors. But as far as peace is concerned it is strictly internal.
You can experience peace at any stage. Even at a busy market place, which is full of ‘sounds and fury signifying nothing’ you can be peaceful.
So it would always be better to seek peace, rather than happiness, comforts, pleasure and any such external things.
Please note that the meaning of real peace is totally different than that promoted by Gurus, Cult and Religions. They say, peace is something you will get only if you join them. They assure NO PEACE for those who are not joined them. So, it is an exclusive peace of mafia sort. Some cults will even make you piece-piece if you are not in. Here we are talking about the real peace.
Sit relaxed, close your eyes and tell yourself, “I am at peace” and see what happens!
Did you notice? Most of the mantras end with “om shanti shanti shanti!” (Or Om Peace, Peace, Peace). Why?
By seeking for peace within the self, peace outside the self automatically comes. Thus by chanting Shanti three times, you seek to attain peace of body, peace of mind and peace of the self.
We want to make peace with everything, it concludes that ‘everything is peace’, if everything is peace you don’t have to find peace outside.
So, let’s pray: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!” Let there be peace for all human beings – both believers and non-believers.
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