On Absolute Happiness

“It’s pretty hard to tell what brings happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.” ~ Kin Hubbard

Truth be told, we all want to be happy and all we want is to be happy! Yet, at some point of time, ora the other, we have found it difficult and challenging to do so. When we are surrounded by events that trigger negative feelings, our quest for happiness becomes harder and more complicated. And if it just ended there, perhaps things wouldn’t be that bad.

But sadly, it doesn’t end there.

For some strange reason, we have all started running a rat-race where we constantly compare ourselves to each other, not realising that at the end of the rat-race, no matter what the result, we will still be rats!

And aren’t two people completely unique like fingerprints? When the finger prints of one person’s left hand are different from his right, then how can two different people be in the same league and race? And how can their happiness levels be compared? Does it make any sense for someone to think “He’s so much more happy than me” or “I’m way happier than them”? No, right? What’s even the purpose of such a comparison?

I’m guessing that at some point you’ve thought that happiness is a distant elusive dream. On other days, you may feel that you are quite a happy person. Whatever the case be, whether consciously or unconsciously, we humans are programmed to seek happiness. To understand our quest for happiness and our success/failure at it, we need to understand what happiness means.

There are various philosophies in the world that talk of happiness. Many religions, world leaders, philosophers, thinkers, writers and poets have all expressed their views on it. This article is in reference to the Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist philosophy talks about two types of happiness. One is relative happiness and the other is absolute happiness.

Relative happiness is something that is dependent on external things and entities acquiring, keeping maintaining and possessing them. Apart from buying and owning material goods, even relationships, honour, praise, glory etc can be sources of relative happiness because if these are taken away, we tend to get hurt, upset and sad.

E.g. When I buy a car, I derive pleasure by using it every day. Now, if this new car is taken away from me, I may feel upset or sad. This is the relative happiness. On the other hand, if I do not let this loss of a new car control my feelings of love, calm, peace, joy….then I am in a state of absolute happiness.

Despite the reality of the challenges of life, every single one of us can find profound happiness in our lives. Absolute happiness is independent of afore mentioned criteria (material goods, relationships, honour, praise, glory etc) and is unconditional.

Absolute happiness involves loving life and living so much, that no amount of adversity or suffering can sway us from our true nature of being happy. The goal is to draw on our own inner resources so that we establish a resilient state of life which is not influenced by anything.

It does seem like a difficult goal but with awareness, mindfulness and consistent effort, we can practice total happiness every day. We have the capacity to feel good and joyous and attain complete happiness, even in situations where we do not get what we want and desire. Often, our happiness has very little to do with receiving and a lot more to do with giving. Especially when you give to someone without any expectation of return, it is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world!

It is a dire delusion that happiness can be gained from somewhere other than within ourselves. If one truly wants to achieve complete and total happiness, then there is a need to look deep within… as to what is it that really makes us happy.

Is it taking care of a stray animal?

Is it serving others?

Is it making your kids better humans?

Is it helping a person in need?

Is it writing an anonymous letter of appreciation to someone you know?

Is it praying for someone else’s happiness?

Is it buying a meal for a homeless person?

Is it connecting with nature?

Is it strengthening your mental fortitude?

The three BIG questions are:

Do YOU WANT to be utterly and absolutely happy?

WHAT is it that makes you truly, completely and absolutely happy?

What changes are you ready to make to achieve Absolute Happiness?

Thoughts by Juhi Jaiswal…Sewa done for Synergy with Energy

Advertisements

NO PAIN, NO GAIN?

Perseverance is a 12-letter long word that has a deep and heavy meaning. To be honest, applying it consistently to our daily life can be a bit of a task. Won’t you agree?

We all have had those bouts of laziness and procrastination, every now and then, where we don’t feel like doing what we need to be doing. And at the end of the day, I know we’re only human (which means we will all have our share of struggles).

But have you ever wondered why our attempts at perseverance fluctuate or fail? Why do we give-in to giving up?

There could be multiple reasons. Giving up is easier than roughing it out. Some of us lack the will power and others may not even realise that they have the ability to endure. Some are short of self belief while others have been perseverant for far too long. Whatever the reason be, if you are someone who finds it challenging to be perseverant, this post is for you. J

I was watching a TED Talk in which the speaker talks about the adage: ‘no pain-no gain’ and how the society’s and human mind’s equalisation of pain with gain/growth/success/change isn’t doing any good to anybody, really. So she comes up with a phrase of her own; a concept, which she feels, may make life easier for some people. Her phrase is ‘no pleasure, no treasure.’ Interesting, right?

Just think about it!

Doesn’t it make more sense that if a person likes and enjoys the efforts he puts in his work, the more joy he’ll feel once he reaches the finish line. And not just the finish line, don’t you think they’d even enjoy the process much more? Even if he only ‘perceives’ the work as pleasurable, instead of as painful drudgery; making efforts everyday to achieve those goals may become easier, even effortless too.

On the same note, there was a study where young children were given a neutral task of cleaning a dirty table. Those children who enjoyed making proactive efforts for a clean table were more likely to see the task through. The other kids who found the task meaningless abandoned the task halfway, leaving the table dirty. In this study, the kids who persevered felt the satisfaction of seeing a task through.

On a more personal note, while I was being coached to play basketball, it took me no less than 35 days to score a point on a free-throw. Most of my peers were successful in 7-10 days. So, even though it took me triple the time to learn, I knew there was no way I was gonna quit. Sure, the process was hard… I was not kinaesthetically intelligent and a proficient sports person.  The training used to be during a scorching 45 degrees Celsius. And I had never played any sport formally, before this. But every day, without fail, I would try and try … 50, 70, sometimes even a 100 times. Nothing worked. And then one fine evening, I heard that magical sound that the net makes when it is touched by the basketball, post its diving into it. Sweetest. Sound. Ever!

Apart from skill and talent; seeking and deriving pleasure from work* is crucial to growth and success. Other very important factors include

  • hard work,
  • a positive attitude,
  • looking at the bigger picture,
  • and above all, perseverance

Imagine if a rescue worker (we) are trying to save someone (our life) from getting harmed. And the rescuer doesn’t persevere….the first three and/or any other factors/qualities essentially become meaningless, doesn’t it?

*work does not just refer to paid/ salaried work. Also refers to work done my homemakers.

Thoughts by Juhi Jaiswal…Sewa done for Synergy with Energy