Thursday, November 19, 2009
The Time to be Happy
What is happiness really? Most people would say that it’s a feeling of joy within when something wonderful happens-“wonderful” being relative of course. Then what is joy? Why, it’s the happy happy feeling inside when something wonderful happens. Kind of makes your head spin as you go round and round in circles-doesn’t it? Then what IS happiness? I personally have never found a way to define intangibles like this-simply because they cannot be defined as much as they may warrant a definition.
I guess, happiness, joy, whatever you’d like to call it, holds a different meaning for different people. But the closest I have gotten to defining happiness is, “The warm glowing feeling in my heart when something wonderful happens”. This usually covers most aspects of happiness, give or take a few. It certainly applies to me. I literally physically feel it in my heart. This doesn’t apply to other more negative intangibles such as envy, jealousy, anger etc. But love and joy-oh yes definitely in the heart.
I felt it well up in my heart, the first time I got my tiny Christmas tree and when Santa “wrote” me a letter. I felt it whnever I confided in my mother and EVERYTIME my father came home from work. I felt it when Cleo came into my life and when I wrote daily e-mails to my boyfriend who later became my husband. I felt it on the day I married my “e-mail” man and the moment I stepped into my “home” in Singapore. I felt it when I baked my first imperfect cake and my first lasagna for my husband. I felt it when I put up the lights on my Christmas tree and around my Puja altar. I definitely felt it when I found my Guru. Through all of these experiences, I KNEW happiness. Simply because I had felt it in my heart.
Someone recently sent me one of those forwards, which I usually find too cheesy to keep. I usually trash such mails. But some of these forwards are real gems. And this one was one such. It was titled “Happiness”. The moment I saw the title I went, “Oh no! Not again!” I must have received at least a 1,000 odd “happiness” e-mails in my entire internet-educated life. I was about to trash this one too, but something stopped me and I opened the attachment anyway.
The power point presentation spoke about happiness in general and how we wait around for the perfect situation, in order to be happy. Its true. We all do that. When I was a kid, I was waiting to go to school. When I was in school, I got fed up of studying and answering childish exams-I wanted to grow up and go to college. When I was in college I was unhappy with the system and wanted to get it over with and start working and earning the moolah. Now that I’m working and getting paid for it, I ache to go back to academics – to learn all the things I’d love to- English literature, creative writing, French, Sanskrit, Mandarin and a host of other languages-but I have to work. I’m sure if I keep at it with this mindset; I’m going to be sad at 50, wanting to be relaxed in the golden daysof reitrement. When I’m retired, I will reminisce about the wonderful the bygone days when there used to be so much to do and so much to keep me occupied with. And when I breathe my last, I will die unhappy about the fact that in the eternal search for happiness, I’ve never really been happy.
I have experienced this early on and its only after finding my Guru, that things have changed for me. Now I know that I will not die an unhappy 90 year old woman, because I will choose to be happy. But there are so many people who go through life exactly this way-looking, searching but never finding. Is there a way to override this serious anomaly in our otherwise near perfect lives? Is there a way to be happy at all times? OF COURSE! The only way to do it to be happy every minute of every day, no matter what the situation. You have to make yourself happy. You have to live by the maxim “Happiness is a voyage and not a destination”.
We’ve heard about it, we all have. But it is ever so difficult to practice it in real life. There are always disappointments. Failures galore. Negativities bombard us from all sides. How does one remain happy through this barrage of sadness the world so readily offers. Simple. By always realizing that the world has much good to offer too.
Being happy is a state of mind. It is a matter of choice. My mum always says to me, “When you wake up in the morning-you have two choices- You can be happy and rise to meet the sun or you can drown yourself in sorrow. There is no other choice.”
When you witness something which saddens you, the only way to overcome that is to feel the experience, but not attach yourself to it. Let it pass. When you witness an injustice, by all means stand up and fight for it. But do not be attached to it. Leave the fruits of all your actions to the ONE hand that manages it all. Do your job and leave the rest to him. You have responsibilities. Shoulder them. Act to manage them. But do not attach yourself to them.
Your state of mind is your own. People and situations will always try to disrupt the natural equilibrium which is the nature of spirit. That is the way of Maya. Do not be subject to it. Do not yield. Impregnate your day with positive thoughts and watch environments change around you.
I end with a song I used to listen to as a child. It is a child’s song with what seem like childish lyrics. But the poignant words apply to each and every day that we live and survive in this harsh world. It goes like this:
The time to be happy is now
And the place to be happy is here
And the way to be happy
Is to make someone happy
And we’ll have a little heaven right here.
That’s the song. And it pretty much says it all, I think. Be happy NOW.