Happiness is the most coveted destination the world over. But despite our passionate chase, it comes fleetingly between several moments of boredom and bitterness. A welcome change, a promotion at work, feasting with friends, or watching comedies does bring a smile on our face. But the happy feeling soon fades away and is put off until the next good news arrives.
Sometimes we plan an outing to break away from the routine. But either the preparation period is too exhausting for the few moments of happiness that we manage to steal, or knowing that our holiday will soon be over plays a spoilsport. In the end, happiness does not feel like our constant companion but a VIP guest that is too hard to get and always in a hurry to leave. We then desire another version of it, one that has more depth and longevity.
In the conventional understanding, happiness is derived from things ‘happening’ in the world outside and receiving those through touch, taste, sight and listening. However, a major downside of depending on sensory pleasure is that we get addicted to it, and that makes us overuse our sense organs. It leads to loss of health and resources, and over time, as our physical faculties degenerate, we are unable to derive through them the same pleasure that we used to. This increases our suffering. Take the case of fast food lovers who turn binge eaters. They struggle with a host of health issues, and new complexities and dietary restrictions keep them from receiving simple joys of life.
If we want happiness of greater value, we cannot bank on things that are transient. When we allow people, situations or objects to determine our feelings, our state of positivity fluctuates as they do. Then sorrow is inevitable. For example, the relationships that we count on today could turn bitter tomorrow with just one moment of misunderstanding. So it is better to be reasonable and realistic, and to invest our energies in the right places.
True happiness is not a fleeting feeling but an inherent state of our being. It dwells in a pure and healthy mind and is independent of sensory perception. It lies not so much in the external source but in how we perceive it, and the quality of thoughts we create. For example, while the idea of an escape to snow-clad mountains could excite a youngster, the same trip could seem taxing for an elderly family member.
Happiness is a spiritual phenomenon that unfolds as we remain in harmony with our inner space. When our core qualities of truth, purity, peace, love and joy find resonance in our actions and, most importantly, we choose to stand by our conscience, we feel good, easy and light.
Empathising with others, extending our cooperation to them and indulging in random acts of kindness bring us great satisfaction. That’s not all. The cumulative return of our positive karma then comes back to us in the form of others’ good wishes and gives us full flight. However, when we bypass the call of our conscience, we feel suffocated; our wings are clipped.
Self-centred people may be able to hoard everything, but the wealth of contentment remains elusive to them. Constantly over-occupied in the race of accumulation, in calculating their profits, pushing themselves up in the hierarchy, and holding on to things too tightly, there is no relief for them. Greed, fear and worry constantly overwhelm their mental processes, even when they have it all.
We can lead a fulfilling life by setting into motion what is best inside us, creatively channelling it for the common good, and in moving forward. For this reason happiness can never reside around laziness or passivity. But if our best really resides within us, why is violence the most common form of expression today?
With passage of time and the influence of the world around, the original virtues of us souls decline. Then comes a time when our being gets so corrupted that our goodness remains only in traces, and our original quality of happiness seems hard to experience. It is then that this never-ending race of ‘seeking happiness’ becomes such a rage, happiness look-alikes become a craze, and we want them by hook or crook.
When we are empty inside, we look outside. But seeking a spiritual treasure in the material world doesn’t help. To reach our destination, we must take the right road and approach the right source.
The only unbound, imperishable source of pure happiness that can refill us is our Supreme Father. When we know His introduction, imbibe His knowledge, and are able to draw from His unlimited spiritual resources, we can recharge ourselves such that we no longer remain seekers of happiness but are able to spread it wherever we go.