Finding Sustainable Happiness
Chapter 4 The Causes Unhappiness

There is one thing that everybody is seeking for, and that is happiness. It is not that people don’t find, they do find happiness but it doesn’t last too long. It is momentary; for a couple of hours, or one or two days. But the tendency of the spirit is to find everlasting happiness; happiness that doesn’t turn bitter.

Each one of us has abundant joy deep within us, yet we are looking for it somewhere outside.
Just remember, when we were kids what we used to do? We used to shout, play and enjoy. Every child is nothing but a bundle of joy, but as we grow up, somewhere, we lose that joy.
A child smiles 400 times a day. When a child grows up and becomes an adolescent, he smiles only 17 times a day, and when he becomes an adult, he smiles occasionally, and that too when someone else smiles. The whole question is; how do we reverse this? How do we get back to the innocence we were born with? This is the quest.

There are four things that stops us from being joyful like a child which we need to get rid of:

#1 Desire

All desires are for happiness. That is the goal of every desire, isn’t it? Yet how often does your desire lead you to the goal? Have you thought about the nature of desire? It simply means joy tomorrow and not now. Joy is never tomorrow. It is always now.

Whenever happiness has disappeared from life, look deeper and you will see that it is because of desire. And all that we desire is happiness! No person, animal or creature desiring unhappiness is every born; never has is happened before and never will it happen in the future. Desire appears to lead you to happiness, but it cannot give you happiness because when one desire of yours gets fulfilled, then you get another ten desires. And this run to fulfil one desire after another keeps you going on the merry-go-round, or the misery-go-round (laughter). It keeps you on tenterhooks. 

So whether a desire is fulfilled or not, just be happy. Don’t cling onto a desire, because  whenever a desire is fulfilled, it leaves you in the same place that you were before the desire arose. And not all desires can be fulfilled. Some get fulfilled, some don’t.

The secret to happiness is in  being without desires, and in focusing on how you can serve others. The more you serve, the more happiness you will get. Having this feeling, 'I don't want anything for myself, I am contented', brings happiness. A person who has conquered his desires is called "Mahavir".

#2 Stress

If you ask me what is stress, in my opinion, I see stress as wanting to do a lot but having no energy and no time. Now to get rid of stress, either you have to reduce your needs or increase your energy. In these two things, what is most practical, is not reducing your needs, but increasing your energy levels. Now,
how do we increase our energy levels? Through breathing exercises, pranayama, meditation and yoga. All of these techniques help in increasing the energy levels of a person in a short period time of 15 to 20 minutes. There are many breathing techniques that can help us relax and get back a lot of energy.

Relaxation that you get from sleep is a dull relaxation. Another kind of relaxation is conscious relaxation. That relaxation raises your energy levels much higher. Conscious relaxation is called meditation. Meditation is not sitting and thinking something. It is going to the source of thought. So reducing and eliminating stress is an important step.

#3 Insecurity

Insecurity of what? "Oh, there is nobody for me. Who will take care of me?"
I tell you, there is so much love and compassion on this planet, and there is a higher power which is all love, and it will give you what you need and when you need.

If you look at your own life, in the past, how many times have you felt insecure? All those moments you spent feeling insecure appears to be such a waste of time, isn’t it? Count and see how much time you have spent being insecure in the past 20 years. How many days you spent in a gloomy mood? It is such a waste of time and energy, and not only that, it created toxins in your body. Do you know, your health gets disturbed by your feelings of insecurity.

1. Three things you must do if you feel insecure:
2. Look back in the past and see that it was futile feeling insecure. This gives you strength
3. Know that there are good people on this planet. They will always come to your help
4. There is a power which is going to guide you and help you at all times
5. With this wisdom and understanding, get over insecurity.

#4 Prejudice

There are many types of prejudice. There is prejudice between generations where young people will not sit and share with senior citizens. There is a generation gap. There is prejudice about class, about gender, about religion, culture, language, and so on in many parts of the world; so many types of prejudices. Wisdom is to rise above prejudice and see the whole world as one family.

If everyone has this idea of a one world family, there will be no war, no crime and none of the problems that we are facing in the world today. See how many people are being killed. There is so much violence in the world. This is all because of lack of a broad vision and wisdom.

Once you get over stress, insecurity and prejudice, then you are like a child, full of joy, and happiness simply wells up in you. Happiness is already there, it is just covered by these four things, and once you removed all these four things, it becomes obvious.


Q: I am an elderly person, and I feel like dying because I am so dependent.

Life is such; you should not feel that I am dependent, and I want to be independent. See, no baby has been independent. As a baby, parents took care of you, and in your old age, your children or someone else will take care of you. So, life in the beginning, and in the end, is dependency. In between, we think we are independent but there also we are dependent on many things. If your attention is on divinity, then you will not feel the burden of dependency, or the frustration to have independence, both will disappear.

Come on, wake up. When you were a baby, were you not dependent? No baby thinks 'I want to go back from where I came because I am dependent on my parents', no! Whether in the form of parents, or as children, or as friends, the help you get from anywhere is coming from only one source, i.e., the divinity. It is only the divine who took care of you as your parents, and it is only the divine who will take care of you as your nurse, or neighbour, or friends, or anybody else. Someone will always come and take care of you, you don’t have to worry at all.

This whole sense of insecurity that we build in us should simply be thrown out and burned down. Don’t think your children will take care of you. Maybe during your last breath, your servant or neighbour may come and help you, who knows? Whoever is helping you, it is not that individual that is helping you, it is God helping you in that form. Leave it to the divine energy to help you when you are in need, in whatever form. So you don’t need to feel obliged or burdened by anybody’s help. If you have this understanding, then nothing can restrict your blossoming.

Q: Why can’t I sustain my happiness.

It is because we like this, we don’t like that, we like these people, we don’t like those people; we have all types of prejudice clogging our mind. First, we need to be free from that.
An intellect free from prejudice is one which is really intelligent. If you have prejudice it means your intelligence is covered. You may have it, but you’re not using it. Keep prejudice at bay. Keep the prejudice against another religion, caste, gender away from you. It is very important to drop prejudice from your mind and intellect.

Also, your sadness is because of the thorn of desire in your heart. If you don`t take notice of it, it will turn into sarcasm, cynicism, frustration, and anger. You need to pull it out and throw it, then you will feel uplifted and happy.

These are the four stages:
1. Sarcasm
2. Cynicism
3. Frustration, and
4. Anger

Many times we don`t notice why we are sarcastic, or cynical, or frustrated and angry. Why does this happen? It is because of this thorn of desire. Many a times people don`t notice this at all. Even if one notices this, he doesn`t have the courage or willingness to remove it and throw it. If you manage to pull it out, you will find joy, enthusiasm, and contentment, and this is a siddhi (special ability). This requires both self effort and grace. You need to put some self effort and then grace follows.

Quotes on Unhappiness

“If you do not want to be unhappy, no one else can make you unhappy.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
“When you look at somebody`s face, if they don’t look happy, it is because there is a thorn of desire in their heart.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
“Remember one thing, you are responsible for your own happiness.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
“What overshadows your happiness is: ‘I want this and I want that'. ‘I want something’, this is what pushes happiness away. Where the wanting and desires end, and the sharing begins, happiness is exactly there.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
“Don’t look for happiness in that which is temporary, that which is fleeting and changing. Joy and happiness is only in that which does not change.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR