Every living creature wants to be happy. And to be happy, people seek something: money, power or sex, but very often even after getting it, they are not happy. Or the happiness is very short lived.
A child thinks he will be happy when he goes to college. Once in college, he thinks he will be happy when he starts earning. Then he thinks he will be happy once he is married. And the story goes on but that special day never comes!
You postpone your happiness until some perfect day in the future, but it never arrives. It’s like making a bed all night but having no time to sleep. Creation wants to see you happy, yet you keep on postponing your happiness.
There are two ways of looking at life. One is thinking, “I will be happy after achieving a certain objective.” The second is saying, “I am happy, come what may!” Which one of these do you want to live?
It’s like the story of a congregation of fish, who got together to discuss who among them had seen the ocean. None of them could say they had actually seen the ocean. Then one fish said, "I think my great grandfather had seen the ocean!"
A second fish said, "Yes, I have also heard about this".
A third fish said, "Yes, certainly, his great grandfather had seen the ocean".
So they built a huge temple and made a statue of the great grandfather of that particular fish, saying, “He had seen the ocean. He had been connected with the ocean.’’ Our search for happiness is like that.
What are you waiting for? Instead of preparing to be happy, be happy now and resolve to remain naturally happy. Make a resolution, “Today, I am just going to be happy come what may. I will not let anything disturb my happiness. I am going to be contended and happy.”
80% Joy 20% Misery
If you look at your own life you will find that life is 80 per cent joy and 20 per cent misery. But we hold on to the 20 per cent and make it 200 per cent! It is not a conscious act, it just happens.
Every rainy season in your life has touched you deeply inside somewhere; it has made you grow, given you strength. Rains bring a rainbow; they stream colors into your life. And you come out precious as gold.
When dark clouds gather, the end has not come. You will pass through this time. As you are passing through it, there are two ways you can experience it: Either you can groan and cry and pass through it — or you can sing and dance through it. And when you can sing and dance in the rain, you will get so soaked in joy.
How to be Happy?
#1: Be in the present moment:
In the world, people are either dreaming of happiness or remembering happiness. That is either being in the past or the future. But happiness is in the present. Joy is found only in the present moment. Be totally in the present moment. If you are happy now, the past will not torment you and tomorrow will take care of itself.
#2: Observe the mind
The mind has a tendency of swinging back and forth between the past and the future. We either feel regretful or angry about something that has happened to us, or we worry about the way things will turn out. Observe your mind. See how much time it spends on yesterday, last year, when you were a child. The past is past. It is gone, finished. Why waste so much of precious life on it? It’s the same with worry about tomorrow.
#3: Develop the habit of being happy. (Santosha!)
Being happy is just a habit, that’s all. You have to do it, nothing else can give you that. Nobody else can do it for you. If anybody else or anything else does it, it will only be temporary. You take a step!
A strong powerful person is one who is happy, not one who has a lot of money.
#4: Don’t brood or complain
Unconsciously we start being unhappy. Though there is no reason to be unhappy, it has crept into your subconscious mind, “Oh I am unhappy".
Or we keep complaining, “This is no good, that is no good, nothing is good, nothing is okay, I don’t like anything”. We need to be cautious about this sort of negativity. We need to guard our mind and our consciousness from being swept away by this sort of negative tendency.
Remember one thing: you are responsible for your own happiness. Come what may, whoever says whatsoever, keep yourself happy. When you find happiness within yourself, you see that your happiness is unconditional.
Q: Why don't I feel contented and happy?
Greed takes away contentment. It is the, "I want more, I want more", which makes you miserable, which makes you put so much effort! You should think that whatever is needed for me, I will get it. You should have the faith that it will come to you. It is greed which disturbs you. So not wanting too much of anything is essential; balance!
Happiness and contentment comes, the only thing you have to ensure is:
1. You are not lazy. If you are lazy and you say, "Let happiness come to me", it is not going to come to you. Lazy people will not be happy
2. Don't be selfish. If you are selfish, happiness is not going to come to you. If you only say, "Me, mine, only me", you are not going to be happy. Selfish people will not be happy
3. Don't be greedy. A greedy one will not be happy. If you are greedy and say, "I want more and more and more", you will not be happy
4. People with the feeling of revenge will not be happy. If you want to take revenge on anybody, then you cannot be happy
Q: It is said that wisdom is to have a smile on your face even in bad times. Should I put on a fake smile? I don't feel very good when I do this.
There is a proverb in America which says, "Fake it till you make it".
When in difficult times, you experience pain. I am not saying you should never express the pain that you are experiencing, and fake it with a smile, no! If you feel there is a problem and if you feel like crying, cry, but snap out of it. What makes you snap out of it is knowledge. What does knowledge do? It brings back the smile.
Wisdom is something that brings the natural smile within you even in tough times. When everything appears to be falling apart, why should you lose your smile? In everybody's life this happens. Some things that you like happens, some things you don’t like happens. This is part of life. When such things happen, why do you have to blame yourself and get bogged down?
A baby smiles when there is no pain, but an adult can smile even when there is little pain.
Q: For many people, happiness is a transitory joy. I see a movie, I get an insight, or a flash of something and I feel happy. But then something happens and that happiness flies out of the window. What is the way to make this happiness permanent and perpetual?
Knowing that everything else is temporary, and it all fades away. It is in knowing that none of the events are permanent, that all pass and move away. There is something deep inside you which is a reference point of all changes in life, and when we get stabilized in that, or get a glimpse of it, it makes you unshakable from within.