Some of us are lucky enough to have a childhood carefree and filled with laughter. Some did not have the blessing for
such memories. But eventually, as we grew up, we felt the burden of expectation and responsibilities, and we do not remember the day, we lost the magic of laughter.
And so begin our lifelong journey in search of happiness. Some thought that reaching the top of the corporate ladder, where promises of luxurious lifestyle await them is the answer. Some started building their own empire, and some have chosen to live the monotonous life thinking that lesser worries equate happiness.
No matter what our worldly goals and dreams are, if we take the time to look within, we found the common goal is to be happy and to avoid suffering. And yet when we have achieved all that we set to do, we found a moment of joy and pleasure that come as a fruit of our achievement, but alas, those feelings are not permanent. And when they subside, we question, where has happiness gone? And we begin another journey, seeking the elusive permanent happiness.
Perhaps we have been searching the wrong thing after all. Perhaps we do not understand what is happiness. And because of that, we search for happiness in places that they could never be found. Happiness is NOT pleasure, whether in the form of material or sensual. Sensual and material pleasure does not bring long-lasting happiness. And because pleasure depends on the object or subject, it is fragile and when we cling to it, only feeling of emptiness and suffering ensues as the pleasure fades.
Suffering could be in the form of anxiety, stress, worries or it could take the physical form of illnesses or disabilities. If we are to expect true happiness when we are free of all these, then we only set ourselves for a major disappointment. The nature of life, which transcend religion and belief, is that we are born, grow old, have sickness and die. This is one truth, that when we are in denial, happiness remains elusive.
Before you thought I have lost my mind here, let me explain why so. We laugh when we are amused by comedy, tickled by jokes and sometimes when we met up with long lost friends. But have you ever experienced laughing out loud only to feel an emptiness when the excitement subsides? Only not to know what have you been laughing at. Sometimes laughter could just be an emotional release and may not be true happiness.
I believe there are many more misconceptions of what happiness is. And if these are not true happiness, then what is? I too had once thought happiness to be associated with material and sensual pleasure, that I need to have a smooth life, to be in control and to never feel sadness, disappointment or failures. A few setbacks in life forced me to reevaluate and rediscover what happiness is all about.
The happiness that I am talking about is not the wild burst of energy that gives you a high and leaves you dangling after. This happiness is the feeling of calm, of peace. It does not need to have all your problems to go away. It is like floating on top of a vortex, where you can see the vortex spinning furiously, and yet you are not affected by it. It is the clear mind, able to think objectively while navigating through the daily problems that bring a better definition of happiness.
As we laboured towards our goal and dream, we forgot to appreciate what we have and who we are. This by itself steals happiness away. This happiness is found, by appreciating every single thing that life has given us so far. The fact that we are able to open our eyes for another day is, in fact, something to be grateful for each day. The moment we remember to count our blessing, the magic of happiness starts to appear.
It is natural for us to be ambitious, and to plan meticulously for the future. Or sometimes we take a visit to our past, lamenting the “what-if” and “could be”. What robs us of happiness is not the act of envisioning our dream or reflecting our past, but it is the clinging of memories and hopes. When we cling and are attached to the past and future, we cease to exist in the present. We forgot to live in the here and now. And we let life pass by us, every single second, letting the joy of experiencing escapes us. Happiness is found by enjoying every moment in the present and at the same time being detached from it. It is like opening our hand and let the river flows over it, feeling every single pure sensation.
Giving without expectation is the moment of pure indescribable joy. That is an example that as you give you receive more. Not in the form of material wealth, but in the form of true joy, happiness, and spiritual fulfillment, that cannot be bought and neither be taken away. If you have not tried giving wholeheartedly, perhaps this is the right time to do so.
What is happiness to you? Would you prefer the short moment of excitement and pleasure or the calm and peaceful state of mind? Which one is your happiness? Do share with me your thoughts and comments.
I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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