Is Happiness an illusion?
“He is happy and fully aware that happiness is his very nature and that he need not do anything, nor strive for anything to secure it.”
— Nisargadatta Mahara
Oh, This Happiness!!!
We are all trying to be happy. But what is happiness? Every day we make a new target that if I achieve this, I will be satisfied. So many people are striving so hard to have a happy retirement. Does it happen? Or Is happiness an illusion only? As soon as we achieve a target, we create a new destination for ourselves. And this search of bliss goes on and, on and finally we take a final breath without achieving this “Happiness”. So I decided to find what exactly is happiness. Why it always keeps running away from us. Last week I decided to make a list of all the moments that made me happy, and I still remember those moments. The outcome was so surprising that I thought of sharing with you all. So my list goes like this:
- Once I was bedridden for about a week because of my lower back pain. I was at home with my seven years old daughter. She instructed me early in the morning. Don’t try to get up at all. I am in my room, call me if you need anything. That sentence still sounds like music to me and brings a smile on my face.
- We once went to a local cafe to celebrate my older daughter’s birthday. She had turned 16. I asked the young waitress for a glass of Chardonnay, she brought it, but when I took the first sip, I told everybody that I think, she gave me Sauvignon-Blanc instead of chardonnay. I tried to call the waitress, but my daughter stopped me saying, Dad, the cafe is full, and she looks too stressed out. Please drink whatever it is. I was suddenly so surprised that when my little teenager became so responsible and mature!! I still remember her expression when she asked me so assertively.
- Once we took my daughter’s pet bunny, Beethoven, to a vet for something very minor. Beethoven was to be given an injection. As soon as the vet put him on the table, he sensed that something is not right, and suddenly he climbed all over me. I still remember my daughter screaming, Oh dad, and he knows that you only maybe his savior.
- I am a big fan of Lego blocks. When my kids were little, I always asked them if they would love to have Lego on their birthdays? They always politely responded, “Not really, dad”. I got a surprise of my life when my grown-up daughters combined to give large Lego blocks set on my 50th birthday. I was so happy to know how these guys remember something that happened 15 years back.
- I had a heart attack in 2006, following which my doctor had strictly asked me to stop smoking (obviously). I was trying my best to stop smoking. One day my 10 years old daughter came home excitedly and told me, Dad, I found a book “How to quit smoking” in the library, and I have hidden the book at the end of the shelf so that somebody else should not be able to get it issued. So let us go and get it now.
- I was always a camera conscious person. I made many videos, but they were all made either by converting a slide show into a video or using “On-Screen Recording”. One day, I decided, let what may happen, but I will go in front of the camera and record the video using my webcam. And after many retakes, finally, I made the video. Guys, that process of overcoming my camera consciousness brought so much delight to me that I can’t express it here. When I look back at the memory lane, I never remember what video brought maximum clicks or got many likes or generated dollars. But what brings a smile on my face, is that the very first video that I recorded using a webcam.
Guys, I have not created this list to write this blog post. I made this list of events that I always remember and that still bring joy to me. It is not a coincidence that I never recalled when I got a lucrative job or when I topped in that exam or when I started my own business. There is a thin line of difference between being happy and getting relieved. We are always so stressed out for paying bills etc. that we subconsciously start thinking that we will be pleased after we achieve this or when I get more money or get that. These results will not bring happiness but help us get relieved.
If you don’t believe what I have written about happiness, try making your list of happy moments and then ponder over the content of your list. You will surprise yourself over what makes you happy. So stop waiting for that day when you will be satisfied and start loving your life journey, enjoy the process and be happy now.
Finally, I will bring the most controversial issue of all time. Can money buy happiness? Thousands of words have been written on this. My experience about it has been quite unusual. Well, 2016–2017 had been quite good years for me as far as finance is concerned, I did pretty well when I compare with the years before that. Did it make me happier? Well, just having dollars in the bank doesn’t make you very happy, but its indirect results are fantastic, and it creates such conditions that you always feel to be over the moon. I remember one experience. We traveled to Queens Town for vacation, and my daughters were discussing whether they should do paragliding or parasailing (anticipating that both of the adventures may not be allowed by us). I very casually said, okay, let us go for parasailing today and if the weather permits, we will do paragliding tomorrow. They were stunned, and their facial expression was enough for me to trigger that feel-good factor. Although my happiness was not directly caused by money, money was indirectly responsible for that.
Henry Ward Beecher has rightly said…
The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.
And I find it so true!
This article was originally published on https://thewhiterainbow.co.nz/is-happiness-an-illusion