However hard it is to admit, the real fact is that no one is happy. A child is born crying into a world of suffering. It may seem hard to believe because you have been living thinking that there are many people around you who seem happy and you too will be happy one day.. when
• you will complete your education,
• or get job of your choice
• or work hard and get promotion
• or marry a person of your choice
• or when your children grow-up
• or when you go on that holiday
• or when you’ll finally have your new house
• or when you will finally get rid of loans… etc etc
The Dual Nature of Happiness
There are phases in life that you feel you are happy.. but your happiness is always short lived. It comes like night comes after day. Pain follows pleasure and sadness follows happiness. Whatever makes you happy is the very thing that makes you unhappy. For other things you are neutral. So if your relationship, job, money, food or activity is the source of your happiness, the same thing has power to give you worries, anxiety, loss of expectation, fear of losing, craving, want and feeling of non-fulfilment.
The Myth of Happiness
Today the world is running after the myth called happiness. People feel that they lack somewhere and that is why they are not as happy as the other person. Companies are selling “happiness” by way of material things or services like that beautiful clothing or that bag or that dessert or that jewellery or perfume or that exclusive holiday which will make you happy. Motivational speakers are telling people that they just have to work a bit more harder, push more and believe in themselves and their dreams to become super rich, super lucky and fulfill their desires. Well alas, the truth is far away from this. Happiness is that elusive maiden who peeps through the clouds and runs away with big promises leaving you high and dry. It shows the below features
• It seems that happiness is tomorrow
• When it comes, it is short lived
• It comes with some side effect like pain tagging along with it
• It is dependent on achievement of some goal, target or desire.
• It is never certain or definite. Coming to think of it, when life in itself is uncertain, one cannot dream of ‘certain’ happiness.
The Four States of Consciousness
I understand that a person lives in one of the 4 different states in
Deep Sleep state: In this state, the person lives life in total ignorance. He is like a frog in a well with no ambition other than survival and he does not see the bigger picture of life and it’s meaning.
Dream State: It is a state when a person tries to control life and tries to make it as per his definition. When things go as per his definition, it is pleasure for him and otherwise he is in pain. So if he is physically healthy, his relationships are going smoothly, he feels appreciated and understood emotionally, he is finding stability and growth in career, he is in pleasure state. So in his definition everything around him has to be conducive to the survival of his body, mind, senses and identity. He works towards making things as much as favourable as possible for him and ignores what is not favourable. I believe such people “synthesise” their happiness.
Waking State: This is the third state and I believe most people reading this article are in this state. In this state people start asking questions like, Is this life? Why am I suffering? Why I am not happy even after achieving many things that I wanted? And he starts self-Introspection and gaining knowledge of the world in order to reduce the suffering. Through meditation and self-awareness, he gains the qualities of acceptance, patience, satisfaction, surrender, contentment and the art of forgiveness. He is a person who is not unhappy as he is not suffering and he is able to separate his material existence from his soul self. But is he happy? The answer is No. This person who is in the state of awakening, now dwells deeper into his consciousness and realises that nothing in this world is actually non-aligned or against his definition. Nothing is right or wrong or bad or good but is complete. Everything happens because life is flowing with an intention to make him realize his true nature. So, if you look at life from your perspective which is an egoic perspective, it will have both pleasure and pain. But if you look at it from perspective of life, It will look as complete or ‘purnam’.
When Lord Buddha emerged after a long period of enlightenment, he declared the four noble truths of life which are:
1. Life is suffering: Lord Buddha taught the first truth that life is full of ‘dukkha’ or satisfactions. It is due to ignorance and lack of knowledge or understanding of the true nature of things and their interconnectedness that leads to sufferings.
2. The reasons of sufferings: He stated that the three problems of ignorance, attachment and aversion (hatred) are the three poisons that cause sufferings.
3. It Is Possible to End the Suffering: Abandoning ignorance and misconception or false perceptions helps overcome ignorance, hatred and attachment and hence ceases the suffering.
4. The Path to Ending the Suffering: He stated a series of methods and rules specified in the Eight-Fold path through which one can achieve Nirvana or enlightenment.
Awakened state: The fourth state is awakened state where a person surrenders to life imbibing it’s complete lessons and starts flowing with it. Whether the path he follows is the 8 fold path of Buddhism or lessons of Chakras through Chakra Yog or the path of Karma Yoga or Dhyan Yoga, he will awaken himself to his true nature which flowers in a state of detachment. In this state alone, he realises happiness or joy as his true nature.