EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK ON STRESS MANAGEMENT AND HAPPINESS AUTHORED BY Sh. AJAY SHUKLA, MEMBER TRAFFIC
Happiness as concept is also unique to human beings. Animals can have sensations of security, satisfaction, pleasure and enjoyment. But happiness is something more than these sensations. Happiness is something sublime, a sense of feeling higher than the sensations of security, satisfaction, pleasure and enjoyment. Happiness is above all these things. Then how do we define happiness? It is very difficult to define, but we can surely identify some of the key elements of what constitutes happiness.
ØHappiness is not a momentary sensation. It is a long-term feeling.
ØHappiness does not erode. It has an element of permanency, or durability.
ØHappiness is basically self-generated: it does not depend on outside factors.
ØHappiness is associated with peace of mind. It brings tranquillity and at the same time peace of mind is a prerequisite for happiness.
ØHappiness spreads to others. It is never at anyone’s cost.
Having identified the key components of happiness let us examine as to where our pursuit of happiness is leading us.
Throughout our lives, we keep aspiring for many material and emotional things, like money, power, status, physical pleasures and sensations etc. We apply all our intelligence, spend much of our time and energy in chasing these things. We pursue acquisition of these things with such energy and enthusiasm that we forget that these are not ends in itself. They are means to a greater thing, and that is happiness. However, our pursuit of the means to happiness often causes us all the unhappiness. This is so because we often do not know how to remain happy. Or rather, we often do not remain conscious of the end goal, that is, happiness. Unless we consciously desire happiness, and nurture the things that would make us happy, we would only be engaged and lost in acquiring the means to happiness while happiness itself would elude us. We have to cherish happiness as the main objective of life.
You should be conscious that your ultimate goal is happiness, not the means to happiness. Your prime motto should be to -
To many of us, happiness seems to be something elusive, something that is not with us right now, but might come sometime later in life, if we achieve a particular thing, or if we reach a particular situation. It seems like a mysterious thing that is likely to come to us sometime in future, like a milestone that we would pass one day. I have seen so many people passing their precious days of life in unhappiness, doing their daily jobs with grudge, saying that they would be happy only after they reach a certain stage of life or pass a certain goalpost. These may be –
ØOnce their children are settled.
ØThey get the final promotion.
ØThey reach retirement (and get out of the lousy job).
Unfortunately, this does not happen. Once they cross one goal post, they find another one standing before them. Solving one problem makes way for another one. That is how life is, always changing. Those who think that happiness might come sometime later in their life may never get happiness. That mysterious happy day when everything would be fine never comes. That is utopia. Such a time, or such a place when / where everything is perfect does not exist anywhere. Such a time never comes. Even if it does come, how can you be sure it would not change the next day. So why put all your happiness pending for that day ?
Do not wait, or dream for that day. You should not postpone happiness to that unknown and indeterminable day. Happiness is something you should try to attain right now, today itself. And it is possible. In fact happiness is waiting for you, here. You must firmly believe that –
YOU CAN BE HAPPY TODAY
The question is how?
I know, you want to live a happy life. We all want to be happy. But how do you expect that happiness to come to you, and from where ?
And therein lies the problem !
ØYou expect, and want happiness to come to you, from some outside source.
ØYou keep hunting and searching for that unknown source.
ØAnd you keep waiting.
Happiness does not come from any outside source.
It can come only from within you !
In fact, the most important thing about happiness is that it does not come at all. It does not have to come because it is already within you. It springs from inside. You have to realise it, unfold it and kindle it, like a candle of light inside you. This light once lit from within your soul can never extinguish.
The question is, have you taken a decision that you will try to be always happy ? It is the most important decision to be taken. You have to consciously take this decision. Once that decision is taken, you have to consciously examine each of your thoughts and actions as to whether they are contributing towards your happiness or towards unhappiness. You have to ask yourself whether your thoughts and actions bring you peace of mind or cause you tensions and worries. Such introspection would help you change your attitudes. Because, happiness is basically a state of mind, attained by a framework of attitudes and outlook.
It is for you to decide how you will act and think, for happiness or otherwise. It is in your hands. Ultimately, -
YOU HAVE TO DECIDE THAT YOU WILL BE HAPPY