Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happiness: Stepping Stone to Spiritual Bliss

on the happy occassion of the grand opening ceremony of The Common Wealth Games in Delhi today,

Here's sharing with you an article of mine on "Happiness" , published recently on

Happiness: Stepping Stone to Spiritual Bliss
Manisha Gupta

Plato believed that everyone strived for happiness in some way. Happiness is also the first step towards achieving a state of spiritual bliss. So, perhaps, the most important thing in life is to attain happiness. But how?

Strange are the ways of the world. After much scientific and technological advancements and economic progress, it is suddenly realizing the importance of life’s simple things which generally are free of charge. Happiness is one such intangible. Bhutan, leader in the ‘Happiness Movement’ has been propagating the “Gross National Happiness” concept for years. But happiness still remains elusive & mysterious.

I’d say happiness is nothing but an automatic reaction, a response to something that makes one feel elevated emotionally. One can never predict what might give one one’s cup full. But, definitely, as a pursuit or object of desire or goal, it is unattainable. It becomes more achievable as an action, doing things that lift one’s sense of emotional satisfaction. So one can’t sit & wait to catch happiness, instead one needs to work hard to generate it.

Happiness is a feeling, an emotion. It is an intangible and also a result of intangibles. No amount of money or tangible assets can give you happiness while a simple little gesture of a friend at an appropriate time may give you tonnes of it. You cannot qualify or define happiness or predetermine how you can be happy. At times it is incidents, events, people’s gestures that may give you immense happiness which all the material possessions in the world put together may not.

Happiness, just like love, is something that simply “happens” in your life and creeps into your heart, mind and soul from unexpected channels or quarters even before you realize it. It is thus a combination of a mental, emotional and spiritual high that makes life worth living. It is this positive union of the heart, mind and soul that you feel uplifted and light. And “that’ feeling or sense is “Happiness”.
Happiness is just like that naughty squirrel which manages to make sure you always see it jumping around everywhere but is always out of reach though hardly ever out of sight. You always see it looking at you but the moment you are within reasonable reach, it teases you, runs up the tree and disappears. That is why happiness as a pursuit is painful and unachievable. So it is no use trying to run after something which you’ll never catch.

Like some great person said “happiness is like the tip of a cat’s tail, as long as it tries to catch it, it eludes it but the moment it lets it be, it follows right behind”.

Therefore, happiness cannot be the main goal of life. It can at best be a by-product arising from pursuit of other goals. So how does one strive to attain a state of happiness? What one needs to understand very clearly is that happiness is not a state of the mind but that of the heart, though ofcourse it does transmit to the former. But Happiness in actuality is a condition of well being of the heart. It is an outcome of emotional wellbeing. At the same time, it is the sum total of mental, emotional and spiritual contentment.

So if your heart is happy, your mind, body and spirit will also be because the heart circulates happiness in your blood to all parts of your being. So instead of focusing on happiness as an object of desire, as a noun, concentrate on the “verb” happiness. That is focus on actions which give you a sense of internal satisfaction. Happiness could mean different things to different people. For, some may derive this feeling from physical labour such as hard work, sports, adventure activities etc, while others may get it through their intellectual pursuits such as reading, thinking, conceptualizing, while still others may find happiness in creativity like writing, painting, sculpture, designing etc. There may be many other activities like social work or doing good for others or giving happiness to others. To each individual his own happiness!

You have to find your own calling. What is it that makes you happy? Talking to a friend or writing down your thoughts, helping out someone or cooking, painting or working out in the gym! It should give you pure internal satisfaction. You should then set aside some time for this activity each day. Doing a little bit of it with strict discipline everyday will give you your emotional contentment. You will thus be able to create a ‘happiness routine’ for yourself and then gradually, happiness will seep into your entire being.

Once you start experiencing true happiness, you are ready to share it with others, spreading it around, making the world a happier place.

Whatever one does to attain this state, one must never forget that there’s no ‘happy man’s shirt’. For, a happy man may not HAVE a shirt! Guess that conveys all that’s to be said about this emotion.

1 comment:

  1. This article is very informative giving knowledge on how to attain happiness. You talked of a 'happiness routine' which means that happiness like any other thing needs hard work. Well its absolutely true. I witnessed this when I worked very hard for an activity to be presented in class. While presenting it in front of teachers and answering their questions, I felt extremely elated, happy and satisfied as I could present with confidence. This means that hard work gives knowledge and this in turn gives confidence and happiness.