Written by Naren on October 31, 2008
I am reminded of an incident from my childhood and I think it makes sense to include it in this article. Whenever I used to get ill, my mom used to give me so much care and attention that I got a little spoiled. I started taking advantage of the situation, and sometimes just pretended to have a headache or fever. I loved it when I was the center of attraction and getting anything I wanted. And, it is true that many of us also apply this trick, whenever we can, to gather sympathy and care from the others.
This game that we have learned as a child is one main reason why we choose to be sad and miserable instead of happy. We have been conditioned in such a way that if we are miserable then people will feel sorry, show sympathy, and be attentive to us. This certainly boosts our ego and makes us feel important. On the contrary, when a child is perfectly fit and healthy, nobody pays any attention. Thus, we love to cling onto our miseries.
The second important factor is that when people see others happy, they tend to get jealous -- because it reminds them of their own inner misery. Thus, we cannot display our joyfulness fully. We cannot laugh freely—because it invites jealousy among friends. And even if you laugh, you cannot laugh wholeheartedly, otherwise there is a great risk that your friends might become inimical of you. When we live in such a society where we have to repress our laughter, how can we be happy in life?
However, when we are feeling sad or something bad has happened to us, lots of our friends console us with their words of comfort. This outer display of sympathy is most of the time not genuine and just an act of hypocrisy because they are in fact, happy inside. This has become a human nature; it's such a pity.
So, how can we overcome this and be happy in life?
Let me offer you the following list of my suggestions and please do not mistake them as preaching:
The first strategy is not to compare - neither your joys nor your sufferings with others. Comparison never helps. It gives birth to stupid competition.
Secondly, put your ego aside, be alert, and seek the source of your unhappiness. If you become aware that misery is your own choice, then you will see the result.
Thirdly, accept responsibility for your miseries, and don’t simply blame it upon others. Acceptance is a great courage in itself. Be courageous.
Fourthly, don’t befool yourself thinking that you can learn to become happy from books or from those so-called gurus who promise false hopes of happiness. It is such a sham. Just remember one thing, happiness cannot be taught. Happiness is simply happiness, and misery is nothing but a choice of yours. This is the only one vital key that needs to be understood.
Happiness exists within you. It comes from nowhere. For instance: Why do you become happy when you see a blooming flower, a singing bird, or a blue sky? You do not have to search for happiness. The very idea -- pursuit of happiness is senseless. It is not something that needs to be pursued. Happiness is not something that you can find in the market, buy it, and bring it home.Otherwise, everyone in this world would be happy. It is right here, with you right now at this very moment. In fact, it has always been with you. You just have to be a little conscious and aware. Your eyes have been blinded with your own ego. Toss your egoistic mind away and watch, there is bliss everywhere. Happiness is entirely your choice in life.
My friends sometimes tell me that they are sad. I ask for the cause and they do not know why? If you can be sad without any reason then you can be happy without any reason as well. One might argue that we need a reason to be happy. I would ask, Why? You do not need to win a lottery or pass your interview to be happy; you should try to be happy, then things will happen on its own. Happiness does not need any cause. Being happy is just a choice. But, the irony is we choose to remain miserable because we have become so accustomed to it. Nobody is responsible for our miseries, but we keep on blaming others. That way we are escaping from our responsibilities. That’s the trickery of the mind and the game of ego. And, we let ourselves fall into the ego trap. We have made ourselves a prisoner of our own ego. Now, ego has become the master and we act according to it; we should have been the master, but we have become the slave!
Just like a person who wears a green pair of glasses will see green everywhere, a happy person finds happiness and a miserable person finds miseries everywhere. Remember the famous saying: “Laugh and the whole world will laugh with you and cry, the whole world will cry with you.”
Life is short, so decide now. At least, try being happy and soon you will feel the difference.
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