In pursuit of happiness

Who doesn’t love happiness?

To be happy we usually use our body, mind, emotions, senses and energy to do the following:

1) Search for happiness in a world of forms. And get the objects, relationships or activities that give us happiness.

2) Resist or avoid anything (any form) that comes in the way of happiness.


We experience happiness, but it doesn’t last. Sooner or later the form that gave us happiness reduces or disappears. And our pursuit for such forms continues.


Is it possible to break out of this cycle and experience lasting happiness?


Yes.


Experience the essence. Of who you are. The source from which your mind, emotions, senses etc. have arisen. Connect to your core. You will experience happiness every moment.


How do you find out what is your core? How do you connect to it? Stay tuned.

Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

Giving

Giving leads to a shift in the being of both the giver and the receiver.  

You can give in many ways. Out of obligation. Out of sympathy. In exchange for something. We typically expect something in return; at least the recipient to be grateful.  

What can you give? When should you give? What can you expect in return?  

Here is some wisdom from across the ages:    

What can I give?  

“What you are, give that;

what you have, give that,

and your gift will be perfect …

it is not by the quantity or the quality that it is measured:

it is by the sincerity of the giving and the absoluteness of the giving.”  

– The Mother

“dātavyam iti yad dānaṁ dīyate ‘nupakāriṇe

deśhe kāle cha pātre cha tad dānaṁ sāttvikaṁ smṛitam”  

Charity given to a worthy person simply because it is right to give, without consideration of anything in return, at the proper time and in the proper place, is stated to be in the mode of goodness.”  

– Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 17, Verse 20

What if I am unable to give money or any material thing?  

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.  

For what are your possessions

but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring

to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand

as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?  

And what is fear of need but need itself?

Is not dread of thirst

when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?”  

– Kahlil Gibran  

When should I give?  

“It is well to give when asked,

but it is better to give unasked,

through understanding;

And to the open-handed

the search for one who shall receive

is joy greater than giving.

And is there aught you would withhold?  

All you have shall some day be given;

Therefore give now,

that the season of giving may be yours

and not your inheritors’.  

– Kahlil Gibran    

Who should I give to?  

“You often say,

I would give, but only to the deserving.

The trees in your orchard say not so,

nor the flocks in your pasture.

They give that they may live,

for to withhold is to perish.  

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights,

is worthy of all else from you.

And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life

deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

And what desert greater shall there be,

than that which lies in the courage and the confidence,

nay the charity, of receiving?  

– Kahlil Gibran  

What do I get by giving?  

“There are those who give little of the much which they have

and they give it for recognition

and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.  

And there are those who have little and give it all.

These are the believers in life and the bounty of life,

and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy,

and that joy is their reward.  

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride,

that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

See first that you yourself

deserve to be a giver,

and an instrument of giving.  

For in truth it is life that gives unto life

while you, who deem yourself a giver,

are but a witness.”  

– Kahlil Gibran    

Image: Photo by Ales Me on Unsplash

For further reading:

1) “Collected works of Mother“, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

2) “The Complete Works of Kahlil Gibran

3) The Bhagavad Gita

Finding joy in the path, not just in the outcome

“The path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now.” – Thanissaro Bhikku

If you try to find joy only in the result, you get robbed of the countless moments of joy that are possible along the way. You may think of the time spent on the path as something that has to be endured or suffered to reach that outcome.

The joy is in the effort.

“It is the effort which gives joy; a human being who does not know how to make an effort will never find joy. Those who are essentially lazy will never find joy — they do not have the strength to be joyful! It is effort which gives joy. Effort makes the being vibrate at a certain degree of tension which makes it possible for you to feel the joy.

It is only effort, in whatever domain it be – material effort, moral effort, intellectual effort – which creates in the being certain vibrations which enable you to get connected with universal vibrations; and it is this which gives joy. It is effort which pulls you out of inertia; it is effort which makes you receptive to the universal forces.” – The Mother

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, even a chore like dish washing can be joyful and therapeutic.

“Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end – that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes and live fully each moment while washing them.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“I have known such people, who were capable of making the necessary effort (not a prudent and calculated effort but a spontaneous one) in no matter what field: material, vital, intellectual, etc., and in this effort there was always joy. For example, a man sits down to write a book, he makes an effort which sets vibrating something in his brain to attract ideas; well, suddenly, this man experiences joy. It is quite certain that, whatever you do, even the most material work, like sweeping a room or cooking, if you make the necessary effort to do this work to the maximum of your ability, you will feel joy, even if what you do is against your nature. When you want to realize something, you make quite spontaneously the necessary effort; this concentrates your energies on the thing to be realized and that gives a meaning to your life. This compels you to a sort of organisation of yourself, a sort of concentration of your energies, because it is this that you wish to do and not fifty other things which contradict it. And it is in this concentration, this intensity of the will, that lies the origin of joy. This gives you the power to receive energies in exchange for those you spend.” – The Mother

So, what appeals to you more? The pursuit of something or the achievement of the end result? What are some ways you can find joy along the way?

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

For further reading:

1) “Collected works of Mother“, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

2) “The Miracle of Mindfulness“, Thich Nhat Hanh