Sunday, August 23, 2009

HAPPINESS - A QUEST

Happiness is illusive to most of us. We do one thing after another to be happy. We set goals; we focus on the goals; achieve them, all to reach a state of happiness, and still find that we are not happy.

Happiness, as defined in wikipedia, "is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy". We are all looking to reach that state; some through earning more and more wealth; some through buying things that they want - the latest gadget, a dream car, etc.; some through marrying the person of their choice; some through looking and finding the career of their choice; some by immigrating to faraway lands; and through many other means. Did we find the happiness that we sought through all these means listed above, and which are widely sought after by most of us? Having been through over 56 years of life, I can unequivocally state that the answer is a definite "No". Why? Primarily because we have been looking for it in the wrong place. The power to be happy is in our own minds, and not in the external world in which we keep looking for it. Yes, we do get fleeting pleasures from the external world and stimuli - a new car of one's dreams gives great pleasure but the first scratch gives an equal amount of pain.

Happiness is always in the present moment and not in the distant or near future, and so it is important to enjoy the journey by accepting what comes one's way, rather than waiting for events to turn, as per one's own wants. Children have this unique ability and somehow we adults loose it in the process of growing up. My grand daughter gave me a number of lessons; the most important being that I was most happy when I saw her happy - happiness comes when one makes another happy - we are human - we are interdependent in every which way - we cannot be happy when others around us are unhappy.

I found these quotes, on the subject of happiness, that I really love, and thought that I would put them down here for easy reference......they do make a lot of sense to me and are really good food for thought, and for reflection.

1. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful............Herman Cain

2. Happiness resides not in posessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul .........................................Democritus

3. Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities ................Aldous Huxley

4. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion ....................Dalai Lama

5. I am very happy
Because I have conquered myself
And not the world.
I am very happy
Because I have loved the world
And not myself .............Sri Chinmoy

6. There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you .............David Burns

7. People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be ............Abraham Lincoln

8. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony .............. Mahatma Gandhi

9. Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom ...................Marcel Proust

10. If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years ....................Bertrand Russell

11. To be able to find joy in another's joy, that is the secret of happiness .........George Bernanos

12. We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it .............George Bernard Shaw

13. A happy life consists in tranquillity of mind .........Marcus Tullius Cicero

14. Men spend their lives in anticipations,—in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other—it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age ..................
Charles Caleb Colton

15. Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it ......J. Petit Senn

15. Our happiness is greatest when we contribute most to the happiness of others .........Harriet Shepard

16. When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy .........Samuel Goldwyn

17. When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us .......Helen Keller

18. Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go .........Oscar Wilde

19. Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain .......Unknown

20. Happiness depends upon ourselves ...................Aristotle

21. The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty-stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man ...........George Bernard Shaw

What has been your experience with happiness in life? Do you agree or strongly disagree with any of the quotes above? Your comments are solicited.

5 comments:

BK Chowla said...

Very nice oneliners which must be reserved in records.

SWAGATIKA SARANGI said...

gud morning sir...what a profound collection..it feels like creeping in the blood to look with a new vision..really enchanting..
have a good day.....

Kislay said...

Thank you Sir . I needed that .

Renu said...

excellent collection !!! I liked specially 4,6,8 and 18th.
I also believe that we must feel happy in the journey and not wait for the destination.

When we didnt have a VCR, we thought once we get it life will be a bliss, but slowly slowly one keeps acquiring the things and things loose its importance.

I firmly believe that happiness is a state of mind and it depends mostly on us, a little on other people, but never on possesions.

J P Joshi said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Renu: Agree with you. We should become the witness of life and not become involved, to enjoy life as it comes....but how difficult it is to reach there. Your example of the VCR was very apt. Same can be said about colour TV, which we take for granted today. In the good old days - colour TV was brought to India from abroad and one had to take an appointment to watch it at someone's place who had good relatives living abroad.