Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pursuit of Happiness

We remember our glorious past and dream of a world-at-our-feet future to be happy. We do things that we like and talk to people we love. We try to find more and more ways to enjoy but end up being sad many times.

Life is composed of moments. In order to make the whole life happy, finding ways to be happy for a moment is a good starting point. Now, what can we do to make a moment full of joy? We can eat an ice-cream, see our loved ones, look at a beautiful landscape, and do numerous other things. But still there can be times when none of these happiness seeds is available. What do we do then? If, by any chance, we can be happy just by looking at whatever is present in front of us, that's a good practical solution.

Wherever we are, in office, at home, or on the streets, if we think of nothing but just observe what's happening around us closely, without judging anyone or anything, we will be at peace. If we begin to appreciate the little beauty present in every little object we encounter and feel a sense of gratitude to the existence for allowing us to experience that thing of beauty, we will be happy.

The truth is that even if we do nothing or think of nothing, we will be happy. If our mind is cleared of all possible thoughts, we will feel nothing but an ever growing peace, the true nature of spirit. But our logical mind is always at work to make us feel sad. At this moment, sitting in front of my computer in my room, if I choose to do nothing and think of nothing, I will be perfectly at peace. But my mind won't let me. It will remind me of the many things I need to do to be happy today and tomorrow. It will give me flashback of many things that went wrong in the past. It will try its best to keep me busy and take me away from this peace of nothingness.

We all have had our share of the victory moments when we felt we got that most important thing we had longed for. And we were so happy and at peace at that instant. If we reflect, we will find that our mind had become empty of all thoughts and desires for those few moments. Free of thoughts, we felt absolute peace and happiness. But then mind comes back to work, takes away our happiness, and reminds us of the next list of action items to be happy.

To the logical mind, it may seem that thinking of nothing will amount to utmost stupidity and dullness. But, on the contrary, active or conscious emptiness of mind means leaving logic for intuition, which is the source of all monumental acts and scientific discoveries in the world.

Does this mean we should stop doing everything and just think of nothing, do nothing? Not necessarily. We have been living in a way that we always pursue happiness through actions. Instead of that, if we live in a way that we experience happiness and peace first and then perform actions, we will be ever blissful and more successful. We can keep growing the peace inside ourselves by thinking of nothing but just feeling and observing things around us whenever we can. At all other times, filled with calmness, we can perform all actions and duties with greater effectiveness. Let's find peace first and then pursue the actions instead of the other way round.

Even better than observing things outside is to observe and feel our own body, our breath. That's something we will have with us, wherever we go. If, while sitting or walking, we simply observe air flowing in and out of our nostrils and try to feel it more and more as an observer looking at the body breathe instead of consciously making an effort to breathe, we will be at absolute peace. But of what good are words without experience?


Abhinav said...

"Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity."

Apoorva Chandra said...

True. The problem to solve is how do we experience peace all the time and not just during important ongoing activities.