In Pursuit of Happiness – Live life as if there is no tomorrow
By | Ramesh Ranjan | Editor www.humanengineers.com
Happiness is perhaps the most sought after in our lives. We judge everything in our life in terms of how it relates to our happiness. We wish people happiness, when a new baby is born, or on birthday, on marriage, on a new assignment and in every walk of life.
So what really is happiness?
Happiness is perhaps best described as being in a state of mind, with which we are pleased and satisfied.
We take different paths on our journey to happiness. Some of us define happiness through material possessions or through accomplishments in life or through positional power. This is what most people are working towards when they say or think ‘I want to be happy’.
Unfortunately, many people meet the goals mentioned above without achieving true happiness. Many people find that although they have succeeded in these pursuits, they find themselves in a deep and hollow emptiness when they are through with these pursuits. Often there is nowhere to hide from this emptiness, and it often brings us to the conclusion that we are in fact not happy, despite having achieved all our set goals.
Most of humankind will continue to harbour the expectation of living happily ever after and remain oblivious that this wishful fantasy is an unconscious way of warding off the threat of psychic pain.
For most of us success means materialistic success – chasing money, careers and wealth. For most Careers is a means of making money and amassing wealth with the hope that they will use this wealth to enjoy their life in later years.
Some of these incidents have shaken us and make us to sit up and rethink what is that we are chasing in Life and where are we heading to :
- A very successful Businessman, who was the envy of the whole world, who presided over 12000 crores Empire, Vijaypat Raymond is now living in rented room on a hand to mouth basis because his Son has led a coup and showed him the Exit.
- A woman was found dead in a posh Flat in Mumbai. A year after he last spoke to his mother on the phone, 43-year-old Rituraj Sahani returned home from America to find his mother reduced to skeletons in their posh Oshiwara flat. The Son had not contacted her for a year.
- A senior IAS officer and Buxar District Magistrate Mukesh Pandey committed suicide as he was unable to cope up with the stress with his family issues.” I am fed up with life and my faith in human existence has gone.”
- Michael Joseph Jackson was arguably the Best Pop Singer of all times and dubbed the “King of Pop“,the most popular entertainers in the world, and one of the best-selling music artist of all time, died under unnatural circumstances as a loner in his posh estate and alleged to have died due to overdose of surgical anesthetic propofol.
- Michael Schumacher, one of the greatest drivers of Formula 1, is forgotten and fighting for his life after a ski accident in 2013 when he sustained severe head injuries! He weighs a mere 40lbs today and is fighting for his life daily. To think, he won 91 GP and was 7 (seven) times world champion. The speed was in his soul but on a day of relaxation in a ski resort, fate intervened and his life changed forever! To-date, his medical bill is around 14million Euros and his wife had to sell his properties to pay the medical expenses.
These tragedies could be a lesson in life for all of us. There is nothing permanent in this short sojourn on earth. We work tirelessly amassing wealth and chasing success and in the end, we all end up as skulls and skeletons without a difference!
Fame, success in careers/profession are short-lived. You need money to survive but you need not be consumed by it.
All these incidents tell us that Money, Career, Power / Reputation, Fame are momentary and does not guarantee happiness in perpetuity and yet most of us choose to chase these.
Whatever you have in your life, please be happy with that.
Do not be unkind to yourself by saying you will enjoy tomorrow, as tomorrow may never come. Do not give excuses to have a good time with family and friends or enjoy a trip or pursue a hobby.
For in the end, only they matter.
All we have today, is today, and all that is within our reach is to be happy while time runs. That we have to deal with problems and possessions, when we are so insignificant and powerless in front of something that “steals our lives“.
Bhagavad Gita says that desire and anger are the greatest enemies of man. Desires drive the mind to a state of restlessness and when the desires are not fulfilled there is disappointment & anger. So the key to happiness in worldly life is contentment.
Many of us are guilty of destroying the present moment by wishing it away (yet all we have is the present moment; the past is gone, and the future is not guaranteed)
Most of us measure our progress in relation to some benchmark. When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal or achieve that goal.”
You might think your goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but that’s not always true because the future is not always in your control.
The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone/goal is achieved. “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.”
Most of us do things that we know will make us unhappy, even when we don’t really want to do them. This is a universal dilemma, and one that brings so much suffering into life!
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks this same question on behalf of all of us to his guru, Krishna: “What is it that draws me, even against my will, into delusion? What is that force?”
And Krishna replies, “It is the power of desire and anger, impelled by rajo guna.”
Rajo guna is the activating quality that keeps us forever restless and attached to finding happiness outwardly through the mind and senses. Rajo guna keeps us in a state of perpetual discontent and awakens desires. When these are frustrated, as inevitably they often will be, we become disappointed & angry. Thus rajo guna activates both desire and anger, the twin enemies of true peace and happiness.
Noble souls who have attained contentment have demonstrated that accepting and respecting oneself, coupled with determining what is personally meaningful, stand a greater chance of accomplishment, even if never completed, than a relentless and ultimately futile pursuit of happiness.
Our lives have an expiration date; we’ve known that all along. Yet too many of us live as though we have forever – postponing many things in life in the hope of a better tomorrow.
Ask yourself – with a gift as unpredictable and fragile as life, do you really have the time to postpone things in life that are far too dearer than the worldly pursuits?
Life is short. It’s time you accepted this – not with fear or sadness – but with hope and celebration! If we choose to, our mortality can be our greatest strength. It is what gives us urgency, purpose; it is what drives us to squeeze every drop of love, laughter and life that we can out of our very existence.
Living in the present and treating every day as the last day in life will ensure that you enjoy every day in your life. Don’t postpone for tomorrow, as there is no guarantee – it may never come.