By Remez Sasson/Website
What is happiness, and why do we constantly run after it? What does it mean to be happy? What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?
It is a hot summer day, and you feel thirsty. A friend offers you a refreshing cold glass of lemonade. How do you feel when you see the glass? How do you feel when to drink it?
Will you describe your feeling as happiness or as pleasure? I believe you will say it is a feeling of pleasure. There is a connection between these two kinds of feelings, and sometime one evokes the other, but they are not the same thing. Pleasure is more dependent on the five senses while happiness is independent of them.
Pleasure is a good feeling that comes from eating good food, watching a good movie, feeling the warm caressing rays of the sun on a winter day, enjoying a party, etc. Pleasure has to do with enjoyment through the five senses and is dependent on circumstances, objects and people.
When you are happy, minor unpleasant events usually do not disturb you. When you are unhappy, you feel as if everything is against you. You might compensate for this, by eating chocolate and sweets, because this gives you pleasure; yet you stay unhappy.
You may smoke a cigarette, because it gives you pleasure, but this does not make you happier, especially, if you acknowledge the fact that smoking is not good for your health.
There are people, who fear that if they experience happiness, it will be soon taken away from them. They regard it as a temporary state, and are afraid to experience it, lest they lose it. In this way, they avoid the pain that might follow when it goes away. They believe that happiness is always followed by unhappiness.
Others might go to the extreme of not seeking it at all, because they feel unworthy of it, and prefer to avoid it. There are also people, who always look behind their back, wondering wherefrom will come the blow.
The physical world is always in a state of flux. At each moment, a new thing is being created, sustained, changed, transformed and then destroyed. This is the normal state of affairs, and no one can change it. If we attach ourselves to a certain situation, we are bound to experience unhappiness sooner or later. No situation remains as it is. These are the laws of nature. When circumstances change, and the changes are not to our liking, we experience unhappiness. On the other hand, if we exercise detachment, nothing can influence our moods. Then, external events have nothing to do with our inner joy and peace of mind.
From the moment of birth, there is yearning for happiness, and endless race towards it. It is considered as one of the greatest positive attributes. If we analyze our actions, we see that all of them are in some way or another, happiness oriented. Everyone wants to feel good and happy. When circumstances and events are to our liking, we are happy, and when they are not, we feel miserable.
When do we experience this coveted state? This feeling emerges when some problem has been solved, a burden has been lifted or a fear has disappeared. We also experience it when or a desire or ambition has been fulfilled. We also experience it at a time we acquire or receive something we wanted very much. It comes when we are assured of the love of someone dear to us, when we win a sum of money in the lottery, or when we get good grades at school.
What happens at these times? The tension that has been accumulating while we were pursuing, waiting, expecting or desiring is released. There is no more any need to run after the coveted object or evade a fear. Some tension, worry or burden has been lifted. At this moment happiness appears. It is a kind of feeling that erupts from the inside.
When something happens that puts to an end or brings to a happy conclusion, a search, a worry, a fear or anything else, our minds become calm. We then have no need to think, worry or desire the object, event or circumstances. There is a kind of a mental relaxation, which makes happiness manifest.
The room of the mind was filled with desire, worry or fear. Now the room has been emptied, and the mind freed of the compulsion of thinking about them. There is freedom, a feeling of ease, inner peace and joy.
Watch your mind next time you experience happiness and see what is happening. You will find out that the mind becomes quiet, and its constant chatter stops for a while. You will see that happiness emerges from the inside.
Happiness Is Inside Us And Is Attainable
On a cloudy day, the clouds hide the sun, but the sun is always there. The clouds of thoughts, worries and desires cover and hide our happiness. We have to disperse them in order to experience it. Then the happiness that is inherent in the soul and is always there shines forth.
Happiness is not something far away and unattainable, and it does not depend on circumstances, objects or events. It is an inseparable part of our consciousness, but hidden and covered from sight, by our thoughts, desires and worries.
The experience of mystics down the ages has been that happiness is inherent in our souls; it is not something to be gained anew. All that is necessary to do is to uncover it.
If we can silence the chatter of the mind, we will experience this inherent happiness. It is dependent only on one thing, the silencing of thoughts. This means that in order to experience happiness intentionally we have to make our mind silent, calm and relaxed.
What have all the mystics, yogis and saints pursued down the ages? They have not been looking for pleasure, but have been searching for inner happiness that no one could take from them no matter where they were. It is independent of outer events.
This happiness I am talking about is constant and eternal. It is our nature; only our thoughts stand in our way of experiencing it. Dispel the thoughts and you are happy.
You cannot see a treasure at the bottom of a stormy and muddy lake though it is there. Make the water still, and let the mud sink, and you see the treasure. The treasure is there whether you see it or not. So is happiness. It is always here, only covered and hidden.
Now you may ask, what one has to do in order to gain happiness? One of the key factors is detachment. Endeavor to be detached, and do not let your feelings be influenced by each little blow of the wind. If you can convince yourself to stay relaxed and calm in every situation, this will be the first step.
Activities such as learning to concentrate and control the mind, developing will power and self-discipline, practicing meditation and reading spiritual literature bring happiness, because they calm the mind.
In the East, they say that if you are in the presence of a realized teacher, your thoughts slow down, and you experience elation and bliss. The mind of such a teacher is completely calm and undisturbed by thoughts. It is also very powerful and causes the minds of people in his vicinity to behave similarly, as if influencing them by telepathy. The mind being calm, it stops being an obstacle to the welling of happiness.
Happiness is here, within you. Just calm your mind and stay relaxed, and you will experience it. You do not need to wait for it to come. You do not need outer circumstances and events to bring it. A calm and detached mind is the gate to true happiness. It is your decision to choose happiness.
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