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The irony of Happiness – Part 1

“The obsession with instant gratification blinds us from our long-term potential.”

–         Mike Dooley (Best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur)

We live at times of an excessive fascination with Happiness.

We want to feel good and experience pleasure, now and always. If I am not happy, I doubt if I am doing things right. Ironically, it’s doing the right things that’s more important and guarantees a contented life.

Today Happiness has become a goal; it’s no longer a by-product of a purposeful life. It’s no longer a gift of God, but my birth right and ‘I shall have it.’ After all, my happiness is in my hands, right?

Wrong!

Until three hundred years ago, the word happiness meant a chance or luck or fortune- something good that happened to you. Today we’d like to believe we can be happy when I want and the way I want. However, paradoxically, happiness is as elusive today as it has been for millennia. Happiness is beyond us and the sooner we realize this, we’ll become peaceful.

Are we then helpless victims of a fatalistic universal law where death and suffering stares at us every moment? Are we mere puppets in the hands of destiny?

No!

We all have enormous amount of will and determination but that’s got nothing to do with happiness.

We use our human faculties, higher intelligence, and evolved conscience to guide us to contribute positively to the planet and people around us. Yet, happiness, as we today understand is highly selfish, and therefore mysteriously beyond our grasp. The more obsessed we are or the more we fret and fume over it, pain and suffering envelop our very being. As humourist Evan Essar said it crisply, “An obsession is an idea which you must get out of your mind if you are not to go out of your mind.”

Let’s instead let go the passion for bliss; let’s move from titillation of our senses – pleasure, to a more satisfying and purposeful life, where even suffering is welcome if the cause is noble. The contentment from such a pursuit is far deeper than what our ears, eyes, tongue, nose or sense of touch or our mind can feel. A life of connection to higher truths and service has caused men and women to strive tirelessly and make meaningful contributions.

Our generation is reaping the benefits of the sacrifice and toil of our ancestors. But if we preoccupy with the delights that our body and mind can experience, we’ll likely leave behind a messy planet to our future generations.

Let’s therefore move from happiness to purpose and live beyond what’s commonly believed as happiness.

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