But how is it related to my happiness?
If you are deeply scripted to believe happiness is merely the type-1, then you’d be disappointed because there is no happiness in this world. All the promises and smiles you see on the billboards are illusory at best, and cheating at worst.
But there is deep contentment when you live your mission. Just as suffering is evident and all-pervading, your fulfilled existence is also palpable to you and people around you.
I recently met a couple married to each other for the last sixty years. The first thing that struck me was the gentle radiance they exuded. They candidly shared the love, struggles and even frustrations in their relationship. It’s clear that there was more to their life than ‘pleasure,’ ‘enjoy,’ or ‘happiness.’ It was evident they were contented, and felt a deeper bonding with their family and friends; yet their life had its share of struggles and sorrows.
Another lady, Usha Mataji was 96 when I met her for the first time. I interviewed her for our local community magazine as she was one of the most enthusiastic participants in our spiritual gatherings. She hadn’t missed a single pilgrimage in decades. She beamed a silent acceptance of life and its vagaries. She spoke little while softly murmuring a prayer on her beads and in her presence, I felt the same peace that I’d feel sitting under the giant 300-year-old banyan tree close to our monastery. She seemed timeless. I asked her if her life had its ups and downs, and she laughed and said; ‘only downs!’, and then clarified, “what could be more painful for a mother than to see four of her children die before her?” She lived a full life of service and love. In her offering and grateful contribution to her family, there was grace and dignity. She did face moments of exasperation in her otherwise eventful life. Maybe for days together there was no pleasure, and yet she confesses, her life has been a happy one.To live a happy life, what we need is a purpose and a calm acceptance of all of the miseries that will unsparingly come upon us.