We all seek happiness but very few of us are really happy. We keep pursuing objects of our desires in the hope that their attainment will bring us happiness but that proves a mirage and all the efforts which we make to make ourselves happy through fulfilment of desires prove futile. We all seek position, power, health, wealth, longevity, money, recognition, name, fame……thinking that once we attain these, we shall be happy. But when we look around, we find that those who have attained all these things; which we don’t have and hope that by having them we shall be happy, are not really happy and are still in search of lasting peace and happiness. One who is poor thinks that he will be happy if he has enough money to own a house, getting things of his choice, living decently as per his wishes, comfortably and even if somehow he becomes rich, the real happiness remains elusive. A sick person hopes to be happy on gaining health, a healthy person runs after wealth, an unemployed hopes to be happy on getting job, and employed on getting married, in having children, educating and settling them. One who earns enough money and gains position, power and recognition is either in the fear of losing it or is never satisfied with what he possesses because in this world of competition he wishes to attain more money, more power, higher position and so on. Thus the desires of no person in this world have ever been fulfilled completely so far nor shall ever be fulfilled completely and, therefore, the hope of attaining happiness through fulfilment of desires will ever remain a dream. Every person will remain wanting in one or the other respect and none in the world will be fully satisfied so far as desires are concerned. The moment one desire is fulfilled, the other raises its head and this vicious cycle goes on endlessly. I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t pursue material goals or ignore the worldly aspect having got this human life and living in this world but what I wish to convey is that we should be well aware of the fact that following materialistic desires only in our search for happiness will only result in failure and we shall have to find wherein lies true and unconditional happiness.
We all are conditioned to think on the pattern of a successful life set by our society, environment, elders, education etc. and purse actions as per the set pattern without any originality in our thinking, creativity or awareness. Conditioning is following the habit pattern of mind unknowingly, mechanically – without awareness. It is also succumbing to cravings and aversions manifested by pleasant and unpleasant sensations formed by our repeated thinking and doing developing into inclinations, tendencies, traits, habit pattern, impressions and samskaras or conditioning. Compelled by these tendencies of ours formed over years which few of us are aware, most of us are conditioned to react rather act or respond to a situation appropriately or positively. In fact, We are slaves of wishes, thoughts, conditioning, belief systems, habit pattern of mind…. and thus bar our progress and fail to develop ourselves to our full potential.
All the decisions we take are influenced by this conditioning and we erroneously think that we are taking independent decisions or acting independently. We like some things and dislike others. We exercise choices. We lose balance when something happens against our wishes. It is not possible for anybody howsoever powerful one may be that everything will happen as per his wishes. Unexpected things do happen in life. We get irritated, become angry, lose temper, shout, criticise, find faults, complain, blame others, justify ourselves, indulge in habits like smoking or drinking, drugs or indulge in sensual pleasures of sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell or seek solace in some guru, ashram, technique, ideology, belief system, mantra, kirtan, concept, meditation etc. We try to forget ourselves or escape from our existing mental state through such distractions instead of seeing what is passing in our mind and standing a witness to it through neutral observation and reaching a state when the observer, object of observation and the process of observation become one and we are totally absorbed, in perfect silence and stillness beyond thoughts, mind-body consciousness. Therein lies the unconditional peace and happiness, the perfect harmony, the state of balance and equanimity.
If we learn how not to succumb to these sensations of cravings and aversions and indulge in such thinking and actions as dictated by the habit pattern of mind by remaining a seer, neutral observer, non-reacting witness, we reach a state of understanding the functioning of our mind and knowing our true nature and thus become master of our mind instead of being its slave and inviting misery. It is here only that the chattering of mind stops and it is brought to a state of silence and stillness, free from thoughts, memories, fears and worries. The seeker of happiness is thus transformed learns to remain in the present moment, in awareness, balanced and equanimous attaining the lasting peace and unconditional happiness. Having discovered the inner peace, he radiates this peace and happiness to all around – the family, society and the world at large.
The secret of attaining lasting peace and unconditional happiness lies in knowing the actual cause of suffering and removing it. The cause is our wishes and desires and not understanding the functioning of our mind and how to regulate it to free it from conditioning, judgement, identification, belief systems, borrowed knowledge, complexities, impurities, grossness and ignorance. This secret has been revealed to the sages and seers in all ages and for that we shall have to turn within- know thy self as all men of wisdom tell. Only those who are established in the self, the pure awareness and are connected to the source attain the lasting peace and unconditional happiness such is the experience of all realised masters.