Happiness is a habit

Chetan Prabhakar
There is a friend of mine who, just after getting an excellent job, became stressed due to the high pressure in the job, fear of losing it, and uncertainty of the future if he loses the job. This stress and fear affected him so badly that it started impacting his health, personal relations, family life and sleep pattern. He started getting up at midnight in trauma with a fear of the future. Then, one day he read verse 6.7 of the Bhagavad Geeta which says:
‘For one who has conquered the mind, the Super soul is already reached, for he has achieved tranquillity…’
And after reading the aforesaid verse, his search to find out the ways to conquer the mind started. And in this pursuit, he became aware of meditation as a means to control the mind. Meditation really helped him in becoming calm, composed and positive, then, he thought, why to do meditation only for one hour a day? Why not do it each and every moment, and then, he found the teaching of mindfulness which provides various simple yet effective and profound techniques as to how to meditate in each and every moment of our daily life. It is the best practice to keep oneself fully present in the here and now, where there is no suffering and many conditions of happiness are available.
You need to realise that the prime purpose of life is equanimity, and your desires to have a lot of money, power, fame, an excellent job, flourishing business, a big car, a big house etc are in the pursuit to reach a state where you are always happy and you endeavour to reach this state of eternal bliss or happiness by fulfilling your materialistic desires which will never lead you to the path of eternal bliss and happiness. Materialism and Spiritualism are two wings and without either, you will not be able to take the flight for reaching a state of equanimity where lies the true happiness and eternal bliss.
In this endeavour of achieving happiness through materialism, we all think or have been conditioned to think that we will be happy only after fulfilment of our materialist desires, but has our search for happiness stopped or have we become truly happy? The answer probably is “No” because we are always postponing happiness for something or the other. On the other hand, even after getting all the things desired, we become more tensed, stressed, caught up, trapped etc as now there arises a fear of either losing them, not being able to maintain them, or not growing any further, or what people will say if we do not have this or that, so the real struggle of life starts.
This is actually not life; life is different; life is beautiful, life is happiness, pure bliss, but how can we be always happy/blissful? It is not possible to be happy in each and every moment. Isn’t it? How can we be happy without having all material comforts or without growing in our career or having a big car/house or a lot of money, power or fame? The answer is, we all have desires for financial, social and material well-being and, we all need money, status and material things to have a good life, the only difference we need to make is not to become a slave to these things, get attached and keep running. If we become mindful, we will start appreciating and enjoying each and every moment of life, and will enjoy what we have achieved till now.
Once we are mindful in each and every moment, we become the masters of our minds and once we have become the masters of our minds, is everything not possible? The answer probably is “Yes”. If we are mindful, and fully present in the here and now, and become aware of our thoughts and perceptions, we will be more productive because we have no extra thinking such as regret of the past or fear of the future, as now we know how to take care of negative feelings, emotions, circumstances and thinking and convert the same to positive ones, which will result in fewer distractions, increased focus and concentration on the work in hand.
We will probably do much more work in lesser time than earlier. Will this not lead to success, growth, abundance and what not? And in addition, we can enjoy what we have to the fullest and always be happy. Happiness is a state of mind and a choice. Like all other habits, happiness is also a habit. Remaining tensed and unhappy is easy and it is the habit of a lazy mind, and a mind which is alert and aware can always choose to be happy. As venerable Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh says,
“Happiness is available. Please help yourself to it.”
Smile in awareness. Smile because it is a mouth yoga and relaxes hundreds of muscles on your face, so smile, Buddha has said, “sometimes joy is the source of your smile and sometimes smile is the source of your joy.” Enjoy!
(The writer is author of the book ‘Be a Monk’)