What is happiness?

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Anything that makes you happy creates happiness but whatever makes one person happy, may not make the other person, happy. I may love to sit in silence on a beach for hours but you may love to be in a shopping mall. Different things create happiness for different people. Nonetheless, we all know the meaning of happiness. When we are happy, there is a smile on our face. There is a positive aura that vibrates around a happy person. Just as we understand happiness, do we understand what unhappiness is? Yes! When there are tears and fears, instead of cheerfulness, it is a sign of unhappiness. A sad person will cry and their misery will spread around them. We all know what it is to be glad and what it is to be sad. We often relate glad and sad to pleasure and pain. Everybody wants to be happy. Nobody wants to be unhappy, nobody wants pain.

But what is the real meaning of happiness? Is happiness just a temporary pleasure that comes and goes? Or is it a bliss that eternally flows? You may love to eat pizza and you may even be happy as you finish a few slices, but when the waiter brings another pizza to the table, you say, ‘Oh! I don’t want another pizza!’ You would have had enough of it. So, how come the pizza that made you so excited earlier, doesn’t give you joy in the later rounds? It made you happy because it was just pleasure. Happiness is beyond pleasure.

Have you noticed how a little child gets excited in a toy shop? The child runs around, screams and shouts in joy but we adults have outgrown our childhood toys. That is the difference between men and boys. Men want to buy their own car or even a private jet and are no longer interested in toy cars, jets and trains, but is all this real happiness?

Imagine, if you had all the things money could buy but you lost your eyesight. Would you be happy? Would you be ready to sell your eyes for a million dollars? Not at all! What use are a million dollars if you can’t see?

So, what is happiness? Real happiness is beyond pleasures and possessions. We can have everything and be unhappy or we can have nothing and still be happy. Things can never make us happy. Happiness is not a state of ‘becoming’ happy. Happiness is a state of ‘being’ happy. We just have to be happy, moment by moment.

There are certain attributes that can help us feel happy. Faith in God is a source of strength and joy. Forgiveness brings closure and peace and it makes us happy. When we give or help others, it also makes us happy. We can feel happy if we are grateful for what we have. ‘Count your blessings’, as they say. Contentment and fulfilment in fact bring more enduring happiness. From achievement which gives us pleasure, we must move on to fulfilment which gives us peace. We can be happy using the ABC formula. A – Accept without protest. B – Do your Best. C – In Consciousness, surrender the rest. Transcending the mind and being in the state of thoughtlessness, Consciousness is the way to peace and peace is the foundation of happiness. Happiness, thus, is a state of being that peace and tranquillity bring. In the absence of peace, there can be no bliss or joy.

Can you be happy without love? Love is a fountain of joy. Happiness, therefore, is also love. How can we live in peace, joy and love all the time? This is the challenge. If we can learn this art, we can be happy all the time! We must discover a way to enjoy pleasure and not lose our peace while living with love. Then our life would be filled with joys. We will have smiles and cheers and we would do away with tears and fears.

Of course, beyond pleasure and peace, is the ultimate happiness that comes from realizing the purpose of human life. If we seek eternal bliss, uninterrupted happiness, we must go on the path of spirituality and be enlightened with the truth. Realization of the truth about who we are, life, God liberates us from all suffering and misery. We experience a state called Satchitananda wherein living in Consciousness of the truth leads to true bliss. This is how we can be truly happy.

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