What is happiness? We, conventionally, do not know what it is? But there is this notion that one must live happily.
Through the struggles of life, which befall almost all human beings, there is this thinking that happiness is the best mode of living life. But what is happiness? Common people do not know.
An absence of struggle, calmness of mind, simple joy in many common actions and events of life would constitute a common man’s idea of happiness. But is it possible to have it?
Life as it comes in today’s world is full of strife. People often do not have time even to think of whether they are happy. Because of this happiness among common people today is a toss-up. So, has man squandered happiness for material progress? It seems that he has.
To be happy one has to be happy with many things, not only one thing. One has to be happy with one’s job as well as with one’s spouse, and one’s backyard. Happiness is multi-tasking algorithm
Happiness at the deepest level means breaking away from the material tug, selfish goals, reward mentality, and the belief in an entity presiding over us larger than ourselves. But the modern man, with the complicity of science and technology, has torn apart the grand mosaic of possible happiness. So, by definition, modern man can never be happy. Always moving, always thinking, but always away from the coveted goal of happiness.
Some people may argue that there exists nothing that is happiness; it being all an illusion. There is something to this thought. All there is activity, process, phenomena, beginning, middle, and an end. Maybe, that is what life is. Happiness being a misguided illusory yarn.
When we look at the work of saints like Buddha, we do not find mention of happiness. We learn about tranquility, bliss, and ecstasy, but not happiness. Happiness is a worldly state of mind. No wonder it is fragile, fragmentary, illusory, and temporary. Therefore, all attempts at happiness are doomed to fail. One has to aim at higher states of mind. Which implies living at a higher state of life.
Indian political leader Jawaharlal Nehru doubted whether happiness was a desirable state of mind, as it seemed to put brakes on a person’s desire to go higher than day to day existence.
Happiness is a common man’s illusion.
Suffern, New York, 1.3.2013