*Positive Provocations*

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Just BE Happy

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When we try to pursue happiness, it eludes us. But, when we recognize that happiness is the soul’s natural state, all we need to do is eliminate all that comes between our happiness and us.

The pursuit of happiness is a kind of materialistic mantra of today’s world.

Materially, if we have a cycle, we want a scooter, if we have a scooter, we want a car. When we get a car, we want a bigger one. The list is endless.
And so is the pursuit.

Social Status wise, the moment we get a promotion, we begin running after the next one. A good pay raise is good only if nobody else has got a higher one. We are eying a separate cabin and privacy if the other guy has one. Again, the list is endless.
And so is the pursuit.

Emotionally and relationships wise, we evaluate successful relationships on the basis of how many visits, how many phone calls, how many invitations one gets and gives. We try to create a perfect family of always smiling people around us, and are disappointed if things are not picture perfect. Yet again, the list is endless.
And so is the pursuit.

Truth be told…the “pursuit of happiness” is a strange term. Like many  phrases, we repeat it mechanically but it makes no sense whatsoever.

Happiness just IS! It is not an object or person that can be pursued.

In fact, perhaps it is this very phrase “the pursuit of happiness” that is often the seed of much discontent and unhappiness.

As we continue our march towards greater economic prosperity, our happiness doesn’t seem to be increasing. In fact, we find ourselves more discontented and unhappy. The pursuit of acquisition, status, image, and rewards has become the dominant part of our pursuit of happiness. Non-material values like personal growth, caring, trust, respect in our relationships, and community connections seem to have taken a backseat. It is time for us to realize the futility of pursuing one set of goals to the exclusion of the other, and that the pursuit of happiness is about pursuing both sets of needs, and maintaining a healthy relationship between them. When our intrinsic and extrinsic pursuits are balanced, we can realistically look forward to a happier tomorrow.

Happiness is not determined by what we have and own , but also by our knowledge, our living skills and our imagination: by being, not having. Compassion and co-operation are as important to achieving happiness as competition. And developing our minds could be the key to all of these changes.

Questions like ‘How do I know when I have enough?’, ‘How can I make sure others have their share too?’ and so on. We need to find a way to incorporate our intrinsic needs and goals into the very definition of what it means to be successful and happy.

What is our Soul’s Natural State?

Its true that we are sometimes not too happy. We might be in circumstances we are not entirely comfortable with. However, this is no reason to stay unhappy. We have to find a solution to the issue. The problem is that very often, there is no real reason, and yet, we are filled with angst. So, what should we do?
While we wander frantically pursuing happiness, we must remember that happiness is the soul’s natural state. We were meant to be always happy. If we cant breathe properly, we would probably see a doctor. In a similar way, if we are not happy, particularly if we cannot understand any clear reason for our state of unhappiness, we should probably see what the doctors of the ‘soul’ have to say about our state. These doctors are available aplenty in life and in all wisdom traditions, be it in the form of folklore and stories, injunctions and guidelines for living and even religious scriptures….sources are endless.

Compassion and Empathy Make Me Happy-

The fact that I am able to bring happiness to others makes me immensely happy. To me happiness has always been in giving and doing for others: my family, my friends…the help you can give, the smile you can share, the shoulder you can lend.Loud sing-alongs of children, people bustling about purposefully, and neighbours pitching in to help are everyday happenings…and everyday Happinesses.
As you move along, you reach the stage where you are able to reach out beyond your realm. You can be content with yourself within your world; share some of what you have, bring smiles on unknown faces and hope to those who have none. And strangely it is you who feels rewarded.

All Spiritual Masters have pointed out to us the wisdom of shifting the focus from oneself to the other to be truly happy. Albert Schweitzer said ages ago, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Likewise, the Dalai Lama says today, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Compassion needs to blossom. For compassion to blossom, one must empathize. Its an essential life skill, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

Being Content
Many simple people of India are tuned into the wisdom of contentment. “I earn enough to provide for my family. Isn’t this more than enough?”  the auto-driver who brought me home, had responded when I asked him what he felt about the impending increase in auto fares. He did not take a penny more than the meter fare, though I knew there had been a lot of delay due to the traffic jam, saying that it would be ‘haraam ki kamai’ (an illegal earning). “I am able to sleep peacefully every day following these simple rules of life,” he said wisely.
Hence, contentment is absolutely essential to remain happy no matter what your situation.

Acceptance
Acceptance is often confused with fatalism, when actually, it is totally different. Acceptance is an appreciative look at what life still has to offer to us. IN complete acceptance lies the trigger to greater growth. This is true in serious issues as well as existential day-to-day ones. While most of us crib about our bad luck whenever something goes wrong, some enterprising souls choose to look at the brighter side. Essentially, as long as we fight with life, it seems to be an enemy to be conquered. The moment we befriend it, and go with it on its ups and downs, life becomes much easier, and we become much happier.

Relationships
Sometimes a relationship dares to break free of all bonds of convention and tradition, resting snugly in the purity of loving hearts. It would help all of us to remember that our life is not defined by our job, our wealth, or possessions, but by our valuable relationships, which are our true assets. But, we also need to keep in mind that relationships can cause us pain, if bridled with expectations. We should have the grace to accept that like life, relationships too go through several phases, each of which could make different demands on us. Acceptance and Love can make any relationship constantly happy.

Interests and Hobbies
We have many gizmos, many options for entertainment today, but very often, these become yet another source of dissatisfaction or boredom. Why? Cause we miss the crucial factor for a complete life – passion. If we haven’t already done so, it is time to begin. Whatever our age, we can surely rediscover the spark that interests and inspires us.

I remember the time I tried to chase a butterfly as a child. Try as I might, I could not hold it. When I gave up and started playing elsewhere, it came closer and sat on my shoulder. Such is the case with happiness.

It’s high time, then, that we move away from pursuing happiness to just being happy.

How to just Be Happy?

  • Be content with what you have
  • Be present in the current moment; don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future
  • Cultivate compassion and empathy; try to contribute meaningfully to the happiness of others
  • Do not try too hard at being happy; just accept the current moment for what it is
  • Nurture relationships with love
  • Accept what life brings you
  • Explore your interests, rekindle your passions. Its never too late.
  • Infuse Love in all that you do.

Now its your turn…What are the things in your life that keep you happy? Care to share your happiness in the comments below? :)

With Immense Love and Gratitude,
~Zeenat~
photo credit photo credit

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Author: Zeenat Merchant Syal

Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor/Motivational Speaker/Naturopath/Holistic Healer/Writer

30 thoughts on “Just BE Happy

  1. Very nice Z! I try to remind myself of this, that we become happy when we stop looking for it in something or some event in the future, and realize that we can only be happy now. That kind of happiness is one that feels like inner peace & joy, instead of one that is dependent on something external.

  2. I find myself laughing more lately, but I’m not sure why. I think it has something to do with a discovery I made about myself. By becoming aware of something new about myself has unstuck the laughing response. I’m happy!

  3. I love that you mentioned, early in the post, striking a balance between doing, being, and having. I believe the fact that innately we all have desires is just as divine a thing to celebrate as the fact that we can also be happy with what is (and therefore, NOT desire). Such a beautiful balance in these lovely bodies of ours. I’m so glad I read this today, Zeenat; thank you, beautiful one!
    And knowing you makes ME HAPPY!

    • HI my Joyful Angel,
      Knowing you makes me happy too :) And balance in all we do, feel and think is what makes for happier more content living..right :)
      Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts here sweetie. I always love to see your sweet smile light up my blog …:)
      Much love~

  4. This is really great! I find happiness when I’m working on something else, seeking it itself never really works. Growing as a person and helping others are two ways that find happiness without pursuing it!

  5. Aloha Zeenat!

    Beautiful post. It brings to mind one of my favorite sayings, “enough is as good as a feast’!
    These issues come up often in the work I do wiht people caught in the cycles of eating disorders or when people just try to find happiness in more food or more exercise.
    Thanks for the delightful read and reminder.
    Much Aloha,
    Gina

    • Aloha to you too Gina!
      So glad that this article was a good read for you. I can understand the issue over imbalance in foods and habits in general. It can be one of the major frustrations in life and can eat away at our happiness.
      I do really love what you do to help and guide people…its such a positive thing.
      Thank you got stopping by a d sharing your wonderful insight on this topic.
      Much love~

  6. You know Happiness Zeenat! You describe it with such great feeling.

    Happiness is everlasting….. perhaps it never leaves us…. we just don’t realize it when we are so busy comparing one moment to the next. When we stop contrasting situations, we are playing and happy once again. It was always there, but we have to stop seeking something to rediscover it. When we really know that nothing is missing….. all is perfect beyond matter.

    A teacher once told me:
    Happiness is a state of mind.
    Joy comes from an open heart.
    Bliss is when we soar with spirit.

    • Oh Bernie,
      You always say just the right thing to light me up with a smile..and to truly add tot he essence of the article. You are amazing with words my freind. I wish you would write something for my blog. I just know the readers with and I will love it.
      And your wise teacher really said it perfectly…happiness is a state of mind…a state only our pure spirit knows only too well.
      Thank you for your beautiful thoughts on this.
      Much love~

  7. Zeenat, I smiled through your lovely article about happiness…it seems like the more we run around trying to chase it, the more unhappy we become.

    YOu certainly understand the essence of happiness!

    I have a few friends and family memebers who are struggling with illnesses this summer and it gave me such a deep feeling of contentment to be bring them comfort through kind words and actions.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your joy!

    • HI Brenda,
      Kindness and compassion are those precious divine gifts…the more we give the more we get and grow. Amazing divinity in them….and given with love they can heal all.
      I’m glad you liked this article on Just being happy. I’m tired of people running behind happiness…when in all reality its right here ..within.
      Much Love~

  8. Hi Zeenat

    The first few lines were a perfect introduction “happiness is a soul’s natural state”…. beautiful!

    The whole pursuit of happiness doesn’t make sense as it is telling us that we have to “get somewhere” to “be or have something” to then “be happy”. We are happy, that is our natural state. We just don’t always allow this through, remember it or shine it out from ourselves.

    I love being happy! It feels so good and so natural. And yes, there may be moments where we are not “loving” a particular situation, but as you point out, we can move through a solution and no need to stay unhappy.

    Oh this was just such a beautiful read all the way through, and has filled me with even more happiness this very beautiful morning – thank you for spreading your positive light to share with all :)

  9. :) ya i was facimg a dillemma abt cntntment n d desire to do smthn to prove ourself..HOW CAN I BE CONTENT If i desire smthng? :)

  10. Zeenat, I love the story of the Indian taxi driver and the wisdom of simply being content. That is so beautiful! You really know how to go to the essence of joy and happiness and how to help others see and enjoy it as well! We have so much to learn from the Indian taxi driver!

  11. Hi Zeenat,

    Happiness is definitely our natural state. It is the ego, the mind and fear that prevents us from seeing it…or at least that is what I have noticed.

    And talking of India, as you know, we lived there and I can honestly say that most of the people I met in India were truly happy. Actually, that is one of the things I miss about living there…people are happy and simple. Plus…the food is so good. It is hard to find a good dosa over here. :)

    • HI Nadia,
      Ohh..you love dosas too…yummy :)
      I hope you can come here one day we can go out fro some yummy in the tummy dosas.
      India and the people are simple and content. I have noticed, most of the emotional issues breed in the middle and upper class here. The more advanced(so to say) people are getting the more they are forgetting how to be content in simple things.
      Much Love~

  12. hello zeenat…this is actaully awesome…..but trtuh lies in that; everyy body acknowledge that ” there is lots for mans needs not for his greed” //but still we r facing towards more ….until n unless people will differentiate between their “Needs and Desires.”.they will never acquire happiness….

    well done:)

  13. Hi Zeenat,
    Great list! One of the best ways we can be happy is to show gratitude for everything we have in life relationships, love, life, money, health, etc… The more we are content, the happier we are. Thanks for sharing

  14. Happiness is a state of mind. So just start organizing your thoughts on regular basis and soon you’ll feel unstoppable.

  15. HI All,
    I have been a bit tied up cause my little girl is a bit under the weather. I will be replying to each and every comment later tonight.
    Love you guys for stopping by and sharing your happiness :)
    Z~

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