Regaining the Inner Happiness
Regaining the Inner Happiness
Nature of happiness
Regarding the nature of happiness, Ramana Maharshi said:
M.: If a man thinks that his happiness is due to external causes and his possessions, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore if he is devoid of possessions, his happiness should be nil. What is the real experience of man? Does it conform to this view?
In deep sleep the man is devoid of possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realise his Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.
Feeling the happiness
If we are happy with life as it is, that is well and good. But if we feel that there is something lacking in life, that we have no happiness or peace of mind, and would like to know how to obtain that happiness, then the above passage becomes absolutely crucial.
Everyone has heard this phrase, “Happiness is Within”. But how many of us really know what it means? How many of us can really feel it? How often do we really sit down and think deeply about it? A phrase that seems so easy when you hear it, why is it so difficult to feel and realize it?
Why don’t we feel the happiness
One of the reasons, the Sages say, is that we have gone out so far away from our Real Happy Self; we have gone astray from our Central Point of Peacefulness; we have strayed and wandered far away from our Real Nature. So now it seems like a Herculean task to get back to Reality. But they assure us that it can be done, through knowledge and practice with proper guidance.
The fact that we now understand and accept that we got lost in worldly life is the first step towards regaining our inherent happiness. It is by Grace of the Higher Power that we get to realize this. Most people don’t even know that they are caught in the mire of delusion and that there is a way out. It is like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. “Wow! There is a way out of attachments and miseries that appear and disappear. I can always be happy and peaceful. I have nothing to worry about. I am fine as I am.” This intellectual revelation itself gives us immense joy. But this is only the first step. To actually experience it, to feel it and realize it as our own true nature is the real Goal.
How to regain the happiness
Just like those who are lost in a forest far away from home find their way back by their own intelligence, road maps and getting help and directions from kind, helpful people, so also we have to make efforts to get back Home to our Real Self.
But lost in the deep forest, we cannot hope to get back home immediately. We can only get results gradually. As we slowly and gradually make progress in our efforts, our efforts get easier and easier. So we study the road maps of Great Masters who themselves achieved and obtained this inherent lasting happiness. We then follow those directions and make efforts to find the source of all unhappiness, the Ego.
Self-Enquiry is the direct method. Ego is the same as “I-thought”. It is a force that creates disturbing thoughts in us, based on our inherent tendencies. When we meditate and search within from where this “I-thought” arises, it disappears, because it is a phantom and not real. There then remains our Real, Happy Self. We don’t create happiness, we just regain what was always there.
So search deeply within, “Who am I?”. Don’t wait for any answer, because any answer will be from the Ego. See where the “I” feeling rises up within. That’s the practice. In this path, “Who am I?” is the only Mantra.
Meditation is contemplation on God or the teachings of a Master or a Scripture. It is expulsion of thoughts. It is to concentrate and focus on one thought to make the mind one-pointed. When thoughts are eliminated, the mind is quiet and peaceful.
Meditation or Self-Enquiry does not have an age, gender or any other stipulation. Anyone who finds it interesting and useful can pursue it according to the teachings of a Master. All one has to do is to just start doing it.
These practices may appear difficult in the beginning. It will get easier as we practice regularly. We can start with a few minutes and then extend it, say for an hour or so. There will be gradual benefits. There will be more and more peace of mind and wellbeing. We will start seeing things in the right perspective.
How to live
We should live our lives with intelligent detachment. The world gives the impression of having much to offer in the form of joy. But in truth, at the end of the day, we are alone and restless, and we long for genuine, lasting happiness. Objects are not by themselves a problem, but our attachment to them is. When we lead our lives with detachment, doing our ordained duties, recognizing the Force of Divine Will, being contented with what we have, meditating regularly, and doing some selfless service to others if it comes our way, we will get real happiness and peace of mind. When we do this, we can live a happy, wholesome and peaceful life.