When you learn not to suffer, in any situation, you will be happy.
A few weeks ago, a friend visited us. We went to the same college and were meeting after many, many years. When he called suggesting that we go over to his hotel to meet him, I cried out saying I did not have money to even use public transport, forget auto-fare. He understood our situation and graciously offered to come home. Over tea, he observed how much I had changed over the years. From being an aggressive, forever-restless, high-flier he wondered how I had now become calm, anchored and deeply reflective about Life (he’s been following my daily blogposts). “I notice that you are a lot happier living with all your financial problems than you were when you had lots of money and your business was flourishing,” he remarked.
I was humbled by his observation. He knows me very well and he is someone who is genuine, and never flaky.
If there’s one lesson I have learnt through this experience of being bankrupt – and penniless at times – it is to appreciate living in the moment, living accepting what is. This, as I have discovered, is the key to being happy. Suffering needs a cause. Happiness doesn’t need any cause. It simply is – all you have do is to be present, and accept whatever is, in the moment to feel happy.
You suffer when you expect things to be different from the way they are. I have suffered too. In the early years of my bankruptcy I have wished, in vain, for the situation to be different. Then, over time, as I learned to understand my Life, and living, better, I realized that cashlessness was not causing my suffering. My wishing that I had cash was causing me to suffer. It wasn’t easy to stop that wishing – who wants to be bankrupt? I had to train my mind, through my daily practice of mouna, to drop all expectations. For expectations bring agony. That’s where the suffering – in any situation – comes from. As I learned to do this, slow to begin with, but efficiently over time, I began to feel happier. Yes, there was pain. Of course, you will feel the pain when you can’t even buy vegetables or groceries, but the suffering ceased. Because, now, to me, being without cash is merely an event, a financial state – that I must focus on relentlessly to repair it. I don’t associate my financial state with my true Self. When I learned to accept what is – in my case, the cashless state – I was able to rid myself of all suffering. When my suffering disappeared, I could feel the happiness in me.
I have learnt that happiness is always there. In you. In me. We don’t feel it, because we are all the time focused on suffering. We are forever wishing for something or the other. When we learn to stop wishing, and instead start loving whatever is, we will be happy.