You don’t arrive at happiness, as if it were some destination, at some point in your Life. You are happy when you just be, when you just are.
The other day, I saw a very thought-provoking signage promoting the specialty drink from Madurai – Jigarthanda – on the outskirts of Chennai. The signage read: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy Jigarthanda.” The quirky signage holds a very important Life message. Which is simply this: all the material stuff that you are toiling away day and night for can never make you happy.
When you are rushing through Life, busy…busy…busy, running from meetings to conference calls to catching up on long overdue home errands, you don’t quite realize that your Life is ticking away with each passing moment. Both your resume and your bank statement, stuff that you are intensely insecure about, do not truly reflect the state of your Life. No matter who you are, no matter how much wealth you have or don’t have, no matter what you have achieved, your Life really is about how much time you have left on the planet and what you intend doing with, and in, that (remaining, available) time. But, tragically, you are so obsessed about all things except your happiness that you end up thinking you have a lot of time left out here. So you keep postponing what matters most – your happiness – and keep either acquiring a lot of material wealth or keep worrying about what you don’t have or want to have or keep brooding over what you once had. In a way, you end up postponing your happiness to brood, to grieve and to worry. This is why you often complain that you are leading a meaningless, boring, listless Life.
And it is not just you. Please pause and look around you. No one seems to be satisfied with the way she or he is. Most people are living the lives that they would rather not. They are busy becoming something than just being.
Almost all the time, society reminds you that you need to become something that you are not to be more acceptable. For instance, many of the clubs in India, mostly those that were founded in the days of the British Raj, even now will not allow you inside without proper footwear or collared shirts. So, if you landed up there wearing your sneakers, jeans and a round-collared tee, you will be turned away. The club does not want you to be who you are but wants you to become what you are not – a “prim and proper”, old-fashioned, colonial! This applies to the emotional side of Life too. A young lady, who has just delivered a baby girl, reports that her in-laws are unhappy that she didn’t have a boy. And because her in-laws are unhappy, their son, her husband, is unhappy. And somehow the young lady is now going into a depressive spiral because she is unable to “please” the people she lives with.
Do we need such petty drama in our lives? Can’t we just be who we are and be the way we are?
To experience the Life you have, as it is, is a blessing. Just being is an art! And being alive is a gift. But many of us miss this opportunity. We don’t see Life as a gift. This is so because there is a continuous effort to become something. The process of becoming, truly, is at the core of all human stress and strife. But there’s no point in blaming anyone. That’s the way we have been raised. We have been told that if we accept status quo we will lose the game of Life. So, there’s always a rush to move from one thing to another; to become this or that. But has all your effort to become something made you happy? It might have made you successful and wealthy. But has it made you happier? If you believe you could be a lot happier than you currently are, then stop becoming or wanting to become and simply be.