Understand sadness to find bliss



Nobody likes being sad. We all hate it. So, the more we hate it, the more it haunts us. Yet as much as we hate it, we find a strange comfort in being sad.

Face it. It is easier being sad than being happy. Happiness requires a lot of work __ a lot of overcoming is to be done. Whereas sadness comes naturally. Every time something doesn’t go to plan, all you have to do is to be grumpy, feel sad and brood.

You may want to consider a different perspective though: the moment you understand sadness, you will find bliss! It is as simple as it sounds. But getting there, understanding, isn’t easy.

You feel sad when what you want isn’t there. But since sadness isn’t your natural state (in fact, happiness is!), your entire being resists your being sad. The mind feeds on misery. So, it tells you to fight sadness. It selfishly urges to fight for something which isn’t there, which is causing your sadness. The mind wants you to be sad because it needs fodder. It needs you to be sad for it to thrive! Think about it. When you are happy, you are actually mindless. Which is why, when someone is in a state of rapturous delight, we believe he or she has gone crazy, or has ‘lost his or her mind’. True happiness, bliss, is a state of ‘mindlessness’. So, if you are sad, it means your mind is in control. On the contrary, you can be happy only when you are in control of your mind! Understand that you cannot overcome your sadness by fighting it. You can overcome it only by tricking your mind. So, when you are sad, don’t resist it in future. Accept it. Accept the condition which is causing it too. In acceptance, there is no resistance. What you don’t resist, does not persist. So your sadness, through acceptance, transforms into a new, peaceful state of being. That state, simply, is your bliss.

Yesterday, we received a mail from a family friend who had lost her husband to lung cancer barely a week ago. She thanked us all for our prayers and offered to be at a memorial service that some of us were organizing later this week. In her mail, she wrote: “Thank you very much for helping me to keep everyone updated all through his illness and I know it is with great sadness but unanimous relief that he is finally at peace. I am still in limbo! Every morning I decide to ‘tidy up’ some of the things lying around, the nebulizer, all the tubes and masks, medicines boxes, cotton wool….still haven’t succeeded. I see his toothbrush and toothpaste in the bathroom and I feel if I remove it from there it’s like trying to wipe out memories…. so I don’t! I wish words like ‘dust to dust and ashes to ashes’ didn’t represent the finality of death  so accurately….    

This is what acceptance of your sadness is all about. In this friend’s case, it was the death of a companion. In someone else’s case it could be a separation. Or a pink slip. Or, as my daughter shared an inspirational story of her senior at college this morning, the loss of mobility, and a semester, owing to a ghastly accident. Whatever be the causes for our sadness, unless we come to terms with it, both the cause and the effect, we cannot move on, we cannot overcome. But the moment we accept, we will encounter inner peace and be (in) bliss.

As the legendary Sahir Ludhianvi (1921~1980) memorably wrote for Guru Dutt’s all-time classic ‘Pyaasa’ (Thirsty, 1957), in the song, ‘Jaane Woh Kaise Log Thay Jinko…’, “….gham se ab ghabraana kya…gham sau baar mila…” The lyrics mean, “what’s the point in worrying about sadness and sorrow…we keep getting them (again and again) so many hundred times (in Life) in any case…”. Be clear and get this straight! The number of times your expectations will not be met in this lifetime will far outnumber the times they will be. So, theoretically, you will end up being sad, than happy, for much longer in your Life than you can possibly imagine. Do you really want to spend the rest of your Life being sad and sorrowful for circumstances that, well, are beyond your control? Isn’t it, therefore, better you embrace this simple, practical way to bliss?

Make peace with what saddens you today. And through understanding your sadness, find your bliss!

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