If you are happy and you know it, show it…!

Don’t be afraid to be happy. Being happy is neither sinful nor is it a crime. And if you are happy, let the world know, how you are feeling! Nothing wrong with it.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a young journalist on happiness. I told her that most people want to be happy. But they are afraid to be happy. The young lady wanted me to elaborate. I told her: “The reason is that in the throes of all your problems you feel guilty being happy. So, you postpone happiness, hoping to solve all your problems in the meantime. But that’s not going to happen. You are never going to get to a problem-free state. So, the best way to live is to be happy despite your circumstances – whatever they may be.”
Happiness is not partying. Or shopping. Or drinking. Or eating. It is not about indulging yourself. It is about immersing yourself in the present moment, living every bit of it wholesomely. It is an inner feeling. And it is about being in the now and expressing yourself through it.
Ayyappan – The “Happy-Tree” Man
and the trees he has planted recently to
“celebrate the goodness in his organization”
I have known this gentleman Ayyappan who works for an NGO in Kanchipuram for some time now. He too has, like most of us, faced a lot of challenges in his Life. And through all of them he has learnt the art of being happy. He feels his happiness is about being true to himself. So, simply, he never does anything that makes him unhappy. Working in an NGO, he believes, gives him immense joy and inner peace. The act of serving, he says, helps him tame his desire to seek deservance. He also has a very interesting method, a way, by which he demonstrates his happiness. “Whenever some good happens around me, in my family or neighborhood or at work or in our country or in the world, I plant a tree. I want the tree to spread the energy and message of everlasting happiness,” explains Ayyappan, who has already been practising this ‘method’ for many years now.

I think it is a beautiful way of not just paying back, but also of reviewing how happy you have been – the more trees you can count, over time, means that’s how happy your Life has been. Besides, the trees will outlive you and keep contributing to make the world a much better than what it is now.

Ayyappan’s philosophy and method are both inspirational and practical. You don’t have to plant a tree if it’s not your ‘thing’ – you can feed someone, you can give someone a hug, you can educate a child or you can do whatever gives you joy! The nub is this: let’s not postpone or hide our happiness. Let’s dare to be happy and let’s show it. 

Expunge the IFs and the WHENs – Be Happy!

The idea that you can worry today and someday in the future you will be happy is the one that induces all your suffering!
We have been conditioned to believe that happiness comes from all our external reference points and is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. I will be happy IF I get a job. I will be happy IF I get money. I will be happy WHEN I get a good companion. I will be happy WHEN I get to sell my property. The IFs and WHENs in our Life are the ones that cause us unhappiness.
The very logic that we will be happy upon reaching a milestone means that if we don’t reach it, we will be unhappy. And the human mind is such a creation that when one want is met, one milestone is attained, it will want more, and want to conquer another milestone. So, there is a perpetual chase that we are on, and therefore, that’s precisely why we remain perpetually unhappy. As individuals, as families, as communities, as nations, as a world and as a race!
Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan kingdom, has made significant moves to change this thinking at a national level. It introduced, a couple of years ago, a measure called Gross National Happiness (GNH), in lieu of GDP, which focuses on what it believes are four contributors to a nation’s happiness levels: sustainable economic development, conservation of the environment, preservation of culture and good governance. But these four aspects prima facie may mislead. In reality, Bhutan’s GNH survey asks people simple questions like ‘How many people can you count on for help in case you get sick? How often do you talk about spirituality to your kids? When did you last spend time socializing with your neighbors?’. These are questions that apply to you and me too. And it’s high time we ask them and several more.

What Life will teach you, if it hasn’t taught you already, is that by choosing to save ‘being happy’ for another day, you are actually postponing living. Important too is the fact that you need nothing to be happy. You just must be willing to be happy. Happiness is not dependent on any circumstance. Nothing can really make you unhappy UNLESS you allow it to! So, please don’t put off being happy for another day. Because, you never know, tomorrow may never come!

Be happy and all else will follow

Happiness is a choice. Something that’s in your control. You choose to be happy, and immediately, your whole Life transforms.
This is an unalterable law of Life. That if you choose to be the happiness you seek, nothing, and no one, can stop you from being happy. We miss this great opportunity because we are forever imposing conditions for “becoming” happy. We say if we have money, we will be happy. Or if people we live with behave in a certain way, we will be happy. Or that we will be happy when we achieve something – like when we buy a house, or get a raise or become famous. So, between us and happiness, certain conditions have come up. Now, these conditions are quite unnecessary. Happiness is there – in your being. You just have to choose it!
The reason we think this way is because of the scientific conditioning we have received. This conditioning takes you away from you and thrives on the law of cause and effect. We have been taught that for an effect to be there, there must be a cause. Logical. Only if there is a seed, can there be a tree. Only if there is a fire, can there be light and heat. Only if there is a virus, can there be a fever. And so on. But on the spiritual plane, this need not be the only way to look at Life or live it. You can choose the effect and, magically, the cause will follow. And that’s why Life’s more about magic, than about logic. Magic happens the moment you choose to be happy – no matter what your situation is. Then, the right people come into your Life, abundance flows and you become a magnet, a center of attraction, for all the good things that Life can offer. Per this spiritual approach, you are in control, youare deciding to be happy, for yourself. For instance, if you say you will be happy subject to someone doing something for you, then that someone is in control. Not you. That’s the cause and effect theory: subject to certain conditions, you will be happy. But on the spiritual path, the choice is to drop all conditions and choose the effect – in this case, happiness. You simply be happy. Whether someone is there or not, whether something is there or not.
The cause is beyond you, outside of you. The effect, happiness, is within you. Choose the effect from within, watch the outside transform, magically! This is Life’s way. This is the only way – to live intelligently and in bliss!

On being happy despite your circumstances

The key to being happy is simply __ being. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Let’s say, taking a very operational instance, this Monday morning, you are in an aircraft that is already late due to inclement weather. Finally, after push back, your aircraft is 12thin the take-off sequence. You have woken up early to make this flight. And the way things are looking, you will miss the first couple of meetings of the day, which means you may have to stay overnight at your destination. Which means the schedules of the rest of the week are also going to be affected. You are extremely unhappy with the situation. You dash off a few emails before the crew order you to put away your phone. And, with a deep sigh, accept that this is one of those weeks. The young lady next to you starts chatting, wanting to know more about your phone and its much touted efficiency and features. In several minutes, you are airborne and you are laughing and joking with your new friend. Now, think about this situation deeply. How is it that your mood changed from being agitated, confused, perhaps angry, over the delayed start to the week, to one of relaxation and ‘take it easy’!? Maybe the young lady’s question and her influence on you helped. But the most significant influence on your mood, was your ‘deep sigh of acceptance’. So, in this context, your acceptance of what is, parachuted you from a state of unhappiness to a state of being __ being comfortable with the rest of the journey in the company of an interesting co-passenger! Now, think of the other possibility __ what if you had not accepted the situation and if you had been angry with the weather, with the ATC and with the crew for ordering you to put off your phone? You may well have been a victim of your circumstances __ and far, very, very far from being in acceptance, or being happy!

This may seem like too general an instance. You surely can relate to this. Because this happens to all of us. Not just in an aircraft but in every day traffic or even when waiting in check-out queues at malls. You may well agree that it is perhaps possible to accept practical challenges to everyday living and be peaceful and happy __ by simply being. But how do you be happy in or with bigger, complex, Life-changing situations __ when something or someone you held dear to you has been taken away by Life? When Life has wreaked irreparable damage to you? When what’s lost can never be got back? How do you accept Life when it has been unfair and unjust to you? The answer is pretty much the same __ you do it by taking that same ‘deep sigh of acceptance’. Because there is no other way to deal with Life.

Osho, the Master, I think it was him, used to say this story.

A big dog saw a little dog chasing its tail, and asked, “Why are you chasing your tail?” Said the puppy, “I have mastered philosophy, I have solved the problems of the Universe which no dog before me has rightly solved: I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is in my tail. Therefore I am chasing it, and when I catch it I shall have it.”

Said the big dog, “My child, I too have paid attention to the problems of the Universe in my own way and have learned something. I too have understood that happiness is a fine thing for a dog, and that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that when I go about my business, it comes after me. I need not chase it.”

So it is. That simple. Irrespective of what happens to you, what circumstance you are placed in, simply go about your business. In total acceptance. And with immense gratitude for what has been given, for this lifetime, for this experience. Simple or complex, general or unique __ all situations in Life, all circumstances, have to be accepted. Acceptance of what is always takes you to a state of simply being. It is only by being that you will be happy!

Know that on one note, Life is an endless celebration. Each day is a festival. Each moment is an opportunity to arise, awaken, learn and evolve. On another note, Life is like a ball of wool. Deal with it calmly and you will be able to weave a beautiful tapestry. Get keyed up and you will end up in knots. And occasionally be prepared for it to be snatched away from you, knotted up and thrown back at you to untangle…..! Somewhere between all the celebration and all the untangling, an entire Lifetime is woven. You__and I__must simply keep weaving. Don’t worry about the design. Keep celebrating. Don’t worry about the knots. Because your duty is to weave well. Your duty is to celebrate well. Each Life’s tapestry is part of this inscrutable cosmic Masterplan. And, what I have learned from Life is that, the Masterplan has no flaws!