4 questions that lead you to a lifetime of happiness!

Only you can decide what makes you happy!

We bumped into a young friend at a coffee shop yesterday. She is a qualified architect but is taking a gap year in her academics.

She asked us: “Is it okay to not feel like doing anything in Life? I mean, is it seriously okay? I feel everyone around me is chasing their tail and here I am…completely clueless about my future and blundering along…I am still unsure if I want to study further or if I want to practice or be a writer or just travel the world. Everyone is forcing me to decide and go do ‘something’. But I don’t want to commit to doing something that my heart isn’t agreeing to.”

Vaani, in turn, asked her this question: “What makes you happy?”

And the young lady replied: “I am still figuring out what makes me happy. But I am sure none of the things my family or friends want me to do, like do a desk job to earn an income and gain experience, or a do a Masters Program so that the tag of a graduate can be acquired, will make me happy.”

The lady, in our opinion, has her priorities clearly in place.

Even as she is figuring out what will quench her soul, what will make her intrinsically happy, she’s sure about what she does not want to do. And there’s no confusion in her mind there. Now, that’s a wonderful state to be in.

You see, the whole world is running amuck – everyone is trying to become something, become someone else that they really are not. Worse, almost everyone else seems to have an opinion about what you must do and how you must live your Life. Sometimes, this cacophony can be deafening. If you capitulate and sign up for what the world wants you to do, at the cost of your own inner peace and joy, then don’t complain about your Life being listless and meaningless. Because that’s really what Life will be when you live it for someone else’s sake! But, if you want your Life to be exciting, if you want to wake up each morning loving the opportunity to go do what you love doing, then you have to pause and reflect.

Ask yourself important, fundamental, questions: 1. What makes me happy? 2. What makes me feel grateful for this gift called Life? 3. Doing what makes me lose myself completely so that I forget all my worries and even lose track of time? 4. What do I want to keep doing again and again and again – all my Life?

AVIS-Viswanathan-4-Questions

Well, you know what you answered for those four questions. Now, just go do it. Simple. And if figuring this out takes a year or two, or even more, well, so be it.

Life is a precious, one-time, limited-period offer. The most intelligent way to live it is to only do what makes you happy. And no one but you can make that choice – only you can decide what makes you happy. When you do live a Life, doing what you love, everything you need arrives in your Life – at its own time and pace. If there ever is a secret to living a Life of happiness and contentment – this, absolutely, is it!

In which Nithyanand, a Buddha, teaches me to live with ‘anand’ (inner joy) ‘nithya’ (daily)!!!

When you look for things that you don’t have, you remain incomplete. When you look at what you have, including who you have in your Life, you are complete!

Nithyanand – The Buddha
Yesterday, I spent a transformational hour with a young man called Nithyanand, in his 20s, who is visually special (I hate to call him visually impaired). He lives in Korrukkupet (a Chennai suburb). He commutes every day to Express Avenue Mall, where he works at an exhibition tour company called “Dialogue in the Dark” (Google them – go check them out). Nithya, as he prefers being called, says he doesn’t have any problem when I ask him how he “manages with Life on a day-to-day basis”: “Sir, we work on getting oriented to spaces and with basing all our responses to the velocity of sound around us. I take bus # 18 and get to work pretty much without a hitch. When I do have to cross the road, I just wait for a good, helpful soul. The Universe always has such people around. There are so many good people in this world. Someone always comes by to help me.” There’s a joie de vivre about the way Nithya is. He is happy, content and peaceful with the way he is. Actually he truly, simply is. There is no self-pity. There’s no lament. In fact, there’s so much dignity with which he conducts himself – even you don’t feel pity for the young man. You come away inspired. Now, how many times will you come away inspired after meeting a rank stranger for barely an hour?

Much of our grief and suffering comes from lamenting over what we don’t have. This pushes us into a, often subconscious, depressive spiral out of which we rarely climb out. But always, when the focus shifts to what is, the result is magical. The reason why we struggle with making this shift from what isn’t to what is, is that the negative is always seductive. Its reasoning power is far more logical. The good in us rarely speaks. It merely states. It does not profess, it doesn’t argue, it doesn’t convince. Nett Nett, we succumb to the wily designs of scarcity__what we don’t have, what isn’t__thinking. This results in incompleteness. Whereas, with all our quirks, defects, chinks, blemishes, scars and handicaps, we are complete. There’s so much abundance in our lives. Such is the way we have been created. To recognize this complete state of ours, we need to be in a state of total acceptance, we need to be peaceful.

My learning from Nithyanand: when there is peace within, when there is acceptance of the Life you have, the focus will shift to what is. And then the wholesomeness of your Life will become clear to you! This the way, we__you and me__too, just like Nithya, can become a Buddha – and experience ‘anand’ (inner joy) ‘nithya’ (daily)!

We have become ‘wanting’ beings

Give up all that you don’t need, don’t have or keep pining for. Life then, most certainly, will be bliss.
You – and I – thanks to instant gratification in a facebook and SMS era, have become obsessed with wanting things now and urgently. You try to reach someone and the lines are jammed. You get irritated. You get a mobile phone but you are not satisfied. You want an iPhone. You have a roof over head, but you want to own a property. You want to buy gold because prices are up now and you want an investment backed-up. You have a child, but you won’t leave the child alone; you want the child to be doctor, engineer, class-topper, cricket player, and such, never pausing to think what the child wants to do! Wants. Wants and more Wants! This has made your Life miserable. You have become a wanting being. Than being human! Which is why you are running from pillar to post. Trying to earn more and more thinking you will be happy some day in the future. Now, if you get all that you want it is fine. But Life doesn’t work like that. So, when you don’t get all that you want, you become desperate; you sulk, brood, and plunge your Life into an abyss of worries. Then you attend therapeutic programs and read spiritual books to ‘cleanse’ yourself. The feeling of oneness with the Universe lasts only as long as the programs do. Soon you have resumed the wanting in you and have lost yourself again.
Know that you will always get what you need and never always what you want!  If you have all that you need, just be happy with it. And stop pining for what you don’t have. Only then will you be in bliss!

Learning to be content may not be easy, but is simple

Every day is a new chance to learn to be content with the Life that you have.

Contentment, you are made to believe, is important to survive this lifetime. Those who propound this theory have a valid justification for it. There’s so much that happens in Life that does not meet your expectation. In fact, you end up getting so much in Life, from Life, that you don’t want. A lot of what happens in Life also causes suffering – especially when you resist what’s happening to you! So, the wise among us, those who have seen more of Life, advocate learning to be content. Which is to learn to live with what is. Than crave for something which is not!

But to be content, though it is simple to understand, is not easy to practice. The mind will always encourage or seduce you to pine for what is not. So, contentment simply comes from disciplining the mind. It comes from acceptance and from a deep understanding of what Life is all about.

Osho, the Master, explains it thus: To be contented means: don’t expect anything from life, just live it moment to moment, and whatsoever it gives is just fantastic. Life goes on pouring infinite treasures on us. And because of this mind asking for more, we remain blind to those treasures. Once this constant noise for more stops, then this chirping of the bird is enough. There is nothing in it and all in it.”

When you start your journey seeking contentment you will first struggle with it. You will fall. But the key is to get up, dust yourself and keep walking. When you experience contentment for the first time it will blow you away. You will want more it. Then nothing in Life will affect you anymore – you will not be swayed by pleasure and you will not be held hostage by pain. All you will want is for that “feeling” of contentment to be perpetual. And you will do whatever it takes to continue to experience it. This is the way to bliss – when the past does not matter, when the future is irrelevant. What matters is that you are here, now, happy and content, with what is!