There are no methods or formulae or mantras to be happy. You just have to be. Period.
A friend sent me a media story on an interesting venture that’s being set up at the IIT – Kharagpur. Supported by its alumnus Satinder Rekhi , the Rekhi Centre for Science of Happiness hopes to ‘research and help develop an ecosystem of happy people’. Although the story I read talked about the Centre actually being a ‘lab’ that attempts to ‘crack the code for happiness’, I don’t want to go by what the media says. I have no first hand knowledge of how the proposed Rekhi Centre plans to operate and what projects it initially will seed and develop. But I do know two things: 1. As a concept it is hugely relevant to help nurture an ecosystem of happy people 2. There is no code or formula or method or mantra for happiness – so if the people behind the Rekhi Centre really plan to go after these, then, sadly, they may well end up barking up the wrong tree.
In order to understand happiness, let us first know that it is like the breath we take; it is available 24×7 and free. So why then, for most of us, is happiness an elusive pursuit? It appears elusive because we are searching for something that is already there. What if something was available to you and you were searching for it? Like raising your spectacles over your forehead and searching for them all over the house. You will never find it unless you look at yourself and discover that it was all along on you. Similarly, you will never be happy unless you look within yourself. You are the happiness you seek. And this happiness is invisible to you because you have buried it under layers of wasteful emotions – fear, anxiety, worry, anger, hatred, jealousy and many, many more. Or simply, to be happy, you need to remove all those factors that exist around you, in you, that make you unhappy.
Learning to do this is possible. But you need to approach happiness with an open mind, with humility. You can’t just want to be happy. You must be ready and willing to be happy. Staying happy is a full-time job. It is really what living is all about.
So, I don’t know how the idea of a formula or a code can help anyone here. If you look at the body of work, research from the past, available over the centuries, almost everyone talks about happiness as just being. It is the ability to live with, love and celebrate whatever is, whatever is available in the present, in the now.
This morning I am dealing with a grave crisis. It requires several practical steps to mitigate – a resolution itself will take months. And all the steps to be taken immediately require money. This is a resource that I don’t have. Yet, I have made my efforts, and continue to make them, seeking work and income, but in the absence of any tangible evidence of my efforts bearing fruit, I have still decided to continue to write my daily blogpost. I am not complaining. I am not angry. I am not fearful. I am not anxious or worried. I wrote this blogpost just as the way you are reading it now – by engaging with each word, sentence and idea. After posting this, I will go on to have lunch. Vaani’s made some methi parathas – my favorite – and I will relish each morsel of what I eat. And I will eat while being grateful to Vaani for making them and serving them with so much love, I will be grateful to whatever energy is making such a wonderful meal possible even in such inscrutable and painful times. To me, this ability to be immersed in the present – whatever be the circumstance – is happiness. So, how can any formula help here? Or which mantra? Where is the code? What method can be uniformly, universally adapted and championed?
I hope the formula-seeking aspect of the Rekhi Centre venture is just exaggeration – an outcome of the media’s, predictable, overindulgence. I wish Team IIT-Kharagpur/Rekhi Centre for Science of Happiness all the best. We definitely need the ecosystem they envision. We need champions like them. And I am willing to contribute to their endeavor by way of leading workshops and Talks to inspire people to be happy despite their circumstances; I will try and connect with them soon. But my humble prayer to everyone is let us not intellectualize happiness. Instead, let us employ commonsense and learn to just be. For when you simply are, you are happy!