Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The cornerstone of Happiness

This post is the outcome of a long walk that I enjoyed this week. I was at the silk board junction and I decided to walk the whole way home...a good 40 minute walk listening to music from my mobile. It was refreshing though physically exerting. It made me ponder over a few things happening lately in my life. Happiness - Is it ephemeral? Is it fleeting? Yes because most of the time, we don't make an effort towards holding on to it. Either our ambitions or our fears surface too strongly (with an emotional overtone attached) to wash away the happiness. We are then left yearning again. This is a cycle that repeats itself ceaselessly. We can best avoid this cycle if

  • We find a few people around us who genuinely care for us and have the best of intentions for us. We should hold on to them like a man dying of thirst and never leave them. These few people might vary in different periods of our lives but happiness will remain elusive without them.
  • We don't harbor hate towards anybody for long. Hate is an emotion that slowly kills and works like a parasite. The sooner we realize that we are harboring hatred towards somebody (however bad he/she might behave towards us), the better we can take care of our own health.
  • We assess and count the blessings we have around instead of always running behind rainbows lurking in the distance. It is good to have lofty goals but to trod on obsessed over them without action is one road that will definitely not lead to happiness.
  • We possess a child like enthusiasm for the world outside our living room. I am fortunate in this regard to be living with such a roommate. His raw enthusiasm and complete involvement in any activity that he takes up/gets involved in is a rarity in any human being.
  • We cultivate an eye to admire beauty in little things. It might be the smile of a child or the manner in which a girl's hair catches the light. These are the things that keep us fresh and youthful - beauty is an elixir when understood properly. A fertile and uncluttered imagination can certainly help here.
  • We clearly define the set of people whose opinions and views about us matter to us. If we don't define this clearly, we may end up trying to please or care for people who would be indifferent to it or on the other hand try to define our own interests too narrowly and end up being insensitive.
  • We have multiple interests in life. These serve as cushions to fall back on - when one is not going right for us, it doesn't eat away our happiness, we always have the others to take solace in. It might be a hobby, a passion or a unique skill to which we have an outlet.
  • We take good care of our memory. Carefully pruning what we remember and making sure we forget things that should not be piled up, we can build a reservoir that will support us in the worst of times.
  • We see the past and the future in perspective so that the present is not lost. Every moment we have is to be cherished and made the best use of. If the past and the future stake too much claim on us, it is time for some conscious effort to correct the imbalance right away!
  • We try to make others happy everyday. Nice gestures, kind words, intent listening - these can work wonders. A smile in the face of a friend or even a stranger because of us - we might ourselves not realize the impact it can have on us.
This list is purely an attempt at making sure that there is something handy whenever that word - happiness - is spoken of. It is the result of personal experiences and learning that ought not to be forgotten!


Hari said...

Wow.. !! Great Post...

Can't Agree with one point though...

Carefully pruning what we remember and making sure we forget things that should not be piled up

I can't do this. I can neither forgive nor forget. Everything that somebody does, good or bad, is so deeply etched in my memory, that it even (sometimes) dictates my dreams... :)

I don't know whether it is good or bad though... :)

Shiva said...

Thank you Hari...as for forgetting and forgiving, even I struggle, realization is the first step...!

Suganya said...

Nice article! "Carefully pruning what we remember and making sure we forget things that should not be piled up" These words caught my attention too, probably not just because they are the toughest of the lot but, in my opinion, the most rewarding ones too. But I admit I can't follow that always :)

Shiva said...

@Suganya: Thanks and Yes, it is the toughest to practise. We are all human beings after all! :)