Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In Pursuit of Happiness: Relevance of Small Acts
The other day an artist friend called me from Mumbai. She sounded a bit depressed. She said nothing big was happening in her life. She was not happy with whatever small things happening in her life.
On the same day, one friend from abroad came on the chat line. We talked about life and happiness. He suggested me to go to hills to spend summer holidays. I told him that I was okay with the summer and though I could have considered a vacation in the hills, thanks to other reasons I could not make it this year.
Then he asked me this question: What makes you happy, happy inside?
This question set me into thinking. Then I remembered this story:
One day a rich man was passing by a village in his car. The scene of winding path traversing through the rice fields and the gentle breeze wafting over the green grass blades excited the rich man. Suddenly one of the tires got punctured.
While the driver was changing the tire, the rich man came out of the car and took a good look at the scenery. Under the shade of a huge tree, on a charpoy there lying was an old man with a jug of water and a hookah.
The rich man walked up to the old man and said hello. They started talking many things. The rich man liked the old man. While talking the old man revealed that all those fields and orchards belonged to him.
Why don’t you sell a few of these and invest in some business in the city?, asked the rich man.
After that?, was the counter query of the old man.
You could make a lot of profit, said the rich man.
Then, asked the old man.
Then, you could take rest in your life, said the rich man.
That’s what I am doing now and I am happy about it, said the old man.
It was a great lesson for the rich man.
What brings you happiness is a very important question. My friend who was waiting for the big things to happen in her life was not happy because she was not seeing the small things happening in her life.
My foreign friend who had asked me about happiness was trying to know the source of my happiness, if at all I had something called happiness.
In fact, I am happy. And my happiness stems from the things that I do. I do only those things that I want to do. Nobody forces me to do anything. Whenever I am forced to do things, I feel depressed and sad.
I have found out ways to be happy from inside.
It is a luxury to do whatever you love to do in life. Everybody cannot do that.
But everybody can be happy from inside if they follow the following things:
1. Realize that one is nothing compared to the immensity of the universe.
2. Be alert always. I always say, be sharp like a razor’s edge or the tip of a needle.
3. Take life completely in.
4. Enjoy whatever you are doing. Even if you are mopping the floor, cutting vegetables, washing plates, spreading clothes, cleaning the bottom of your child. Do it with complete devotion, alertness and love. It becomes enjoyable.
5. Don’t postpone anything.
6. Don’t get agitated by simple things.
7. Be clear in communication.
8. Speak the right words and express the right intentions.
These are not that great eight fold path of Buddha. I am not Buddha. I have my moments of frustration. But I try to follow these points always.
Small things happen because they are the seeds of big things. Believe in small acts that would result into big acts.
That is one way to happiness.
Believe that your path is unique. You are your path and destination. Treat yourself with respect and devotion.
You are invaluable. But know that you are dispensable too.
Whatever you do for your inner happiness should be providing happiness to the other too.
I am not saying anything new. I am just reminding myself that these are the ways to keep that internal spring of joy intact and ever flowing fresh.