The practical path to happiness: make two lists!

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Kul Bhushan writes on the pursuit of happiness. Published in Happy Ho! on April 4, 2019.



The goal of human life is to be happy.

Happiness is never a pursuit. You can’t run after happiness. Not as a pursuit, happiness comes after you. This means we have to do something else by which happiness follows us instead of we following happiness.

It comes by itself when you are fully involved in something. If you are working for others, sharing your thoughts, emotions and ideas, not always physical possessions, listening instead of lecturing, complimenting others for their genuine achievements, among other connecting initiatives, happiness will follow.

And if you work for improving your surroundings, planting trees, saving water, teaching literacy, cleaning up your surroundings, greeting and helping the old and the needy with a few kind words, you will experience happiness without knowing it.

But if you are working hard for money, you will never have enough of it as your mind wants more and more. Or, if you are trying for a big social or political position, you will never be happy as your mind wants to climb higher and higher up the ladder until you discover that it is futile and frustrating at the top.

Once you become total in every second, become firmly rooted in the present moment with whatever the task is at hand and do it totally, you are lost in it. In that moment, you are happy without even realising it. Even small tasks like cleaning your desk, drinking a cup of tea or peeling a fruit can be totally engrossing if you do not let your mind fly to other tasks, things and people.

Once you start thinking and complaining about what you don’t have – a better home, a bigger car, a higher income, an overseas holiday or whatever is lacking – you sow the seeds of unhappiness. Then you push yourself into a corner, away from the main stream of life.

You start asking yourself questions like: Why am I so unlucky? How come my neighbor has such a big car? When will I go on an overseas trip? What is it that my colleague receives promotion after promotion and I don’t?

These questions lay the foundation of a long and dissatisfied life, leading to depression. How to avoid all this?

Step back. Yes, step back from your daily life and carry out this practical exercise. First, make a list of all your complaints or what you do not have and would very much like to possess. Second, make a list of all the blessings you have, starting with the greatest gift of all: your life for which you have done nothing. Then comes health which is greater than all the wealth of this world. When you are healthy, you are happy. Now comes love; love from your family and friends, and finally, the long list of worldly possessions you have.

Now compare the list of your complaints with the list of your blessings. You will invariably find your blessings to be more than your complaints. There you are! Now you have no reason to be unhappy.

Just change your attitude, your perspective of looking at life and the best way of doing this is by witnessing it all with meditation.

Osho says, “My effort here is to create bliss, not happiness. Happiness is worthless; it depends on unhappiness. Bliss is transcendence: one moves beyond the duality of being happy and unhappy. One watches both; happiness comes, one watches and does not become identified with it. One does not say, ‘I am happy. Peace, it is wonderful.’ One simply watches, one says, ‘Yes, a white cloud passing.’

“And then comes unhappiness, and one does not become unhappy either. One says, ‘A black cloud passing’,” adds Osho, “I am the witness, the watcher. This is what meditation is all about, just becoming a watcher.”

Quote by Osho from
Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1, Ch 9, Q 4

Kul BhushanKul Bhushan is a regular contributor

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