Happiness IS the way.
Happiness IS the way.
A book I used to keep.
In it, I’d record happenings, conversations, events which brought me some moments of happiness and/or pleasure. I wanted to write them down so that I’d remember them, so that I’d be able to derive some joy from the experienced.
However. Over time, as the records of happy occurrences increased, instead of having the desired effect, the book tended to make me… more despondent, because instead of focusing on the happiness they brought me, I’d think: These experiences are past, and they will probably never happen again. The recording of these events, if anything, only heightened my nostalgia for conversations and people which might never take place or appear in my life again. Needless to say, happiness would not come near such thoughts.
Today, as another happy conversation unfolded, I wanted to record it down somewhere – but I had disposed of this book some time ago. Fortunately, I had thought to take a picture before doing so. That got me thinking and reflecting on the purpose of my writing down things in the first place… Perhaps what I need to change is not the act of writing itself, but my attitude and mindset as I look back on them.
Instead of feeling despondent that these happenings are over and past, I should feel blessed that I had the chance to encounter them in my life. A kind word, a pleasing exchange, an act of kindness – these are things which mean a lot to me, and noting them down should serve as a reminder that I have been fortunate enough to experience them, that there is still human warmth to be sought in this world, and not all hope is lost.
So… Maybe I should start a second book 🙂
“Generally speaking, one begins by identifying those factors which lead to happiness, and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, one gradually eliminates those factors which lead to suffering and cultivates those which lead to happiness.”
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Let’s see… Factors which lead to suffering? The Ego. Desires. Fear.
Factors which lead to happiness: Compassion. Love. Selflessness.
Now that we’ve identified them, the actual elimination and cultivation can begin.
And this is the story of Life.
“Seeing others as basically compassionate instead of hostile and selfish helps us relax, trust and live at ease. It makes us happier.”
Reading this, my thoughts came to some people, and even students, whom I have found myself disliking at work.
I tried to come from the viewpoint of – we are all victims of the system. No one wants to be in such a system, yet it is where we all are. None of us started it, yet we are all in it. No one wants to be judged, yet we are all forced to pass judgement, formal or otherwise, on each other. Isn’t that enough to make one feel a stronger sense of compassion for everyone?
And if I could learn to see that others may not always mean what they say, and look at their intentions instead of their words at face value – I might start to realise that behind every seemingly harsh word and action, is also a being who yearns to be accepted, to be told that they are doing their job well, to be loved and to be understood. Isn’t that enough to generate a sense of compassion towards even those who appear mean and rude?
And if we could learn to see everyone in a better light, it would make us less troubled by them, their words and actions. It would, ultimately, make us happier, because we would really feel that the people around us are not hostile and selfish. We would then try to be nice and caring towards them, and they in turn would become more nice and caring towards us. It’s a positive cycle.
This is if we lived in an ideal world, of course. If we were all saints, we would be able to do so with the snap of a finger, and I would not be sitting here, typing thoughts like these out.
Till that time comes, I guess I’ll have to be content with trying. And trying. And trying 🙂