People tend to confuse happiness and pleasure and depending on the emotions referring to this, arise positive or negative feelings. This is one of the biggest problems people encounter in their lifetime. But if you really want to cultivate happiness throughout your life, there are a few things to consider.
True happiness is permanent, while pleasure is not.
When we believe that true happiness is found in external causes and its possessions, it is not surprising to find that when these causes disappear we feel a lack and this generates negative feelings.
“Happiness is your true nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside. The method is summed up in the words ‘Be still’.”
― Ramana Maharshi
The conclusion is that true happiness can not be removed, even if we want it. It is not foreign or distant. Happiness is not something we build step by step. Happiness is here and now.
When you consciously turn the mind inward and plunge deep into you, you immerse yourself in happiness, dive into your own existence where fear, insecurity, and anguish have no place.
This is the only safe place you can find to control your mind and you will do wonders by getting rid of misery and at the same time, you will improve your emotional and mental state.
“Realisation is not acquisition of anything new nor is it a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage”
― Ramana Maharshi
What does ‘be still’ mean in the first quotation? It is precisely the art of removing the camouflage or how to bring awareness back to the present moment?
Can you really do something to cultivate happiness throughout your life?
The answer to this question is yes. Because we have to make an effort to admit that happiness is nowhere else and it is not to be sought in what we are projecting.
We are beings who are used to projecting the mind outward, it is an act that we have practiced since our childhood. And it is very difficult without the help of a sage to turn the mind inward and contemplate who we are.
The answer to this question is also no. Because happiness is not something that you must acquire while working hard. This requires no effort. You must understand that you are the real happiness you are looking for.
Perhaps you may say that my remarks are a bit contradictory because, in the first part, I said that you have to make an effort and in the second part, I said, it takes no effort.
Let me illustrate that by referring to a specific example. Breathing exercises is a common practice in meditation, we can concentrate on the breath to bring the mind back to a single idea and it takes some effort. But when we do not control the breath, it is made of itself, that is to say, with no effort. This is two aspects of the same thing.
We might argue that it is two different aspects of the same thing but no. We can control our breathing with a little effort and the breathing is done on its own, this is the same aspect.
Listen to what Alan Watts has to say about that and make your own judgment.
Now, what is left for you to do? Just be aware that your life is wonderful and by experiencing real pleasure at every moment, you can cultivate around you happiness, the joy of living. Lay down your burdens by bringing your mind inward. By doing this, you will take control of your thoughts and you will discover that Happiness is you.
Thanks for reading and listening!