I have sometimes wondered as to “What is the definition of happiness ? ” in life. It could mean different things for different people. Some may be happy with wealth while others may be happy with good health. Some may be joyful with friends and family while others may enjoy loneliness.
Each of us can evolve our own definition of happiness. This could change from country to country, region to region and individual to individual and nothing wrong with that. After all every human being is different and has the ability to define happiness for herself or himself.
One of my favourite theories is that “Health & Happiness money cannot buy “. We have to find ways and means to be healthy and happy at all times. Let us explore how we could be happy today. Happiness is a state of mind and attitude to life. It is not a commodity which money can buy.
I have seen people with all the wealth in the world and still unhappy. On the other hand, I have seen people who find it difficult to have two square meals a day but still are very happy. This may be possible because these people learn to be happy with nothing in life.
The art of being happy is contentment. If we learn to be happy with what we have, we may be happy with what we get in life. If we keep complaining with what we have, we will never attain happiness in life. So, the secret to happiness is to be happy with nothing more than what we have already.
One of the ways to attain contentment could be to compare ourselves with the have nots. There may be millions of people around the world and in our own country who do not have half as much as we do. But, we still remain unhappy because we tend to compare ourselves with people who have more than us.
There is nothing wrong to be ambitious in life. We all aspire to work hard, make more money and get more wealth. As long as we do that in the ethical way, it is fine. But, the day we realise that wealth may not be the source of all happiness, we may have arrived.
This realisation may come later than we think. It is easier to follow the rat race. All of us have done it or are doing it. It is difficult to be content. Contentment is a state of mind. It is our ability to be satisfied with ourselves and our belongings in absolute terms. Any relative comparison leads us to discontentment resulting in unhappiness.
Ambition can lead us to compete with ourselves. It can stretch our imagination of excellence as a journey and not as a destination. However, accumulation of wealth may not lead to happiness. It could lead to material satisfaction but not necessarily mental well being. So the secret of happiness may lie in striking the balance between wants and needs.
As in the photo above, this bird seems to be happy with nothing.
Happiness may be the art of ensuring that we work on fulfilling our needs and not our greed. As long as our want and needs are fulfilled, we may be inclined to be happy. The moment greed surpasses needs in us, it may lead to unhappiness.
Let us learn to be happy with nothing.
S Ramesh Shankar
20th December 2018