Audrey Hepburn, one of the greatest and most glamorous actresses to have ever lived, said ‘I believe happiest girls are the prettiest girls’…..profound and probably holds true for every human being, irrespective of age, gender or class. Considering this truth, then why is it that we have this habit of postponing happiness, while each of the experiences of getting angry, grumbling, and complaining often occur instantly?! Here is a simple yet profound commentary by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, humanitarian and Founder of the International Association For Human Values, a global voice for peace and diversity and one of the most revered spiritual teachers of our times, on the art of being effortlessly happy and an exploration of what makes happiness a mirage for many of us.
By His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Every living creature wants to be happy. Whether it is money, power or sex, you get into it for the sake of happiness. Some people even enjoy misery because it gives them happiness!
To be happy, we seek something. But despite getting it, we are not happy. A school-age boy may think that if he goes to college, he will be more independent, free, and therefore happy. If you ask a college-age boy whether he is happy, he feels that if he gets a job, he will be happy. Talk to somebody who is settled in their job or business, you already know what he will say! He is waiting to get a perfect soul mate, to be happy. He gets a soul mate, but he now wants a kid to be happy. Ask those who have children if they are happy. How can they relax until the children have grown up and have had a good education and are on their own. Ask those who are retired, are they happy? They long for the days when they were younger.
All of one’s life is spent in preparing to be happy someday in the future. It’s like making the bed all night long, and never taking the time to sleep. How many minutes, hours and days have we spent our life being happy from within? Those are the only moments you have really lived life. Those were perhaps the days when you were a small kid, completely blissful and happy, or a few moments when you were surfing, swimming or sailing or on a mountain top, living in the present moment and enjoying it.
There are two ways of looking at life. One is thinking that, “I’ll be happy after achieving a certain objective.” The second is saying “I am happy come what may!” Which one do you want to live?
Life is 80 percent joy and 20 percent misery. But we hold on to the 20 percent and make it 200 percent! It is not a conscious act, it just happens. Living in the moment with joy, alertness, awareness and compassion is enlightenment. Being like a child is enlightenment. It is being free from within, feeling at home with everybody, without barriers.
Don’t judge and don’t worry about what others think of you. Whatever they think, it is not permanent. Your own opinion about things and people keeps changing all the time. So why worry about what others think about you. Worrying takes a toll on the body, mind, intellect and alertness. It is like an obstruction that takes us far away from ourselves. It brings us fear. Fear is nothing but lack of love. It is an intense sense of isolation.
About The Author
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an international humanitarian leader and a spiritual master who is the global rallying voice of this generation’s collective call for peace.
Named one of the “Seven Most Powerful People in India,” by Forbes, his world-renowned meditation techniques helped end the 60-year conflict in Colombia. He has been credited with bringing opposing parties together to facilitate meditation and peace talks in Iraq, Cote d’Ivoire and India.
Founder of the Art of Living Foundation and International Association for Human Values, Sri Sri is leading the way toward peace and tolerance through meditation and humanitarian efforts. Over 35 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in over 150 countries.
“Sudarshan Kriya,” the meditation technique introduced by Sri Sri is backed by research and implemented in schools, corporations, prisons, refugee camps and retreat centers around the world. As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri has rekindled traditions of yoga and meditation that have helped millions of people achieve personal and social transformation by relieving stress and discovering inner peace in daily life.