We are all looking for happiness in every endeavor we engage in. No matter what we do, the ultimate goal is always to experience fulfillment of some kind that results in happiness. Most of the time instant gratification is mistaken for happiness. This new found happiness is short lived, it is not everlasting. Where and how to find that peace and happiness that is always with us should be our search.
One of the teachings of the sages comes to mind, “O human if you want to live in peace you have to remember just two things: forget the good that you have done to the other and the harm that the other has done to you. And always remember God and death.”
Most of our unhappiness comes from our unfulfilled expectations from the other. If we keep thinking about the good that we have done to the other, unconsciously some kind of expectation finds its place in our heart and mind. And when it is not met, we become unhappy. We find ourselves in this predicament when our good deed is conditional. The day we set out to do unconditional good deeds, we sow the seed of our own happiness.
Similarly, when we keep thinking about the harm that the other has done to us, our minds can become preoccupied with getting even. Any satisfaction that is experienced by “getting even” actually does not bring us any solace in the long run. If we look into it deeply, there is again some kind of expectation from the other who we feel has caused harm to us.
The more our attention is on the other, the further we get from our true self. We begin to live a story that is created around our being good and the other bad or our being right and the other wrong. The further we get from our true self, the unhappier we get. The only way to get back to our center is by deeply looking into what I am truly devoted to. Once our attention is shifted towards something higher and unchanging, it becomes easier to return back home to our true self.
One of the definitions of God is that which is beyond mind, unchanging and ever present. When we turn towards that presence in our life, it gives us hope and trust and inspiration blossoms in our heart. As long as we keep seeking instant gratification from the world that is constantly changing and those around us with their own limitations, real happiness will be elusive.
Remembering death also plays a great role in our search for happiness. Acknowledging that our time on earth is limited keeps us in remembrance of the bigger picture. No matter what story we are living, it all comes to an end with the death of the body which is certain for everyone who is born. Not living with acceptance of this natural phenomenon becomes the cause of fear. Contrary to this, acceptance brings us freedom.
May we not waste this precious and limited time we have feeling trapped by our own expectations and hurts. May we live in remembrance of something higher.