It is necessary for each of us to be at peace and harmony with oneself before trying to conquer the world, trying to gain maximum material happiness and worldly pleasures.
Our concept of happiness for our own selves is indeed falsely premised, since we cannot be happy with the world until and unless we are first happy and at peace with our own selves. Thus, it is important to know and understand our own selves before we try to understand the world and all it stands for. We may spend a lifetime acquiring wealth and material comforts and spending all our earnings on luxurious and ostentatious living, but we still remain short of being satisfied and nourished, at least spiritually. While the lack of materialism does contribute to unhappiness, the presence of abundant materialism does not really ensure or guarantee it. For this, it is necessary to be happy and contented with what one has, irrespective of one’s material status and station in life and not yearn for things which we are too short to reach for. This surely guarantees unhappiness and discontent.
1. Judge oneself before judging the world: If we were to look deep in our own psyches and mindsets, we would soon realize that most of our unhappiness and discontentment stem from one own selves, and not from the world around us. One tends to ignore and excuse our own faults and shortcomings but is quick to find the same in fellow human beings. Our concept of happiness is based on material wealth and richness all while starving our own souls and essential spirits. In our urgency to gain everything for ourselves we tend to forget that happiness is a state of mind that could exist even in the midst of nothing and we could still be starved in the midst of everything.
2. Happiness is a relative term which is not really dependent on externalities: Nobody could rob us of our joys if we decide to be happy and contended, no matter what. The concept of major material fulfillment only adds to displeasures and unhappiness since from then on, we are keener on making ourselves happy rather than enjoying the happy outcomes and joys of everyday mundane existence. Our concept of happiness should essentially stem from what happiness we could provide to the world rather than what we demand from it. The real key to life’s happiness is to give and not to gain.
3. Our concepts of happiness are flawed and falsely premised: Most people think that wealth acquisition and accretion are key to happiness and equate physical happiness with mental wellbeing. While this may be true to certain extent, it may not be entirely with a ring of truth and veracity around it. An indigent person with no wealth, or comfort to his name may experience greater degrees of happiness than a rich man in his palatial house with all external material trappings of a fine life, consuming the select of choicest food and drinking the most exclusive of wines. While bodies are well fed and nourished, psyches and intellects remain impoverished and impecunious.
4. Knowing oneself if the key to knowing the world: When ordinary mortals like I and you search our own souls, we do come to realize that we are just a bundle of live emotions and nothing else. We are reactive to all external stimuli but we tend to ignore, or neglect the proactive nature of our own minds and learning to discern between situations and our own reactions to it. A controlled mind reacts positively and constructively to all external stimuli since it has mastered the art of self control and gained abstinence from negative thoughts, words or actions.
5. Unhappiness stems from our own egos: Nursing, boosting or satiating their ego is natural tendency of humans, exclusive of animals who go by their instincts. Certain circumstances in the lives of most humans bruise the ego, and brings forth baser instincts like pride, jealousy, greed and wrath, among others. However, if humans are able to down play their egos and adopt stoic attitudes towards life and all that it hurls at humans, the reactive forces are laid to rest and the pro active and constructive elements take over. It is necessary that man’s reaction to his environment should be tempered with understanding, empathy and compassion for his own good and also for the good of others.
6. Practice discretion in the face of challenges: It is essential that humans are mentally equipped to face both the best and worst of life and its challenges. Humility, discretion, tact, obedience and compassion, along with reverence are major tools through which most could negotiate the touch spots in life and overcome them. We need to be modest and humble in our victories but it is necessary to be even more humbler and unpretentious in our defeats
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