A disclaimer first, this post has nothing to do with the book "The Art Of Happiness" written by Dalai Lama, I have not read the book, but only came to know about it when I was searching if anyone has already used this title and no surprise that Mr. Dalai Lama has already written a book about it. The post is about my own experiences and struggles, it has nothing to do with the above-mentioned book.
If we look at the history of human civilization, the level and type of stress change generation by generation. We improved our physical comforts a lot because of progress in technological aspects of our lives. Our generation has more access to travel, education, clean water, food, information, medicines, and many other things compared to our previous generations. However, our generation also has more complicated psychological problems. We also have two parallel worlds now: the real world and a virtual world in which we live simultaneously. In spite of all this progress in the physical world, why are we struggling to keep up the same speed in the psychological or mental world? Why suicide rates are going up? Why are we not happy and more connected with each other and help each other in moments of need and desperation? Questions are many, and each individual need to search an answer for himself or herself, the matter of the fact is, we humans are extremely complex organisms and hence our problems are complex and their solutions are going to differ from person to person.
Can we learn how to be happy or is it something depends entirely on our surroundings? Is being happy is a habit or an art? I think one can definitely learn how to be happy. Happiness is extremely personal and this is what people are forgetting, they are getting more into comparative happiness. I see that many people base their own happiness on how happy others are around them. They want to buy that dream house because everyone in their age group has such house, they want that car because that's a status symbol, they want to have a job with six-figure income because that's what they are being told is a successful career is. Many of these perceptions and beliefs are acquired without giving any serious thought what do we want, what are our own needs and desires which make us happy? The biggest problem is that this conditioning of mind starts so early in our lives that we don't even develop a capacity to think about our own needs and desires. This conditioning wires our mind in such a way that we knowingly or unknowingly we start walking on a path paved for us by culture, religion, media, society, or people around us. And mind it, this conditioning is very intense and organized, it's not easy to escape it.
So, how to learn the art of being happy? The basic question is, do we even know what the real happiness means? Is pursuit of personal happiness worth the effort it will take, or it is better to surrender to what our society dictates to us? Why anyone should believe whatever I am writing is the right way to think about the happiness? Actually, that's the whole point of the post, the post is not about to educate you what is happiness and how to be happy, but it is about recognizing the problems which are prohibiting us from being happy or illuding us on a fabricated path of happiness. The first step which anyone can take is to stop engaging in comparative happiness. Not everyone has to go on a vacation, not everyone needs to own a house or a car; we all are different and there is nothing wrong with it; our sex, sexual orientation, race, nationality or any otehr trait doesn't make us any better or worst, we all are unique and recongize this aspect not only about yourself but about others around you as well; education is important not from which college or university you get it; it is important to have fun while doing your job, so if you are dragging every day yourself to work then it is not the right area of work for you try something different. There are many small-small steps which we can take to take control of our own life.
We need to enjoy the journey, struggle, efforts, preparations as much as we enjoy the destination, success, and achievements. If we focus too much on the end-product then we miss so much which is equally important and on which we spent more time than the end-result. We need to recognize that failures, fear, anxiety, depression, stress, joy, and grief all are an integral part of our lives. These emotions are bound to come we need to recognize them and be conscious of our mental hygiene. We should give equal importance to our mental hygiene as we give it to our physical hygiene. All these things will help us to learn the art of happiness. But please remember, there is no universal formula to learn this art. Everyone has to find their own way, you can only tell and decide what makes you happy or sad. You can only decide when you want to buy the house or what type of profession you want to choose, others can always help you to take this decision, but the final decision should be yours and yours only.
Learn to spend some time with your self, try to understand your own identity and value. We get too busy in our daily struggles and get so lost in our surroundings that we don't get time to understand who we are and what we really want. If this post kindles a desire to search for your own path of happiness, then it has served its purpose. No matter how different that path is, how weird you think you are, try to be yourself, try to spread love and compassion. Imagine the world where all are happy and no matter how impossible that task looks we can at least give it a shot. Let's try to make this word a happy place, and let's start by making happy ourselves first.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.