In our previous article on Sustaining Happiness, we have discussed about how to overcome sorrow and suffering, endeavour to change our old patterns of feeling and thinking, about circle of influence and how to increase it to include the concerns that you may want to address. Let us now further see how to cultivate this habit of happiness.
Where do you look for Happiness?
Seeking happiness in external things and external to ourselves is not long-lasting. Happiness is a state of your being. You must experience it, live it! To some extent it does depend on external conditions. Like, you cannot be maintaining your inner poise while you are toiling outwardly and working hard. You cannot ignore the external causes that are keeping you away from happiness. You must address them. Maintaining inner happiness does not mean becoming sluggish and dull. It only indicates, maintaining your zeal as you strive through challenges in life.
Happiness is a Choice
If you want to be sad, that’s a choice you make. There will always be issues or problems to get stuck with or hold on to. But if you structure your mind to be happy, you can sustain it.
Many people have a comfortable house, a good car and a lovely family. But they are still not happy. Without inner happiness, you either worry too much or become critical. The problem is not external discomfort, but it is about not spending time the right way or not working for the purpose that you have come for. If you don’t utilize your capabilities, you cannot be happy. By just propagating the teaching, you will be happy. Contributing to someone’s good health, happiness and mental peace, gives you contentment.
Think over, if you are critical at others, it means you are not happy. By wasting time also, you become unhappy, even if everything else is fine.
Make Amends to be Happy
Make a choice that you will be happy whether you have enough or little; are healthy or otherwise; have a job of liking or not; have healthy relationships or strained ones! There will be difficulties, difference in opinions or challenges. Unless you remember to keep yourself happy, you may be dis-heartened or in pain.
For example, say, you have some pain or fever. You can be grateful that you have time to take a break or rest. You may utilize this time to do something that you have been wanting to, like reading a book.
Come to a decision that you will stay happy within, no matter where you are or what you are doing! You don’t have to wait for the circumstances to improve or for colleagues, relatives, people around to change. All you have to do is to maintain the Crown chakram big. That’s the key! You will automatically experience bliss. Like a lotus in dirty water, you will remain untouched with struggles around. So, learn to make your Crown big! Now!
The experience of bliss helps you endure happiness, with everything going on around. You go through it calmly, as a necessity for you to develop. You perceive all that’s happening around is for a reason, for something to learn from. With that understanding, your Crown chakram remains big. When the Crown is big, it connects you to the Intuitional plane. However, when you start complaining, your Solar Plexus chakram, the centre for lower emotions, takes over.
Make a resolution today to be happy within yourself. Say, “I am the Soul with the bodies. I am not these unpleasant emotions; I am not these disparaging thoughts!” Establish a goal to maintain your Crown chakram bigger, irrespective of come what may! It’s a choice you make. Regular practice of Planetary Peace Meditation makes you achieve this.
When struggling utmost to maintain your calm, uproot the causes of unhappiness. That is inner reflection! Like many times in the ashram, we remove parthenium. The moment we see one, we remove it. Now there are hardly any parthenium plants. But if we forget to remove them, they grow back again, everywhere around. Therefore, it’s a continuous process. Especially, it is easy to remove them when the soil is wet, when it rains. Similarly, remove the disagreeable tendencies when you practice in a group. It becomes very easy to remove them, like when the field is wet.
What takes away your happiness? Some of the common causes and also ways to adopt happiness:
Avoid any kind of excessiveness, whether it is overindulgence in eating, sleeping, working, leisure or in any other activity. No matter how gratifying that it may appear at first, any immoderation will lead to unhappiness.
2. Needs vs Desires:
Know the difference between your needs and desires. You may want a spacious house, or a comfortable car, substantial bank balance, etc. All that is ok. Many people have acquired a lot of things. It is their choice. That’s completely fine. However, your needs are only a few, while your desires can be limitless. As mentioned earlier, happiness through external things is only temporary. In order to find freedom and bliss, attend mostly to your needs!
Many people accumulate crockery, expensive furniture or build a house with many rooms, only to use them when some guests and family come over. But they don’t seem to use these even when they have guests. They still seem to keep these crockery, furniture and rooms locked, in order to take care that they don’t get spoilt. It is the same with a lot of clothes that we have and similarly with many other things. Many get chained to their big houses or properties and cannot move around freely leaving them behind. They are stuck in maintaining and taking care of them.
Don’t waste time when you go for shopping. You may end up buying a lot of things that you may actually not need. Try to list out and stick to it as much as possible. You can save time as well as prevent yourself from over indulgence.
If you want freedom or bliss, then detach! You can fly in the inner world; you can easily reach the Intuitional or Buddhic plane in meditation. So, try to go by need basis as much as possible, you can be free and happy.
3. Nit-picking and Fault Finding
Look out for good things. World has many things to appreciate and feel grateful for! Avoid focusing on other’s weaknesses or things that are not up to your mark. That way you might lose sight of the good.
Master used to say, by meditating on a tough person, you might become like him. So, by directing your attention to the disagreeable tendencies, you may start to develop them! Instead concentrate on the positive, you will embrace it!
Also, by focusing on other’s short-comings, you may pay little attention to the Soul in front of you. Appreciate, recognize and respect the divinity in the other person, you will be able to imbibe the good qualities from the person.
Sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu! Sarve means every; Bhadrani represents auspicious or goodness; Paśyantu is to see.
Master reminded many times that what you focus on, you will become! So, do not focus on the issues, instead focus on the Higher Beings and the Great Ones.
When in a difficult situation, maintain your inner calmness. Think about what is the worst thing that can happen. Do not get worried. Look at what can be done now. Be prepared for the worst, though hope for the best. You can get rid of worry by constant practice of unwavering peace.
Affirm, “I am the Higher Soul, a being of peace and bliss”. This physical world is real, but a changing or transient world. The world of the Higher Soul is relatively a permanent world. Bring the peace and bliss from the higher realms into yourself, your environment and others around. They will also get motivated.
When you are worried or hurt, absorb yourself into something that takes your entire attention. Like, read a book or solve a puzzle. Read uplifting or motivating words of the Great Ones. Read a passage or a quote and analyze its meaning, and meditate on it. Try to implement and live the teaching.
For example, you read about forgiveness. Check how you can forgive and forget. Practice deeper forgiveness. Does someone who wronged you come in your mind often? Try to forgive each time you realize it. Then, the person may not come in your mind so frequently! When you forget, it implies that, the issue has dissolved. It must be repeated many times to get there. As Buddha said, forgive and forget for your own good health and happiness! Practice and live the teaching.
Similarly, you may pick up many other sentences from the Great people. You may also try picking a sentence from Constancy Affirmation or Affirmation on the Atma.
5. Unwholesome Habits:
Keep away from the influence of bad habits and behaviors. Rid yourself of any unwholesome habits by erasing them and developing the opposite good quality. It takes some time to either undo and change any habit. Try to work on your long-formed habits of reacting in a haste when angry, quickly judging, jealousy, excessive fear or any particular quality that you want to improve upon. All these cause unhappiness.
Understand the Golden Rule. It states, “Do to others, what you want others to do to you” and “Do not do to others, what you do not want others to do to you.”
If you do not like being criticized and judged, you must be more careful while picking on others or gossiping about them to others. Instead of focusing on others, you may reflect within. There are plenty of emotions, thoughts and habitual actions, you may have to work on. You may use the erasing technique, YPV healing, breathing exercises or Planetary Peace Meditation to free yourself from these.
7. Unkind Words:
Unkind words affect relationships, thus causing unhappiness. Being kind does not mean accepting and agreeing to everything. In case of disagreement, try to stay calm. It requires inner strength to not blurt out and watch your speech. Practice forgiveness. Slowly master it, to be able to practice instantly as and when required. Learn to radiate goodness in your thoughts, emotions, speech and action all the time! First, start with family and people around you. Then, slowly you will be able to extend this kindness to other people too.
It arises due to comparison and competition. As the Guru used to say, competition is civilized form of warfare. It affects teamwork and harmony.
9. Excessive Joking:
Watch for joking and laughing at the cost of others. Also, excessive joking can make you restless. Your Crown chakram may dwindle. In order to maintain your connection higher and to meditate properly, you must be calm and happy inwardly. Happiness in the world here, comes from the bliss above, from the higher planes of Intuitional and above.
10. Importance of feedback or Spiritual Buddies:
Sometimes elders or teachers scold you, so that you hold yourself back from making further mistakes or mend your ways. You must be thankful to them, even if you were hurt when they pointed out or disciplined you. With their intervention at the right time, you must have got benefited.
In Arhat Yoga system, we suggest having 2 Spiritual Buddies. They are the people who tell you where you must check yourself. Take the feedback with humbleness. And also, make sure you work on it. According to Madame Blavatsky, if you have Spiritual Buddies, you can accelerate your progress to become a Paramahansa or even higher in the same incarnation. Instead, if you are in a denial mode and keep justifying yourself that you are right, then you cannot progress much.
Initially, any kind of self-control may feel uncomfortable. You may think that you are missing out or losing some fun. But slowly you may start to enjoy it. Like, when we first tell people to take less salt or no salt, they find it very difficult, as though something is snatched away from them. But after sometime, they gain better health and enjoy better life!
12. Brooding over your flaws:
Do not brood too long on your failings. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Also, recall the good things you have done. It boosts your self-esteem. Similarly, see the good that exists around. Be grateful for all that you have, than dwelling on what you are missing.
13. Golden Rule:
As mentioned earlier, the Golden rule states, “Do to others, what you want others to do to you”.
If you want to be heard, then extend similar empathy to others; If you want to be loved, then give love to those who need your love; If you want forgiveness, then start with forgiving those who wronged you; and so on.
Be a role model. That will help inspire others to improve rather than through your anger, lecture or wishes.
If you do not do service or contribute to others, then any amount of your accomplishments will not help sustain your happiness. Constant and regular service is the key!
15. Accept the situations and people around:
Raise above likes, dislikes, comfort, discomfort, etc. Don’t react to life’s ups and downs. Bring a change within yourself than blaming the situations and people around.
You put on the footwear, depending on the condition of the road. You cannot change the road. It takes time. Instead prepare yourself to accept it and move forward. Do not get perturbed with how the route appears.
16. Meditate regularly:
True happiness cannot be found outside Self. Spend some time in search of that lasting happiness or bliss. Practice meditation daily! It is like you are caged in a jail or chained. When you meditate, you are taken out of the jail on a tour and you come back. You may forget about this experience when you get back. After a few attempts, you may remember the experience.
Real happiness or Ananda is there in the higher planes. When you realize that, you pursue for that inner happiness and come out of the jail or restriction.
17. Constant recollection of One’s True Nature:
No matter what you are doing, remind yourself that, “I am the Soul, extending into the Incarnated Soul, for a purpose! For that purpose, I am upgrading my bodies, the physical, etheric, emotional and mental. I am balancing them, maintaining them, aligning them, using them, while also aligning with a Group for bringing peace and bliss on Earth.”
Constantly recollect that you are a Soul experiencing peace and bliss!
18. Work for the Divine Plan:
If you do not work for what you have come for, there will be some dissatisfaction. Balance your duties and that of the work for the Divine plan. Every day you must contribute in some way to this plan! You will automatically be bursting with happiness.
Accustom yourself to be happy using various ways! Listen to soothing music. Keep right books, material or lectures and audios handy to read or listen to. They are already created for humanity.