Beware of Happiness
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things”– Albert Einstien (1879-1955)
During our last semester campus placements, Mangat, a charismatic young man was the first one to grab the coveted seven figure salary; he was euphoric on getting the job that all envied. I was a little uncomfortable to see his frenzied exhibition; I felt he was going overboard in his celebrations. Sure enough when I met him six months later, he was miserable; he complained of discrimination by his superiors in office. I asked him to quit the job, and he sighed no one else was paying him as much. He couldn’t continue with the job and he also couldn’t leave it. I silently compared his previous high spirits and realized his misery now was at least twice as intense as the elation he earlier experienced.
One of the first lessons I learnt in my spiritual life was to never get so excited during happiness that you lose focus from the goal of your life. Radhanath Swami often quotes the ancient Indian scripture Bhagavad Gita (2.14) that says,
“One must tolerate the non-permanent appearance and disappearance of happiness and distress for it is like the appearance and disappearance of summer and winter seasons. The accompanying joys and sorrows arise only out of sense perception and one shouldn’t be disturbed by them.”
Imagine you are travelling a long journey at the end of which you are to get a prized possession that you crave for. Would you be too disturbed by trivial incidents that take place on the journey; or would you be enchanted by the seat covers in the train or the colour of the ticket inspector’s uniform? None of the externals would distract you if you are aware of the benefits that would accrue at the end of the travel. Life too is a serious affair; a sacred journey of discovering the self and adding meaning and substance to life. How can we allow petty issues to swallow away our consciousness and suck the vital enthusiasm of our brief but precious life? We learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow and this is possible if we internalize positivity that transcends the inconsequential success and failures of this world. As Irving Berlin, one of the greatest song writers in American history, and who lived over hundred years, put it aptly, “Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it”
Maintaining equilibrium in loss and gain
Maintaining equilibrium in loss and gain is the key to effective leadership. A leader not affected by the swinging fortunes of this world can be focussed on his goals. Conversely, a leader focussed on his goals is also unaffected by the fleeting jubilations and sadness of this world.
How can one attain the stage of maintaining steady equilibrium in all situations of life?
By connecting to sacred principles; living by them and by seeking nourishment in the practies of these principles we can experience a peaceful steadiness. For example if we seek to make the principles of ‘integrity’ or ‘truthfulness’ as our ideals, we’d be nourished by these principles. As life treats us harshly at times, our abiding by these sacred virtues nourishes us. We also get the inner resolve and strength to face reversals that are inevitable. The Australian politician Arthur Calwell said it rightly, “It is better to be defeated on principles than to win on lies” Living by principles fills our heart with a much deeper and fulfilling level of happiness than mere titillation of senses and meagre, short-lived achievements.
(Article written by HG Vraja Bihari Das. Article Source: http://www.leadershipandspirituality.com/wisdom-and-action/beware-of-happiness/)