Paradox of happiness

Happiness is the fulfillment of spiritual, moral and material pursuits through genuine means
"Therefore whatever we confront in life, be it a miserable person or a miserable situation, think of it as milder than wilder." 
[Image for representational purpose only]
"Therefore whatever we confront in life, be it a miserable person or a miserable situation, think of it as milder than wilder." [Image for representational purpose only]File: Flickr

There are certain assumptions of mind that are not a reality. In other words, some lines are always missing in the spectrum even though they are expected to be there.

They somehow don’t exist. This is as if, whatever should not exist or is not worth existing is already forbidden by laws of nature. God is extremely generous in allowing a hell lot of things and limiting quite a few extremes.

Therefore whatever we confront in life, be it a miserable person or a miserable situation, think of it as milder than wilder.

God is the master of affairs, the custodian of heaven and hell. If something is okay for Him, it should be consequentially okay for us. We find people being mostly illogical and self-centered but, love them anyway. They may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives when you do them good. Also, the good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow but do good anyway.

If one is successful, he will have false friends and true enemies but succeed anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable but be honest and frank anyway. The great minds are shot down by very small minds but think big anyway. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight but build anyway. People may be ungrateful but help them anyway. Keep singing the song, “All is well.” If one learns to live with these paradoxes in life, he will cultivate the ultimate happiness.

By definition, happiness is the fulfillment of spiritual, moral and material pursuits through genuine means. It is perhaps the most highly sought after goal in our life.

Every year in March we observe an International Day of Happiness. On this date, March 21 (and also on 23 September), the centre of the sun is directly above the Earth’s equator, which is called an equinox.

On the equinox, day and night last for almost equal time all over the Earth. The equinox is felt by everyone on the planet, which matches perfectly with the idea behind the Day of Happiness.

The Spring Equinox is particularly the choice because it reflects rebirth and growth. With the arrival of spring, the Earth is coming alive again. The dark months are over and we move into the warmth of the light. Since 2013, the Day of Happiness has been celebrated in all 193 United Nations member states.

This day is not just about positive thinking or giving thanks for what makes us happy in life. It is rather a United Nations project with a more serious purpose.

The UN has set goals for countries to incorporate happiness as a basic human right similar to education and access to healthcare. The Happiness Report is prepared on the basis of certain social, economic and environmental well-being indices.

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the fifth consecutive year in 2022. India is ranked at a lowly 136, even below Pakistan, which is at 121, on the list. The latest list was completed before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While the whole world is facing unprecedented challenges, well being matters more than ever. A prophesy is that by the time Jesus makes a second coming, all people will be self sufficient. It will be hard to find beggars seeking alms.

Those desirous of doing charity will be in a state of pendency. Though we are in a continuous pursuit of material well being and prosperity, it is always important to realise that most of the things we own in life are not earned by us.

Be it beauty, health, intellect, blessings of parents, support of siblings, generosity of elders, warmth of teachers and all good and bad circumstances in life, all mould us well.

All theology teaches us that gratefulness and thanksgiving to God precedes believing in Him. Even if it takes to destroy the universe to establish the idea of gratefulness, it is worth. As someone has said, ‘I will shred this Universe down to its last atom and then create a new one, which doesn’t know what it has lost but only knows what it has been given- a grateful universe.’

There is one more important aspect of happiness related to the mental makeup of a person. It is at a higher plane and very difficult to explain. As William Feather has said, ‘One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person.’ Our societies are gradually getting meritorious and we know the advantages of being intellectually gifted.

What is surprising, though, is that we don’t know drawbacks of the same. Charles Bukowski wrote that, “Sadness is caused by intelligence, the more you understand certain things, the more you wish you didn’t understand them.”

Kise poochun, hai aisa kyun

Bezubaan sa, ye jahaan hai

Khushi ke pal, kahan dhoondhoon

Benishan sa, waqt bhi yahan hai

But sadness can still be glorified by science. MRI imaging and the proliferation of brain research, has found out how sadness works in the brain and influences our thoughts and behavior.

Though happiness is always desirable, sadness can help people improve attention to external details, reduce judgmental bias, increase perseverance, and promote generosity.

All of these findings build a case that sadness has some adaptive functions, and so should be accepted as an important component of our emotional stock.

Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Govt. College for Women, Srinagar

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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