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This futile search for happiness || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2014)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Question: At every point in our life, we want to get rid of the burden, and become happy. But that point doesn’t ever come. How to achieve true happiness in our life?

Speaker: Now that you have realized that happiness hardly ever comes by wanting to be happy, the obvious thing is to not to want to be happy. For so long we all have wanted to be happy, tried to be happy, without being happy.

It has been years, years and decades that you have been wanting to be happy, trying to be happy, trying to achieve happiness, and planning for happiness. And none of that seems to be working. Not for you, not for me, not for anybody else. Obviously, it is futile. Drop it, don’t follow it. Don’t want to be happy. Recall your moments of ecstasy, when you were so joyful that you had forgotten everything else. Recall those moments. In those moments, were you still trying to be happy? In those moments, were you planning about the next day?

Who plans for happiness? The one who is not happy. What is happening is, that in planning for happiness you are constantly telling yourself that- “I am not happy.” In constantly looking at a great future, you are telling yourself that there is something wrong with this day, this moment. When you are constantly telling yourself that- “I am not happy right now, there is something wrong with this day,” then what is happening? You are always ending up finding that there is something wrong with this day. You are always ending up finding some reason to be unhappy.

The one who is happy, is just happy. He does not want to be happy. He is just happy.

What is this business of ‘wanting’? What is this business having a ten-point charter of happiness?

“How to be happy?”

Step 1: Run.

Step 2: Climb the stairs.

What is all this?

Happiness is happiness. What prevents you to be happy right now? Challenge it. What prevents your happiness every moment? Ambitions, notions, emotions, beliefs about happiness, prevent you from being happy. If you have told yourself that- “I will have the right to be happy only when I attain that dream job,” then you have condemned yourself to live in sorrow till you get that job. Is that not what we keep doing? Is that not what parents keep telling their children? “You will be worthy, even worthy of love, only when you will get that particular result.” And that result is always in future.

By telling someone that you will be good enough, you will be lovable, only if you turn out in a particular way, you are telling him that you are not alright as you are ‘now’. You are giving the child a deep inferiority complex. You are telling the child, “Unless you win the race, you are worthless. You don’t deserve our love. Go, become something. Only then you will get our love. Only then you will get respect.”

Even our love is not unconditional.

You have taken that all that in. The same notion has been internalized by you. You constantly tell yourself that happiness is a goal. You have told yourself that happiness is a goal in the distant future. You have told yourself that only achiever has the right to be happy. You have told yourself that you will be happy on that particular beautiful, special day. But that special day never comes. So, when will you be happy?

Stop trying to be happy. Stop wanting happiness. That special happy day will never come. That special day is either right now, or never.

The desire of happiness is the sure shot recipe for unhappiness. The desire of happiness certainly leads to unhappiness. It comes from unhappiness, and it furthers unhappiness.

You are young and you are lucky that nothing is missing from your life. You are born in the information age. The weather outside is beautiful. What prevents you from celebrating? What prevents you from being alive? Even when you walk down the corridors, what prevents you from bearing a faint smile? You are sitting over here, it is neither very hot nor cold here. Everything is alright. What prevents you from taking this as a festival? Every moment is worthy of celebration. Why can’t it be in that way?

The existential party is on twenty-four hours. It does not start at any particular time. It is continuously on twenty-four hours. The party of existence. What prevents you from enjoying that party? You are invited. You are always invited. Go ahead and enjoy the party. Do not become a sulking kid who is always waiting outside the party lawns. Everything is dancing, enjoying. The entire existence is rapturous, and the child is waiting outside and saying, “I am not worthy of entering this party. I will enter this party only when I become something. I am not allowed to enter.”

You are allowed to enter. It is a party of happiness. You are invited. Come in. But you want to be happy. You won’t be happy.

You want love, you will not be in love. You want freedom, you won’t be free. It is such a nice escape. “You know what? I am trying to be free. You know what? I am planning love.” Good wonderful, keep planning.

Do not plan happiness. Do not strive to be happy. Just be happy.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

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