By Sonia Shrestha
“I believe that the very purpose of life is happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we are all seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…” ~ HH Dalai Lama
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is one of the most spiritual leaders in the world and intrigues many of us.
I, personally, find an attachment to him and his teachings. Being highly relatable and loaded with truth, his words inspire the world today.
Happiness is the one phenomenon we all want but not many get. As His Holiness said, the very purpose of our life is happiness—happiness which differs from person to person. For me, it may be getting acknowledged for what I do, for you it might be getting a hike in your pay check. No matter what happiness for us means, we are all looking only for it and we believe once we are happy, we find peace.
“Now sometimes people confuse happiness with pleasure. For example, not long ago I was speaking to an Indian audience at Rajpur. I mentioned that the purpose of life was happiness, so one member of the audience said that Rajneesh teaches that our happiest moment comes during sexual activity, so through sex one can become the happiest. The Dalai Lama laughed heartily. ‘He wanted to know what I thought of the idea. I answered that from my point of view, the highest happiness is when one reaches the stage of liberation, at which there is no more suffering. That is genuine, lasting happiness. True happiness relates more to mind and heart. Happiness that depends mainly on physical pleasure is unstable; one day it is there, the next day it might not be.’ “~The Art of Happiness (HH Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler)
As the Dalai Lama points out, we must not correlate happiness with pleasure, for the former provides tranquillity for life while the latter is transient.
Several things happen to us each day that we see as happiness, but not all have a long life. Indulging into sexual activities, getting a hike in the paycheck, buying a new car, getting a promotion—they all provide us momentary happiness, i.e. pleasure that is transient.
Taking an instance, a person who recently bought a new car will feel joy for a few days or a few weeks, after that, he will get accustomed to it and his earlier happiness will leave him. This is what pleasure is—this is what the Dalai Lama wants us to know and understand.
Every day, I fight a battle with myself—trying to understand what happiness means to me and how I can achieve it. My mind is a maze full of chaos; the devil resides within me, refusing to leave my side even for a split second. This chaos makes it difficult for me to understand in what ways I can consider myself to be happy. After all, not everything that happens to me gives me peace and provides me with the much-needed calmness.
The things that bring me instant calmness are my pen and paper—the chaotic mind that I have helps me put those thoughts into words and thus, let the pain escape through some medium.
As normal human beings, many times it becomes difficult for us to refuse momentary pleasures. Many of us are doing nothing but deceiving ourselves by forging real happiness and in doing so, losing the real essence of it.
The life we are living is a vast ocean, with pleasure and happiness at different levels. Temptations are pleasurable but they do not give us a life-long moment of harmony. Asking ourselves if the concerned decision will truly make us happy can help us get through serious situations by making it easier for us to decide.
None of us really need scientists to help us understand what pleasure is, we all feel and understand it. We know it in the smallest of gestures—the touch or smile of a loved one, the joy of getting a hot cup of coffee on a rainy day. However, for many, pleasure comes in a frantic rapture of a cocaine rush or the ecstasy of a heroin high.
These are also pleasures, which many of us must learn to deal with and come to terms with.
While we cannot ignore transient pleasures, we should know that these would not live with us for long. Knowing the path that can give us happiness and peace is the first step towards finding the never-ending joy. The path is surely not an easy one, but as they say, nothing comes easily.
To conclude, here is a little poem written by me:
The smile I wore each day,
Hid the pain that was inside,
The mask I had applied,
Became an indispensible part of me,
My quest for happiness,
Became a never ending battle,
This pain became a pleasure,
This pain became my inspiration,
This pain became the source of my happiness.
Let the quest continue.
And, here’s wishing the most influential leader—HH Dalai Lama—who helps us look at life positively and who inspires many of us in our everyday fights, a very happy birthday.
Sonia Shrestha is a literature student who is on a journey to know herself, passionate about reading and writing. A quote-aholic (totally addicted to quotes), she loves to find her own meanings in words and loves deep and meaningful conversations. A good book and comfortable surrounding is all she needs.