The treasure hunt of Happiness

Happiness is an example of pleasant human emotion. It is a very fundamental necessity of life without which it is impossible to survive. Happiness brightens a person’s life, it makes a human being blossom. Happiness is a consequence of sensible life. It is quite easily attainable, if we just alter some of our basic viewpoints of life. But in today’s world, happiness has become unobtainable, people have to go through enormous hardships in pursuit of happiness.

Happiness could be our biggest Treasure

What is the cause of so much misery?

Psychological ailments have become an unwanted associate in many people’s lives. People are creating misery out of each and every aspect of their lives. No matter what they do, no matter with how much passion and intensity they set forth their job, after sometime they are considering it to be a burden, and henceforth resulting in monotonousness and misery. The foul odor of underlying misery doesn’t get wiped out at any cost. Sometimes, joy appears just for some limited moments, but it is misery that remain stuck forever. The reason why human beings suffer the most as compared to other animals is the presence of a much evolved psychological system, and highly sharp intellect. Due to the presence of a highly sharp intellect, people are dissecting each and every delicate aspects of life, and hence end up creating misery out of everything. Human mind is undoubtedly the best gift that has been showered upon humanity, it is this highly complex and exquisite psychological structure that has caused human to rule over other creatures in this existence. This mind could have been a miracle, but due to irresponsible usage, it has become a misery manufacturing machine. The only concepts of rest in this world are sleep, drink or drug. This is because these are the methods to get rid of the ceaseless chatter of one’s mind, these are the ways of switching off the activities of their messed up intellects for some amounts of time. But these are not the appropriate solutions, because nobody can escape out of the clutches of one’s own intellect.

Nobody can escape out of the clutches of one’s own intellect

WHAT IS THE NEED OF HAPPINESS IN LIFE, AND WHERE TO SEEK IT?

All of our experiences are generated from within. We can perceive the world only with the help of OUR sense organs. It is within us that we experience the entire world. Similarly, each and every emotions are generated from within, be it pleasant emotions like joy, bliss, ecstasy, or negative emotions like anger, agony, frustration, depression. Since every thoughts and emotions emerge from within us, we can take absolute charge of it. But since childhood, we have not done anything to pay attention to our mind’s activity and take charge of our own emotions. So our emotions are happening in an unconscious manner. All the negative emotions, be it anger, depression, frustration, anxiety are happening essentially just because our own intelligence has turned against us. If we had the fullest control on our state of mind, had we ever generated negative emotions or turned ourselves bitter? No, we would have always generated positive emotions and remain joyful within, no matter how tough the external situation is. Here, happiness in tough situations should not be confused with carelessness or idleness . Happiness serves as an extremely strong platform on which a high building is possible to be constructed. Only if we are happy by our own nature, we are willing to devote ourselves to anything which is needed in life, evading the bondage of like and dislike. Human beings have become too self-centered just because their happiness is always at stake. People are doing desperate acts to make themselves happy. When we feel joyful, we are free to look after other people’s well being, on the other hand when we are miserable, we are always busy thinking about our own comfort and pleasure. Once we are able to generate pleasant emotions at our will, if our state of joy becomes completely independent of the outside situation, there will be no need to seek pleasure at the expense of someone else’s misery.

Practise of yoga, pranayama or Chinese Tai Chi can be a fantastic incentive in taking charge of one’s mind, and generating pleasant emotions

SO WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

A person who is deeply rooted in his intellect is a non-stop suffering human being. So in order to go beyond suffering, it is highly essential to reach the deeper dimensions of mind that are beyond intellect. Today’s education systems are crafted in such a way that right from our childhood nobody taught us a damn thing about how to tame one’s own mind. People are expected to manage the world without managing their own selves. There is a technology of engineering one’s own state of being. For gaining control over one’s mind, it is absolutely necessary to view the distinction between one’s own self and his mind, that would eradicate one’s identification with his/her mind. Practise of yoga, pranayama or Chinese Tai Chi can be a fantastic incentive in taking charge of one’s mind, and generating pleasant emotions at will. Meditation and deep breathing exercises are highly recommended. The way we breathe has a significant impact on our brains, we can gain access to our very life energies through conscious breathing. I would like to explain a simple process of meditation. Sit comfortably at one place(a cushion would be quite appropriate) , and focus on the continuous passage of breath, watch the breathe to descend down the diaphragm and fill it up, feel the body getting expanded and contracted with every inhalation and exhalation respectively. Continue this for at least 15 minutes. Now there will be many people saying “Meditation doesn’t work for me, whenever I sit for meditation thoughts keep cropping up and distort my focus, I don’t have the ability to forcefully stop my mind’s chatter.” Yes, thoughts will crop up but what one needs to do is to observe them from a distance rather than getting immersed into it by being a part of it. This will separate one’s own self with the ongoing psychological staff. Once this has been done, mind will never be an impediment of life, we will be able to use our mind consciously, and that would put an end to all sorts of psychological suffering.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

WHAT DOES HAPPINESS MEAN TO YOU? HAVE YOU FOUND LONG TERM HAPPINESS YET? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

AMPHAN and the six stormy life lessons it taught me

DISCLAIMER: This isn’t one of our scheduled posts. It’s just that recent events have made today, an optimal time to put some light on the topic that I’m about to speak.  

There’s a saying in my Native language (Bengali) “কারও পৌষ মাস, কারও সর্বনাশ।“, when loosely translated it stands, Someone’s victory is someone else’s defeat. But often times, we have had incidents where through a single defeat or a handful of hardships we win a million precious lessons of life. What I’m about to share might possibly be that sort of a thing.

May 20, 2020,

Since last Sunday, we were having forecasts of a potentially devastating cyclonic storm (AMPHAN) which would enter West Bengal at a charging rate of around 130 kph. Well, I’ve had seen many a storm before, but this one was a Demon. With over 5000 uprooted trees, it sent to ruins thousands of houses and property, causing massive loss of crops and agriculture and claiming around 80 lifes from our state alone.

Photo by Picography on Pexels.com

Was I safe? Yes, but not from the aftermath of this devastating force which nature hurled at us. But as I had mentioned before, there are defeats which win us a lot more lessons than an actual victory would. So amidst such times of turmoil and inconvenience here are 6 important lessons which life taught me the hard way:

1. LIFE IS UNEXPECTED AND DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. To quote Master Oogway  “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but we have today, and that’s why it’s a present”. Amidst the utter distress of this Pandemic, none of us ever realized that some crazy storm will pop out of nowhere and make our already miserable lives even worse. Even this pandemic itself was an unexpected phenomenon. Both The Corona and Amphan show us that there are always so many different possible and unexpected events which might occur at the very next moment of our lives. Hence we shouldn’t take this one precious life for granted and utilize every single present moment we have to make it worth living, for the future is so uncertain.

2. NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF ALL INVENTIONS. We’d lost power supply on the 20th at around 1 pm, our phones and my laptop had drained out of battery within a night, and neither the refrigerator, nor the fans, nor the lights were functional. We were forced to spend the following nights with nothing but candles and lamps, bearing the intense summer heat, which seemed hardly affected even by a storm of such magnitude, not to mention the incessant mosquitoes and fleas. Did I ever even imagine I’d be living the way people did a few hundred years back? Yet I had to, and coupled with the lock-down, at times everything seemed overwhelming and too much to take. But i didn’t have much of a choice then, so I had to endure , despite all the inconvenience it brought. Thus, I realized that there’s hardly things such as” I cannot do it”, or ” it’s impossible for me to do it”, when it’s an extreme necessity, things get done one way or the other.

3.  PATIENCE IS A GIFT. Frequently during this power cut, by virtue of the inconveniences, did I lose my cool, shouting and cursing the authorities for not doing their work properly, and how (if given a chance), I’d completely destroy them irresponsible brats. But even at the peak of such rage and frustration I realised that all of it was just useless monkey chatter and that there was nothing much that I could do other than Patiently waiting and hoping for the best. The summer heat was merciless, even at night, and making a fuss about things beyond my control would only make things difficult. And as for the authorities, well removing 5000 fallen trees ain’t child’s play now is it?

4. TOO MUCH DEPENDENCE ON ANYTHING MAKES YOU CRIPPLED. Well for a guy born and raised in the 2000s, the internet and digital media have become as natural as the air we breathe. It’s really difficult for me to set aside my phone even for a couple of hours, and doing that for three days, well, I don’t think i need to mention the mental fatigue and frustration it produced. Perhaps all that obliterating heat and darkness and other inconveniences couldn’t match the amount of mental turmoil which I faced for not being able to use my beloved phone. I literally woke up to dreams about receiving notifs on Facebook and WordPress (YES I DID HAVE SUCH DREAMS!) and realizing much to my distaste, that it was all but an illusion. But as mentioned before, “NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF ALL INVENTIONS”, and somehow I survived (Yes I had to use that word!), this phase without my phone, resorting to reading as a desperate attempt to kill those never ending lengths of time.

 5. THERE’S ALWAYS SOMEONE IN A CONDITION WORSE THAN YOU ARE, SO BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE. While I was whining about by discomfort (which I’m still doing as I write this post), hundreds if not thousands have had  their houses either annihilated or damaged to the extent that they are no longer safe to live. Over 80 families have lost their loved ones, and thanks to the pandemic and lock-down ,things are hell for many. And here I am, complaining about the heat, the darkness and not being able to use my cell phone and the internet. It seems that Humility and Gratefulness are lessons which I’ve always learnt through harsh examples like these.

6. GLOBAL WARMING IS FOR REAL. My bed used to soak up with perspiration as I helplessly roamed about my room all night, hand fanning myself with the nearest thing I got in an attempt to get exhausted by the work , and then doze off to sleep. Do I need say more?

It’s the 23rd of May today. We received power supply at around 3 pm and internet connectivity a couple of hours after that. So yeah, things have restored back to normalcy for me, yet there are a lot many families who are still forced to live in darkness. A lot more who’ve been rendered homeless within a span of a few hours of cyclonic pounding.  A decade ago, another storming giant AILA had shattered my home state claiming a lot many lives and damaging property. Cyclone FANI had annihilated Odisha last year, and it’s AMPHAN which did hit us this year. Whilst I don’t know how much has this Cyclonic Monster impacted the other states (please let me know in the comments below if you are from outside West Bengal and have had seen AMPHAN affect your state),  our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with the families of those affected.

A COUPLE OF IMAGES TAKEN FROM THE MAY 21 AND MAY 22 EDITION OF ANDABAZAR PATRIKA DEPICTING THE EFFECTS OF AMPHAN IN RURAL BENGAL. PLEASE DO CONSIDER IF THE PHOTOS TAKEN AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH, FOR I AM NO GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER. (WHAT AM I EVEN GOOD AT? DUH)

MAY PEACE BE BESTOWED ON EVERYONE

A FOE NAMED FEAR, A FRIEND NAMED TRUTH

CHAPTER ONE : I SEE A STORM

All of us have experienced that feeling, haven’t we? That rush of adrenaline drenching the heart , the senses, as if strangled by some demon with an iron fist, that dryness in the mouth, those pupils dilating, the air around as if pricking the skin through even with the slightest of its touches. The mind, frozen, and as if in some kind of a trance finally letting go of its hold ,and your entire existence, as if drowning in an abyss of darkness.

That rush of adrenaline drenching the heart, and your entire existence, as if drowning in an abyss of darkness.

Now I can’t say for anyone else, but fear, as it has been in my case, have had given me a very unique taste of itself. And it has come in many different flavors in almost every dish that life has served me so far.And as a testament to my words, I’d like to share a snippet of my life, a phase when fear had almost broken me down to the point where I could take no more of it. A period of time which despite being so detrimental, gave me priceless lessons of living and changed my perspective of life forever.

So here’s how everything started……

It was July, 2019, and somehow I had plenty of spare time and almost nothing to do. Now, an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. The devil in this case being my curiosity, it soon started to work its grip on my mind, drenching it with questions, thoughts and ideas. About life, emotions, humans, and The Absolute Truth, (if there existed something like that). Now, I believe everything has a reason for happening. My curiosity, which I now contemplate, was built on fear, and more specifically on anxiety.

You see, I haven’t necessarily been the smartest, or the most successful person in the room, and throughout my late childhood and my entire teens, I’ve made lots of stupid, cowardly, and immature decisions, and have at often times found myself trapped in situations, where I didn’t have a single clue about what to do. And stuck in a battle between conflicting thoughts, life used to freeze my entire existence, as fear and anxiety would feast on my actions, leaving me with nothing but shame, regrets and insecurities. As a result, a thirst to seek clarity, and solution came natural enough. Now, I believe seeking is like a treasure hunt, and in order to get your solutions, you need a distinct pathway to guide you through.

I BECAME CURIOUS, AND DESPERATE FOR ANSWERS

 Luckily (or not), Spirituality came in as a Guiding Angel to that……

Now, hailing from a Hindu- Brahmin family, spirituality wasn’t entirely an uncharted territory. As a matter of fact, my pre existing (Although limited) notions about this field made the initial phase of my journey quite swift and smooth. The articles and blogs on the web on spirituality seemed pretty reasonable, but they weren’t enough. I realized that I was still lacking a lot. The questions (which tormented me the most) were yet to be answered.

But fate was kind to me (or so I thought), and Mr. Bones (name withheld for obvious reasons) showed some hope. Now Mr. Bones is one of the most celebrated spiritual leaders; And browsing through his videos and countless articles I finally got what I desired the most. A solution book; a guide to all problems of life; where to every possible situation that life might throw, you will have The Correct Response. (Sounds stupid right? Well I was, back then, not saying I ain’t now, but I was more, back then). Hence armed with this notion of having all the answers to life’s problems, and with some passive sense of superiority, I began shaming those people, whom I thought had ill treated me, by showing how ignorant and stupid their ideas were, and how high I had gone pass them, in terms of Knowledge and Truth.

Of the many targets in my list, in came the magicians turn.

Out of the many targets in my list, in came the magician’s turn. Now I’m not going into the details of the battle of wits, which happened between me and the magician (of our group), but as it turned out, that I was ripped apart by the weapons of his mind. And with all my ideas shattered and proven to be more of blind faith, than real solutions, I was back at ground zero. This time carrying the burden of defeat and shame with me too. So the answers to my questions weren’t answers at all it seemed. I had only created a God of Mr. Bones, and that I was still unclear and ignorant about the correct responses to the situations of life.

THE BATTLE OF WITS WITH THE MAGE HAD LEFT ME SCARRED AND BRUISED FOR LIFE

Fear crept in first, followed by anxiety and frustration. The thought that I would still not know what to do if my worst fears came true started eating me alive. My frustration increased to the point where these unanswered questions and conflicting thoughts started to haunt my life and dreams alike. Desperation clouded my mind, and it wouldn’t leave me until I found a resolve.Worst of all was the deterioration which I faced down the line. The journey had started promising and hopeful and all of a sudden everything seemed lost and bleak. And depressed as I was, my mind still pondered. Why such a disaster? And why did it happen to me? Was it my fate, or Was It some test of the Gods?  And standing at that point of time, the latter seemed more likely to me. And somehow the thought brought some comfort and hope along with it. Yes, I was facing a hard time, but things have been worse before. I was alive, and breathing; and wasn’t that a big thing too? The battle might have been lost, but the war wasn’t yet over. In fact one victory’s worth a thousand defeats. Yes I’d been narrow in thinking, but I had my own issues for that. But no more, the magician had defeated me with sheer reasoning, and now was the time to give him a taste of his own medicine, especially now, when the Gods were the watching.

What I’m going to give next are a few of my questions, the answers to which i was desperate to find. (Now after going through them, the reader might think of me as a paranoid, freak and cowardly person, and I take ownership of the fact that yes I’ve been paranoid, and was under psychotherapy until this pandemic. Of my cowardice, well I’m yet to figure out what to do with it).

  • What if someone threw an insult at me? What should be the perfect response? Insulting him back? Well that was difficult, since I wasn’t so good at it.
  • What if I failed at some test, or something which meant the most to me? What would be the correct thing to do then?
  • What if someday my loved ones are harmed or attacked? Could I save them? I usually freeze to death when I see conflict.
  • What should I do with my insecurities?
I was insecure, I was nervous, I was AFRAID.

Mr. Bones had given solutions that seemed so fancy, so easy to implement, but with them being proven no more than some cult advice, it meant that I would have to step outside my comfort zone, and learn things the hard way. The journey for the truth had only begun, and it would definitely make me the best version of myself. But like I said, I was insecure, I was nervous, I was AFRAID.

Will I be able to find the treasure that I desired the most? Stay tuned for the next episode to find out more…….

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