The Whys and Hows of Happiness

The Whys?

“Why be happy”, a friend asked me during an IM conversation.“Why be happy”, he said, “when life offers enough reasons to be bitter ?”  I was a little confused and taken aback by his question. I am the kind of person who is either happy or trying to be happy most of the time. And here he was,  questioning that entire philosophy. My mind was disoriented for a moment. I didn’t really have an answer. Why am I trying to be happy ? Why ? And then it came to me. I choose happiness because happiness is independent. It is free. It can be experienced even in the absence of all external factors. It is solitary. Quite simple, isn’t it ? To be bitter, you need someone to be bitter at. To be sad, you need something to be sad about. To be happy, all you need is you. And to be.

A few days later, I thought about happiness once again.

“You can’t be all cheery faced and joyful all the time”, I said.

Yeah, I had the following conversation with myself.

“True. Sorrow is a part of life and it exists for a reason. You need to acknowledge it. You need to live with it for a while without fighting it. But make sure you don’t get too cozy with it.  Because it can be like a warm old quilt. You know, the one made from your grandmother’s sarees. The one that you bring out when you feel defeated. The one that you hide behind. The one that weakens you if you stay with it for too long.”

“But, sometimes you need to be comforted. You need to recover.”

“Yes you do. But believe it or not, the only way to heal, is to get assaulted. Open the windows and let the fresh coldness of happiness come and attack you. Let it have its way with you and leave you with a running nose, wet eyes and a rapidly beating heart. Let it infect you. Awaken you.”

The Hows ?

“Okay, so how to do it then”, I questioned relentlessly, “How to be happy?”

“I am not going to tell you everything. You need to figure this out for yourself. But I’ll tell you this. To be happy, first, you need to be strong. For happiness is like being out in the open. Unsheltered. Exposed. You are vulnerable. The only gradient at that point is negative. So strengthen yourself.”

“So I need to be strong to be happy. Hmm. What do I do next ? Tell me, please!”

“It will come to you.”

And it did. It came to me when I was at the gym yesterday, trying to burn some calories while watching “The Pursuit of Happiness”. I like the movie, but yesterday it’s title got me thinking. I realized that there cannot be a pursuit of happiness. For it comes in many ways, shapes and forms and if you pursue a few of these, you won’t even notice the others that come knocking.  So how to be happy then, I continued to wonder. Once again the answer was very simple. You decide. Happiness is a decision, a choice. You simply make it. Now.

Soap BubblesHa(pp)i-ku

soapy spheres,

floating on the light,

happiness in the air.

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5 Responses to The Whys and Hows of Happiness

  1. Rujuta says:

    your monologue with yourself reminds me of Richard Bach’s writing style in Illusions!

    • Ah! I don’t think I have read that one,(read the seagull one) or may be I have. I remember you gals reading it/discussing it on Boat Club. Will get a hold of it and see who is this guy who is writing like me 😛

  2. Trupti says:

    Beautiful post! In the past few months, I have had a similar monologue with myself. The answer is always – “What other choice do I have ? ” Sitting around and moping is an easier.. but much worse and less appealing option!
    There was this book I read recently – “You can be happy, no matter what ” . I thought the book made a lot of sense. Check it out – you might like it as well..

  3. upasnakakroo says:

    The pursuit of happyness is a great movie. It’s all too easy to be led on a path that give us far too many outs and we stop creating happiness. However, what’s more challenging is also more rewarding- the effort to keep creating. And making up the hows in the process.

    Upasna
    Someplace Else

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