This book is about happiness and how to be happy.
I have kept this book simple. This does not mean that I have ignored difficult issues of life, but that every great difficulty can be handled, one step a time in simple ways. I have touched the same. I have addressed very complex issues with simplicity in approach.
Happiness is one of the most fundamental values of the human race: It is an ultimate measure of psychological success.
Efforts, people, trophies and expensive collections tend to lose their worth, importance, value and meaning to us if they fail to contribute towards our happiness. Almost all literature on success, love and motivation is based on the concept of external success along with internal happiness. If you have won a match and you are not happy, psychologically you have lost. If you have married a person and you are not happy, you have lost the love. If you have achieved financial success and you are not happy, your possessions lose their charm for you.
Despite happiness is an intrinsic message by the universe being there all around and inside of us, we misinterpret it, do not understand it and tend to explore it where it is not. Happiness in my view is yet to be discovered by lot of people, who are desperately looking for it. People who do not know how to be happy are never able to savor life. They devastate themselves and the people around at a constant and continuous pace.
I had always been a positive person, but did not know how to be happy, when I really needed to be most i.e. under challenges and in tough times.
Happiness is something that determines our quality of life every moment. If we aren’t happy, then all our achievements, wealth, relationships, careers and accumulations seem to mean of little or no value. Thus happiness is one of the core human values and one of the most basic desires we possess.
None of us ever gets up in the morning expecting to suffer. During our whole life, whatever we do, whatever we think of, whatever we dream and whatever we plan, has at its background, a deep desire for feeling happy. A desire for wellbeing is not complete without a feeling of genuine happiness. For people, even who do not value happiness in their list of top values, unconsciously seek happiness. The search for happiness is so profound that it has shaped our behaviors and feelings. To change things we either need to change our feelings (how we feel) and change our behaviors (how we act). Leaving out psychological exceptions, none of us ever wants to be unhappy. We as far as we are human beings, consciously or unconsciously are in search of happiness.
Then there are two ways to learning.
- To understand the concept first and then practice it to test its validity. This very principle is used in schooling where we all have been taught different concepts and ideas and are then are tested for learning.
- To practice something first and get the lessons from it. The life as we go through it takes the second option. It puts us to test first and later allows us to learn from those. I have used the same approach in this book since lessons learnt this way are always remembered.
This means I am asking you to start doing the simple things first reaping the benefits from them. Lessons can be learned later. And in this case your greatest lessons will be in their very practical form i.e. of happiness.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is the state of being happy. When we smile or laugh or feel no stress or unpleasant feeling, we characterize the feeling as of happiness. Joy is more than that. First we have to learn to be happy before we learn to be in a state of joy. It is a feeling of righteousness achieved. Truth may not always make us happy but it will always result in joy. Always.
There are two ways to arriving at the truth.
- Questioning everything.
- Accepting everything.
- Questioning everything: Most of us particularly in the first modern world take the first approach. It is easy. It is very easy to question everything: a particular view, society, values, religion, teachings, practices and beliefs. All you have to do is ask a question on and about something and you in fact have questioned its existence, its validity.
Most of us do not arrive at the truth because we do not question “everything” ignoring that everything includes ourselves as well. We question the philosophies, life styles, habits, values and norms of others but forget to question ours. We arrive at the partial truth, which is always never the truth. Further, even if we dare to question our own selves, we question only some part of our life. Again, we arrive at the partial truth. Since we do not have all the answers to all the questions, we find ourselves lost and confused if we take the first approach.
- Accepting everything is the difficult approach yet gives us experiences of true joy. Accepting everything takes a lot of effort. It crushes our ego.
Accepting does not mean to accept dishonesty or lies as your own standard of living. Accepting means that people can be dishonest and can lie to you and that is how life is. Some one very dear to you can cheat on you and this is how tough life can be.
When we accept something, we touch its core. That is called its “Zaat” in Arabic. Zaat of something is its internal intrinsic core existence. Knowing your own Zaat is one of the greatest sources of happiness and joy.
We spend almost fourteen or sixteen years of education, we focus all our energies in getting a good job (which is basically a utilization of time and resources spent in those earlier 16 years), we try to buy almost everything that we think can make us happy, but strangely we do almost little or no deliberate effort in training our mind to be happy.
The “what to do” list at the end of every chapter is a push for you to actually train your mind for happiness. Something marvelous happens to our brain cells, if we spend a “certain” amount of time talking, discussing, doing, imagining, visualizing, things and events of happiness. We become “happiness” ready or “happiness alert.” Somehow we are able to find and detect and feel happiness under all circumstances. This book is about training your mind to become happy.
This work is an effort to let us understand this message well and beyond doubt. Even if one person is able to spend a few minutes of his time more happily than before or learns to enjoy her relationship with her spouse or has learnt to smile or felt relaxed or has felt a burden lessened from her shoulders, the purpose of writing this book will have been served.
May you all find your own true, genuine happiness in every single moment, and particularly as you read through. May you find strength to practice what you learn, since anything learned and not practiced becomes a poison.
I wish, I hope and I pray that this book helps many to end their search for happiness, in one way or the other. It would help them learn a thing or two that would result in reduced suffering or increased happiness or both. It would help them seek happiness, where most of us never see or even do not try with a searching eye: inside of us.
And if even one soul finds something here that eases her, I will consider my work rewarded.
May you find eternal joy!