What brings our inner soul to life?


Some people define life’s goals in terms of material achievements, while others would say they want happiness. Probe those seeking happiness on what they mean by happiness and they, too, would list out things they want. The state of achieving those things, for the latter, is happiness.
In both cases, happiness is mistaken for pleasure. Pleasure is achieved with substances. Happiness is about how much we enjoy what we have. This ‘what we have’ goes beyond material possessions. Material possessions could be a hindrance in achieving true happiness, because the process of acquiring them ties us to a rat race of possessing more and better than others. This leads to making us eternally dissatisfied.
Happiness is not stored out somewhere, it is within us. Finding that which is in us is often more difficult than that which is outside. The pursuit of happiness doesn’t bring happiness. Because pursuing something does not guarantee the satisfaction of a desire. Moreover, life is not all about happiness. Life has sorrow, sadness and sufferings, too. We go through alternate cycles of happiness and sorrow.
Contentment stems from taking both happiness and sorrow in the same stride. How to remain unperturbed through happy and sad phases? The answer lies in acceptance and embracing life.
We must accept life in its entirety. Only then we would have lived completely, soulfully and happily. We will never be ready for life’s challenges if we focus only on providing ourselves with all material possessions. This would turn us into pampered individuals unprepared for life.
We are born and we die. We can perceive this as two distinct incidences of happiness and sadness or we could see them as two occurrences that define life — both important and unalterable realities. We may lose all that we have except ourselves.
Trying to make any state perpetual is akin to disturbing the true balance of ephemeral nature. We tend to fear new challenges, roles, responsibilities and new relationships thinking that they would disturb our state of happiness and bring sorrow our way. This again happens because we see happiness as an external existence subject to external factors.
So what if we fail? Success would mean nothing if there were no failures. How can one see the light if there is no shadow? The same applies to happiness. Happiness wouldn’t be so alluring if we were to always stay happy. Success stories that have had failures in the backdrop are more inspiring.
When we go out looking for happiness, we find pleasure. There is an inherent contradiction between the pursuit of pleasure and civil values. This becomes even more dangerous when we let ourselves believe that pleasure is the goal of life. The search for pleasure more often than not is a source of immoral indulgences and sadistic, too. It can find its source in the misfortune of others. Pleasure is an individualistic endeavor and concerns our physical sensations. Happiness is collective and experienced in social groups. It stimulates our inner being. The acceptance of happiness and sorrow as part of life stimulates our soul. That is what brings our inner soul to life.
By Bhupender Yadav