Happiness is a State of No Mind

This was my response to a guy who said happiness is a state of mind. He said: You are simply playing with words. I denied and explained my statement:

Just think about the moments when we experience happiness. We all have fleeting experiences of happiness. For instance, you sit in a music concert hall to listen to your favourite artist rendering songs you like. After the concert, can you recollect the highs and lows of the concert? Let us say the concert goes more or less on the expected lines with no surprises. Then you say to yourself: Looks like the guy is not in form today. But when he comes up with unexpected turn of phrases which are either melodious or rhythmic or simply brilliant, those are the ‘aha’ moments. right? Rest of the concert may be just ordinary and you sit through only because he comes up often with such brilliant and unexpected phrases. Have you ever wondered what precisely is that ‘aha’ moment? It’s the moment when your mind is completely knocked off. Or there is no mind to think and complain. You forget yourself and time stops for a fleeting second! There is ‘no time’ and there is no complaining mind and you experience a blissful moment!

It’s the same mechanism at work when one hears a joke and laughs out loud instantaneously. It’s true of all happy experiences. That is why people join laughter clubs and keep laughing mindlessly (pun intended!). In other words you are tricking your mind into not just silence but into a state of non-existence! When you happen to taste a well made sweet which you love, again the happiness is due to the same mind numbing experience. Alcohol, drugs also take you high for the same reason.

Vedanta has a phrase to explain this kind of bliss: VISHAYANANDE BRAHMANANDAH (A quote from Vedaranya’s Panchadasi). The happiness that one enjoys through sense enjoyments is the happiness that comes associated with the Lord. In those moments, as the mind forgets itself, one experiences Eswara or the Whole.

This is what makes us chase experiences so we can have those fleeting moments of joy. We escape to far away tourist places – the farther away the place is from home the better! It’s for the same reason that we invent so many special days to celebrate. Starting with a happy new year, we celebrate happy birth days, happy anniversaries, happy father’s day, mother’s day etc. After all, if you reflect, what is a new year? Isn’t it merely the time taken for earth to go around the sun once? Are we celebrating the successful completion of the journey of earth around the sun? Poor Earth doesn’t have the time to take a break for any celebration. It has to keep going if it has to keep up its place in its orbit.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against celebrations. By all means we should celebrate. Celebrate out of happiness but not for happiness! If we learn to enjoy every moment, this business of chasing experiences restlessly will stop. This is where Vedanta teaching comes in handy. It says every experience in life is a divine experience filled with joy, if only we see His presence everywhere. For such a person, there is joy irrespective of whether he knocks off his mind or not.

Here’s wishing you all a happy new year!

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Published in: on December 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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