Recently, I wrote an article for Pick the Brain – 6 characteristics of happiness.
John Wesley also wrote an interesting discussion about the meaning of happiness here.
I think in some ways, everyone is trying to aim for more happiness in life; sometimes people’s methods may seem strange but our decisions tend to be driven from what we think will be good for us. In a sense, everyone is trying in their own way to do the right thing. However, the problem is that what we think will bring happiness often doesn’t. Because it is so important, it is worth taking the time to think carefully what really brings happiness. We also need to have a willingness to challenge long cherished beliefs.
Since the age of 18, I have been a ‘seeker’ consciously looking for what gives genuine happiness and satisfaction. I have pursued many different strategies, read many books and tried many things. From all these I feel that the most fruitful way to cultivate happiness is ‘to live in the heart’ As an academic and believer in the power of the mind, this hasn’t always been easy, but, these are some of the characteristics of living in the heart.
The mind chases happiness.
The heart creates happiness.
The soul is happiness
And it spreads happiness
– Sri Chinmoy
- Non – Judgemental. The heart is non judgemental, is doesn’t look for faults in others; the mind by contrast is always finding fault with everything.
- Self giving. When we live in the heart we bring to the fore our self giving qualities; in self giving there is real happiness because we expand our sense of being. When we live in the mind, we tend to think – “what do I gain” “what’s in it for me” The mind is selfish, the heart is self-less. If we live just for ourselves happiness remains elusive; but in serving others there is an unexpected sense of fulfillment.
- Spontaneous Joy. When I meditate, I always try to meditate on the silent heart; it is the heart that can give a sense of joy not dependent on achieving material things. We may get a limited happiness from material success and our mind; but if we want unlimited joy we have to use the power of the heart.
- Kindness. The nature of the heart is to take a sympathetic view. The heart identifies with others; if we really identify with others as part of our extended self, how can we want to harm them? We will never regret being kind and sympathetic. Similarly we will never find happiness through being mean and selfish.
- It brings forward the best in others. When we are critical and judgemental that is how people will approach us. But, if we are in the heart it brings forward the best qualities in others.
Artwork by: Ed Silverton
Quote by Sri Chinmoy from 77,000 Service Trees part 27