Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
25th March 2009
Man wants to know ‘what is happiness?’ By the question it is obvious that man as yet does not know what happiness is or could be - nevertheless he wants to be happy, not really knowing what happiness is. If you do not know what happiness is, how on earth can you be happy? Firstly, man has to be sure where happiness is and where it could be found? Is it in life or in the mind?
If happiness is in the mind, why have you not found it as yet? Though you are definite that it is in the mind, why do you wish to be happy in life? Ask any man and he will say: ‘I want to be happy in life’, and yet you believe that happiness is definitely in the mind. You are in your mind day in and day out, but why have you not found happiness? Maybe happiness is not in the mind, but you merely believe that it is. If you want to be happy in life, happiness should be in life and not in the mind, but you are not sure whether happiness is in life. You are certain that happiness is in the mind, though you have not found it as yet, but hope that one day you will.
Maybe your belief that happiness is in the mind is illusory. Happiness is not in the mind because it is not a sensation, as it is believed to be. Even if happiness were in the mind - and it cannot be, which is beside the point - the mind is definitely not in life as life is timeless and thoughtless. So, happiness cannot be known for it is in life and life cannot be known, because the mind is not in life. Happiness can only be lived and not be known.
But man is in the mind trying to find happiness there. Happiness is just a thought in the mind and not happiness as such. Man will say that he has not yet found happiness and is in search of it and one day will surely find it. He has not addressed the question of happiness correctly. Could it in any way be related to time? Man believes it is and that is why he says: ‘I have not found happiness, but I will because I want to be happy.’
But could happiness be related to time? To man it seems that happiness is related to time, for he says: ‘I am not yet happy’. And when he is asked when he will be happy, the usual answer is: ‘I hope to be happy one day’. He has many parameters that need to be fulfilled or be engaged in that would generate happiness for him: relationships, situations, education and profession. He bases his happiness or source of happiness on conditions, i.e. profession, job, husband, wife, lovers, situations, all related with time, but life is timeless. The search for happiness is therefore illusory.
And strangely enough, when man finds himself in the situation which assures him of happiness, he discovers that instead of happiness there is more fear and apprehension. The husband is frightened of his wife; the wife is frightened of the husband; lovers are frightened of each other, whether they like it or not. Man is frightened of the education he is in; he is petrified by exams, petrified about the consequences of failure.
Expectations of happiness usher in worries rather than peace or tranquillity. That is why, in a marriage, each becomes a slave to his or her spouse, a social slave to the spouse he is trying to please. An entire lifetime is spent trying to please the other with a hope of finding happiness. But do circumstances help man find happiness? Do circumstances really provide him with happiness? Man needs to ponder over his beliefs; he has a life and he has a mind as well. Is he absolutely certain that his mind controls life? He believes it does, but is it true because life is timeless?
So the primary question is, does the mind control life? It is strange that man believes mind controls life. He believes it does because he has not understood that the mind is absent in life. He is yet to understand the mind has got nothing to do with life.
Man has yet to understand that, no matter how hard he tries, he can never find the mind in life. He will find the mind in the mind and not in life. If you cannot find mind in life, how can the mind tell you what is happening in life? The mind only tells man what is happening in the mind and not in life. He believes it does tell him what is happening in life and this is the illusion he needs to understand. The mind only says what has been done and what remains to be done whenever man is doing something, all as thoughts and in the mind and not in life.
Now the question man needs to address is whether he wishes to find happiness where he is living or where he is thinking. Does he wish for happiness in life, where he is alive, or does he wish to find happiness in the mind, which is not in life? Man is definitely not alive in his mind. He thinks that he has been happy in life and therefore wishes for more - that has been his discovery, but his discovery has been illusory and not real. Man has been thinking being happy in the mind and not in life. The mind is not in life, and finding happiness in life is entirely different from what man is made to believe.
What is the point in finding happiness in the mind while it is not present in life? It will never keep you happy in life. That is why man feels deep within himself that he is not happy. If you were happy in life, would you know that you are happy, as the mind is absent in life? You would not.
So where could happiness be found? Happiness is not a knowledgeable entity to be found in life. If you are trying to find happiness in life as knowledge based upon reasons and upon situations, you will never find it. You will keep on trying to find happiness through the mind, which is absent in life. You will be drenched with anxiety and apprehension life-long.
Life just happens; man does not bring it about. He does not get up in the morning and push the sun up so that life may go on for the day. If life happens by itself, how could it be partial? What could be the criteria by which life decides who gets what? How many fruits or flowers should a tree get? Which animal becomes a pet and which does not? Life happens by itself and events are fabrications within the mind. Events are not an actuality in life - they are only thoughts happening in the mind.
Understand the situation which you expect to generate happiness does not. It generates apprehension, anxiety and worry. So, you begin to tolerate your partner; whatever the dominant partner says it becomes and is hailed as ‘wisdom’. You begin to accept every word your spouse speaks just to maintain harmony but, deep down, agony and misery persist. You wish life could be harmonious and you want to be happy. So tolerance replaces understanding. Understand that life is always harmonious every moment.
In any situation man does not say ‘let me see what will happen.’ He immediately gets upset, angry, depressed, elated and joyful, temporarily. Expectations create a tension. And when life does not fit into the mind’s expectation, man is completely lost and disappointed - no sign of happiness anywhere in any moment. Happiness, if it is real, is a steady state of living, present every moment. Happiness means you are steady in life. You do not jump when your mind reacts.
Happiness is a state of life without the mind present within it: the mind with its formulae, with its solutions of what is right and what is wrong, or what to do or what not to do, or what should be done. These are primordial thoughts which drive man: what should be done now?
The mind operates by formulating what should happen in life: how he should speak, how she should speak; what he should do, what she should do, what they should do; what they should not do. Understand that the mind is not present in the ‘present’ and yet man is convinced that the mind can tell him what will happen in life, or what should happen in life! The moment you understand clearly within yourself that the mind in no way has any relationship to the life which happens, only then will you taste happiness, only then will you be happy without any reason to be happy.
Man believes that what should not happen could happen, and so preventive measures should be in place. He does not understand that, if the preventive measures are meant not to prevent, they will not prevent. But he is convinced that preventive measures should be effectively planned so that they should prevent, and that what should happen should only happen.
This thinking without understanding prevents happiness from revealing itself to man, because you are convinced what should happen has not happened, and what should not happen has happened. And the mind will provide alternatives to what has happened and should not have happened, so that the next time around you could and should be able either to enable or prevent events. Happiness is freedom from thoughts; happiness is freedom from your mind.
Life simply happens to you. Life is in control of itself. Life simply flows. But the mind will jump in to say ‘what to do now?’ This convinces man that the mind can control the body. But how could the mind control the body when the mind is absent in the timeless now, wherein the body undergoes transformation spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably?
Understand the known is dead and not alive. Life is alive and not dead, therefore it is a misfit. The mind and life cannot fit together. The mind is an auditory illusion of sound. It is present and yet not present.
Man is not addressing life as it is; he is addressing life based on what the mind says life is. He is addressing life with words and is yet to address life as life. Equate life with life and not with the mind. Man approaches life through words. So long as you approach life through words, you are thinking and not living. Thinking is not life.
The realisation that you are alive as you are in the timeless ‘now’, without any part of the ego, is what ushers in happiness. In every moment you will be in that state of happiness because every moment is the same moment, not expecting and not formulating. The realisation that life is a show of light and sound and no show goes on forever is happiness.
© Copyright 2009 V. S. Shankar