Whether we are young or old, whether we are inexperienced or full of years, we all want to be happy, don't we? As students we want to be happy in playing our games, in studying, in doing all the little things we like to do. As we grow older we seek happiness in possessions, in money, in having a nice house, a sympathetic wife or husband, a good job. When these things no longer satisfy us, we move on to something else. We say, "I must be detached and then I shall be happy". So we begin to practise detachment. We leave our family, give up our property and retire from the world. Or we join some religious society, thinking that we shall be happy by getting together and talking about brotherhood, by following a leader, a guru, a Master, an ideal, by believing in what is essentially a selfdeception, an illusion, a superstition.
Do you understand what I am talking about?
When you comb your hair, when you put on clean clothes and make yourself look nice, that is all part of your desire to be happy, is it not? When you pass your examinations and add a few letters of the alphabet after your name, when you get a job, acquire a house and other property, when you marry and have children, when you join some religious society whose leaders claim they have messages from unseen Masters - behind it all there is this extraordinary urge, this compulsion to find happiness.
But, you see, happiness does not come so easily, because happiness is in none of these things. You may have pleasure, you may find a new satisfaction, but sooner or later it becomes wearisome. Because there is no lasting happiness in the things we know. The kiss is followed by the tear, laughter by misery and desolation. Everything withers, decays. So, while you are young you must begin to find out what is this strange thing called happiness. That is an essential part of education.
Happiness does not come when you are striving for it - and that is the greatest secret, though it is very easily said. I can put it in a few simple words; but, by merely listening to me and repeating what you have heard, you are not going to be happy. Happiness is strange; it comes when you are not seeking it. When you are not making an effort to be happy, then unexpectedly, mysteriously happiness is there, born of purity, of a loveliness of being. But that requires a great deal of understanding - not joining an organization or trying to become somebody. Truth is not something to be achieved. Truth comes into being when your mind and heart are purged of all sense of striving and you are no longer trying to become somebody; it is there when the mind is very quiet, listening timelessly to everything that is happening. You may listen to these words but, for happiness to be, you have to find out how to free the mind of all fear.
As long as you are afraid of anyone or anything, there can be no happiness. There can be no happiness as long as you are afraid of your parents, your teachers, afraid of not passing examinations, afraid of not making progress, of not getting nearer to the Master, nearer to truth, or of not being approved of patted on the back. But if you are really not afraid of anything, then you will find - when you wake up of a morning, or when you are walking alone - that suddenly a strange thing happens: uninvited, unsolicited, unlooked for, that which may be called love, truth, happiness, is suddenly there.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
JK on Happiness - from 'Think on these things'