Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pursuit of happiness

It’s almost too simple to call this a discovery, but I think what every one of us seek in life ultimately, is a simple and sustainable source of happiness. Some may call it “contentment”, others “fulfilment” or even “enlightenment”. Whatever it is called, it has to be simple because happiness by definition is simple - complexity leads to confusion which in turn makes us unhappy. The happiness we feel when we indulge our desires or in power or possessions is difficult to sustain because it is often not the object of our desires that makes us happy but the process of accumulating it. Power and processions have a definite shelf life and their value depreciates over time. They also involve complex economic and political factors that are impossible to manage - let alone be sustained. I say "sustainable" because happiness is not everlasting. Life obviously has its ups and downs and sadness is a necessary contrast that accentuates happiness. A sustainable source of happiness is one that you can rely on - count on - fall back on and depend on.
According to my outlook on life, I feel that the simplest and most sustainable source of happiness is found in people – in the faithfulness and love of family and friends… money and a good career are important as long as they are necessary to support them. But in pursuit of one, it is so easy to loose track of the other, and often I have found that self-sacrifice and service are integral components in the foundation of happiness. It is ironic, but often we find happiness in sacrificing our own happiness for another. I believe that the heart alone can lead us to happiness and for that, we have to be sensitive enough to hear its subtle and silent voice. To betray the heart is to betray all meaning and significance of our very lives. Yet it often takes more courage to heed the silent guiding voice of the heart – without drowning it in desire and clouding it with the opinions and aspirations of others.
I think I will face the test eventually, of balancing my heart’s desires with a sense of duty and responsibility to others whose lives are intimately intertwined with mine. At least I now have the confidence in knowing that I have a rough idea. The highest wish I have for myself and everyone else is that our lives may be filled with moments that make us feel “truly alive” – whether by a sincere smile, a whole-hearted laugh, a tear, a hug, by the sweetness of a kiss or the deep and overwhelming yearning that makes us reach ever further out into this beautiful world and its wonderful inhabitants.