Monday, April 23, 2012

Happiness is Next to Contentment

John Masefield says, “The days that make us happy make us wise.”

Happiness is not just some unattainable notion; nor does it need be so fleeting that its pursuit is futile. If you look at the days, or partial days that you felt really happy, you will see that they all have something in common. These are the times when we temporarily feel less anxious and for a few moments, are completely in the present. It is when we stop regretting the past and worrying over the future, we find contentment. 

We often put off happiness, ‘when I get this or that, or when this or that happens.’ We put conditions on our own happiness, and then we busy ourselves with trying to attain a thing or a circumstance or an outcome. We get stuck in the wanting. This is the opposite of contentment. 

Fear is an ugly ghoul that casts a dark shadow over our contentment. It will eat away at our belief in happiness altogether. But fear shies away from a present moment of contentment.

Swami Prabhavananda said, “There is no logical reason why contentment should cause happiness.” You would think that releasing the “wanting” would simply result in a neutral feeling. But this is not the case. Wanting gets in the way of happiness and shrouds our ability to see and feel it. But when we let it go; when we are content, there is joy and happiness. “This is striking proof that intense happiness is always within us,” the Swami reminds us. Desire and fear blind us to the light of happiness within. Contentment through mindfulness allows happiness to shine into our hearts and lives once more.

Note: references to "How to Know God - the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali"

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