What do we need to be happier?
Many people think that to be happy, they need to become richer and thinner. By their wealth, they believe they can buy the things that will make them happy. And by their looks, they believe that they can attract others and thereby have the relationships that will make them happy. While wealth and weight do matter to some extent in our pursuit for happiness, our wisdom and our kindness matter much more.
When we become wiser, we put the things we have to better use. Gita wisdom cautions that the quest for happiness is not as straightforward as it seems — the things that promise pleasure often lead to trouble (Bhagavad-gita 18.38). Conversely, the things that seem troublesome often lead to pleasure (18.37). By studying wisdom-texts like the Gita, we all can become wiser and use well the things we have as well as the things we may gain in future. Otherwise, we may misuse our wealth and our looks to make others miserable and even ourselves miserable.
When we become kinder, we become more appreciative if others do something good. And we become more forgiving if they do something wrong. Helping us become kinder, Gita wisdom stresses that we all are essentially spiritual and similar. Beyond our different situations and dispositions, we all face similar challenges during our life-journey as we battle with our conditions and conditionings (06.32). Connections fostered through such empathy go much deeper than those triggered by initial hormonal attraction.
When we are thus wiser and kinder, we can find greater happiness through both our possessions and our relations, far more than what might come through a bigger bank balance or a thinner body.
To be happier, we don’t need to be richer or thinner as much as we need to be wiser and kinder.
Think it over:
- How does becoming wiser help us become happier?
- How does becoming kinder help us become happier?
- What do you believe you need to become happier? Do you need to revise that belief?
18.37: That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
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