Life Positive

The heart of happiness

01 December, 2000

Remember when you were six years old? You were simply happy. Happiness is the very nature of youth it was not taught to you. But somehow in the course of living, most people have lost this innate endowment. Modern man's greatest endeavour seems to be to reclaim the forgotten bliss of our childhood. Why does happiness seem so elusive in today's world? To find answers we interviewed Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, mystic and spiritual head of Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore.

Why is there so much talk about happiness today, and what does it really mean to be happy?

The first and most fundamental responsibility of every person is to become a joyous human being. Because no matter what you are pursuing in life, business, money, family or spirituality, it is just an attempt to be happy. Being happy and peaceful, considered the ultimate aspect of a successful life, is really its most fundamental aspect. Being well means to be peaceful and happy. The level of happiness, the level of peace may vary from person to person, but everyone, consciously or unconsciously, is aiming for happiness.

Then why is happiness so elusive?

People's happiness is often dependent on external situations over which they have no control. When you seek happiness through your actions, you are always enslaved by the external and thus will always face some level of suffering. It doesn't matter what a person has, he will still long to have something else all the time. Until a man finds the inner basis of happiness, he will always live like a beggar.

What is the formula for the natural cultivation of happiness?

Whatever you understand or experience as happiness, love, or peace in your life has a certain inner basis. Today if you lose your mental peace, your doctor will give you a pill. These chemicals enter your system and make you peaceful, maybe for just a little while. In other words, what you call as peace is a certain kind of chemistry within you. Similarly what you call joy, love, suffering or fear — every human experience has a chemical basis. The spiritual process creates the right kind of chemistry where you are naturally peaceful and joyous. Then the very dimension of your life, the very way you perceive and express yourself in the world will change.

One popular author suggests that even if people have a windfall, winning the lottery for example, their happiness level returns to normal after they get used to their new situation. So, is permanent fulfillment impossible?

Your life will not attain fulfillment through actions. At every stage in life you thought, "If this happens, my life will be complete." You got that and three days later threw it into the dustbin. Life did not attain fulfillment. Fulfillment will not come through an action. Only if your inner nature is complete will you attain it.

How does the practice of yoga help us to reach this state?

Yoga gives you absolute control over your interiority, elevating you from a state of external enslavement to inner completeness, the state of unboundedness.

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