15 Dec How to be Happy through Gratitude
Is there a path to happiness? Is there a path to living stress-free in this world? The answer is yes. That is what I am here for today. My plan is to share my views with you about how to be at peace. If you are at peace. and if you are happy, then you will succeed in any endeavor you undertake. You will not only succeed, you will actually enjoy the journey.
I’d like to start with a favorite quote. This happened in Sydney, many years ago. I was dining at a restaurant in the countryside, and on the wall, there was a long quote. It said, “For years I thought real life was about to begin. For years, I thought something big, something grand will happen in my life and I will suddenly feel happier. I thought what I was living, was not my real life and that I was meant to do something else. One day, I will be free of all my shackles. I will be free of all my engagements and then, I will embark upon this journey of discovering myself of being happy, of always being fulfilled. But, there was always some unfinished business. There was a bill to be paid, there was a call to be made, there was an email to be replied to. So, no matter how much I ticked items off my list, there was always some stuff still left. Then one day, it dawned on me that this was real life. What I was living – was my life.” This is one of the greatest realizations that you can have. Also, one of the greatest mistakes that you can make is in thinking that something drastic needs to change in my life for me to feel happy.
Happiness is a habit. Often people think something big needs to happen before they can start feeling fulfilled. But the truth is, if you can’t find fulfillment in your current life, it is very unlikely that you will find it later on in any other lifestyle. And that leads me to talk to you about four principles of happiness – the way I see the world. I am not saying they are the only principles, but this is what has always worked for me.
The first principle of happiness in life starts with Gratitude. Unless you are grateful for absolutely everything you have in your life, you can’t start to be happy. Not just all the good things, but for everything, because maybe there are a lot of things that we can’t make sense of, but they have a role to play. Maybe they are there to train us, to make us strong, to make us better, to make us think differently, to make us question. So, everything, every incident, every experience, every event, is there for a reason. And mostly we have invited it.
Once a man died and went to heaven. There, he was taken for a tour. In real life, I don’t think that happens, but for the sake of this story – the man was taken for the tour of heaven. He was taken to this big, massive hall. A lot of angels were working in this hall, and a lot of people were busy doing stuff. The room was filled with files everywhere. The man said, “What is this hall? So much work in heaven and I thought heaven was all fun,” and they said, “Well, this is our incoming section. This is where we receive the mail. Anytime, anybody expresses a desire, we get a letter here. And these are not files. We actually file those letters based on each individual. We are always running out of space because people are always wanting more stuff”. The man said, “Well, that makes sense. Everybody is busy here, and they are always under-staffed.” He goes further and is taken to the next room.
The next room was one-tenth the size of the first one. The man said, “Tell me about this room. This room seems to have a fewer number of people working and has less workload”. They said, “This is the outgoing section. When we fulfill any desire, then a letter goes out from here. Clearly, we do not fulfill all the desires of everybody because then, this existence would cease to exist. In the same town, one person may be praying for rain, while the other may be praying for sunshine. So, we cannot fulfill everyone’s desires. In the same family, one person wants something entirely different from the other. So, we are selective about the desires we fulfill, and this is why there are less people working in this division”. He is then taken to the third room.
In the third room, only one person was working and was practically doing nothing. The man says, “Tell me about this room. How come there is no workload here?”. They say,”Well, the first one was the incoming section, the second one was the outgoing section, and this is the acknowledgement section. When people’s desires are fulfilled, some of them care to write back saying thank you – only some of them”.
Often, what happens is that after we have a desire, and it is fulfilled, and immediately, before we have time to even take a breath or thank anybody, we have a new one. This endless cycle keeps most people busy their whole lives. Since they constantly want something else, they fail to appreciate what is already there. As a result, that sense of deep non-fulfillment that something is lacking, never leaves them.
When you were 15, you had different priorities, different goals,and different things you wanted from life. It was different when you were 25, 35, 45, and so on. So, change will keep on coming. However, in all this change, if you were to sit and write down, ‘What all have I been blessed with’, ‘what do I already have,’ I believe everyone will have plenty to be grateful for. Unless you are grateful, you won’t feel light. Walking around and walking away with a burden of desires and expectations, you will feel heavier and heavier with each passing day. If you just took a few minutes and started writing down – “I have a body and a mind that works, I have clothes, a roof over my head, I can eat, I don’t sleep hungry, yes, maybe my family wasn’t the best, maybe my friends weren’t the best, maybe my country wasn’t the best,” and so on, you will realize that it is all just a matter of perception.” Life is how we take it more than what we make of it.
So, if there is really one thing that anybody could inculcate in their life, one thing that will make all the difference to how you feel when you go to sleep, and how you feel when you get up, it is how grateful you are for everything that you have. Often, people want things, but they don’t want the consequences of having those things.
This happened in Sydney, once. A man got diagnosed with cancer of the lymph. This was some years ago. He approached me, and I said,
“Well this is what you asked for, at any cost.”
He said, “I couldn’t have asked for a disease! I am sure.”
I said, “If you ask the universe for a car, you get a car. Don’t you have to pay for the insurance for the service, for the fuel, for the up-keep?”
Anytime you are granted a desire by Nature, by God, or by the Universe, it comes with strings attached, and often, that is what ties people down. Because now, they have to keep up not only the desire, but also the auxiliary work and the accessories that come with it. And that is where the bulk of the work is.
Gratitude is simply a 2-minute exercise, every morning and every night, saying thank you. If you were to say, ‘I don’t need anything more, I am just happy the way I am,” you are progressing towards your elevation and for those around you.
What if you started saying to Nature, to God, or to the Universe – whatever name you want to give -“I don’t want anything else. I am not looking for love, I am not looking for attention, I am not looking for money. I am not looking for anything. Let me just be in the present moment” When you go to the mountains, whatever you say echoes back to you. If you say, “I am sad,” mountains will say back to you, “I am sad”, “I am sad”, “I am sad”, “I am sad”. If you say, “I am really upset”, it will echo back, “I am upset”, I If you say, “I am very happy”, the whole universe will laugh with you and echo back, “I am very happy”, . If you say, “I don’t want anything” – that is the ultimate state to be in; – because now, nature will start to say to you, “I don’t want anything from you, either”.
The battle with nature, the battle with the universe, is something that you cannot win, no matter how hard you try. The scale is too immense. The key is to work with it. When you are grateful, you open up. You open up, you sprout, you blossom, you bloom, and then you spread fragrance.
This post is transcribed from the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaC9Dr0Z0zg&feature=youtu.be