Of Achievements and Happiness

Arshid Malik
Arshid Malik

Happiness! What does happiness mean to you? According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, happiness means: a) a state of well-being and contentment, b) a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Psychologists, in general, define happiness as nothing else than an emotion, a long-term sense of emotional well-being and contentment – a broad “feeling” that one is happy. It is also said that happiness is “the most un-understood phenomenon in the world!” because everybody hopes to achieve it, but it seems no one knows anything about it. Well, by all means, happiness for us is a state of being happy but what exactly is that state and how, when and where does it originate. We are happy when we are with our loved ones. But we may also be unhappy while we are with them because of certain familial problems. We could be happy at work but we could also be unhappy about our work. Eventually, it turns out that happiness is a state as opposed to being sad and this comes with all kinds of variations. Some people are happy doing something while others are unhappy doing that very something but there is no escaping the fact that the whole population on the face of this planet craves for happiness.

For some of us, a big, palatial house may be the source of happiness and for others, a comfy sedan carves the route to happiness. Does it really happen, I would ask? A person works an entire chunk of his life, saving up all the time to buy or build a big house and eventually when the house is there, does it turn into a source of happiness? Does a person who wants to be a millionaire squeeze through life, earning and earning, stay happy when he or she has the millions in different bank accounts? Well, no! That is never the case. A palatial house is a concrete reality that offers a brief pleasure on counts of personal accomplishments and the millionaire wants to go billionaire once the millions are secured. So, what is the true source of happiness?

Happiness is a state of the mind where the mind is at peace with the body it occupies and the external environment. Happiness is joy, totally not having to do anything with what you have or what you want but rather with what you are involved in at the precise moment. We are happy when we are busy and totally engrossed in what we are doing. If our mind is wandering off our work, we are ill at ease. That is the truth about happiness. While we are relapsing into the past or hurtling ahead into the future inside our heads, we are leaving almost no room for happiness.

I am not telling stories but rather laying out facts that are scientifically proven. Happiness is a phenomenon that takes over us when our mind is not wandering – when we are not wanting that something else other than what we have in our hands in the moment that is the present. When we are deeply involved in whatever we are doing, we are paving the path to happiness. From your very own life incidents, you might recall that once we have done something with our heart and soul involved in it, we feel very happy. Thus our present is the source of our happiness. Looming around in the past or longing in the future is directly involved with inadequate or sometimes no feeling of happiness.

Have you ever wondered why kids are always making merry? They are like filled with joy, just like candies filled with rich caramel and fruit juices. Well, the answer is simple and quite elaborately explained above. Kids are engrossed, always, in whatever they are doing. Their minds don’t wander into the past or the future. They love what they have at hand. It is only the “silly” and “untimely” intervention of the grownups that makes them sad. Leave a kid on his own with his or her playthings and he will never cease smiling. Play hide-and-seek with kids with an open heart and they will be all giggly and cherubic. That’s the secret ingredient to happiness – staying in the present.

We, as Muslims, have been blessed with some wonderful gifts by Almighty Allah. We have to pray five times a day and when we are praying, we are needed to focus our thoughts on the prayer and nothing else. Most of us do pray but I guess our minds still wander back and forth while we are at it. The ones who are able to bow down before Almighty Allah while restraining their thoughts and desires are the ones who gain the greatest rewards, I would say. I am not an authority on Islam but I am a practical Muslim who prays while keeping my desires and thoughts at bay and once I am done praying, my heart is as light as a feather and I sense utmost happiness which lasts all day long.

While we are in the “rat race” for achieving our “slanderous” goals in life, building palatial houses, buying expensive sedans, extorting our own people and all we are missing out on the real action. Life is better if you are able to limit your goals and dispense your gains among those who are needy while staying in the present, and happy you will be. I assure you that.



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