Friday, September 14, 2012

Happiness is an elusive bitch.

The human mind works in mysterious ways. It constantly yearns for things that will make it happy. And when it finally gets what it wants, the mind moves on to the next best thing. When we are home, we yearn to travel. When we travel, we yearn for the familiarity of our bed. When we are young, we hanker for the One to settle down with and spend the rest of our lives, happily ever after. In the happily -ever -after phase, we want to be untethered to experience the life we gave up at the altar of love.

There’s something very unromantic about possession. The hunt is always more exciting than the kill. As long as it adorns a show-window, somebody else’s arms, is on somebody else’s bed – our heart desires and obsesses over it. Life becomes a series of ifs. If I get this promotion, I will have a better sense of self-worth. If I get that woman, I will truly be happy. If I get that dress, I will look beautiful. But it doesn’t work that way, does it! Your mind continues looking for excuses to be content and happiness continues to be an elusive bitch.

The woman of your dreams turns out to be an attention seeking shrew who leaves you drained with her constant demands. That promotion turns out be a nightmare and you realize you don’t have time for your family anymore.

Familiarity turns even the most beautiful into the ordinary. What looked like the Garden of Eden from a distance turns out to be just a grassy patch with a lone apple tree.

We start taking the splendour, the excitement for granted. The euphoria of getting what you always wanted lasts a few months before we start getting used to it.

Getting used to, is the worst thing that can happen to us. Taking her kindness, his unflinching friendship, her love for granted. Sadly, the only time we realize how much it meant to us is when we are about to lose it.

The thought of letting go brings out the worst in us. We cling, we claw, we threaten, we beg, we dissolve into tears. We become pathetic versions of ourselves.

Isn’t it why, happiness lies only in the past and future, while the present is just a chore to be dispensed with! We realize the magic of the moment, only when we consign it to our memories. Nostalgia is a seductive mistress. It’s tough to let go of her.

No wonder, happiness continues to elude us. It’s because we make a habit of it and then start complaining of boredom. Happiness is not a milestone to be covered. It’s savouring what we have been blessed with.

The truth is, there is no ideal man, love or life –it’s what we make of what we get.

Ideal is a state of mind and not material things.

To a Sklylark: “We look before and after, and pine for what is not; our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught” - Shelley
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94 comments:

  1. All our suffering arises from a false idea of self. We identify with the physical-mental construct that we call me and build our worlds around it. Like colonialists and license-seekers we try to possess that which cannot be possessed and grieve when we are threatened with loss. You have captured this dilemma so accurately, Purba. Trust that you will find all the resources you need to cope with the new world you are in. And thanks for this Monday morning meditation.

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    1. Once we have achieved this state, our mind will be in a state of bliss. So simple, yet so difficult to achieve.

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  2. Yes, Happiness is an elusive bitch. Very well said.

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  3. This is very true Purba that the restless human mind is always wanting something new and on getting it wants yet another!After reaching a state of material possessions, the contentment and own self appreciation can make life a happier one, though for each individual the definition of happiness could differ:)

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    1. We know exactly what we should be doing, yet we end up chasing the wrong things.

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  4. These are my favourite lines to - we look before and after and pine for what is not !
    And in our quest for getting more and more we forget to be grateful for what we have ! Happiness comes form contentment and unfortunately contentment is something none of us practice these days !

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    1. Indeed. It's easier to preach than practice.

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  5. I have always believed that running is good only when you do it in a park. Try doing it in your mind and you end up disrupting your present.
    It is good to want something and run towards it but getting desperate for it is going to wreck your mind and life.
    Enough gyan!
    Loved the post.

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    1. Setting goals for yourself, pushing yourself to achieve them is good. But embracing failure as gracefully, is better.

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  6. Very true, lady! It took me sometime to realize, but I believe that I am in a space where I am putting happiness way above other things. Like you've said so eloquently, happiness is a state of mind. It only gets dictated by that flawless skin, figure, dress, car, gadget, vacation because we are unhappy and always seeking. Acceptance of self and happiness within is the key to contentment. It might take us a lifetime to realize but it is true! Yogis go to Himalayas for this truth, and Purba goes to Brisbane :). A fabulous, thought provoking post. Well written Purba!

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    1. I rarely get in a philosophical mood. But contemplation does help in answering questions that constantly plague our minds.

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    2. And, I am stricken by philosophical and brooding moods a lot :).

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  7. So true! Happiness is a state of mind. Period. Though, the hunt is definitly more exciting than the kill

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  8. Bang on!
    loved this line - "The truth is, there is no ideal man, love or life –it’s what we make of what we get."

    speaking in economic terms, "human wants/desires are endless. satisfaction of one want gives birth to another."

    nice post! :)

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    1. Again, fulfillment is a a state of mind. But very few of us realize it.

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  9. So true. The grass on the other side is often an Astro Turf. And anticipation of happiness is often more enjoyable than the actual event.
    Hope you like the place and are enjoying the change.

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    1. I take time to warm up to the new, but once I do, there's no looking back.

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  10. Isn’t it why, happiness lies only in the past and future, while the present is just a chore to be dispensed with!
    So, very true. Every word has a deep resonance with my thoughts and ideas.
    Loved it, Purba. This is the beauty, u are so far, yet so near. :-)

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    1. Tragically most of us don't even know what we want.

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  11. Aptly written.We must be santusht or content with our condition or situation.We keep chasing things ad infinitum & that is what leads to grief.

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    1. We always end up chasing all the wrong things. Little wonder, the happiness lasts only a few days.

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  12. So, we are quite certain that Happiness is Female?
    Anyway, jokes aside, I agree with every word you say. Contentment (or Happiness, interchangeable in this context) is indeed elusive. Yearning is what keeps humans ticking - Thank Goodness for that!

    Lovely words, as usual.

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    1. For me it" s zest for life. That's what keeps me ticking,

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  13. You have beautifully articulated the thoughts I have come to acknowledge for some time now...that there is no ideal man, love or life.
    The big challenge is to accept this and savour the present but I find that incredibly hard to do! And then sometimes I think it is this 'pursuit of happiness', this inability to settle which keeps me moving forward...

    "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" - Browning

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    1. I'm an extremely impatient person. I always need to be on the move, doing something..Challenges keep me energized. But this kind of happiness is always looking for newer goals, newer challenges....

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  14. Happiness does not always have to be so elusive. It is all in one's state of mind. One can be happy even in the smallest of things. It is just that we do not recognise the emotion of happiness as we think it is a mythical beast that needs to be tamed. We all think happiness is that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but forget that we are happy when we enjoy the beauty of the rainbow.

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  15. Profound thoughts, beautifully expressed! I find that the kind of happiness that sticks around for the long haul is one that comes from within. The mind will still have its own agenda, but the heart will be steadier when the focus is inward.

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    1. Beautifully said. It is our material pursuits that keep us away from our real objectives. The sooner we realize it, the better.

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  16. Nice one. Fully agree. Good to see your philosophical side. Used to seeing the humorous side more often.

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    1. Thrown out of my comfort zone I am thinking differently :)

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  17. So true! Moving to a new place makes you nostalgic. And there will be phases.....

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    1. Hm..I better brace myself for them.

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  18. It is when we equate happiness with want that we suffer. And wants usually are materialistic and can be easily met, but still they can never satisfy us to say 'Enough!' And so the cycle goes on.

    A new place, new experiences...and a philosophical post!

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    1. The mind is asking too many questions. Someone has to answer them!

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  19. Happiness, like love, always needs to be worked on, or it starts to die. Take it for granted, and it melts away. That said, my joy in finding a perfect pair of shoes does last a VERY long time. :)

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    1. They don't have shoes my size in Australia :(

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  20. Purba,

    Your last sentence before the quote summed it up absolutely. There is no end to human desires. Happy is the one who does have dreams but feels blessed with what he or she has.

    Take care

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    1. Equating material wants with contentment is the biggest mistake we commit.

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  21. again..wonderful post..something my hubby completely agrees with and keeps telling me
    as a shopaholic...am always desiring the next dress, shoe, etc etc etc....the hubbs tell me i will never be happy until i svor what i have ....an almirah full of cool clothes...

    and the same applies to other things in life too :)

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/

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    1. For weeks before we moved out, we lived with the bare minimum and it made me realize, the lesser we have the lighter we feel.

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  22. too good.. just love the way you write.

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    1. Wrote this piece in 10 minutes, convinced that I had written crap.

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  23. Loved every line of it. Esp the one.."We cling, we claw.." true..we do all of it and yet don't realize what we are making to ourselves..Happiness is indeed a state of mind. absolutely loved it. Want to read again

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  24. Happiness like life is never ending process.....some do not find even after death!

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  25. Wonder what brought on such a philosophical mood.

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  26. Loved this post!

    How do you write so beautifully?? You have another fan in me :)

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  27. beautifully etched ! I will hold on to these lines- happiness is not a milestone to be covered, it is rather savoring the moments we are blessed with. How true ! good one purba

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  28. ha, we are never happy really! The ideal word in itself is ideal, unreal.
    This was a unusual post. Curious what bought out those thoughts.

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  29. A very good piece...u haven written something that we all feel and even know in our subconscious, but can't word it.

    We are scared of change but still look forward to it...our mind plays good games! :)

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    1. we all know the truth but refuse to accept it.

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  30. You know what is happiness ? Reading this post made me happy. One because of the content. And twp, as I read through it, Shelly's words started lingering in my head. And there it was towards the end :)

    Happiness is a myth :)

    Nice write up !

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    1. And your comment left me happier :-)

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  31. Mmm! Surprised by the fact that it is philosophical now rather than satirical :) How true that the moment that we are living in always seems less than satisfactory compared to the moments we lived yesterday or the moments that we expect to live tomorrow!

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    1. I have written philosophical posts in the past. It's always nice to pause and reflect :)

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  32. Enjoyed it reading to the core..so true each and every word is..love this line- 'The hunt is always more exciting than the kill'..we are really never satisfied of our present..

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  33. So true. Human wants -- unlimited indeed. You say it all so well. :)

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  34. Happiness comes in no mind status, they say. But we cannot enjoy happiness without our mind. Desires are the root cause of unhappiness they say. And without desires how is it possible to have fulfillment? Its believed if you think you have a mind, then you have it. The same is true for all imaginary stuff. God included? The only answer to all these questions with 100% conviction comes about in meeting this elusive preceptor who is the knower of truth! Let this ray of truth dawn in east!

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    1. Sublime thoughts meant to be read again and again.

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  35. A perfect post. True we cling on to the things that are not ours anymore and we ignore what is with us!
    "Familiarity turns even the most beautiful into the ordinary. What looked like the Garden of Eden from a distance turns out to be just a grassy patch with a lone apple tree.

    We start taking the splendour, the excitement for granted. The euphoria of getting what you always wanted lasts a few months before we start getting used to it."

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    1. In short, we take happiness for granted :)

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  36. a well what all we have to do for the elusive happiness.. and IF and when it comes its very short Lived..

    and the poem To a skylark.. reminded me of School , we had that poem in our curricullum..

    Bikram's

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    1. Short lived because we pursue the wrong things.

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  37. Life becomes a series of if's, and you know you are cool when you add an else statement. :) Sorry for being a nerd. :P An amazing post. :) Hats off.

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    1. Having multiple else statements certainly helps :-)

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  38. //We realise the magic of the moment only when we consign it to our memories.//
    ..and by then the moment is lost,we fail to live that moment.Well said Purba!
    Nostalgia is a seductive mistress indeed !I always feel alive when I am nostalgic and I notice that I am doing that more often as I am growing older.

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    1. But at that time we were busy fretting about trivialities rather that reveling in the magic of that moment.

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  39. Well, well well, You said it, Lady :D

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  40. Happiness _is_ an elusive bitch, but through self-awareness like the thoughts you work through in this writing, it becomes less so. At least, I should hope.

    I just finished some writing on how relative happiness is, have a read here: http://roamingelk.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/poverty/

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    1. Introspecting helps in arriving at significant conclusions.

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  41. today i was having a post lunch stroll with my colleagues...one of us looked up a beautiful house and said with a sad(ish) tone, "Some people are so rich, and some like us are so poor"....just beside the house there was a beggar sitting on the side of the road....
    human mind always search for reasons to be unhappy when there are so many reasons to be happy....what an irony...

    great post as always :)

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    1. Great to see your comment after such a long break! Welcome back :-)

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  42. Could relate withe very single line! Much love!

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  43. When you start from a place of "happy" and "contented" and break the habit of reacting emotionally to the world around you, then you are free to be you, the real you, in any situation. -these are lines from a book I am reading and loving right now. They just seem so apt for this post. Nicely done!

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    1. If only we could let go of our "why me" mentality and accept adversities with as much grace.

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  44. loved reading ur thots...a nyc post
    let's follow each other
    http://myfashionbaye.blogspot.in/

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  45. There’s something very unromantic about possession!!
    Stumped :)

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