I have dwelled a lot on that concept of happiness lately. I know happiness is what I want, I’m just confused about how to achieve it. I think I, and many others, are living in a paradox: we want new experiences, but have a hard time accepting that we have to give up something. I love traveling, but it means I have to leave my family and friends behind, at least while away. Even if you love both summer and winter, you can’t get them both at the same time, in a way. Life is about choices. But how do you choose which way is right?
I stumbled across some thoughts of happiness in “Veda – Secrets from the East”, one of the books I’m reading at the moment. It has a chapter concerning the condensed part of the Bhagavad Gītā, a Hindu scripture produced from the colloquy given by Krishna to Arjuna. The Gītā says: Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati – when one is self-realised, he immediately becomes happy and joyful. In this context though, this is when taking a step towards becoming conscious of God. From what I understand that comes after knowing who you are well enough to understand that you are not your body, but your body is yours. In other words, the soul and the material body are separate entities. It is quite interesting that if you take away the religious bias, if I may call it that, Socrates said the exact same thing when talking about his absolute truth. Taking this to a level which is a bit more attainable; once you know yourself, you will understand what you enjoy and want to do. If you then do that, you will become happy. Sounds reasonable enough?
If just searching for what would bring happiness now, the right thing to do would be quitting university, going somewhere new and work in a kindergarden while studying on the side. Some would call it failing. It comes down to this question: if you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done? I have worked both in a kindergarden and a primary school earlier, and seeing the happiness on the kids’ faces the first time they achieve something new is priceless. Plato’s idea was that everyone should work in whatever best awakens their natural moral goodness. I guess that is what teaching does; sharing some of what I know and seeing when it positively affects others gives happiness. And I like studying – something with people would be interesting: social anthropology or psychology maybe. Even literature sounds good. But then I can’t really drop out of school just because I’m fed up with numbers right now. When you want to work with people, and mathematics and accounting make up 50% of your degree, you are bound to loose some enthusiasm, I guess.
I still keep coming back to the same conclusion, though. The way to achieving happiness is having amazing journey, get to know yourself as you go, and enjoy every step of it. But I think that also includes finishing what you have started.
Oh, and remember to have some ice-cream on the way!