Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pursuit of Happiness

By: Shazia Yousuf

Happiness – a feeling, an emotion, which can be seen on a mother’s face when she hugs her new born baby, heard in a child’s laughter when his father playfully punches or tickles him, visible in the beaming smile of a winning athlete standing up on the winner’s pedestal, in the contentment that is visible on the face of a previously hungry man, in the seemingly endless chirping of the early morning birds, in the rhythm of the pattering of rain drops, in the rainbow formed by the first streak of sunlight after rain, in the Divine presence that can be felt in the smell of the fresh vegetation. There are many shades of happiness that can be seen, heard and felt all around us.
Every individual is in the pursuit of happiness. Whether at work, or at home, or just anywhere, every action seeks happiness in return in a very subtle way. We may be unaware of this, but it adds meaning to every effort.

An artist paints to express his emotions, which gives him personal satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. A writer writes to be read and understood; his happy moment is when his writing attains the right kind of readership and acclamation. A sportsman may find his happy moment in giving a tough match even after losing the game! In essence, our lives’ ultimate goal is to be happy.
Sometimes, we struggle and juggle with our lives to achieve this goal. We work hard day and night to earn a living in order to be able to buy happiness. A lot of us believe that happiness comes from success, fame, or a comfortable life style. So we struggle all our lives in the pursuit of happiness!
But we need to realize that this is actually the other way round. Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the farther it eludes. As soon as you stop running after it, and withdraw your attention, it quietly comes and sits on your shoulder! ­­­­­­­
Instead of running after success, fame or happiness, we should rather focus on sincerity and justice to the work that we do, and the reward or return will smoothly flow our way. Passion, enthusiasm, earnestness and hard work in the right direction dissipate positive energy, and anything that you do will produce good work, bring out excellence and eventually give you personal satisfaction. This eventually leads to happiness and a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment.
Happiness comes by “giving” unconditionally. Giving does not mean charity only. It means sharing anything that you have! It could be your time, knowledge, wealth, or simply your love and a positive attitude.
When a house wife gives her heart and soul in making the house a home, she gains inner peace and contentment. By giving your best to your work, you not only achieve material gains, you also gain a sense of fulfillment. A mother’s warm hug seeks nothing in return!
The essence is to leave positive impact on the lives of others, even if they are strangers. It means, if someone hits your brand new car and is genuinely upset and sorry for that and is not in a position to compensate for the loss, you tell that person you would let him go if he promises to forgive if ever he is hit by someone else in the same way! (This is actually a real life example)
The true essence of happiness is achieved by giving happiness to others. We need to believe in the immense “power of giving”! If you are unhappy, try making someone else happy and the results will amaze you! Bringing out a bright smile buried within an aching heart is the worthiest of things a person could do, and it cures all ailments that lie within.
This reminds me of the story of new born twin babies, one of whom was seriously ill. They were kept in separate incubators, but the condition of the ill baby was not improving. Upon a nurse’s request, both were moved to the same incubator and the healthy twin instantaneously put one of his arms around his ill brother. This instinctive exchange gradually helped the sick twin to regain his health. A great display of the intangible force of love and the incredible power of giving indeed!
We may take the example of Prophet Muhammad (sw) who won converts not by force but by his own example of tolerance and peace. The incident of his visit to the woman, who would throw garbage on him every day, when she fell ill, is one of the greatest examples of the power of giving.
Giving empowers the soul. Our muscles weaken without physical exercise, souls weaken without the special kind of exercise and the best exercise for soul is the practice of giving.
As narrated by Rumi, a man walked past a beggar and asked “Why God, do you not do something for these people?” God replied, “I did do something. I made you.”
If you want happiness, give happiness. If you desire wealth, give from your wealth. If you want love, spread love. If you wish peace, be peaceful yourself. “For it is only in giving that you receive. Giving enriches your life with meaning, fulfillment, and happiness. It allows you to unleash your potential and create breakthroughs.” (Azim Jamal – a writer and a motivational speaker)
So give of your time, knowledge, wisdom, wealth and love, and experience the power and beauty of giving! The “Pursuit of happiness” will end; happiness will sneak into your life all by itself.

This article was published at: http://www.aaj.tv/author/shazia.yousuf/

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