Earlier, we discussed that happiness has to be decoupled from circumstances and disengaged from objects. On this third day of the Happiness Challenge, let us try and learn the art of correcting our attitude and developing a happier one. In order to be unhappy, we do not need anything from the outside. All we need to do is to bring unhappy, gloomy, miserable thoughts to ourselves. In the same way, in order to be happy, we only need to tweak our attitude. Let us consider an interesting incident to comprehend how to re-orient our attitude.
One of the devotees once visited a Swamiji, complaining that his in-laws had come to stay with them and how miserable he was. He said, “I love my wife, but I never liked my in-laws. Can you please tell me how to overcome this gloom?” The Swamiji said, “Do you have dogs at home?” He said, “No.” The Swamiji said, “That’s the problem. Why don’t you arrange for a few?” He was an obedient devotee and went to the market and got three dogs to live at home. However, he came back to meet Swamiji after a week. Swamiji asked, “How are you feeling?” He said, “Those dogs have added to my misery. I am unhappier than I was. What to do now?”
Swamiji asked him, “Do you have cats at home?” He said, “No.” Swamiji said, “That’s where the problem lies. Arrange for a few cats as well.” Again, he obeyed his instructions. He went to the market and got some cats. But he came back again to Swamiji within three days. Swamiji asked, “Now what’s the problem?” He said, “The dogs run after the cats, the cats fight with the dogs, and my life has become hell. I came to you to learn the art of happiness and you have made me unhappier than before. What kind of a Swamiji are you?” Swamiji said, “Do one thing—send away all the dogs and all the cats.” He did that and came back to Swamiji after three days. Swamiji asked, “Are you happy now?” He said, “I am totally peaceful.” Swamiji said, “Look, your in-laws are still in your home, but you are peaceful.”
So, peace, contentment, and bliss are not dependent upon the externals. It is a choice that we make. Unhappiness is also not a necessity. It is the way we choose to think. How then should we develop a cheery attitude? It is very simple—all we need to do is to learn to be grateful for all the blessings that we have received. Unfortunately, when we have something, we fail to realize the value of it. Only when it is about to be snatched, we understand—what a wonderful gift we had.
Let us consider a compelling story. One couple who was living in a small flat used to always complain. When they would look at their friends and classmates in big bungalows, they would be discontented and having thoughts like, “What has God given to us? We have nothing to be happy about. We are the most miserable people.”
One day, something changed suddenly— the wife was a housewife and the husband lost his job. They now did not have the ability to pay the mortgage for their flat. The bank was pestering them and had announced, “If you don’t clear the mortgage payment by the coming Saturday, we will close on you.” Now, they worried that they would have to move on to the street.
Watch this interesting video by Swami Mukundananda –
Suddenly on Saturday morning, the husband got a placement offer from a company along with the advance salary that he had requested for, and thus he was able to retain the house. Now, that very house seemed like a blessing to them, but the house was the same. Earlier they had been so discontented and now they saw it as a gift of God for which they felt grateful.
Similarly, we all have received so many gifts from God. If we start counting them—right there, we will have a million reasons to be happy. So, the way of tweaking our attitude to become more joyous and blissful then—is to learn to be grateful for all that we have received. Let us practice the sentiment of gratitude and tap into the fountain of happiness that exists within us.
Let us remember this gem of wisdom for being happy and we shall again progress further, climb higher on this mountain of happiness, and master the art for ourselves to be able to share it for the near and dear ones around us.