Feeling sad is a state of mind. When we feel low, when our expectations do not meet up, when we don’t get what we desire, it is all nothing but a state of sadness. The state of happiness is exactly opposite. Where things start working out as per our expectations, and our needs get fulfilled, we feel the happiness from within.
From the above definitions of both these states, we can conclude that happiness and sadness is inside our minds. Right from the time we were born, we have been used to certain preconceived beliefs. For example, in our childhood, we used to cry when we did not get that one chocolate which our neighbour had bought for us. We ourselves have nurtured this habit within ourselves that when we do not get what we want we feel sad. Through the different stages in life, we started building up many such expectations from life. We see certain situations and certain events as favourable and hence we become happy with their arrival. Similarly, when things do not turn out that way, we feel that the situation is unfavourable and we become sad.
None of us like to be sad. All of us crave for the happiness that lasts long. Who would want to lose a job that gives him/her a fat income? Who would want his/her business to suffer loss? Thus we all look for happiness in different events and situations in life. But we forget that if we look for happiness in worldly possessions, then such happiness has to vanish some day. In this discussion, one point needs to be understood which is that happiness and sadness go hand in hand. Neither of the two is permanent. Both are phases of life.
So the next question that arises would be, “What should we do so that we achieve true happiness or in short, what is the true definition of happiness and how do we overcome sadness permanently?” The answer to this question requires deep understanding of the way human mind works.
Today we can understand that we feel happy or sad because of our own actions. Those actions arise from our thoughts. So our target should be the way we think. Once we have achieved complete control over our basic mindset, it will start reflecting in our actions and eventually lead to true happiness.
Now we can start in the following way:
Our basic thinking is that we should achieve what we crave for, whether it is money, car, family or a luxurious life. If it gets fulfilled, it results in joy and if it does not gets fulfilled then the other way round. So, the idea that we must implement is that of being neutral. Neutral here means, neither the thought of achieving happiness due to worldly possessions, nor sadness due to unfavourable conditions. Once you are neutral, outside conditions stop affecting your inner state. The condition of being neutral can be explained in the below given way.
Suppose you see a bird flying high in the sky. You simply stare at the bird with no reaction from within. You just saw it pass by. Here you are an observer. You are not feeling oneness with the feeling with which the bird is flying. Similarly, when you see a person in pain, you yourself are not feeling that pain because you do not feel that oneness with his pain (That does not mean you must not help that person come out of his pain). I am just focusing on the main feeling of oneness.
Similar should be the situation when one falls in a favourable or an unfavourable condition. Irrespective of whether your wish gets fulfilled or not, you must step into the shoe of an observer. You just need to avoid that oneness with the feeling of being sad or happy. In such a situation, that bliss which you feel because of non-attachment with the on-going situation is the bliss of being content. This is what I mean by true happiness. It is about being content from within rather than relying on the external entities.
One can practice the following ideas as a means to overcome sadness and achieve happiness in its true form:
With a conscious will and practice in day-to-day events and scenarios, it is possible to win over the emotions of happiness and sadness.