Thursday, July 8, 2010

Masters in Happiness

People who personally know me will identify with my expression, "I mean... really?". That is what I have been forced to exclaim from the past couple of days with a certain bunch of... let's say people. 

In the order of occurrence - 

Someone recently described his girl friend to me as being reliable, firm and durable. My monologue wanted to hazard a guess on her name. What came to mind was this - Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirrelli and Good Year. 

Yesterday, a friend of mine passed on an application that predicted my role in the past life. Although not a firm believer of it, I gave it a whirl. The answer that I got - Baker!. Hmm. I thought I refresh the page to check how true this is. The answers I got - Sheep, Scary Warrior, Giraffe, Mad Scientist. Hmm. 

Then, cream on the cake arrive this morning. Apparently, most people of today are on a constant pursuit for happiness. That is sad but true. We're constantly in search of materialistic pleasures that we swing away from the simple pleasures in life that bring happiness. 

To be honest, even I was on that train. Although I knew and believed in simple living and high thinking (thanks to my parents!) I did not quite put my finger on it. I reckon this is because of my age. I have been told I am way mature than my age. But, I believe that there are a certain things that comes with age. And, thanks to a very good friend of mine (you know who you are), I have realized that. And, when I take time everyday to self-reflect on myself (been doing this since I was 8/10 years old) I familiarize myself with them. However, I feel sad about the upcoming generation. And, I feel sad for the ones who are elder than me and have not yet realized that happiness comes from within. Believe me, I have read articles entitled - Money brings Happiness, Does happiness have a sex?, Is happiness dependent on anything?

Then, came a wise man who introduced himself as Mark Van Doren who concluded that education brought happiness. When he said that, I don't think he would have anticipated that there would be a need for a course to explain happiness to a bunch of students. I reckon he meant when one has got their answers, they feel contented and therefore happy.  

University of Pennsylvania, IVY League has released a new postgraduate course. Yes, they have. They have recognized the bleakness of prevailing happiness amongst people, and thus have decided to help them. The course is called Masters in Happiness. 

I am wondering how the course structure is going to be. I fear this is more distracting and conflicting. I think so because happiness is not something that can be taught. You can only theoretically but not satisfyingly explain a feeling. 

Those who know me well, know that I am on a quest for a spiritual feel. Bishop John Murala explained to me how hard it is to explain how a certain feel is. This is what he said to me, "Ajey, I cannot tell you how you will OR should feel to call it spiritual. It is like asking me to explain to someone the taste of salt when s/he has never tasted it. The best I can do is tell that person to try some salt." Wise words. 

I believe technology is to be blamed for this. Not entirely, but at least to a certain extent. People spend so much time on their PSP, PSII, Facebook, even TV and such that they have no idea of reality. I find immense happiness in walking in the rain, watching a ever-beautiful sunrise and sunset (I do this almost everyday), sitting in the garden and looking at the clouds changing shapes and forms, watching sunflowers in my backyard waking up with the sun, watching the river flow, seeing tall mountains, smell of the mud when rain has just fallen, feel of wet grass under your feet, listening to birds chirping, appreciating great architectural work, having a conversation (no, not IM's) and so on. Nature, to me is the best place to find your answers. Nature brings so much peace, contentment and happiness. Regardless of your mood, it fills you with positivity. When we have such a readily available teacher - mother nature, we still consult books. Yes, I reckon these books help us look for things that are skipping our sight. But, the feel can never be explained.       

I reckon conspicuously searching for happiness will not lead us there. The instant we question our state of happiness, we put ourselves in a paradox. Mind cannot define every feel that is felt. Feelings cannot fully be explained. 

Masters in Happiness, I mean... really?

Photo by Ajey Padival 
Copyright © Ajey Padival 2010 (Brisbane, Australia; +61434360675;

17 responses:

Noelle said...

So many times we look outward for happiness when it can only be found within the confines of our own being. I too feel most of my peace when I stop to appreciate life around me in all forms - human, nature etc. It is never found in materialistic objects except in thos moments when it roots my security.

findingmywingsinlife said...

Interesting for you. I agree that constantly searching for happiness often brings pain, because its not a tangible thing to be had. You can't hold in your hands, only in your heart.

That last line, feelings cannot be explained is absolutely true in every aspect of life. Makes me want to ask you this question though as something to ponder, "if feelings cannot be explained, yet are so integral and important to our being- why then is logic always the most important?" ;)

Strawberry Girl said...

Brilliant observations here! For me, happiness comes from quite reflection and honestly from getting enough sleep (which I always seem to be lacking these days from my busy schedule...) I too like the thoughts of the Bishop, so true.

Thanks for sharing... :)

TechnoBabe said...

It is a pleasure to read your insight. Good for you to commune with nature as you do and appreciate your surroundings. I totally agree with your observation regarding people spending their valuable time IM, text, phone, and in front of TV. I am interested in the Happiness course at University of Pennsylvania. Some part of me thinks what a shame that peoples lives have deteriorated to the place there is a need for a postgraduate course on Happiness; but on the other hand, since it is reality that there is such a dire need it is a good thing to offer anything that might possibly help people return to their roots and seed true happiness.

Cynthia said...

Hi Ajey, you certainly are wise
for your age. All the super
educated have various theories
on happiness.

However, you have nailed it:
the simple pleasures in life
usually related to nature and
a peace within oneself.

Scribbling Girl said...

Masters of happiness ? Well is that really possible?
Offcourse happiness comes from within and from those non materialistic things.....I remember being the happiest in my childhood when I used to go to my grandma's place....because I was free, I was in nature's lap.....I used to live for that time like there is no tomorrow....and that is real happiness....materialism can never give us the real peace....its just illusions...wish people could really understand that..!
nicely expressed!

Eva said...

We are all masters of our own happiness. No one can be our happiness for us. No person and no material objects. This post had a lot to think about. It followed some things I've had on my mind lately.

The Write Girl said...

Hi AJ,

Sorry, I am getting around to this post now. I think you bring up some fascinating points about happiness and feeling. I like your wisdom. We can get caught up in the day to day but it is important to take time and enjoy the beauty and wonder of life. Nicely written here.

Opaque said...

@Noelle - Thanks.

Opaque said...

@findingmywingsinlife - Logic becomes important when feelings are not completely and honestly expressed and/or further not understood with whom they are shared with. If the other person tries to feel one's feelings rather than making no effort, s/he begins to use logic due to his/her failure to reach the true reason.

Opaque said...

@Strawberry Girl - Thanks!!! I knew you would like his words.

Opaque said...

@TechnoBabe - True. Thanks!

Opaque said...

@Cynthia - Thanks, you!!

Opaque said...

@Scribbling girl - Yes, thanks!

Opaque said...

@Eva - Exactly! Thanks.

Opaque said...

@The Write Girl - Thanks!

Shadow said...

eduction is partly the answer. it needs a self before it though. only once we know and understand ourselves, can we find happiness. and truly, more so in nature than in the shops for sure! excellent read, thank you!