Published on New York Spirit
Once a king went to a Zen monk and questioned, “What is happiness? I have all the riches in the world and everything I wish for yet I am not happy. How can I find happiness? I want to renounce everything because some people say it is in leaving the wealth, is it true?”
The monk told him if he really wanted to know he should do exactly as he says. The king agreed.
He asked the king to take all his valuable assets and convert them to get diamonds and exquisite stones. Take a medium-sized red bag and fill it with them. Then, come to the monk alone with the bag without any weapons. That’s when he will teach him how to be happy.
Within one month the king sold all his assets and kept the valued stones in a bag and went to the monk.
Monk: Are you sure you have done exactly as I said?
Monk: Are you sure you came alone without any weapons?
King: Yes. I am alone and not carrying any weapons.
Monk: Can I look at the bag?
King: Sure. Please.
The monk took the bag and in a spur of moment dashed away with it in the forest.
The king was stunned and began chasing him. The king’s mind was racing more than his feet. He was regretting the fact that he met this trickster monk. The chase continued but the king couldn’t reach him. Panting, he sat under a tree. More than his physical distress, he was frustrated. At that moment, the monk appeared with the bag of riches in front of the king.
The king sprang at him, pulled the bag and rummaged through it. All intact! Not even one stone was missing.
The king was still annoyed and bewildered and asked the monk why he did this.
The monk calmly said:
“Half an hour back, you came with the same bag with riches and you were unhappy. Now, you have the same riches in your hands and you are very happy. Happiness lies within you. You need not renounce the riches to be happy or unhappy. It’s all in your mind. The bigger the chase, the bigger the risk, the bigger the uncertainty, bigger the reward, the happier you get. It’s not in really owning, possessing or renouncing these things.”
This zen story conveyed beautifully that there is no sure shot way of getting happy. There is no Ganges which can wash away the unhappiness sticking to you. There is no miracle man who can treat you for this. The only way is to create your own happiness.
Let’s see how we can create it.
Remember the “I always wanted to do…..” conversations you do at times. Start doing it. Indulge in soul-nourishing tasks. That’s what makes you content. That’s where happiness arises from. Make a garden, tend plants. Feed strays, maybe adopt one. Learn something new, practice it regularly. Help someone in need, do it daily. Dream. Play. Live. So that when you reach towards the end of this life, all prepared for your next avatar, and you look back, there shouldn’t be the regret that you forgot to live in the illusion of chaos of life.
Nature is an essence and healer for our existence.
Walk barefoot in the dewy morning grass. There are many scientific types of research which show that it helps release those feels good endorphins. Go for a stroll amidst trees or on the beach. Watch that tranquil sea. Watch that sunlight filtering through the trees. Feel the nature above you, below you and around you. It will give you peace of mind. Few hours in the lap of nature are a guaranteed mood-enhancer.
Life will pull you down at many times. You are supposed to feel sad, depressed, angry, gloomy, anxious, lost and every other not-so-good feeling. Nature has different phases too. Summer, rains, autumn, winter – you got to feel everything, that’s how you appreciate and feel grateful for the good things. When you have walked through rains for long, that’s when the sunshine feels bliss.
Your body. No matter if you are in your 20s or 60s, eat well, exercise and treat it well. Look how carefully you kept that expensive dress in your closet. Your body is million times valuable than that. This includes your mental health too. Remove toxins from your body, life, and space. It can be unhealthy food, stressing job or an abusive relationship. Well-being and high-spiritedness go hand-in-hand.
Life often gives us what we call hardships but it never stops moving. The past which you cling to happened for a reason. It made you who you are today. It was part of the plan. Let go of the anger, guilt and any other negative emotion attached to it. Forgive the past and forget it. Forgive the one who hurt you. It is for you and not for the other person. You will feel the healing power of forgiveness inside you. It will surely sting to let go of what you have held on for long but it will free you from the larger pain that you are inflicting onto yourself.
Moving on, letting go and forgiving gives us calmness in each fiber of our body.
Read all the bold words in each pointer again. When you add all these ingredients in your life, happiness will be the cake! (Low fat- I promise!)
May you get bliss whenever you seek it!