Is true happiness a metaphor?

Shaman Gyan

All our lives, right from our childhood to youth and then well into adulthood, humans aim for various  things which they believe will lead them to the ultimate goal – happiness. Dressed up in many forms e.g. a new phone, a new car or a great job, our goal as humans is to just somehow acquire that one thing which will make us happy. And so on it goes…

I remember at a very young age of 6, wanting a dress similar to one worn by my friend so badly. I would pray for it, whine to my mom about it and in general be obsessed with it for hours at end. Those were the days when mom still stitched at home, and somehow by miracle of manifestations, I did get that dress made out for myself. Now, it would be normal to assume that happiness at acquiring that much wanted dress would last for a while. But not so, within 2 days of getting that dress, my friend had a shiny new pink bike which became my latest object of desire and ultimate happiness.

Recently, I found myself introspecting about this particular incident and I realized things haven’t changed for me so much really. I have been wanting one thing after the other, a dream vacation, a well behaved child, a home as clean as a picture or maybe just a great sunset view while on a trip to the beach. But as soon as that moment is over, irrespective of fact whether I got what I wanted or not, my heart starts to want the next thing. Sounds familiar?

This unsettling feeling resonated with me so much that on my next trip to India, I spent some time in holy city of Haridwar trying to figure out what I really wanted from life. Surely, it had to be something beyond material possessions, or someone else’s behaviour, or someone else’s achievements which would make me happy. In fact by this time I was even wondering if true happiness really existed or was it just a metaphor we are made to believe in to keep functioning.

In Haridwar I met a Shaman (native healer) sitting on the steps of river Ganges during evening prayer times. There was unending peace and compassion in his eyes and I put up this question to him. And his answer did and did not surprise me at the same time. He said, this unsettled  feeling comes from the fact that I am following and chasing the wrong thing. It is not happiness that I should seek but Peace. That moment is etched crystal clear in my mind to this date. Suddenly it seemed like the mist had cleared and sun had shone through bright and shiny. I spend more than three hours with him that evening, taking in the beauty, the noise and the lights of the ghats by ganges. My discussion with Shaman changed my entire life purpose, and it seemed I did get my answers that evening.

Seeking of happiness is a futile and indeed a metaphorical exercise. This is because happiness lies in material things and feelings. If we change our focus on achieving peace, our outlook towards life and our relations takes a 360 swing. We start spending our days not focussed on being happy but focussed on being peaceful and spreading peace around us. Here are my biggest learnings from that evening and I sincerely hope they will help you in someway.

  • Make peace with your past so it doesn’t spoil your present
  • What others think of you is none of your business
  • Time heals everything – so give the time, some time
  • No one is the reason for your happiness except you, yourself
  • Don’t compare your life with others, you have no idea what their journey is all about
  • Stop thinking too much, its all right not to know all the answers
  • Smile, ’cause you don’t own all the problems in this world

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please drop me a note and let me know!

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