Because I’m Happy
Because I’m happy …
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth;
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you;
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do!
There is a very upbeat song which has topped the charts. The name of the song is “Happy”, and it is played repeatedly on the radio, in dance studios and even in kindergartens. In fact, the song has become so popular, you find people of all age groups humming, grinning and clapping along to it. Similarly, nearly 30 years ago another song, called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” also topped the charts and won various awards. So many years later, we still know the song and almost inevitably hum along if we hear it on the radio. A questioner once told Maharaj Ji about the song and expressed his desire to sing it for him. The Master told him that although he had not heard the song before, it was something that he often said: “By nature, man is happy and contented.”
If man is contented by nature and we find ourselves inevitably humming along to happy tunes, why is it that we also often find ourselves in a negative state of mind? The answer is simple. It is because we often equate happiness with a set of circumstances rather than a state of being.
Often we feel that the responsibility of making us happy lies on someone else’s shoulders. As children, we often looked to our parents to make us happy, and even resented them if they did not buy the toy we wanted. As young adults, we depended on our spouses to make us happy, and often held high expectations that led to feelings of disappointment. Later in life, we looked to our children for happiness, yet felt disappointed if they did not choose the career or spouse we wanted for them.
Our mistake is depending on another being or an object for our state of happiness. The responsibility of maintaining a happy state of mind rests on our shoulders alone.
Another common mistake that we make is depending on certain life circumstances to make us happy. As children, we may associate happiness with just five more minutes of television before bed. As young adults, perhaps we feel that we will be happy only once we are accepted to the college of our choice or marry the girl of our dreams. Midway through life, our ambitions often centre on monetary advancements, and later in life, we look to our children to satisfy our unfulfilled dreams. But life can never go exactly as we wish, and as Maharaj Ji used to often explain, happiness lies in adjusting to life’s circumstances and adopting the right attitude.
There is a beautiful story of an elderly woman that aptly explains this advice. This ninety-two-year-old, petite, poised and proud lady, who was legally blind, was forced to move into a nursing home after her husband of seventy years passed away. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. She manoeuvred her walker to the elevator, and the nurse provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. “But Mrs Jones, you have not seen the room … just wait!” exclaimed the nurse. “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not does not depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we too could arrange our minds to always be happy? Masters are our perfect examples and just like that ninety-two-year-old blind woman, aren’t they also beaming pictures of happiness? Don’t their smiles brighten up any room? Regardless of what they may be going through personally, aren’t they full of humour, rhymes, laughs and smiles? How can we adopt such a state of inner joy, so that we too radiate happiness wherever we go? Like these noble souls, how do we get the happy song constantly beating in our hearts? How do we forget all our worries and anxieties and just sing along?
The second line of the song says, “Clap along if we know that happiness is the truth.” Maharaj Ji has himself assured us that we are happy at our core, so happiness undoubtedly is the truth.
Then the song goes, “Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.” If we simply realize that happiness is not a set of circumstances but a state of mind that we must choose to adopt, then we begin to understand what happiness truly means to each one of us.
Finally, the song goes, “Clap along if you feel like that’s what you want to do.” Indeed, the lyrics accurately point out that once we have understood that happiness is a way of thinking – we simply need to decide whether or not we want to adopt it. The final decision of being happy – rather the responsibility of being happy – is ours and ours alone.
A young disciple once asked her Master what made him happy, and what made him sad. He paused, tilted his head to the side and said, “Your smiling faces make me happy, and your long faces make me sad.” If we find it so difficult to choose happiness for ourselves, at least let’s embrace it for him. Let’s clap along, because it’s what he wants us to do.