Happiness - A choice

Happiness - A choice

The subject is binary --- either we can choose to be happy or we can choose to be unhappy - Is there a middle ground as the famous tamiz song says “Silar sirippaar , silar azuvaar, silar siriththuu konde azhugindrar”? (Loosely translated it means “some laugh, some cry, while some laugh while sad/crying internally). The third is a camouflage to hide the pain inside and the poet here must be exercising his/her poetic licence.

Is it a conscious choice or are we programmed by nature to be more inclined to be unhappy/negative? Are emotions a human trait or has mankind ‘presumed’ in its arrogance that feelings and emotions are only for the humans and other lives in creation just “exist” for the pleasure of mankind with no other purpose; there is enough proof to show that animals too experience all the emotions like us. It, however, takes very little to make them happy – food and loving care.

With so much advancement in technology, brain scans etc., it is possible to brain map emotions even of someone who has mastered the art of being poker faced! While conceding there is much happening around us which is disturbing it still remains in the realm of our control how we react to the environment around us, both personal and outside.

Corona and lockdown have given us a lot of time to introspect. What is happening outside - corona spreading so fast and wide with no solution in the immediate future - is very confusing and different from all what we had been used to. There was a certain amount of familiarity and predictability in the world we lived and now suddenly, everything seems shaky. This scenario is causing a lot of anxiety and fear – fear of the unknown. It is a genuine worry about the infection. This uncertainty is of great concern to everyone, especially the elderly.

If we just take a step back and look at the scenario objectively, for many of us life has not changed except that we are confined to our homes. Many of us are financially quite secure and do not have to worry about paying the bills or where the next meal is coming from. All of us are connected to our family and friends over phones and emails. There is plenty of entertainment on the TV, YouTube, radio and books. There is enough time to catch up on the long postponed “to do list” – clearing the clutter, calling up old friends, trying our hands at new hobbies and catch up on reading.

Yet, the mind keeps going to the distress outside over which we have absolutely no say or control. May be the lockdown should be seen as an opportunity for us to open the doors of our minds, to accept this reality, for this too will pass. As the famous Serenity prayer says,

God, Grant me the Intelligence to change the things I can, Courage to accept the things I cannot change, And Wisdom to know the difference,

This prayer is not only profound but also loaded with common sense. Let us laugh and spend time with our family and friends. Let us take one day at a time; cherish and be grateful for all what we have. To be happy is a choice we can make consciously.