THE PRICE TAG
All around me,
The super imposition
Of a maze of figures
On to a jungle of faces.
The advantage of arithmetic over aesthetics
The efficacy of computers over Gods.
The replacement of heart by IQ.
All around me
Equating human relations
The advantage of figures over words
The potency of rates over adjectives
The replacement of value by price
I wonder what the price tag of “HAPPINESS” reads ?
Written by an anonymous poet, I had jotted these words down as a young girl because it had the elusive word, ‘happiness’ in it and my eager mind was restless and in search for something that would appease it. However it was only much later as I went through the indulgences in my own pursuit of happiness that I began to realize that I had some mistaken ideas about it’s very nature.
I remember that I always wanted to live a life of meaning and purpose and was internally very self driven. However, having been brought up in a rather strict and measured environment and in the absence of a clear concept of the term ‘happiness’, I was always wanting for more. Hence it was very natural for me to associate it with the big, beautiful and glamorous things of this world……a nice home of my own, a large wardrobe and plenty of money to travel around the world. My life was built on “if only'” and “I’m waiting for things to get better.” My firm belief was that my happiness was just around the corner. This was perhaps the most frail and inadequate position that I was standing on.
Life was wonderful and I did experience a lot of what I wanted and it was accompanied with a feeling of great joy because of the positive effects they had on my life. However, the lasting feeling still eluded me. It’s then that I began to ask myself that if I have gratitude for all the good in my life and I believe that I am smart, then why am I not really happy? Where can I find that, which doesn’t leave me or at least doesn’t make me depend on something outside of me and is so little in my control?
Slowly and steadily through introspection and conversation with friends I realised that I was clinging to the belief that a fun filled life, where I struggled less, is what equals happiness. It was this limiting belief that was actually shrinking my chances of ever attaining real happiness. In my resistance I was avoiding the very endeavors that are the source of true happiness. That’s when it began to dawn on me that while I thoroughly enjoyed doing fun things and having my insatiable desires met, it was the more difficult aspirations that were actually bringing me an abiding sense of contentment and joy.
The sincere attempts to raise my children, create a closer bond with my husband and the immediate family members, stay deeply connected to my friends and alongside try to do meaningful work for social causes that I believed in, was what was truly holding me up with a sense of fulfillment. The process was and continues to be challenging. It brings it’s share of small and big victories and disappointments, a sense of elation and sometimes heartbreaking defeat, yet I plod on knowing that happiness cannot be sought on the outside. It is simply a state of being which comes when you begin to live with honesty and integrity, when you are true to yourself and to your journey of life, when you bask in your ability to love others and when you do your best every single day. And the reward and validation comes when you are not asking or looking for it. It shows itself in moments of deep connection with a loved one, in unasked for hugs, in a word of appreciation and sometimes just in the feeling of being so vibrantly alive.
Today my sense of being completely accountable to myself and living a life aligned to my purpose and vision is what cradles me in the warm and fuzzy blanket of happiness and it cushions the inevitable disappointing knocks of life too. This understanding of happiness was a life transforming realization for me and a very liberating one too.
Ms. Kiran Multani