What is the difference between Happiness and Joy?
Simply speaking happiness is a momentary state of feeling good that comes generally from some material gain or experience. This is normally short-lived. You would like to experience this again, and then again. It is insatiable. Conversely, Joy is the experience that comes from within, has nothing to do with our material or achievements and once we achieve such a state, we can always be in that state whatever be the prevailing conditions. It is the combined experience of heart and mind in synchronous mode. It can only be achieved if the two are integrated. This is mainly brought about by the integrating power of the Energy within us.
What is reaction?
It is the immediate first response by a being to a situation or experience. In the case of human beings, the first response is always mental. Human mind is the most advanced integrated system in nature and it is primarily responsible for initiating reactions. This initial mental response is then transferred to any one or all of the five senses. The subsequent fallout of this is then incidental and could also be linked to some historical record in the memory. This memory is picked up by ego which drives the actions of the subject and so on…
How do we react and what happens when we react?
Let us do a few simple exercises. You are in a public place and you see a person who is excessively fat and has difficulty in walking. When you look at her or him your mind registers the peculiarity of the person’s physical features like shape, size, facial expression and the degree of difficulty being faced by this person. A thought rises in your mind, what an awkward personality this is. You have reacted. If this situation leads to you making a statement or commenting upon to someone accompanying you, it could either be ego or compassion driven. Thereafter, there can be many further fallouts which we need not go into at this point. But this can be avoided. If you are an awakened being and very cautious about personal improvement then you will be observing your own self and watchful about your reactions rather than about the other person. You will look at the subject and your vision will not rebound and create any mental activity. Your vision would instead go through the person as if he or she was not there. This is a ‘Witness State’. You are ‘Sthitapragya’ (Sanskrit-Steady, Stable & Unmoved).
Why should we stop reacting?
You and you alone are responsible for your life. No one else is. What others do to you is their trait, but how you respond to it, is your ‘Dharma’ (there is no equivalent single word translation for dharma in western languages). So, if you stop reacting, you are playing a leadership role.
- Firstly, when not reacting you are not carrying the burden on your head and heart.
- Secondly, when in interpersonal interaction, you avoid responding and you are allowing the negativity to pass through without affecting you.
- Thirdly, you have contributed in a big way in preventing the subsequent fallout, thus normalising the situation.
- Finally, you stand a great chance of winning a friend for life and raising your own image amongst your peers and in a social circle.
How to stop reacting and start feeling the Joy?
Start with small exercises as we did above. You can plan these exercises yourself. We have learnt earlier, reaction is the mental response in the first place. If we are observant about it and have opened our heart to accept everything the way it comes, we would experience Joy. Do not worry about the right and the wrong in a situation. In order to learn, we have to first stop analysing. We are social beings and equally responsible for the wellbeing of others as for our own selves. If we distribute good quality seeds to the neighbouring farmers, we are bound to get a good harvest through cross pollination. Gradually we become aware of our role as responsible beings in the society and we grow in stature. There is nothing materialistic about it and thus we will continue to be in a state of Joy.
The state is that even while being in a situation, you are not actually there. This becomes your normal nature. There is complete detachment from the happenings. How does detachment help? Why is it important? Try practicing these exercises and do share your experiences by writing back and sending us your response.
Your Partner in Quest,
The book below shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith and human nature, while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its readers