As I mentioned earlier, we go to great lengths in our pursuit of pleasure. Our life activities are focused on seeking thrills and we are in a continuous race to acquire more rewards, houses, riches, fame, accomplished partners, and power. We keep achieving goals without really spending any moments appreciating our acquisitions.
As I was trying to figure what happiness can possibly mean and how different it was from pleasure, a few aspects dawned upon me:
Pleasure is momentary, while happiness is long lasting. Pleasure seems to be a seduction of the environment, while happiness is an expression of the inner spirit. Pleasure seems like a hollow feeling where the chest and pride expands more than the heart, while happiness seems to fill the heart.
Pleasure comes from getting something, while happiness is felt even in giving without expectations of receiving anything. Pleasure is initiated by the external, while happiness seems to be flowing from within. Pleasures seem psychological and physical, whilst happiness seems spiritual.
Withdrawal of happiness feels empty, but not painful, whilst withdrawal of pleasure incites anger and pain. Pleasure is a sensation, happiness is a state of being.
In retrospect, trying to master one’s environment is futile, as we only have the power to be master of oneself. Gandhiji’s statement: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, was very difficult for me to understand, until I realised that we can only affect the world by being what we are and that is what we can aspire to be.
As we evolve and discover our true self, we begin to radiate the energy of transformation. Lord Krishna, in chapter 5, verses 22 and 24 of the Bhagavad Gita, instructs us thus: “One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme and ultimately he attains the Supreme. A liberated person is not attracted to material senses or pleasure but is always in a trance, enjoying the pleasures within. In this way the self-realised person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.”