Secrets of A Happy Life


A Simple Life

A simple life is a happy life. A complicated life knows no happiness. To have a happy and fulfilling life, we must know the bliss of a simple life.

Our lives in this 21st century are everything but simple. We have the comforts and conveniences which even our previous generations didn’t have. We live in a technological age, where our boundaries of communication and global connection are no longer an obstacle. We are more connected than we could ever dream of. We have more options of lifestyle, better medicine, better transport facilities, better education, but are we happier than before? Can we say that? Have we become a better society, more humane, more compassionate? It doesn’t seem so. 

Our world is driven by economic engines—by industries, by enterprises, by corporations. We have invested so much of our lives into the economic process that we have lost all our human affection and lost perspective of our human condition. Money can never buy happiness—but this simple fact is missed, and we are constantly running after success and happiness. In this pursuit of happiness, we have become more miserable and lifeless. It’s time to look back on our nature—what we truly need. 

Life’s Longing

Essentially, we’ve not understood life. Life doesn’t long for money and all the things money can buy. Life doesn’t long for comforts and conveniences. It’s all for our physical survival. We need things to survive—food to nourish ourselves, clothes to cover our bodies, a house to protect ourselves from nature’s ravages. These are our basic needs. But there is much much more to life than all these accessories. Things we accumulate, relations we form—are all accessories to life, not life itself. These are all meant to support life. But we blindly and desperately try to find happiness in either material comforts or relationships.

Life’s longing is to be complete, to become a full-fledged life.

But life can never be complete with things or relationships. To our illusion, we think ‘matter’ and ‘people’ will make us happy. But the fact is, the more we indulge in material pursuits and relationship fantasies, the more we get away from true happiness. Anyone who has this wisdom will save his or her life from being wasted. 

Relative Happiness

If you closely examine, you’ll understand, the happiness that you get from meaningful and caring relationships is qualitatively and quantitatively higher than the happiness that you get from material objects. Therefore, the greater portion of our energy and time is being invested in sustaining relationships. We do not know higher happiness than this. But, see for yourself, are you truly completely satisfied with your relationships? Very few people are. If that is so, that means you no longer seek anything else. But the fact is, relationships, however beautiful or cherishing, can not grant us lasting happiness. We constantly seek higher and higher levels of happiness, from one relation to another. But it doesn’t matter how many relations we have, we will not be completely satisfied. This is so because relationships are born out of our needs, and they are sustained by emotions. No one relationship can satisfy all our needs, and emotions don’t remain stable forever. The emotional aspect is a significant dimension of being human. Indeed, a very powerful dimension. But, you see, emotions are not existential happenings. They change. They constantly fluctuate. Therefore emotions can not give us lasting happiness. They can not be relied upon. Only, as human beings, when we touch the existential dimension of our nature, can we truly hope to be happy. 

Living A Simple Life

There is a saying among the wise:

Truth is simple.

All the beautiful things are simple. The mellow sunset, the dazzling full moon, the ecstatic rain, the gentle stream, flowers of colourful palette, the deep valleys, the mighty mountain peaks—everything that is beautiful to our eyes, are simple natural wonders. They are not complicated. Even babies become happy when they see a little flower. It is said, children, women and flowers are the most beautiful things on the planet. Except for women, of course, everything is simple! Jokes apart, simplicity and beauty are co-existent. Is the smile of an innocent child complicated? Is the beauty of a virtuous lady complicated? Is the gentleness of a flower complicated? They attract us in all situations whether we’re sad or depressed or simply off-mood. They appeal to all, from a child to the aged. 

Likewise, if we make our lives simple, we will have the taste of happiness. Because it is in simple and little things that we become most happy, really. But alas! We fail to enjoy the little things. Life itself is simple, but we tend to make it complicated.

We gather more things than we need, we eat more than we should, we sleep more than is beneficial, we do more than is necessary to be happy. Don’t we do so? But, even after doing everything in excess, we are not truly happy. So, perhaps, the opposite is true. Why not experiment and see. 

What A Simple Life Is

A simple life is a life of a river. A river doesn’t attach itself to anything. It just flows, gently. In flowing, it never harms anything, never gets obstructed in its way; because there is no resistance in it, there’s no ‘struggle’ to flow, there’s no conflict. It just flows downward. And ultimately, it merges with the ocean. A river doesn’t know where to go, but it’s natural intelligence leads it to the ocean. Similarly, if we let our innate intelligence flow, it’ll lead us to our destination. That’s why the Zen masters always say: be like water. 

But on a more practical note, a simple life means an uncluttered life. Both materially and mentally. Need is need. But don’t turn it into greed. There’s no end to greed. On a mental level, living simply means—not complicating things, that is, seeing things as they are. Not expecting more than what is appropriate, not seeking more than what is necessary. Being content with whatever is there, that is, focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t have. 

And also, living simply means doing everything in moderation. You know, Buddhism also puts great emphasis on moderating our conduct. And moderation is also a core concept of Stoicism—the ancient Greek school of thought which advocated a calm attitude in the face of adversities. Moderation really is the key to a balanced and happy life. Because everything in excess is bad for us. Even water, if you consume too much, you will die. This is so with everything.


So, the concluding thought is: a moderate life is a simple life. Things and relationships have their own place, they are not to be disregarded totally. But they don’t have the potential to give us true happiness. True happiness lies in understanding life’s longing and going according to that. 

Thank You for reading.

With Love, Alok🍁

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Alok Singha

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