Happiness is…

 

Every moment that you spend here on this planet, know that you are for a unique, big purpose, far greater than just to eat, sleep and talk. You are here for a greater cause. Just remember that.

 

Take a challenge — “Come what may, I am going to smile today and be happy!”

 

For our growth, and to strengthen our lives, we need to follow some rules. These rules are called “yama” (social ethics) and “niyama”(personal ethics). They are the first two steps (or limbs) of yoga of inner union.

 

Yama

 

There are five rules to living peacefully in society and the environment:

 

The first rule is “ahimsa” or non-violence. Non-violence unites you with the whole of creation. Just as you don’t harm yourself, you don’t harm the rest of creation. Everything is part of you, so how can you harm anything? Ahimsa is the practice of yoga, of not harming, and realising that everything is here.

 

The second rule is “satyam” or truthfulness. You don’t lie to yourself, do you? You can’t lie to yourself. If you are weaving beads, you don’t say, “I am not weaving beads.” You are, and you know it. When you have chocolate in your hand, you don’t say, “I don’t have chocolate in my hand.” You do have chocolate in your hand!

 

The third is “astheya”, meaning, not missing what you don’t have at this moment, nor wishing things were different from what they are at the moment — not regretting. Astheya is not: “I wish I had a voice like that person! I wish I could sing like that person. I wish I were young like that person. I wish I could run like that person. I wish I could be as intelligent as that person…” It is not comparing yourself with others, and wishing for what they have and you don’t have.

 

Fourth is “brahmacharya”, meaning, not interested in the shapes and forms of the body. The mind, here, sees beyond the physical, to the infinite. Brahmacharya is keeping the mind on bigger things. “Brahma” means big; moving in bigger things. “I am small”, “I am a man”, “I am a woman”, “I am a good person”, “I am a bad person”, “I am hopeless” — all these are small identifications.

 

Fifth is “aparigraha”, meaning, not taking what people give you. You know, it is surprising that you often take the insults people give you, much more than their compliments! Right? Sometimes, they are not even “giving” you these insults — they are simply taking the insults “out of their pockets”, but you grab them, and keep them very safe with you! If someone is giving you garbage, they may not even really be giving you the garbage — they may simply be throwing it out, but you collect the garbage and hold on to it very safely! This is what most people do. They are ready to bounce up, take negativity and keep it to themselves.

 

Don’t take anything from anybody, including insults! Of course, compliments don’t really bother us! They just go to our heads! What really bother us are the insults, the hurt, and all the negative words that we take from people. Don’t take them! Do you understand? This is aparigraha.

 

Niyama

 

There are five rules for one’s inner development:

 

The first is “shaucha”, everyday cleanliness. It includes showering and keeping yourself clean, wearing clean clothes, and seeing that you don’t have bad breath. If someone stinks, they don’t notice it, but those sitting next to them do!

 

The second is “santosha” or contentment… happiness. Be happy! If you don’t take a step towards being happy, nothing in this world can make you happy, and you go on complaining about this and that.

 

Once, a farmer was complaining that the apples on his trees were not too good. Then, one year, he had very good apples! He had apples in plenty — three times more than the usual crop! Then he started complaining about having too much work to do, about having to pick all those apples, about how many were rotting, and about how the prices had gone down!

 

There’s no end to complaining — but life goes on anyway! It flows like a river. How do you want to live the rest of your life — the remaining 30, 40, or 50 years?

 

Smiling… or grumbling, feeling horrible about yourself, and blaming the whole world? So, the second rule is to be happy and content.

 

Third is “tapas” — forbearance or penance — meaning, something is uncomfortable, but you still put up with it happily. It’s like people who go on marathon walks for 20 miles or 20 kilometres. If we had to simply walk 20 kilometres, we would grumble, but when it’s a marathon, then one says, “Oh! I am going to walk!”

 

Whether you walk in a marathon, or you walk because your car broke down, your legs go through the same pain! But when you think you’re in a marathon, you come back the same, sweating and tired, but with a smile: “Oh! I did it!” This is tapas — willingly taking it. Suppose you have to travel in a plane for a long time — say eight or ten hours — what do you do? If you were asked to sit for ten hours, you would never do it, but in a plane, there is no way out! You have to sit… with a seatbelt on! You can watch TV to keep your mind occupied, but you still have to sit! So, willingly accepting opposites is tapas. This makes your body and mind strong.

 

Whatever you can change, change. What you cannot change, accept. If it is too cold, put on a sweater. It’s as simple as that! When it is raining very heavily, and you get wet, inspite of an umbrella — get wet!

 

Fourth is self-study — “swadhyaya”. Observe your mind, see what your mind says, how you behave, how you act, how you feel… Do you feel good? Do you feel bad? If you are feeling bad, just observe, you start feeling good again. When you are feeling good, observe. All feelings — good or bad — will change. Swadhyaya is self-study, self-observation.

 

Fifth is “ishwara pranidhaana”, meaning, love for the Divine. Surrender to the Divine. When you feel you are helpless, you say, “Oh, God! You take whatever it is that I am feeling!”

 

These are the ten rules that will make you strong, and feel whole and complete.

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