Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Basics of Happiness

Some phrased this as oversimplifying but I would rather term it as joining the dots. In recent weeks, the same theme kept emerging time after time…from a video of confession coming from a doctor weighing the importance of material wealth vs. health, a recent conversation over lunch with a colleague on what makes a happy career decision, in which he then bounced across a HBR article on “How will you measure your life” to a local study results in Singapore on “Is Happiness more important than Money”. How interesting especially, when this has been the deepest reflection I have had for the longest time as an individual…and I will try my best to discuss them one by one.

Coming to London, with an aspiration to do well in my career is definitely well intended. However, I also realized how myopic it can be at times when your decision making mechanism starts to only operate around that one dimension. And, in Buddhist teachings, that would probably mean putting a stronger weighting on the family of I, me, my, mine and myself. Trust me, when you constantly chase for more of something and yet still feel empty – time to open the moral compass to check if we are heading to the right direction.

Clearly, it is a straight forward answer for some to say “Happiness is more important than Money” but I think there is more to that than the tagline alone. I personally believe true happiness is when one can practice boundless love, over and beyond oneself – it is the kind of joy that channeled through your whole body and radiates on your face despite feeling bodily tired after volunteering your time to help others.  For one to realize there is more to life than just your solo self is a good start.

When you start from a bigger picture, you momentarily learn to treasure your health (for a good health is a foundation to be able to do greater things in life). So, for the young ones thinking “We are Young, We are Free” remember not to overwork or overplay to the expense of your health for you are only incurring cumulative interest to repay later.

For those of you who are embarking on a career journey, a profession that only pays you very well is not everything. Looks great on your bank account and perhaps when you socialize with friends. Richard Branson, himself said “Money is a by-product of bigger, more meaningful goals such as passion, fun and wisdom. As I’ve said before, have fun, do good, and the money will come.

Always very grateful for moments like this for such quiet moments are when you strip everything back to basics – to contemplate on simple joy and happiness, to realize that letting go makes you gain more than you thought you will lose. Definitely not complete to just end this little reflection without dedicating thanks to the source of inspiration itself – a beautiful song that was played in every Firefly Mission volunteering event that thoroughly reminds me of the basic of happiness is to be able to share the happiness with a boundless heart.

Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu J

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