“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon
This quote, Gross National Happiness Index, job satisfaction, yoga, chanting, and meditation are all taking over the world like a fad propagating the importance of happiness, and how we must work for a smile on each other’s faces. But if sadness is something we are working against, let us recognise that happiness is the opposite of sadness – and therefore, both are extreme ends. Though both these ends visit us on a daily basis, the only way to keep calm is not to crawl from the edge of frowns, to the blooming of a smile. The way to keep sane, would be by finding a mid point between these two emotions, that allows us to understand the importance of both feelings.
The fact that a mid point of balance exists, must bring us to highlight that the balance is far more important than a constant craving for happiness, which could often pull us far away from it. This balance can often be described as peace of mind, but peace of mind is the fruit, and the balance that we have to work for, is clarity. Looking at things from an honest perspective, so much so that we do not even lie to ourselves takes more courage than we can imagine. The highest form of intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement, says Jiddu Krishnamurti. These observations are what can gift us with clarity, thus leading us to peace of mind.
Clarity allows us to understand that the world is flawed and we will continue to be late to some event, maybe not get enough sleep, and often find ourselves muddled with questions, and that is okay. What we further must magnify into is the nature of the questions that surround us, why are we concerned about A type of questions rather than B, how can we iron them out to excavate their true query, and know that the question is more a need based validation for something we never had, or are looking for.
Questions continue to hound us. Will I ever get that promotion? How much money will I make, and what if I never make enough? In this world of growing divorces how will I find true love that stays? To this Jiddu Krishnamurti says, that we must free ourselves from the desire of an answer. The more we look for an answer the farther we will go away from understanding the question. Reason being the first step to reaching the answer is understanding the question; which can never happen if we keep looking for answer.
“The freedom from the desire of an answer is essential to understanding the problem”
…this is the clarity that Jiddu Krishnamurti speaks about. This clarity is what leads us from the darkness to light, and keeps us there, since now we understand ourselves.
The clarity to understand oneself is far more important than the search for happiness. This clarity not only allows us to relish the precious feeling of happiness, but also understand the importance of sadness, and disappointment. After a while one stops reacting and starts responding to situations because you understand that almost everything that happens is pretty much normal; may that be destruction/violence, or instating a law that could give a new life to many ignored classes of people. At the end of the day one has to be undisturbed with what’s happening in order to retain that balance achieved by clarity and questioning. On the same lines he says…
The mental balance to ‘not mind what happens’ only comes with clarity, questioning, and self-observation without judgement. So in my opinion happiness is not all we need, clarity and peace of mind are the building blocks of a stable and aware conscience. An aware conscience that recognises that happiness and sadness are just the passing messengers in life that visit often, but clarity and peace of mind are like family that stay forever.