TODAY -

Simplifying the pursuit of happiness

Anil K Rajvanshi *

International Yoga Day : Opening function at HRD Academy, Ghari, Imphal ::  21st May 2017 .
International Yoga Day at Imphal on 21st May 2017 :: Pix - Tony Kshetrimayum



Everybody has their own definition of happiness depending on their outlook. Happiness is a state of mind and when we feel comfortable in our existence, happiness results.

When the whole mind concentrates on a single object for a considerable amount of time, we get a sense of well-being. This is called Samadhi according to Patanjali Yoga.

Often, we experience episodes of happiness when we get completely engrossed in our work with deep concentration. We even lose the concept of time.

Why does this happen? Part of the reason could be that with huge processing power the mind can resolve all conflicts so that we are at peace with ourselves.

Another reason could be that it is a mind-expanding exercise where our minds connect to the Universal Consciousness. Thus, all of us, when concentrating on a positive thought or an idea have knowingly or unknowingly connected to the Universal Mind resulting in happiness.

Similar experiences have been related by people who consumed LSD or other mind-expanding drugs. Such episodes gave great happiness to the users and a sense of connectedness to the Universe This is similar to the state of Sanyam where contemplation, meditation and Samadhi work together on an object.

The true feeling of happiness also comes when we are not attached to anything including a person or idea.

Detachment helps in reducing the formation of psychological knots in the brain. These knots are produced when the brain is not able to resolve properly the mismatch between expectations and reality so that permanent neural pathways or memories are formed.

Memories use up neural pathways. The concept of detachment leading to happiness is also described in the Gita and Patanjali Yoga.

Most attachments happen because of the desire to possess either an object or idea. Possession gives us a sense of security. A powerful brain is able to resolve every issue and thus reduces the desire for possession. Desire for possession also comes from fear.

The brain is a continuously active machine and based upon signals from senses and internal churning; there are constant makings and breakings of neural pathways. The number of neural pathways available for processing information increase drastically if we have less strong memories stored in the brain.

Strong memories are based on emotional events. Generally such events take place during childhood, or are due to traumatic happenings. According to Patanjali, these memories can be dissolved through the science of Yoga and by practising Sanyam.

Some believe that money provides happiness. That may be true since money allows us to take care of mundane things so that the mind is not distracted and is able to focus fully on higher goals in life. But money should be looked at as means to an end and not an end itself. There should not be any attachment to money.

Absence of pain also leads to happiness. Recent researches done at Oxford University have shown that in the brain, the centres for pain, both emotional and physical, are located in dorsal posterior insula (front position of brain) and at the same place where the seat of ego exists.

Thus, pain management is directed by the ego so that the whole brain is focused for its alleviation.

Since happiness is perceived by the brain, by making our brain powerful through yoga and meditation, we could resolve conflicts and live a happy and emotionally satisfying life.


* Anil K Rajvanshi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 24, 2017.


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