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Happiness is a shy bird. If you hunt it, it will fly away. It is better to set a trap for it, and look the other way till it comes to you. Pleasure-seekers miss it. They are restless, disconnected people, who, having no inward happiness, seek it in outward things, where they do not often find it. It is a common mistake to think that money brings happiness. ‘If only I were rich’ we sigh. Money is not to be despised; and it can do much to make life pleasant. Yet rich are sometimes unhappy, and some poor men sing. So the source of happiness cannot be simply in wealth, and even those who will never be rich can still be happy. Greatest example for this is Mr. Sugathapala is a security guard in a small bakery of Colombo. He was elected as the happiest man in the world from a survey. Hence he has a family of 5 and is struggling to provide his family.
There are some outward conditions that make for happiness. First, good health. A man who suffers from chronic indigestion or an unsettled liver, cannot feel very happy. There is a lot of truth in the famous joke ‘Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver! ’ And yet it is wonderful how some invalids rise above their pain and keep smiling faces. But these are brave souls, who find happiness within in spite of their disorders. Everyone is not a hero and few can resist the depression and gloom that bad health brings. So to be happy we must keep well, and observe the laws of health.
An idler is rarely a happy man. Most grumblers are lazy people with nothing to occupy their minds and their time. Workers are generally cheerful. A man who has a favorable occupation finds great happiness in his work. And even if one’s work is not always as pleasant as it might be, the necessity of doing it, and doing it regularly, saves one from a lot of brooding and low thoughts.
We should have healthy amusements and hobbies to fill our leisure hours. ‘All work and no play, makes Jack is a dull boy” and a man who has not learnt to use his leisure time, will not be happy. Games, sport, music, reading, and any pleasant and wholesome occupation we must take to, will add truly to the pleasure of life.
And pleasant social intercourse is a great source of happiness. Man is a social animal, and few of us can lead entirely solitary lives. True friendship is one of the most precious treasures of life and blessed is he that has a real friend but even the pleasant companionship of acquaintances is a joy.
But the true source of happiness lies within. Happiness depends not so much on our circumstances, as on ourselves. The kingdom of happiness, like the kingdom of heaven, ‘is within you’. A poor man may be happy in a hut, and a millionaire unhappy in a palace. In unselfishness, kindness to others, humility, a clean mind, a clear shame and an upright life in these things lies the secret of happiness.
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