This weeks edition to Olympia extracts is a spiritual book called, The Real Secret to Happiness by Minakshi Sharma.
SEARCHING FOR HAPPINESS.
“Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated.”
What if you were told that the same things that got you into feeling less than happy, or into a bad relationship or marriage, are the same things that can lead you to happiness? How would you feel if you realised that what you are searching for is not at all hard to find? “What is it?” you may well ask yourself. Well, there is an old Hindu story which will help to answer these questions.
The various gods sat around one day discussing where they could hide the secret of happiness. They did not want everyone to know, as it was a closely guarded secret. Very few humans knew the secret to happiness and the gods didn’t want happiness to lose its value. They discussed the idea that not everyone could be given the secret to happiness, and it would not be handled with the care it deserved. After all, why would they want to share their most valued secret with people who did not care for themselves? If everyone knew, then happiness would have no appeal. One of the gods suggested hiding it at the bottom of the sea or in the depths of the forests. Another said it should be hidden at the top of the highest mountain. However, they all decided that humans would someday stumble across the secret to happiness in these places. One of the gods finally exclaimed, “I know the perfect place! We can hide the secret to happiness inside each person. They will never bother to look there.”
If you were asked, “What makes you happy?” what would your answer be? An automatic reaction for many people is, “To win the lottery.” Most people equate happiness to material gains, such as cars, houses and money. Everywhere you look, you are pulled into a false sense of what happiness actually is. We are almost brainwashed by media and advertising about products that will make us happy. However, very often advertising has the opposite effect. The general public are not in a financial position to obtain what everyone seems to want and it can often have a negative influence on our self-esteem and self-image. Women on the television and adverts tend to be air brushed and are shown as thin and beautiful in an attempt to sell products, but this does not reflect reality. If you were to turn up unannounced to one of these women's homes, chances are you would hardly recognise them. In turn male models are chosen for their perfect looks and six-packs, and stylists work their magic on them before they even get in front of the camera. The idea that having or using a certain product will make you like the ‘happy’ people on the television, film, YouTube adverts or other forms of advertising has been used for so long to sell products. However, so many people still buy into the idea that having a certain item will give them happiness. When we adopt the belief systems designed by marketing departments that their product will give you happiness, we buy into an illusion.
Society expects us to have a large collection of commodities in order to obtain happiness, but in reality we have all just been sucked into advertising, marketing and the idea of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses or the Patels’. Hundreds of thousands of pounds are spent on famous actors and footballers to get them to send out tweets, or to endorse products they don’t even use and we still swarm to the shops in our masses to be like them. We are sold the idea that products equal happiness, but when we stop and ask the question, “Is it true?” the general state of our lives will give us the answer. Nice cars and huge houses are wonderful to have but do these things truly make you happy once you have them? I am not for one minute saying money or products are bad, I am all for doing the best you can in life and it’s when you have money that you can start to buy the things that you thought would make you happy, or you can fulfil your desire to help others in the world. But in themselves, money and products do not equal happiness.
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