Clues to happiness - Khushwant Singh
One of the most convincing pieces on happiness.
Khushwant Singh at his best.
The rationale applied to each preference is absolutely
EIGHT CLUES TO HAPPINESS
By- KHUSHWANT SINGH
Having lived a reasonably contented life, I was musing over
what a person should strive for to achieve happiness. I
drew up a list of a few essentials which I put forward for
the readers' appraisal.
1. First and foremost is GOOD HEALTH. If you do not enjoy
good health you can never be happy. Any ailment, however
trivial, will deduct from your happiness.
2. Second, a HEALTHY BANK BALANCE. It need not run
into crores(millions) but should be enough to provide for
creature comforts and something to spare for recreation,
like eating out, going to the pictures, traveling or going
on holidays on the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money
can be only demoralizing. Living on credit or borrowing is
demeaning and lowers one in one's own eyes.
3. Third, a HOME OF YOUR OWN. Rented premises can
never give you the snug feeling of a nest which is yours for
keeps that a home provides: if it has a garden space, all
the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow
and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with them.
4. Fourth, an UNDERSTANDING COMPANION, be it your
spouse or a friend. If there are too many misunderstandings,
they will rob you of your peace of mind. It is better to be
divorced than to bicker all the time.
5. Fifth, LACK OF ENVY towards those who have done better
than you in life; risen higher, made more money, or earned
more fame. Envy can be very corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.
6. Sixth, DO NOT ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE to descend on you
for gup-shup(Gossip). By the time you get rid of them, you
will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.
7. Seventh, CULTIVATE SOME HOBBIES which can bring you
a sense of fulfillment, such as gardening, reading, writing,
painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or
parties to get free drinks or to meet celebrities is criminal
waste of time.
8. Eighth, every morning and evening, devote 15 minutes
to INTROSPECTION. In the morning, 10 minutes should be
spent on stilling the mind and then five in listing things
you have to do that day. In the evening, five minutes to
still the mind again, and ten to go over what you had
undertaken to do.
Nathaniel Cotton (1721-1788) summed up my views on
the subject in one verse:
If solid happiness we prize
Within our breast this jewel lies
And they are fools who roam
The world has nothing to bestow
From our own selves our joys must flow
And that dear hut, our home.
" What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared
to what lies within us. - Ralph Waldo Emerson