The quest for happiness is universal. The definition of happiness and the path to achieving it may differ but we all seek it out, consciously or otherwise. Some of us hope to find true happiness by acquiring greater riches and creating a luxurious lifestyle. Amidst the wave of materialism that has engulfed the world, could leaving behind the materialistic approach to life lead you to the inner content and happiness you are seeking?
We often hear the stories of monks who leave behind their worldly pleasures in search of the true meaning of life and to connect with God. In today’s world, we need not leave our routine life to find happiness. Though leaving behind attachment to materialism could help you connect with inner solace.
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How would detachment from materialism enable us to become happy?
Ever since childhood, we have been taught to chase a goal. From marks to money, hope to find happiness is contingent on the accomplishment of the goal. This chase may yield happiness but that too is momentary. After we achieve our initial desire, a new desire crops up which makes us unhappy all over again. This is because we unknowingly make the material aspects the center of our life. This attachment to perennial materialism is the root cause of discontentment and grief. When we shift our focus from achieving worldly pleasures to faith in God or a philosophy, we come to the realization of the true meaning of life which is living harmoniously and serving fellow living beings.
How would shifting the focus to a philosophy or religion help me become happy?
When we have the right focus, we channelize our energies keeping in mind the center of our life. If we drift away from our faith, negative tendencies like grief, anger, violence and intolerance may take dominance. With faith as the focus, we can lead harmonious lives as our happiness is not governed by ever changing trends. Everyone has their own faith in which they believe. The faith maybe religions like Hinduism, Islam or Christianity or it can also be a belief like Karma. If we have good understanding of our faith and are attached to it, we can lead truly happy and meaningful life.
Happiness is an inside job with faith in our hearts, this job becomes effortless when you are surrounded with your loved ones.
“If one tries to enjoy the material pleasures, they have to incur a cost physically, mentally or socially, as no enjoyment is free in this world. Therefore it is advised to detach oneself from materialism to avoid the brunt of the suffering. Chasing the materialistic world may give us happiness, but that fades away in no time. However, when one shifts their focus from materialism to spirituality one is able to attain the peace of the mind which they were searching for everywhere. As per the theory of Bhagavad Gita, if at the time of death, one is attached to the worldly pleasures, the person would have to come back to the world. If the person dies chanting Lord’s (Krishna) name, they’d go to the Lord himself.”
Keshav Murari Prabhuji, ISKCON