HAPPINESS

What makes us happy?

The other day I purchased a comfort chair for my reading corner , I was very excited and waited for the chair to be delivered .

It’s been a few days now that I have the chair , it’s good to have but the excitement of having it has now gone.

This happens every time , a packet from Amazon arrives and I am happy and excited to open it.

But within a few days the excitement is forgotten.

We do feel that when we get things we will be happy, but when we get those things there is momentary happiness and then we shift to the next thing.

We do feel if we reach somewhere we will be happy, when we are in school it is college , when it is college it is the dream job in the dream company , when we have the dream job it is the promotion.

It always seems to be the next thing or the next place that will make us happy.

It seems happiness is an outside job. Some thing has to happen, or we have to get something, then we can be happy.

But what if we don’t get that thing or what if we don’t reach where we wanted to go?

We would be unhappy?

Also with this approach to life the person who has the most would be the most happiest , is it so ? Do we see that in life.

Scratch beneath the surface those that seem to have everything may not be as happy as you think.

Social media pictures are certainly not the depiction of reality.

We put out the best pictures, and then we use filters to make our pictures look good.

We take the glamour of stars as real and we start chasing dreams to be like them , we create idols and we worship them , we become fans.

The heroes we worship are fragile because life is fragile.

Advertising lures us with things and the way it does so is by telling us , we are not ok. What we have is not enough.

We then chase excitement in things. We want to feel ok , we want to be like the stars , we want others to see us , appreciate us , maybe put us on a pedestal.

We want to be in the spotlight, or we feel so , everyone is watching us .

No one is , everyone is selfish, focused on self.

Ask those on a pedestal how afraid they are.

We feel excited chasing things. Have you experienced the excitement of getting something new ?

During the pandemic when non essentials were out of reach we did feel restless .

Yet we survived on the essentials , we found our pleasure in other things , like spending more time with family.

I have come to the realisation that we are constantly in chase , always feeling a gap.

It is almost like being on a treadmill that does not have a stop button, but also does not take us anywhere.

We keep running but we are at the same place , yet we keep running all our lives and then one day we drop dead.

Yet we keep chasing, the chase seems to be exciting, till it lasts.

Till the time we are and we are chasing there seems to be excitement, we hope this thing if we get it we will be finally happy.

We get it , we get there , there is momentary happiness then again the gap then again the chase.

Happiness I have come to realise is not out there, somewhere in the future.

It has got nothing to do with the outside.

Happiness is an inside job and it is certainly not in the destination.

It is not the destination, but the journey that matter.

It is not the things we own , but the moments we live that matter.

It is not what we get but what we give in the world that matters .

It is not what the world thinks but what we feel that matters .

Happiness I have noticed when I have gratitude for what I have.

When I drop the chase I start living. When I don’t seek spotlight I am most alive as me.

There is no happiness out there it is just there where we are.

THERE IS UNCERTAINTY

What happens outside of us we have no control over that , life changes in a moment just like that.

There was no warning, it had never happened, the world shut down , everything stopped.

A sudden death in the family , major illness , financial loss , job loss , anything can happen any moment.

We seek our lives to be comfortable, pain free , certain and in control.

But life is not in our control, outside circumstances are not in our control.

Resistance to what is does not help . What is has already occurred, now fight as much , cry as much , resist as much the situation has already occurred.

There is no choice to change what is happening outside. None.

There is choice to change what is happening inside , that is the only choice we have.

Life has dealt a difficult card , there is turbulence within , you cannot run away.

Can you find meaning in your pain , it has showed up in your life for a reason.

Can you convert your pain into a purpose ? Can you learn from it .

The scientist did what was never done before in one year we have a vaccine to fight the pandemic.

The world has a deeper opportunity to course correct on the damage we have cause our planet and the balance of life on our world.

Individuals have an opportunity to learn from what happened and pick up the lessons that will make them stronger to face challenges in the future.

Businesses have a lesson to rethink purpose and the way of life and work.

Everything happens for a reason are you ready to learn ?

WE LIVE A STORY

We are here for a finite time and one day nothing will matter.

Dreams and worries will be buried , turned to ashes when it all ends.

Just in a moment everything will be over.

Finally it all ends , one day sometime in the future even our planet will vanish into a void.

How can we make sense of anything.

What is the point of it all , all our struggles are meaningless.

We add meaning to this seemingly meaningless existence with our Stories.

We seek to be immortal with our Stories as we fear vanishing into a void.

Religion is a Story that gives meaning to our lives .

Country is a collective Story of the tribe.

We are willing to die for our Stories and we are even ready to kill.

We create villains, the others , fight , create divisions with our Stories.

We live and die for our Stories.

All creation happens with a Story.

We create the Story of life after death as not existing does not make sense.

Leaving a legacy is a Story of our desire to be immortal.

We stretch beyond our physical limitations all because of Stories we tell.

In our Stories we have our heroes and villains .

We admire heroes and despise the villains.

We try to be like our heroes as we admire their stories.

We learn to hate our villains.

We try enrol others into our Stories.

Then there are those who we call our leaders who tell us a Story we all buy into.

We hear their Stories, get inspired and become a part of their tribe.

We are not ok is a Story told by advertising.

We need to get somewhere from here is a Story.

From here to there is a Story.

Success is a Story so is failure.

Self identity is a Story.

Yet finally it all ends and nothing matters .

Life is just a grand Story.

We are the Stories we tell .

If this is so why not tell a Story that inspires.

We have the choice , only humans have this choice to choose their Story.

Why not have fun while the Story lasts.

Why not live a Story that makes waking up every morning exiting.

Why live a Story of fear , survival, limitation.

Why not live a Story of gratitude and love.

Remember finally it is all meaningless .

In a moment it all will just vanish.

Till then let us have hell of a ride and live this life Story fully.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

HOW I GOT OVER MY FEARS

I had the fear of flying, the fear would begin when I boarded a flight and if there was turbulence I would be in an internal mess .

I have seen panic attacks after I saw a close relative pass away suddenly with a massive heart attack. After the incident, I would land up in ERs at night with breathlessness , I was told that I am experiencing a panic attack . Nothing helped , no advice helped .

Today I love to fly places, turbulence is ok (unless it’s real bad ( : ) . I can walk into a cemetery , talk about death and be ok , panic just vanished never to come back.

How did this change occur?

1. Face the fear : I was running away , I wanted to run away . One day , I stopped, looked at fear in the eyes . Felt the fear in my body . I did not run . I got on the other side of fear and it vanished.

2. What is the worst that can happen ? I asked this question and the answer was “I will die”. And then it struck me “I am going to die anyway one day , everyone is going to die one day , why die NOW ! I will die when I have to , let me live NOW!”

3. In this moment : Being here now , dropping the future helped . I have learnt that in this moment, this moment as I write these words , there is no problem. When I get away from this moment, in the past or the future, stories begin .

4. Accept this deeply : In this moment, now there is no problem and “this moment is inevitable” , it has already occurred. No choice , can’t do a thing . Accept deeply without resistance.

5 . This too shall pass : I am not God , I am not perfect, I do get shaken up by events in life , I do falter , but I get up , I know “This too shall pass” , it does . One day we all will be dead and gone , my parents who are no more would have lived through so many fears , what is the significance now , nothing , it’s all dust .

When you deeply understand this that we are here momentarily on a journey as visitors on this planet , you will understand that this too shall eventually pass , everything will . Yet while on the journey, let us make the best of our time to live , love and leave a legacy behind.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

DON’T TAKE THIS DAY FOR GRANTED

Last year this time on this day of new year 2020 I was at a party with my wife. There was some news about lockdown in a far off place in China . No one in their wildest dreams could have predicted what was to follow.

The world came to a halt , literally , everything stopped as the pandemic spread.

Lives were being lost , the was economic gloom , so many business suffered , people lost their jobs , there was panic across the world.

I had been postponing plans to travel the world and now there was no chance of travel.

During this period I lost my school friend and my mentor. So much changed .

The one big lesson of 2020 is don’t take life for granted. Life can change in a moment . It changed for many families who lost their loved ones in the pandemic and for the countless many who lost their jobs and incomes , who yet struggle every day.

Life changed for the family of my friend who died not out of COVID but due to sudden cardiac arrest. Till the night he passed away he was in touch and in good health then the next day he was gone.

Don’t postpone your dreams , don’t die with your song in your heart , you have but only one life , don’t take it for granted.

Living , loving and leaving a legacy behind is what life is about .

Life is not about playing safe , not living , postponing life to the future. It would be stupid , you cannot be sure of tomorrow.

The heavy baggage of what will happen in the future has stopped many from living now and playing safe . Yet the only certainty of the future is that it is uncertain.

2021 is another adventure that begins today , I do not know how this year will unfold but as I type these words I know this moment I am sharing my gift and that is all that matters .

Sanjay Mudnaney

REFLECTING ON 2020

2020 has been a year like none before, a year when the world stopped. There are a few things I learnt that I cannot forget.

1. THE UNIMAGINABLE CAN AND WILL HAPPEN : No one could have ever predicted that the world will grind to a halt.

One cannot control external events in life one can control how one responds to those events.

2. HUMANS CAN ADAPT SOON : The world quickly adapted to the new normal and moved digital. Non essential consumption stopped overnight.

Be flexible, this is going to happen often in the future, entire industries and jobs would get disrupted. One cannot hold on to Ego of the past and not change.

3. WE CAN SURVIVE WITH A LOT LESS : That I could do without buying anything other than essentials for months was a revelation , it was clear that I needed a lot less to survive.

Often we land up buying things we do not need and then stock them to use at some later date . Clutter is stuck energy.

4. CUTTING OUT DAILY COMMUTE SAVED TIME : Locked down travel stopped completely, this resulted in excess time on hand , while some struggled some made best use of the time to self develop.

Cut all non essential travel , it also helps our planet.

5. THERE WAS NO OPTION OTHER THAN GOING DIGITAL : Even those that were reluctant were now forced to go digital. This is a trend that will continue.

Reinvent, Reinvent , Reinvent .

6. REMOTE WORKING WORKS : That I could service clients from across the world has been a plus . All organisations other than those that need physical presence have adapted to remote work.

Interesting thing I notice is that where innovation is needed and deep collaboration is called for teams have started coming together again while the bigger organisations that have process driven work continue remote work.

If you can move to smaller towns with great views , quality of life matters .

8. MORE ME TIME : The time saved on travel did give me lot more time to be with self and reflect , read books , meditate.

Build an inner practice for calm in turbulent times .

Here are a few more tips on things I will follow .

1. Build a contingency fund for emergencies , one cannot predict events that may occur but one can build a reserve that protects against shocks.

So I plan to build a contingency fund besides two years survival fund aside. Before I spend income I will save for contingency, this is the essential.

2. Cut down the non discretionary spends and focus on what is truly important . I have been fascinated by minimalist lifestyle and now I even know it is possible.

3. Invest on experiences, travel places , explore the world post the vaccination. It was something I had postponed , won’t do that again. And travel can be low budget .

4. Make my bucket list of things to do and tick off each one . Life is uncertain don’t wish to die with incomplete dreams.

5. Don’t take life for granted , live every day fully . This is the most important lesson of the pandemic. Live , Love, Leave a Legacy behind.

6. Build inner resilience it is a must , faith , surrender, prayer , meditation are practices I will continue.

7. Keep reinventing and learning new things daily and always be ready for the new world. This is a habit I will never stop.

Finally don’t take life toooo seriously!

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject