True happiness

One day, Mulla Nasiruddin came across a young man sitting on the side of the road and staring dolefully into the distance.

"What's the matter, son?" asked Nasiruddin.

"Nothing really," he replied. "I've a good job, a comfortable home and am in good health. But I cannot help feeling there is more to life than this. I travelled to try and find out but have failed. Wonder what I can do!"

Nasiruddin sat down beside the man. Then without warning, he picked up his rucksack and took to his heels. The man chased after him, shouting and begging him to stop. After running for a little while, Nasiruddin stopped, threw the unopened bag by the side of the road and hid behind a tree. As soon as the man reached the spot, he pounced on the bag and checked it. His expression now changed into great happiness. In fact, he shouted and whooped in joy. Still hiding, Nasiruddin muttered, "I am so pleased to have made him happy!"

This story raises some important questions. The first one is whether 'happiness' is as important as it seemed to the man. As anyone will tell you, it is a goal common to all mankind. Happiness is the supreme object of existence. All of us hope to possess it.

How it can be obtained? As the Mulla guessed, the man was suffering from perceived pain. He possessed many blessings, but had not cared to count them, a situation common to all. We find that 'enough' is not quite enough and become frustrated. Besides enjoying the good things of life, we need to acknowledge them. Examples are the love of family and friends and the beauties of Nature. We forget that what we do not see is as good as absent. Counting your blessings is a liberating exercise. Lastly, the story tells us that happiness is a state of mind. In Abraham Lincoln's words, a person is as happy as he makes up his mind to be.

We may face many challenges but they have the power to make us human. This enables us to make others happy and to discover, paradoxically, that this is the greater part of true happiness. Happiness does not happen; it is a result of one's own actions.

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