Articles

Hungry for Happiness

Written by Gede Prama

For thousand of years human beings have fought very hard to fight hunger. The good news is that hunger stories no longer occupy the world’s headlines. At the same time, in our day there is a new type of hunger which has appeared. That is an excessive hunger for happiness. The fastest economic progress that has taken place throughout history, brings many blessings as well as sufferings. Suicide is more prevalent in rich countries than in developing countries. Prisoners in developed countries are more than a half are those who want to be happy by taking drugs. To be frank, it is a very dangerous threat.

In Peru, Haiti, the Philippines, Ghana and other developing countries, the number of suicides is less than 100,000 per year. In contrast, in rich countries like Switzerland, France, Japan and New Zealand, more than 10 people per 100,000 end their lives by suicide each year. South Korea is a good example in this case. In 1985, South Korea was a relatively under develop country, ruled by an authoritarian regime. Now, South Korea is a well-respected economic power, its citizens are highly educated. Sadly, while in 1985 only 9 out of 100,000 people committed suicide there, by 2015 it turned out that 16 out of 100,000 South Koreans committed suicide. A relatively wealthy and rich countries like New Zealand, it turns out 10 out of 100,000 citizens commit suicide annually.

Dark happiness

From one side, the above findings telling of the limits of economic progress. On the other hand, there is an excessive human hunger for happiness. In many instances such as drug users, free sex victims, victims of aids/HIV, people even dare to pay a very expensive price to pursue happiness. Happiness lasted only a few moments, followed by a very long suffering later. For the first time in history, people who die because of excessive eating are more than those who die from lack of food. There are more humans who die from suicide than death because of starvation. In 2009, 55% of UK prisoners were drug users, 62% of prisoners in Australia were drug victims.

In 2010, famine combined with malnutrition killed about 1 million people. While obesity killed up to 3 million people. For average Americans and Europeans, companies that produce lots of sugar and cholesterol, are far more threatening than terrorist attacks. Merged into one, on the one hand human beings are very hungry for happiness. But on the other hand, there is not enough devices available to meet the hunger for happiness. As a result, like the kids who just know the delicious taste of ice cream, they just eat ice cream only. They forget that ice cream alone is not enough to meet the nutritional needs. They even forget that ice cream, with excess sugar, has become a force that has killed so many humans. Much more than the deaths caused by war and terrorist bombs.

From a spirituality point of view, it is clear that the excessive addiction to sweetness and good taste, is the reflection of imbalance souls. They just want sweet, they do not want the bitter. They only want the good, they do not want the bad. As it is evident in meditation sessions, thousands of suffering friends are all infected by the illness of wanting the good, neglecting the bad. In fact, from the beginningless beginning, until the endless ending, nature continues to be marked by night and day. Life will be continually characterized by sad-glad, failure-success, pain-pleasure. Whether you like it or not, that’s the law. Fighting against the law, that is the seed of suffering. Understand deeply the nature of the law, then flows perfectly, that is the seeds of balance and peace.

Glowing happiness

On the path of meditation in particular, spiritual friends are encouraged to deeply understand that happiness is not the fruit of the event. It is the fruit of the way a person reacts to an event. Like meeting a plastic bag containing cow dung on the doorsteps of the house, sent by a neighbor. Angry minds will react with disaster. But the beautiful mind will reflect like this: “It turns out our neighbors see the flowering trees in the garden have less fertile soil, so this morning they send fertilizer”. The same thing happens with a grumpy husband, as well as a chatty wife. Suppose that there are many friends who saw their chatty and grumpy as a teacher of patience, there are so many families that could be saved from divorce.

These are the seeds of luminous happiness. Happiness does not come from out there, but the fruit of perseverance to train oneself in the heart. In meditation classes we are often asked, whenever there is a sound stimulus or an external image, why does the brain’s first response tend to be negative such as fear? Borrowing the findings of friends in neuro-science, the first reaction of the brain that tends to be negative when viewing a snake for example, it is more related to the nature of the brain to protect the human body. Just to protect. Sadly, many humans react too much to the fear of the brain. Then losing the chance of finding happiness.

For this reason, millions of friends in meditation sessions have been invited to learn to rest from all forms of conflict inside like sad-glad and sorrow-joy. As night and day are always part of nature, sadness and happiness will always be part of the inner soul garden. In order to avoid dangerous threats of the age that just wants to be sweet, learn to find home in inner wholeness. The vehicle is called smile. With a smile deep inside, spiritual friends will find deep happiness which does not lie in the excessive desire to always be better than others. Deep happiness is hidden behind the balance of pleasure with serenity.

In America there is a very senior meditation teacher called Ram Dass. He retired at a very young age as a professor of psychology at Harvard University, sold his private plane and studied meditation in the Himalayas. After illuminating many unbalanced souls, placed by many of the world’s spiritual Masters as respected Teachers, the 90-year-old Ram Dass was once asked about what he loved deeply in old age. With luminous smiles the last bright soul replied: “I love my wheelchair, I love my stroke”. That is the characteristic of the souls who have been deeply touched by meditation practice. Not only good food, even stroke can make people happy. Not only because the stroke bring the spiritual message, but also because of the paralyzed legs which make Ram Dass find a very beautiful home in his own body.

This is a life skill that is rarely taught by the school, how to make people find a beautiful home in their own body. In fact, once a person finds a beautiful home in their body, humans do not have to pursue happiness everywhere. Happiness is the natural nature of life. As it is often shared in the meditation sessions: “Birds are happy being birds, that’s why they keep singing. Trees are peaceful being trees, that’s why they are very quiet. While birds are happy to be birds, trees are peaceful being trees, why are many people unhappy and not peaceful as a human beings? “.

Author:Guruji Gede Prama.
Photo: Pinterest.
Proofread By: Kirsty Spence.

About the author

Gede Prama

Gede Prama started his spiritual journey through a dialogue with his symbolic Guru in a village at the north of Bali. The journey is then being enriched with his experiences of studying abroad, his meetings with the world greatest spiritual Gurus: His Holiness Dalai Lama, The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as Professor Karen Armstrong; and also being deepened by his intense meditation practices.

Despite the fact that he was once a CEO of a large corporation with thousand of employees, and was traveling abroad frequently for the purpose of teaching, yet, being deeply moved by the Bali bombing incident in 2002, he then decided to leave everything and went back to his home island.
He has never leave Bali for the past few years. In fact, he rarely leaves the silence of the forest where he lives, except for the purpose of teaching at the sacred sites within Bali.

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