Every person struggles in their life. Sometimes those struggles are very consuming and dominant, and other times they may be just minor. Life is going along being happy and then there are times when life is really joyous, when you feel very fulfilled, complete, safe, secure and happy. In the spectrum of a person’s life different circumstances rise and fall and depending upon the sanskara,s the reactions of mind and potential, the latent tendencies of mind, some people come into a particular situation and circumstance in which there is more difficulty, more physical struggle or more psychic pain in the life. Others come into advantaged situations where there are positive attitudes, good loving relationships from early childhood -- the struggle is minimal. So, there are indeed some whose life is more fortunate than others.
Some people try to assess fortune by how much money a person has. But there are people with a great deal of wealth who are very unhappy, whose family suffer addiction, who are very lonely and depressed -- who have not found their own spirit and so suffer great unhappiness. And there are those in the most simple life, the most impoverished life who simply have seven, eight, ten people in the family, living in the little hut, cooking simply on the little outdoor stove. Yet their life is happy, their lives are full, full of the love of their family and their children and their mother and father, full of the joy of the simple life of sitting around and being with those you love, full of the simplicities of life and the connectedness of love and spirit -- though they have very little physically, they are happy.
Others in the same circumstance are miserable. So happiness is not determined by how much money you have despite the common belief that that is the determinant. It is also not determined by how successful you are. There are people who have had great success. They are well known to many people. They have very impressive resumes. They’ve traveled all over the world, done so many things. They have been top executives, yet they find their lives are empty, unfulfilled and they do not have happiness. There are others who are enjoying success; so success is also not the determinant of happiness. What makes a person happy is love. Where there is deep love, when a person feels loved, connected, supported, cared for and when through that love from early years a person develops positive attitudes, cultivates hope, cultivates looking on the bright side of life -- these things bring joy in life.
Everyone has struggle; everyone has hard times though admittedly some people struggle more than others. Even in the world of situations, the circumstances of war and hunger and poverty, there are those people who make a go of it. Even in the most extreme situations, there are those who survive because they have positive attitudes and they come through to the other side. And there are those who struggle even in the best of situations, to survive in privileged situations, because they have not learned to find joy in their lives; they’ve not learned to waken their heart and their spirit. They’re not surrounded by love and caring. They may feel alone perhaps discouraged, depressed and angry with life.
So what is the difference that brings a person to harmony, contentment, well-being. Does it not come when a person finds dharma, meaning they find the path to something greater than themselves, to alignment with the harmony of the universe and to service to living beings? When people find the way of dharma, they can become self-actualizing, meaning dedicating themselves to a cause a work, a mission greater than themselves. When you find a purpose, a cause greater than yourself, a noble cause to which to dedicate your time and your energy, then the focus seizes to be on what you have achieved, how much money you have, what advantages you have, what better position you have.
All of those things become secondary and what becomes important is your alignment with your higher purpose, with your dedicated work, with your dedicated intention and with your direct focus on the path that leads to wisdom and enlightenment. So when one moves from self absorbed seeking of pleasure, comma, to artha (achieving in the world, accomplishing), to dharma (finding something greater than yourself and dedicating yourself to a noble cause), and finally to moksha, (being able to liberate yourself from the bondage of primary identity, as a small body mind being) to knowing the wholeness of life -- and your wholeness in the connection of life, then there is the achievement of integration and the sinking into a deep love that is beyond dualities.
So happiness is not a simple thing, it is a little complicated. It has a lot to do with you and how you perceive yourself, how deeply you love yourself, how deeply you care for yourself and for all beings. And, how much you can move beyond self-absorption into seeing the higher purpose of your life and your dharma, your true work your true expression in the world. When you find something worth living for, worth being for, worth sacrificing for, worth giving yourself to, then you begin to feel the flow of life force within you, harmonizing in the dedication and love that is the underlying essence of all that is; you become a part of building and sustaining the world around you. Not for your own body mind alone, but for the divine flow of infinite love that flows through all beings and is all being.
So, when you find those times in life when you feel discouraged, when you feel stuck, when you feel doors have closed, make an effort to remember the light, remember the love that flows through all beings; remember that you are a part of that love, that you are loved infinitely and that your very nature is love and that you have something special to give to the world. And if you just step forward and begin to act with love to do something, even a small action, a small kindness for another. Step by step you begin to move toward dharma, where your life is in a flow towards the one eternal being -- where you are part of something whole, something great, something magnificent. Cultivate noticing, looking on the bright side, having gratitude and having compassion and forgiveness for those who have hurt you, those who might have wronged you. Then you are led to the harmony, which brings you to your true goal and to a life of meaning, purpose, contentment and well being.