How to Be Happy All the Time by Paramhansa Yogananda

Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Place

To seek happiness outside ourselves is like trying to lasso a cloud. Happiness is not a thing. It is a state of mind. It must be lived. Neither worldly power nor moneymaking schemes can ever capture happiness.

Mental restlessness results from an outward focus of awareness. Restlessness itself guarantees that happiness will remain elusive.

Temporal power and money are not states of mind. Once obtained, they only dilute a person’s happiness. Certainly, they cannot enhance it long term.

The more widely we scatter our energies, the less power we have left to direct toward any specific undertaking. Octopus habits of worry and nervousness rise from ocean depths in the subconscious, fling tentacles around our minds, and crush to death all that we once knew of inner peace.

True happiness is never to be found outside of the Self. Those who seek it there are as if chasing rainbows among the clouds.

Will Sense Pleasures Betray Us?

Like the short-lived roses, countless human beings appear daily in earth’s garden. In their youth, they open fresh, hopeful buds, welcoming life’s promises and nodding with eager expectancy to every breeze of sense-enjoyment.

And then, the petals begin to fade; expectancy turns to disappointment. In the twilight of old age they droop, gray in disillusionment.

Mark the rose’s example. Such is the destiny of human beings who live centered in the senses.

Analyze, with understanding born of introspection, the true nature of sense pleasures. For even as you delight in them, don’t you sense in your heart a chilling breath of doubt and uncertainty? You cling to them, yet know in your heart that someday they cannot but betray you.

Closer scrutiny reveals that sense-indulgence actually mocks its votaries. What it offers is not freedom but soul bondage. The way of escape lies not, as most people imagine, down moss-soft lanes of further indulgence, but up hard, rocky path of self-control.

Excerpted from How to Be Happy All the Time by Paramhansa Yogananda

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