International Day of Happiness
March 20 is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations. In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”. Since then, a profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.
As we continued to respond to the Covid pandemic, 2021’s theme revolved around taking action to “Build Back Happier” and make people’s overall wellbeing the top priority. And while we come close to the end of the pandemic this year, the theme for International Day of Happiness, 2022 is “ Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind”, three basic factors of attaining happiness.
Osho talks about happiness extensively in his discourses and says, “Man can be tremendously happy, and tremendously unhappy — and he is free to choose. This freedom is hazardous. This freedom is very dangerous — because you become responsible. And something has happened with this freedom, something has gone wrong. Man is somehow standing on his head. You have come to me seeking meditation. Meditation is needed only because you have not chosen to be happy. If you have chosen to be happy there is no need for any meditation… Once you have started choosing happiness, once you have decided that you have to be happy, then no meditation is needed. Then meditation starts happening of its own accord. Meditation is a function of being happy. Meditation follows a happy man like a shadow: wherever he goes, whatsoever he is doing, he is meditative…
So many religions are there because so many people are unhappy. A happy person needs no religion; a happy person needs no temple, no church — because for a happy person the whole universe is a temple, the whole existence is a church. The happy person has nothing like religious activity because his whole life is religious. Whatsoever you do with happiness is a prayer: your work becomes worship; your very breathing has an intense splendor to it, a grace. Not that you constantly repeat the name of God — only foolish people do that — because God has no name, and by repeating some assumed name you simply dull your own mind. By repeating His name you are not going to go anywhere. A happy man simply comes to see God is everywhere. You need happy eyes to see Him.”
SOMEWHERE THERE IS THAT FEAR WHICH MAKES ME CLOSED AND HARD AND SAD AND DESPERATE AND ANGRY AND HOPELESS. IT SEEMS TO BE SO SUBTLE THAT I DON’T EVEN GET REALLY IN TOUCH WITH IT. HOW CAN I SEE IT MORE CLEARLY?
The only problem with sadness, desperateness, anger, hopelessness, anxiety, anguish, misery, is that you want to get rid of them. That’s the only barrier. You will have to live with them. You cannot just escape. They are the very situation in which life has to integrate and grow. They are the challenges of life. Accept them. They are blessings in disguise. If you want to escape from them, if you somehow want to get rid of them, then a problem arises — because if you want to get rid of something you never look at it directly.
And then the thing starts hiding from you because you are condemnatory; then the thing goes on moving deeper into the unconscious, hides in the darkest corner of your being where you cannot find it. It moves into the basement of your being and hides there. And, of course, the deeper it goes, the more trouble it creates — because then it starts functioning from unknown corners of your being and you are completely helpless.
So the first thing is: never repress. The first thing is: whatsoever is the case is the case. Accept it and let it come — let it come in front of you. In fact, just to say ‘do not repress’ is not enough. If you allow me, I would like to say, ‘Befriend it.’ You are feeling sad? Befriend it. Have compassion for it. Sadness also has a being. Allow it, embrace it, sit with it, hold hands with it. Be friendly. Be in love with it. Sadness is beautiful! Nothing is wrong with it.
Who told you that something is wrong in being sad? In fact, only sadness gives you depth. Laughter is shallow; happiness is skin-deep. Sadness goes to the very bones, to the marrow. Nothing goes as deep as sadness. So don’t be worried. Remain with it and sadness will take you to your inner-most core. You can ride on it and you will be able to know a few new things about your being that you had never known before. Those things can be revealed only in a sad state, they can never be revealed in a happy state. Darkness is also good and darkness is also divine. The day is not only God’s, the night is his also. I call this attitude religious.
SOMEWHERE THERE IS THAT FEAR WHICH MAKES ME CLOSED AND HARD AND SAD AND DESPERATE AND ANGRY AND HOPELESS. IT SEEMS TO BE SO SUBTLE THAT I DON’T EVEN REALLY GET IN TOUCH WITH IT.
It becomes subtle if you want to get rid of it. Then, of course, it protects itself, it hides in the deepest corners of your being. It becomes so subtle and so garbed that you cannot recognize it. It starts coming under different names. If you are very much against anger then anger will arise under a different name — it may become pride, it may become ego, it may become even a religious pride, it may become even pious. It may hide behind your virtues, it may start hiding behind your character. Then it becomes very subtle because now the label is changed. It is playing something else’s role but deep down it remains anger.
Let things be as they are. This is what religious courage is: to allow things as they are.
I am not promising you any rose garden — thorns are there, roses also. But you can reach the roses only when you have passed the thorns. A man who has never been sad cannot really be happy. It is impossible for him to be happy. His happiness will be just a forced gesture — empty, impotent. You can see it on people’s faces when they laugh: their laugh is so shallow, it is just painted on their lips. It has no relationship with their heart, it is absolutely unconnected.
It is just like lipstick — the lips look red and rosy but that redness does not come from the redness of the blood. It is good if lips are red, but the redness should come from aliveness, from your blood cells, from your energy, vitality, youth. No, you paint your lips — they look red but it is ugly. Lipstick is ugly. And you will find only ugly women using it. What does a beautiful woman have to do with lipstick? The whole thing seems to be absurd. If your lips are red, vital, alive, what is the point of painting them? You are making them ugly and false.
Your happiness is also like lipstick. You are not happy and you know you are not happy, but you cannot accept the fact because that would be too shattering for your ego. You — and not happy?! How can you accept it? Maybe you are not happy inside but that is your own problem, you must not express it, you are not to say the truth. For the world you have to keep a face, you have to maintain a personality. So you go on laughing.
Watch people’s laughter and you will immediately see which laughter comes from the heart. When the laughter comes from the heart you can immediately feel a different vibe — an overflowing. That man is really happy. When laughter is just on the lips it is empty. It is just a gesture; nothing is behind it. It is a facade.
The man who cannot laugh deeply is the man who has repressed sadness — he cannot go deep because he is afraid of sadness. Even if he goes deep into his laughter, there is a fear that sadness may surface, may bubble up. He has to be always on guard. So please, whatsoever the situation is, start allowing it. If you are sad, you are sad. This is what God means for you — at this moment at least he wants you to be sad. So be true…be sad! Live this sadness. And if you can live this sadness a different quality of happiness will arise in you — it will not be a repression of sadness, it will be beyond sadness.
A person who can be patiently sad will suddenly find that one morning a happiness is arising in his heart from some unknown source. That unknown source is God.
You have earned it if you have been truly sad; if you have been truly hopeless, desperate, unhappy, miserable, if you have lived in hell, you have earned heaven. You have paid the cost.
I was reading a joke.
Mr. Goldberg came home from the office unexpectedly and found his wife in bed with Mr. Cohen, the next-door neighbour.
Distraught and angry, he ran next door and confronted Mrs. Cohen. ‘Mrs. Cohen!’ he cried. ‘Your husband is in bed with my wife.’ ‘Calm down! Calm down!’ Mrs. Cohen said. ‘Look, don’t take it so hard. Sit down, have a cup of tea. Relax.’
Mr. Cohen sat quietly and drank his cup of tea. It was then that he noticed a little glint in Mrs. Cohen’s eye.
Coyly she suggested, ‘You want a little revenge?’
And with that they withdrew to the couch and made love. Then they had another cup of tea, then a little more revenge, a little more tea, more revenge; more tea….
Finally Mrs. Cohen looked at Mr. Goldberg and asked, ‘How about another revenge?’ ‘I will tell you, Mrs. Cohen,’ said Mr. Goldberg quietly, ‘to be truthful, I aren’t got no hard feelings left.’
Whatsoever the situation, if you are sad, be sad; if you are in a revengeful mood, take your revenge; if you are jealous, be jealous; if you are angry, be angry. Never avoid the fact. You have to live it, that is part of life’s progress, growth, evolution. Those who avoid, remain immature. If you want to remain immature then go on avoiding, but remember, you are avoiding life itself. Whatsoever you are avoiding is not the point, the very avoiding is an avoidance of life.
Confront life. Encounter life. Difficult moments will be there but one day you will see that those difficult moments gave you strength because you encountered them. They were meant to be. Those difficult moments are hard when you are passing through them but later on you will see they have made you more integrated. Without them you would never have been centred, grounded.
The old religions all over the world have been repressive; the new religion of the future is going to be expressive. And I teach that new religion…Let expression be one of the most fundamental rules of your life. Even if you have to suffer for it, suffer. You will never be a loser. That suffering will make you more and more capable of enjoying life, of rejoicing in life.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Art of Dying
Chapter title: Just a Hotch-potch
20 October 1976 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Happiness, laughter, expression, heart, rejoicing‘ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Dang Dang Doko Dang
- A Sudden Clash of Thunder
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, 8, 11
- The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 3
- The New Dawn
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1
- Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1
- YAA-HOO! The Mystic Rose
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1, 6, 10
- Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
- Beyond Psychology
- Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment
- The Rebel