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How to be free of happiness and sadness? || (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): What does it mean to be free from both happiness and sadness?

It means being free from obligations to label happiness as joy.

It means being free from obligations to label sadness as a loss of self-worth.

When you say, “Happiness, is happiness”, then you are free from happiness. When you say, “Sadness is just sadness”, then you have gained freedom from sadness.

Being free from happiness and sadness does not mean that you will prohibit yourself from experiencing happiness and sadness.

Let happiness come. And when happiness comes, you must allow its unrestricted entry. This boldness, to not restrict happiness, is the Truth. It is unconditional.

You are saying, “Happiness can come in without conditions.” Now you are free of happiness, now happiness doesn’t matter to you. Are you getting this?

Questioner (Q): How do I live this way?

AP: When happiness has notions attached to it, then happiness is no more happiness. When happiness becomes significant to you, when happiness means much more to you, then it is no more happiness, happiness becomes a proxy for joy.

Spirituality means to know happiness just as happiness.

Spirituality means happiness is not a proxy for joy. So, I do not need to label the conditional as unconditional. So, I do not need to label the changeable as unchangeable. So, I do not need to label happiness as contentment.

Are you getting this?

I can then celebrate happiness. I can then celebrate sadness. I can then celebrate all change. I see all of that as happening in front of me, and I sit here in the center unchangeable, unshakeable, untouchable.

Do you get this?

Q2: Celebrating sadness, this is the difficult part…

AP: You see, sadness becomes much more than sadness to us. Let me ask you something, can you be sad forever? Is it possible to carry on your sadness for long, for extremely long? Is it possible?

Q2: No, may not be possible…

AP: I know of fellows, who become extremely sad when something unwanted happens to them.

Let me pick an example.

I was in college at IIT, and there was a fellow, a topper from his school. And he would come after the exam and say it went really bad and he would appear tensed and nervous. And my condition would hardly be any different. I would say, “For me too, it went quite bad.” And then we would, you know, sit gravely facing each other and after a while, one of us would start giggling and then it would turn into an uncontrolled laughter.

If you let sadness go deeply into you, there is no way it is not going to touch joy. The joy of laughing at your miseries is an unparalleled joy. And I really hope that you have experienced it at some point or another.

It is great when you can laugh in your happiness. It is greater when you can laugh at your happiness. And it is greatest when you can laugh even at your sadness.

Are you getting this?

And when I say, “Laugh”, I do not mean an ordinary laughter, I mean something that really arises from your heart. You are laughing at your own destruction. Is that not what egolessness is? You are being destroyed, you are being brought down brick-by-brick, bone-by-bone and you feel like giggling, like a mad man, like an idiot. What else is joy?

Do you get this?

There is such deep joy in looking at yourself, being undone – I am dissolving, I am going, I am dying, and I am winking.

We have all, for too long, thought that it is possible to smile only when we are being furthered, only when we are being secured and enhanced. I assure you that all spirituality is about smiling when you are being annihilated. That is the real spiritual man.

He knows that he is being shredded, he knows he is going, he knows that he is being reduced and he finds it funny. He finds it a joke.

“You know what, I just lost my other arm also, what a joke!”

“So, why have you come to me?”

“Because I can no more click a selfie. Now, can you do it for me? What a funny pic it would be, no arms anymore, and by the time you click, I would’ve lost a leg as well. And that’s funny, that’s quite funny!”

That’s the spiritual one, who celebrates his disappearance.

Do you get this? Yes?

Happiness and sadness are both wonderful, are both welcome. But in some deep sense, sadness is a little better than happiness, it teaches us a little more than happiness does. It elevates us a little more than happiness does. It has a certain purifying effect that happiness doesn’t quite have. That does not mean that happiness is not welcome, both are welcome, happiness is welcome, equally welcome.

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