A beautiful message explaining how Happiness is a State of Mind.

HAPPINESSAll of us should try to develop such an attitude. A man of 92 years, short, very well-presented, who takes great care in his appearance, is moving into an old people’s home today. After waiting several hours in the retirement home lobby, he gently smiles as he is told that his room is ready. His wife of 80 has recently died, and he is obliged to leave his home. As he slowly walks to the elevator, using his cane, I describe his small room to him, including the sheet hung at the window which serves as a curtain.

“I like it very much”, he says, with the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old boy who has just been given a new puppy.

“You haven’t even seen the room yet, hang on a moment, we are almost there.”

“That has nothing to do with it”, he replies.

“It is already decided in my mind that I like my room. It is a decision I make every morning when I wake up.”

“Happiness is something I choose in advance. Whether or not I like the room does not depend on the furniture, or the décor rather it depends on how I decide to see it.”


I have the pleasure of forwarding a very touching emotional article by Mrs. Chithra Vishwanathan a well-known Cooking expert, as to how you can transform your life by transforming your thinking:


“When my daughter, elder one of my two children, got married and left the house, I felt as if I could not let her leave me. Having a daughter and a son, I know what both mean, but differently.


Once my daughter reached her teens I had started feeling as if my daughter was a ‘physical extension” of me. So when she was leaving home to set up her own nest, it was as though, I was losing a limb.


The next time she came for a short stay with us, I was astonished at how her priorities had changed. (of course, we must have given the same shocks to our parents). When she said Amma, she meant her mother-in-law, not me!


I imagined that she was always in a hurry to go back to her house and not stay with me for a few more days which I wanted so badly. That was the first time; it dawned on me that I have to start practicing detachment in attachment.


Two years after my daughter’s marriage, my son left for higher studies in the US. Having experienced a child’s separation once, this time I was better equipped emotionally.


I plunged headlong into various classes held in the city starting from Vedanta to healing to Ikebana – I just wanted to be away from home. My husband, who was a workaholic, also could not understand my predicament.


My son used to write how he was missing my home-cooked food, how he was waiting to come back to live in Chennai with us etc. After a few years, he did come back and we got him married.


He started living separately with his wife & we were also happy that they wanted to be independent. But now, it was all changed!


When in the US, he missed my cooking. Now if I called him to come over with his wife for a meal, it was always some excuse like “oh, amma, we have other plans for the day, please don’t mistake us if we don’t drop in today “!


I could see that his priorities had also changed completely.


We talk in theory so many things and advise others etc. but when it comes to our children, acceptance comes very late and the next step is just leaving them undisturbed in every way, mainly without advice from our end.


It was at that time, I made the following lines as my “new profile”:



Self-centeredness or self-absorption in old age is a complex phenomenon. It is a maladaptive quality related to coping and subjective well-being in the last phase of life. The person having a self-absorption style of life fails to develop other focused qualities, (which are the signs of wisdom) in old age. Such persons have a difficult time experiencing positive ageing.

Self-centeredness has many forms. A self-absorbed person focuses on him or herself and gives priority to the meeting of personal needs, desires, appetites and preferences. They do not give importance to the needs of others (even to their family members or caregivers). Self-focus may be of two forms-(a) I am special and (b) something is wrong with me. These two forms interact with the ageing process. The elderly thinks-“I am special because I am old” and should be cared for first. When he says that “something is wrong with me”, he is of the view that due to my vulnerability to disease and disability I should be given priority.



“Anyone who stops learning is old whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

Learning is an important positive ageing strategy to help you remain vital in your later years. Learning in old age preserves intellectual functioning and ward off memory decline (dementia) which is very common in old age. By learning new things you are improving your brain health-your mental faculty, attention, memory. There is a saying- “use it or lose it”. If you are not using your brain you will lose its functioning. Learning is a lifelong process. If you are continuing yourself educating you will stay up to date.

Learning, like physical exercise, is effective when you develop a habit or pattern of doing it. Learning, to begin with, requires some initial effort. If you persist it will become easier to do and you will get satisfaction from the outcome. Learning needs persistence and sustained effort. Do not worry about the slow process of your learning. Remember you are not going to be examined. Suppose you want to learn some musical instrument you may encounter some difficulty, don’t lose your motivation to learn.


You may raise a question –“ what one should learn”? It is an important question. The answer is – it depends on your choice or interest or your curiosity to know. Learning desire is the strongest motivation. For learning in old age, a strict classroom setting is not essential. Life-long learning is expanding learning beyond classroom settings and into the home. You may use the Internet and computer, ( you may join senior internet networks) Radio, Television, Print media, etc.


Generally, people of different age groups, both male and female, ask me such questions: What is life and what is the aim of life, what should we do or what should we pursue in life? and a host of other questions related to such issues.

These questions are based on the assumption that there is something out there and we should try to achieve it. But we forget to see or unable to recognize what is within us. Humanity is within us and we have to use this source in its full force. We do not need to seek any other thing which is not within us. Unfortunately, we all waste our time and energy in achieving that which is not within us. The constant pursuit of something not within our reach is the cause of anxiety and tension in our lives.

Human life is a symbol of consciousness, strength, and faith. Real-life is that where we can reach our goal with ease by performing our duties to ourselves and society in general. It is seen that majority of people blame their situations for any failure in their lives. They consider their situations as sources of worries and anxiety. One should not be worried about the nature of his situations or resources, because a man with his sincere efforts can change the given natural situations. We should respect whatever situations we are in. The maximum use of given situations or given conditions is the real respect of life.

The word “respect of life”, does not mean attachment or fondness (moha) for luxurious things. It simply means that we should respect all the situations given to us. The proper use of the situation is always based on our KARMA (action). The thinking or brooding on the situation gives rise to attachment towards situations. Thus, thinking ( or brooding ) on the situations is the cause of many defects.

Action (KARMA) is related to the present and the leaning of thinking is towards the past and future. (Thinking, if it is necessary, should be done on that thing which cannot be achieved by action). Distancing (vimukta) from our knowledge (niz-jana) means distancing from our own life. This alienation from one’s nature is due to our lethargy (pramad). Lethargy keeps us away from our real knowledge. The awareness of this secrete results in embracing the situations given to the individual and by which he becomes one with life.

Life is a form of means to Humanity. Humanity, as a seed, is infused or is within all human beings. The seed of humanity, which is within us, is to be developed in the light of ones’ wisdom (Vivek) because the light of wisdom is potent enough in abolishing our failings or defects. The gradual abolishing of defects of life leads to the gradual development of life as a means to humanity. When all the defects are removed from life completely, life becomes means to humanity. Such a means (sadhan) is not merely a part of life but, of all the actions of life, from awakening to sleep (sushupti) and from birth to death. This is real human life. When life becomes such, then the doer or actor (sadhak) and means become identical or the same.

In principle means (sadhan) is the nature of end (sadhya). Means (sadhan) cannot be separated from the end (sadhya). The sadhan is the existence of an actor or doer. It follows from this that doer or actor, in essence, is identical with means. The felt difference between Sadhak from Sadhan is due to his attachment to the situation. But man by nature is free to remove this attachment and can realize the unity with the end. This is the meaning of becoming a Human being.

Generally, we believe that wisdom (vivek) is identical to intelligence. But it is not so, because intelligence is natural and mechanical and on the other hand wisdom is beyond intelligence. In other words, it is transcendental. To make my point let me give an example: electricity is energy and it expresses itself through electrical appliances such as bulbs, tube lights, etc. But this fact is known only by a physicist. Ordinary man thinks that bulbs, tube lights, etc. are examples of electricity.

Wisdom is changeless and intelligence is changing or varying in nature. Intelligence is the function of nature (prakriti) and wisdom is beyond nature or prakriti. All the so-called sources of light such as lamps etc. are finally, based on sunlight or sum provides light to them. Similarly, the knowledge of intelligence and sense organs are enlightened by the extraordinary light of wisdom (vivek). When the intelligence is enlightened by the pure light of wisdom then the pure intellect purifies the mind (manas). The purity of mind brings purity in the activities of sense organs. Man’s character is formed by the virtuous behavior generated by a pure or unpolluted mind. The virtuous behavior of an individual makes society beautiful. Therefore, vivek is the only power source that not only makes an individual’s life beautiful it also makes the society, to which he belongs, beautiful.

Wisdom (vivek)—intellect—pure intellect—-pure mind(shudh manas)—-pure behavior——character formation——-virtuous act—–beautiful society.