Lockdown – An opportunity for being blissful: Kamal K Jain, Professor of IIM Indore

So you are under lockdown. The outer world is closed. But the inner world was never closed and can never be closed. However, it has often been unexplored. The closure of the outer world has given us a unique opportunity to travel to our inner world. Journey to the outer world can make you happy. Journey to the inner world can make you blissful

Happiness is out there and what is out there is an illusion. A Tibetan proverb states, “Seeking happiness outside ourselves is like waiting for sunshine in a cave facing north.” For being happy, you need a reason. You need to have something – a house, a car, a TV. Very soon you will become unhappy with them. Then you will find another reason for being happy and thus your journey never stops. If we chase happiness in material things, our pursuit for happiness will never end. Bob Marley said, “Money is numbers and numbers are infinite. If it takes money for being happy your search for happiness will never stop.” Being happy for a reason is inviting trouble because that reason can be taken from you. This reason can be taken from you not by a very powerful person or by any authority; it can be taken from you by a minuscule, invisible virus.

Let us reflect on four noble truths given by Buddha. First, suffering is an innate characteristic of existence. Second, there is a cause for this suffering. Third, the cessation of sufferings is possible. The fourth, there is a means to end sufferings. According to Buddha suffering is caused by a craving for worldly things. Now if one knows the reason for suffering, the means to end suffering is no brainer.

Lockdown is an opportunity for human beings to look inside. Osho says, “When you look inside you realise that there are two dimensions – happiness and unhappiness. But then you also realise the third dimension that is witnessing. And that third dimension brings bliss. Bliss is without any opposition to it. A blissful person has no reason from the outside world; his happiness wells up within himself.” Being happy means choosing to feel that way no matter what is going on in your life.

The Law of Attraction states your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world. Everything you give your focus to, even if it seems like a little harmless thought, sends vibrations out into the Universe and attracts to you more of the same. By focusing on all the things that aren't right, you create more of the things that aren't right. Everything you see is a reflection of what is inside of you. Lao Tzu said, “When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Instead of looking outside of yourself, look inside yourself. This will give you an insight, ‘If I am responsible for my suffering, then it is simple, I can drop it. It is my choice.

“A Sufi mystic had never been found sad. One day a disciple asked him, ‘What is the secret of your happiness?’ He said, ‘There is no secret. Every morning when I wake up, I meditate for five minutes and I say to myself, ‘Listen, now there are two possibilities: you can be miserable, or you can be blissful. Choose.’ And I always choose to be blissful.’

Yes, you are under lockdown. But whether you look-down or you lookup is your choice.

Kamal K Jain

(Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management at IIM Indore. He can be reached at kamal@iimidr.ac.in)

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