Every individual aspires to live a happy and healthy life. The desire to be happy means we often put forth great effort, but later we find ourselves trapped in a world of our own creation. These problems are the results of our attempts to live a blissful life. In other words, the things we try to do for our personal happiness are the very things making us unhappy. So the point is: how can one attain ultimate peace and live a life full of satisfaction?
I recently read a story in which the Lord Buddha was asked the same question by one of his students. Buddha said that he will answer that question shortly but first he wanted to drink some water. His student immediately went to the nearest pond to get fresh water for the master. Unfortunately, there was a group of buffalo in the pond that had made the water muddy. Buddha was waiting for him, and after some time he returned empty handed and said, “My Lord, I am very sorry. I went to the pond but there was a group of buffalo in the water, and the water wasn’t drinkable. I later went to a couple more places but couldn’t get any water.’’
He asked Buddha if he could go searching for another pond. But Buddha told him to visit the same pond again. The student did exactly what he was told, and still he had to return empty handed. Now Buddha told him to wait for some time and then visit that same pond again. The student had complete faith in his master and again he followed his instructions without a second thought. This time when he reached near the pond, he saw that the water was crystal clear. He returned to his master and offered him fresh water to drink.
After having water Buddha smiled and said to his student, “The answer to your question is in what to just did.” He further explained that our life is just like the dirty pond water, often getting polluted with thoughts. Sometimes people fear these thoughts and try to run away from them through such extreme measures as even ending their own lives. But if they have some patience their mindsets may change and they’ll find they had the solutions within themselves all along.
So ultimately, troubling situations in life are always in our own minds – it’s all about the way we perceive the world around us. If we think we should do something to be happy, in hindsight it means we believe that we are not happy. Whatever we believe is real to us. Our perceptions create our reality. Hence whatever happens to us we should be thankful for both the positives and the negatives. We should learn that no experience is a bad experience, but rather some experiences give us pleasure and joy, and some experiences teach us new lessons.
After all, life goes on. Whatever has happened has happened. There is no point in being sad about things that didn’t go well, about our failures, or about the deeds of other people. Rather, always first understand the circumstances and try to gain as much out of our experiences as possible. By being calm and controlling our thoughts we can achieve inner peace.