Why comforts are not bringing the happiness we seek #1

Over the last couple of centuries a great share of people have seen their living standards elevated. The comforts and luxuries which were once only available to the royals and the upper echelons of the society are now available to the majority of humans. World GDP has grown consistently over the years. Same is true for GDP per capita. Even with all financial inequality that is present in our world, more people are now able to afford the basic necessities of life than ever before in history.

In societies financially more prosperous than the others, majority is also able to enjoy the product and services which were not even accessible to Alexander III of Macedon. Yet all happiness indicators are trending downwards. Stress, mental illnesses, psychological issues, suicide, etc are more prevalent than ever. Why are these material comforts not bringing the happiness we seek?

ਹਉ ਸੁਤੀ ਹੋਇ ਅਚਿੰਤ ਮਨਿ ਆਸ ਪੁਰਾਈਆ ॥
ਹਰਿਹਾਂ ਜਾ ਘਰਿ ਆਇਆ ਕੰਤੁ ਤ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਾਈਆ ॥੪॥

What mind wants

There is an attraction in power, whether it be political power, military power, money power, power of physical attractiveness or occult power. As humans, we are inherently drawn towards those who possess these powers. And this attraction and devotion of people towards power, motivates many to seek it.

Or in other words, no one wants to be and be seen as weak. It is considered a difficult life to be without any money, political power, physical strength, beauty, etc.

Hence, human mind is always in search of power as it recognises power as equivalent of happiness. A lot of people are living a miserable life not because they are miserable, but because in their minds they will become happy once they achieve this one thing. And most of the time, ‘this one thing’ almost always correlates to capturing and controlling some form of power.

It is not working

No other proof is needed when history is conspicuous. There have been kings in this world who captured and controlled vast amounts of land, had hundreds of concubines, had military power unopposable in the contemporary world. Yet when we think of peace of mind, satisfaction, gratitude and other attributes, generally associate with happiness, these are not the people that usually first come to mind.

Over time, power has dispersed and kings and their ministers have transformed into dictators, presidents, prime ministers, senators, congress men/women, CEOs, generals, bureaucrats, celebrities, etc. People in these positions are usually the ones who are motivated in life by some sort of power. But again, we don’t look up to these groups for inspiration on how to be happy. They might inspire us in other aspects of our lives but not in attaining that raw, unhinged happiness.

Why it hasn’t worked

There is a basic flaw in thinking that someone or something out there in the world is capable of making us happy. Happiness is a state of mind in which there is no stress, no fear, no regrets from the past and no worries of the future. True happiness is not like a bus ride where you get on at one place and leave at another. True happiness doesn’t have an end to it. It just is.

Our mind knows that its current state is not that of the true happiness. But for survival, it is imperative that it holds some aspiration, some desire for a better tomorrow. It always builds this hope on gaining, collecting something that it hasn’t obtained and consumed yet. Once we work hard and achieve ‘this one thing’, the mind moves on and sets a new goal for tomorrow, and the day after. Hence, a lot of human life is spent just running blindly for ‘this one thing’.

Even those who try and succeed (using all sorts of meditations) to get over the yearning of the material things – ascetic, yogis, saints, wizards, etc still end up getting caught in some other form of maya. Usually, they gain some kind of following, from people who admire their such success. And they normally get in the race of influencing, converting and collecting more followers.

NOTE: It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have any desire of power in our lives; just that we should understand the basic fact of life – external riches and power are only good for comforts of our body and satisfaction doesn’t require even an ounce of something more than what is.

Then what is needed to attain the true happiness

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪਰ੍ਸਾਦਿ ॥
ਰਾਗੁ ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ਪਹਿਲਾ ੧ ਘਰੁ ੧ ॥

ਮੋਤੀ ਤ ਮੰਦਰ ਊਸਰਹਿ ਰਤਨੀ ਤ ਹੋਹਿ ਜੜਾਉ ॥
ਕਸਤੂਰਿ ਕੁੰਗੂ ਅਗਰਿ ਚੰਦਨਿ ਲੀਪਿ ਆਵੈ ਚਾਉ ॥
ਮਤੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੂਲਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨਾਉ ॥੧॥

ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਜੀਉ ਜਲਿ ਬਲਿ ਜਾਉ ॥
ਮੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਛਿ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਅਵਰੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਥਾਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

ਧਰਤੀ ਤ ਹੀਰੇ ਲਾਲ ਜੜਤੀ ਪਲਘਿ ਲਾਲ ਜੜਾਉ ॥
ਮੋਹਣੀ ਮੁਖਿ ਮਣੀ ਸੋਹੈ ਕਰੇ ਰੰਗਿ ਪਸਾਉ ॥
ਮਤੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੂਲਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨਾਉ ॥੨॥

ਸਿਧੁ ਹੋਵਾ ਸਿਧਿ ਲਾਈ ਰਿਧਿ ਆਖਾ ਆਉ ॥
ਗੁਪਤੁ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਸਾ ਲੋਕੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਭਾਉ ॥
ਮਤੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੂਲਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨਾਉ ॥੩॥

ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ਹੋਵਾ ਮੇਲਿ ਲਸਕਰ ਤਖਤਿ ਰਾਖਾ ਪਾਉ ॥
ਹੁਕਮੁ ਹਾਸਲੁ ਕਰੀ ਬੈਠਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਭ ਵਾਉ ॥
ਮਤੁ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੂਲਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨਾਉ ॥੪॥੧॥

kirtan by Bhai Gurmail Singh Ji


Envision a world where you have your own mansion, with all comforts and luxuries this world can provide.
Imagine that you have your own businesses and other endeavours that generate more income than what you can spend, for the rest of your life, without any effort on your part.
Imagine that you have a smart, beautiful/handsome life partner in your life, who is loyal, respects you and loves you the way you want to be loved.
Or picture a life in which you have miraculous powers and you can do what ever you want. And everyone in the world, knowing your prowess, always wants to be in your good list. That is, no one ever criticises anything that you do.
Or a reality where you are such a leader that millions are always ready to follow your every single word.
Come back to the reality 🙂
Remember that there were, are and will be humans, who have some or most of these things but without true love of the One, never find the true happiness.


Ever lasting happiness does not require anything or anyone but love. Love brings satisfaction. Satisfaction leads to the happiness we all seek in others and things. It is a common experience of all who actually lived a human life (across time and geographical distance) that nothing outside (the mind) is capable of fulfilling the feeling of emptiness, loneliness. All achievements feel hollow once obtained.

The only desire that I now seek is – let there be no desire left in my mind. Let me not forget the value of this human existence. And let me not get lost in the material world and forget the essence of the human experience. Let me not forget the lesson that I’ve learnt multiple times in my own life, that all possessions, without love for One (i.e. love for all), lead to pain. There just is no other way of attaining the peace that this mind longs for.