Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Einstein and the Four Pillars of Happiness

In the post ‘ Happiness is like a Building’ it was described that the building of happiness stands on four pillars. One of these pillars was described as 1. the love of God. There are many reasons why the love of God leads to happiness. One of them is best elaborated in the following description by the greatest of scientists - Albert Einstein:
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Elsewhere in this blog God was described as the whole of the Universe – everything that can be perceived by the finite mind as well as everything that cannot be perceived and must yet remain hidden from us. Thus, the love of God becomes a means to achieving the sort of unity described by Einstein. In such a state we are content to let nature decide the outcome of our endeavors and are freed from disappointments. It leads to contentment that is only a stepping stool to great happiness.

In fact, the description of Einstein helps explain the other pillars as well – 2. service to mankind, all living creatures and nature 3.working for one’s own self doing the right thing – two more pillars. The remaining pillar, that of 4. self-improvement too leads to the same goal, because if we do not take care of the tools immediately available to us –our own mind and body – then we cannot get very far in anything. Can we? Aside from improving our life style, diet and exercise, a daily session of meditation, mindful breathing or Mantra chanting are great aids to reach inner peace.

Personally, I find spending time in natural surroundings, alone and away from the sights and sounds of anything that man ever built, an extremely energizing, joyful and peaceful experience. To walk or sit in a forest, besides a stream or on a wild mountainside does something special to the spirit of man. Such an experience is not available to modern humans who live in large cities and the number of such humans has increased rapidly over the last century. The better off amongst the city dwellers who have homes with their own private gardens get a small substitution of nature in their yards. There are very many others who do not have even that, living in apartment blocks or crowded homes set neck to neck on a street. There must result, as an outcome, some essential and fundamental differences between the two kinds of humans i.e those who have had ample opportunities to commune with nature and those who have not. I have as yet not put my mind to discover precisely what these differences are but feel that the city dweller that has missed nature has missed important dimensions of life. However, given the large population of humans on earth, living in small villages or towns set close to natural surroundings is not really possible for most, in the present century. As a philosophical person with full confidence in the doings of the supreme intelligence of the Universe, I believe it is He who is at the root of this tremendous explosion in human population. One may wonder at what the supreme wisdom is behind such a large population increase of humans. Could it be, it is because mankind is now near a natural catastrophe that will restore the human population on earth to a much smaller level? It certainly seems to be something like that. Perhaps it will be a welcome change for the planet and the survivors after time has dimmed the memory of the tragedy
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