April 2014 Issue: How happy do you want to be?

In the name of happiness, we’re chasing something counterfeit, something that only appears to be happiness.

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There was an old wise cat and a small kitten in an alleyway. The old cat saw the kitten chasing its tail and asked, “Why are you chasing your tail?”

The kitten replied, “I’ve been attending cat philosophy school and I have learned that the most important thing for a cat is happiness, and that happiness is located in my tail. Therefore I am chasing it, and when I catch it, I shall be happy forever.”

Laughing, the wise old cat replied, “My son, I wasn’t lucky enough to go to cat philosophy school, but as I’ve gone through life, I too have realised that the most important thing for a cat is happiness, and indeed that it is located in my tail. The difference I’ve found though is that whenever I chase after it, it keeps running away from me, but when I go about my business and live my life, it just seems to follow after me wherever I go.”

This fable, often shared by Dr Wayne Dyer, speaks of a profound truth: Happiness is our intrinsic nature. And yet we keep trying to find happiness out there. We seem to have forgotten that life cannot be lived someplace other than where we are at the moment. Neither can it be lived in the past or the future. In other words, we experience everything only here and now. And yet we are always planning to be happy—when we get this, be there, achieve that. In the name of happiness, we’re chasing something counterfeit, something that only appears to be happiness. Such happiness is ephemeral and unstable. It’s here this moment, gone the next.

Happiness is with us all along. Like the cat’s tail, it follows us wherever we go. But there’s so much fog that clouds our perceptions, it is nearly impossible to believe this. In this month’s cover story, award-winning author Marnie McDermott will help you demist your mind so that you can get some glimpses into your very own rainbow of happiness. “The oversight of the happiness seekers is not realising that happiness is a state of being rather than an external experience. When people realise that they need to look within, and connect to themselves, happiness becomes a much more challenging concept and an even more challenging experience to find,” she writes. She goes on to describe the five kinds of happiness, of which four are fleeting and only one is enduring.

As you will see when you read the cover story, it is we, ourselves, who are blocking our own happiness. And we alone can unblock it too. Like Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” How happy do you want to be?

Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri is a highly experienced wellbeing consultant. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1250 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed self-improvement book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".