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Put yourself second

Published : Mar 9, 2016, 11:18 pm IST
Updated : Mar 9, 2016, 11:18 pm IST

How is sculpture made “With fingers on clay when I want it, stealing from clay the eternity yet unformed of the earth”, so wrote the great Brazilian sculptor Joao Turin.

How is sculpture made “With fingers on clay when I want it, stealing from clay the eternity yet unformed of the earth”, so wrote the great Brazilian sculptor Joao Turin. His savage, ferocious jaguar, looking at the moon, was the result. Each of us is the artist who moulds the sculpture of our lives by our daily actions.

Many pursue happiness in pleasure — in food, in beautiful homes, great cars, substantial bank accounts or instant fame. This is a hedonic happiness — worth experiencing. It is a high point of sensation, which is however, fleeting and temporary. The more elusive type two ‘happiness’ comes from having a long term sense of purpose. It requires investing in liberating the hidden masterpieces within others. It comes through collaboration not competition. It is based on the economics of giving, rather than the sad strategy of “What’s in it for me ”

The Buddha too focuses on the long term economics of giving. Real happiness flows when we spend our time plotting and planning how to make others happier. It can never take root in an atmosphere of grabbing, taking and forcing. How cool it would be to spend your time thinking of lovely new ways to inspire more joy and happiness in the people around. Consider incorporating the following emotions in your life every day:

Loving kindness or metta: Metta is love without the suffering that arises from attachment.

Compassion or karuna: To feel the pain, joy and aspiration of others in your own heart.

Appreciative joy or mudita: Replacing envy with ecstasy.

Equanimity or upekkha: Facing all experiences as a chance to learn.

So let us invest in the happiness of putting yourself second and others first.

The writer is the author of Everyday Happiness Mantras.