The best way to understand how we become happy is to look at how we became unhappy! And by doing the opposite of that, we strive towards being happy.
So how do we become unhappy? The planet is plagued with unhappiness. It is in almost every single family on the planet. That is a serious thing. If unhappiness was a terminal illness which caused death within a year, then everyone would try to fix that issue straight away. And while unhappiness can lead to sickness and disease over time, it is considered more as a quality of life issue than a critical issue that needs to be dealt with.
So, how do people become unhappy? We become unhappy by mimicking and copying those people who are unhappy—by watching and learning from people who are unhappy.
We have pictures of rock stars and movie stars on our walls when we’re growing up. We’re trying to copy them, we’re trying to be movie stars or rock stars ourselves, but we never ask, “Are these people happy or are they miserable?”
So we copy, we dream, we visualise, we wish for, we aspire, we contemplate, “How do I become like them?” When we do that, over time we will achieve that. We may not achieve becoming a movie star but we will definitely achieve the unhappiness, you see?
So how do we become happy? We should put posters on our walls of the happiest people on the planet, and the happiest people on the planet are enlightened Masters. People should have big posters of Jesus on their wall. They should have posters of the Buddha on their wall, they should have posters of their spiritual Master on their wall. They should have them everywhere.
They should have one in their workshop, they should have one in their wallet, they should have one on their altar, they should have one even in the bathroom. That shows how much a person loves to be like that. Have one on the dashboard of your car, have one on the windscreen sun visor that flips down when you’re driving so when you flip that down you see the Guru’s photo. That shows how much you want to become like that.
You contemplate how to become like that. You wish with your whole heart, “I want to become like that.” You dream, you wonder, you cry, “Oh God, how do I become like that?” You tell your friends, “I want to become like that,” as if you are telling your friends, “I want to become a rock star!” With that type of aspiration, with that type of yearning, such sincerity, such tearful sincerity, such love to be that—then we will become that.
I don’t guarantee too many things in my life for people but this is one thing I guarantee! Because when I was a seeker I was wishing in that way myself. When I was eating, I was eating with gratefulness for my Guru. When I saw my Guru, I had such a love to become like that. When I saw my Guru working, I was inspired to help.
I wanted to be like my Guru in every way. I wanted to think like my Guru, I wanted to laugh like that, I wanted to become wise like that, I wanted to become kind like that. And I cried with yearning tears to become like that. I prayed to God to bless me so that I could become like that. I asked for my Guru’s help so I could become like that. When my Guru taught, I wanted to absorb the teachings into my heart so that I could become like that.
So if a person does that sincerely, they will become like the Guru. And in the same way, if a person does those things sincerely to become a rock star or a movie star, then they’ll become like the rock star or the movie star.
Now, I have nothing against movie stars or rock stars. I myself, when I was a kid, dreamed to be a movie star! So I have nothing against them. But I have something against yearning to become a movie star who is unhappy. If a movie star is totally happy every moment then I’ll be copying them, I’ll be living like them, I’ll be wanting to become like them.
I’m only using rock stars and movie stars as an example. The truth is we emulate and we want to become sports stars and all sorts of things. We have a terrible habit of yearning to become like people who are actually unhappy. When someone is very, very happy we have no interest. Then how are we going to become happy? It’s impossible.
On the spiritual journey, everybody is going around looking for great secrets. What I’m sharing with you—this is the secret! There’s no other secret! Stop copying and striving to become and wishing to become like those who are very miserable in their life, and start trying to become and wishing for yourself to become like the enlightened Masters who are happy every moment.
With just that alone, we will become happy. There is absolutely no doubt about that. If we are unhappy in our own life, and if we just contemplate for a moment who we are trying to emulate, then we will understand what I am saying to be true. We will know that. Then we can change.
You see, I am not concerned about the outer appearance, whether a person is short or tall, or black or white, or blue eyes or brown eyes or whatever. All I’m concerned about is, “Is someone happy?” If they are, then I want to copy that person.
The only criteria is happiness. Not rich or poor, because there are people who are rich who are unhappy and there are people who are rich who are happy. And there are people who are poor who are unhappy and there are poor people who are happy. So obviously it’s not the rich or the poor, but it is all about the happiness, the peacefulness of the person we are emulating.
Of course, if you want to be like someone more quickly then you will want to spend more time with them, not just once in six months or once a year—you want to hang around them. Move in, live with them. And if for some reason your circumstances don’t allow you to move in to live with them then move near them, be their neighbour or at least be somewhere close by where it’s a short bicycle ride or a short drive away. Move there and you will soon see a happy change in you.
So we’ll work it out very easily ourselves once we understand how people become unhappy. Then we will understand how to become happy, and we can choose appropriately. And the outcome will be very natural—whatever we choose, we will become that.