The unchanging happiness

It was a Greek philosopher who said once, “You are never happy if you get what you don’t want.” Tricky words. If you get what you don’t want, you’re not happy. And even if you get what you do want, you still won’t be happy because you won’t be able to keep it. That’s the problem.

So many families, finally they get everything going and the husband dies. “Oh, terrible, what’s going to happen now?” Children grow up too fast; they start bossing you around. You’ve been bossing them around? Wait! You will get a taste of your own medicine. They will boss you around. They will start telling you things.

You had the child because you wanted a child—because you thought all these beautiful, lovely thoughts about having a child, “How sweet the child will be.” And now you are going to be on your bed without a second of sleep, thinking, “Where are they? Why are they not home? It’s already past midnight. What are they doing?” You can’t keep it! Can’t keep it!

You finally got your promotion; you finally got your promotion that you had been waiting for, waiting for, waiting for. And after you have got your promotion, you realize that there are twenty other people wanting the same chair. The one before, there were only five wanting that chair. This one, twenty more….

And if you go to the next one, it’ll be forty more, and if you go to the next one it’ll be a hundred more. And now it’s a matter of, you make one mistake—one mistake—and your chair is gone; promotion is gone. Because you can’t keep it! You can’t keep it; you can’t keep it; you can’t keep it.

Because there is a change afoot, and you don’t like changes. You don’t want changes; you don’t want anything to change. You, even though you want your son who is three years old to grow up, you don’t! You want that child to just stay that way. And you want your wife who’s so pretty to stay that way. And you want your husband who is young to stay just that way.

But everything is changing, changing, changing, changing, changing—and so are you. But you don’t know. Why don’t you know? Because you don’t know yourself. You know your friends; you know your neighbors; you know other people, but you don’t know you.

That’s what Socrates says, “Know thyself.” Knowledge of the self! “All knowledges are good; knowledge of the self is the supreme.” When you know yourself, now you know who you are.

– Prem Rawat