What makes a person happy? I can give several good answers that I think would make me happy but there is nothing better than the answer I saw a few days ago.
Having had the rare opportunity of meeting and knowing people from both ends of the social spectrum, I have come to realize that happiness in life depends on how you would like to live your life.
A rich businessman who has almost everything could sometimes feel so dejected and disappointed because of not winning a multimillion dollar business deal.
And yet the poor man in the countryside who barely has anything in life feels so happy just to be able to earn $5 in one day from hauling sacks of corn in cobs using his horse.
A week ago, as I was coming down from a visit to my birthplace (a remote village some 30 miles away from where we currently stay), I passed by a convoy of horses laden with sacks of corn in cobs which were being hauled from remote farms to the corn shelling facility nearby.
The men handling the horses, which they obviously owned, were evidently happy to see me come down from my vehicle to offer handshakes and talk to them. I learned that one of them was my distant relative and he was very happy to know that. The feeling of acceptance from someone traveling in a vehicle, and wearing a wristwatch and sunglasses made them so happy. I lack the exact words to describe how happy they were except to say I saw nothing but genuine happiness. Is that how a wealthy businessman would also feel after winning a multimillion dollar business deal? I doubt. I really doubt it. Genuine happiness is not like anything. It was simple, lasting, so memorable, pleasantly savored and so meaningful, I am sure they cannot stop telling and retelling the story of that encounter.
They had no watches in their wrists, no wedding rings to show their marital status, no leather wallets and were wearing old clothes trampled over by time. Yet, they were a picture of complete happiness. Their horses looked healthy and having been raised in the farm I, of course, understand that healthy animals are proofs of a farmer who happily takes care of his beasts of burden.
No big dreams, but just a simple wish that after a long walk to guide their horses through, they would go home to their families with 2 kilos of rice, a kilo of dried fish, and some salt and sugar to feed the family. And they do not even worry what is up for them the next day!
The sight of these people so contented living simple lives made me ponder on why some people could not be contented with their position and possessions in life and were rather too preoccupied satisfying their lusts and greed for things that they really do not need (such as several high-tech electronic gadgets most of them have related functions or having more than one of the same kind, racing cars, costly vacation homes, etc.).
I envy the poor man who, after a long day’s work, could rest his tired body in a hammock under the shade of the fruit trees he planted and enjoy the fresh air blowing gently from the mountains nearby where spring waters flow.
“Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth.”
(P.S.: It is not for us to begrudge the rich for the misery of the poor. Wealth acquired through hard work and honest means are good wealth).