In order to Experience Happiness One must Experience Distress

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

The title seems little tricky! Is not it? One key word “Experience” comes twice .So before debating about happiness and distress let’s focus on “What is Experience”?

Experience is the process through which human beings perceive the world around them.

According to the researchers, experiences create more lasting happiness because they are more open to positive reinterpretation; they tend to become more meaningful parts of one’s identity; and they do more to foster social relationships. Experiences help us learn, grow and connect with each other.

Happiness is the state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment whereas distress refers to pain or suffering. But do they have any correlation? Are they dependent? Let’s deep dive into this topic.So one can think Happiness as positive experience and distress as negative experience.

Traditionally we have heard that one cannot be happy without getting distress. You cannot always go high on the scale of Happiness and Sadness called life. Happiness is above the line. Sadness is below the line. You have to go down to again go up like a sinusoidal curve! But it’s not true .Rather it’s a myth.

Let’s understand it by an analogy. It’s summer time in Brahmapur , Odisha with temperature around 40 degree Celsius plus. You wish to go for a mango shake prasadam at ISKCON Brahmapur. However one of your friend recommends to go for Bitter gourd juice followed by mango shake. He justifies that you will feel the difference. Will you go by your friend’s advice blindly or take your own decision of taking mango shake only? Choice is yours obviously! Here sweetness of mango shake refers to happiness whereas bitter taste of bitter gourd symbolizes distress. However both are independent and mutually exclusive. As an intelligent person either you will choose only one not the both!

So, we can conclude that “ It’s not necessary in order to experience happiness one must experience distress”. What is your point of view ?

Note: This blog entry is originally submitted as an entry for ISKCON Brahmapur , Jagruti 2020 event based on lecture “Search for Happiness” by HG Amogh Lila Dasa Prabhuji

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