I want to share the wisdom I learn from my mentor in business; Joseph Bismark. This I apply on both of my personal life and business endeavors.
We’re all driven towards happiness, and happiness is what drives us. This is a reality we carry in life, whether it’s with extremes of fanaticism or obsession, or a subtle, soulful artistry or passion. Happiness is both our goal and adrenaline. As we are about to end the year, I want to share Joseph Bismark wonderful thought on happiness he wrote on his blog. http://www.gemsofwisdom.net/happiness-is-within-us
“Happiness Lies Within us” – Joseph Bismark
Joseph Bismark didn’t start the article in the conventional way of defining the vocal point of the idea. As a man who knows the best means to convey ideas across, he knew that giving people a definition might make them reconstruct their own understanding of the subject. Instead of defining what happiness is, he started the article by straightforwardly advising where it can be found. In so doing, he points everyone to the right direction.
What he offers is a form of perspective. To say that happiness is coming from within means that the source of it is us, ourselves. And when we have defined the source of something we pursue, we are able to understand how to pursue it, and how to control such pursuit. Not knowing where something important is coming from can make someone vulnerable, fearful and insecure. The basic message Bismark wants to share is that we are the ones who should be in control of our own happiness.
Contrary to these ideas, there are those who allow their happiness to be defined by material things. Blindly driven by superficial happiness, they will chase after materialism desperately, not understanding its lack of value or worth. And when someone is blind, that someone is bound to stumble. And from stumbling comes suffering. And in suffering, that someone will look for someone else to blame. Having started with the wrong perspective, that blame will point outside, to others, to God, and this is where the sad reality of “grudges, resentments and unforgiven past” will come in. These are the weight of someone who has never been truly happy, because he has invested his happiness on something he can’t control, and on something that is not from within.
We’ve seen people under the influence of addiction of some sort, and it’s not just in the form of drugs. Addiction comes in many forms, and in subtle ways it can also be likened to obsession. We can be addicted with the pleasure we get from good food, or by being surrounded by high-end gadgets. Our obsession over new clothes continues and gets even stronger every time we get a new item from a famous brand. Or, we would interpret the sensual satisfaction we get from another person as happiness, and subject ourselves to said person’s whims.
A lack of perspective can mean a lack of control. On the other hand, seeing things from the right perspective means being able to control it. We’ve reached for material things so much and relied on them for happiness that without them it seems we can’t be truly happy. For Joseph Bismark, we must know where happiness can be found, so we can have the power to reach it.
“Worldly things are Temporary.”
It’s amazing how a businessman of his caliber can strongly declare such a statement, considering he has built a business empire by selling products. But it’s worth remembering that before he entered the world of business, he was first a student of meditation living in an ashram. Joseph Bismark knows how to see things stripped of its material aspect, and as such, see things for what they are. And if he sees happiness beyond material possessions, he also sees the human person as someone who’s more than the body that exists in the material world.
Joseph Bismark on Self-Acceptance
This second point is a beautiful complement on the first thoughts he shared, and directs fundamentally to his understanding of the human person: a being that thinks, that feels and is the soul. This is the reason why we can’t find true happiness in the things we pursue on earth. We are in essence, the soul, and as such, will always look for more than what we get from the physical world. This understanding also explains how our ignorance to this fact, a lack of spiritual awareness, has taken us to a road of ceaseless, temporal satisfaction, off course from real happiness.
Analogy of A Foolish Shopper
Satisfaction can’t be attained through the things we hoard on this earth: money, power, and sensuality. This is Joseph Bismark’s analogy of a shopper who can take anything from the shelf, but not take it home with them. We’re in this shop right now, and each form of satisfaction we get is an item from the shelf. Ultimately, we leave the shop carrying nothing but ourselves, and while we’re in, we’ll always pick things up without any form of true, lasting happiness, consoled temporarily only by the next thing we can get from the shelf.
This ‘shop till you drop’ attitude is greed disguising itself in so many forms. Our tendency to get more out of everything: the food we eat, the possession we acquire, the fame and fortune we hog, the people we desire to dominate – we move from one item to another in this material world, undermining the onslaught in our wake. And so the foul tendencies to be corrupt in a system built on rules, to gossip against other people, to steal, to cheat, for the sole purpose of getting what we want, lingers in our world today. If we look into the picture closely enough, Joseph Bismark is actually delivering a horrifying yet true image of humanity – our tendency to be greedy.
But Bismark didn’t paint this picture with the intention of frightening or disheartening us. Let’s remember this is an article on ‘Happiness’, not on human weakness. While we do have the inclination towards greed, our acceptance of this fact and mastery over it will give us the power to outwit greed and find true happiness.
How To Find Happiness
While making us understand our material inclinations, Joseph Bismark goes back to how we should find our happiness. “The key to real happiness is to look internally, not externally.” Looking within. This time, not only do we carry the wisdom that we are capable of our own happiness, and that we are the ones in control, we also carry this wisdom with the humbling self-awareness of our tendencies, narrowed down to help us further know where our personal happiness lies.
To look internally is to see what’s inside. Who am I really? In this world, someone can be a parent, a friend, a business partner, a passionate artist, or a hardworking employee. But behind the parent we see, there’s someone who is nurturing, and caring. Behind the friend we see is someone who is compassionate, who is always there, and sensitive to others. Behind the business partner we see is a trustworthy person. Behind the artist we see are eyes that see transcendence. Behind the employee we see, there’s dedication and hard work. This is what Joseph Bismark teaches in his meditation class, that we strip ourselves of our materialism, and understand who we are: spiritual beings. As such, beings fashioned from and by the Supreme Being.
The Spirituality of Happiness
Bismark is tapping on something more divine: the spirituality of happiness. It would easily make sense if we understand that we are not our material body, and the only way to be happy is to understand our spiritual selves. It’s through this that we get to establish our connection with the Supreme Being.
How does this connection lead to happiness? For one thing, it leads to a more frugal perspective in life where the absence of material things won’t deter us from being happy. More importantly, this connection reveals who we truly we are, and only by knowing who our true selves are can we understand how we can make ourselves happy.
Perhaps this is also what makes Joseph Bismark different from other businessmen. While the sparkle of profit and growth can blind the spiritually inexperienced, Bismark knows who he is, and has never been led astray by the tendencies to make more out of the great things he has achieved. He remains happy, as he remains spiritual. People see these as well. Most see in him the wisdom of a teacher. Others, the love and protection of a father. How he sees himself internally, who he is in connection with the Supreme Being, only Bismark can truly see. He knows what his happiness is, for he knows who he truly is.
Moving from Within
“Happiness lies within.” This encompassing first thought suggests a seemingly human approach, and for the trivial mind one would think that this is bordering close to self-centeredness. But the idea that Joseph Bismark is trying to convey is not grounded on making only ourselves happy. On the contrary, his first statement is completed by the last sentence in the paragraph, stating that, “Happiness should come from the inside out.”
The connection that we build with the Supreme Being should not be kept in. There is a movement that needs to be done from what we find in ourselves, to what we give to others. After all, we wouldn’t see the wisdom of a teacher from Bismark if he doesn’t reach out to so many people with his quotations, anecdotes and reminders. His words come from inside him, from what he finds within.
When he said in his Facebook page, “Be a solution provider, not a problem analyst.”, we are hearing the words of a true leader wired for developing his people.
When he says, “Be positive.”, we are getting words from someone who has seen a lot of negativity that knows the positive angle in them.
What we find inside needs to be lived and expressed outside to others. This isn’t a self-centered spirituality, but a communal one. How else can we realize our connection with the Supreme Being if not through connection with other spiritual beings like us? This isn’t a one-way connection. This is interconnectedness, a network of spirits in pursuit of true happiness with one another.
Rebuilding Lives after Typhoon Haiyan
Joseph Bismark saw this connection shine it’s brightest when he looked at the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Named among the Filipinos as Yolanda, this category 5 super typhoon ripped through central Philippines in brutal gusts and rain, taking with it more than six thousand lives, and leaving an aftermath of terrible destruction. Then, from amidst the ruins, people began to slowly rebuild their lives. The survivors gathered what remains of their home and their lives to restore everything.
He said on one of his speech “where there is true happiness, we find goodness, hope, strength and resilience.” Not even a storm can stifle the spirit of a person if there is happiness inside nourished by the connection built with others. It didn’t come as a surprise to the world that the Filipinos would rise from the aftermath of such calamity. Anyone who has graced the shores of the Philippines knows where those genuine smiles and persistent, almost stubborn optimism come from. We Filipinos know what it means to be truly happy, and from that happiness we are able to overcome any difficulty.
From the prelude of the storm, Joseph Bismark saw people who are connected, finding their true selves through self-giving and generosity. They reached out, helped out, and kept each other’s spirits up with prayers, and songs, and light-hearted chitchat about day-to-day activities albeit changed by an unprecedented natural event. Worldly things are indeed temporary, easily taken in an instant. But what people in central Philippines had was more than the worldly things they lost.
It’s amazing how such loss, such lack of material things, has highlighted the people’s source of happiness. Joseph Bismark has given us a blueprint of how to achieve happiness. Introspection is his key takeaway for everyone if he was to sum everything into one word. An personal perspective where we find spiritual connection with ourselves, with the Supreme Being, and with others.
We can only find happiness from within as we see our spiritual selves connected with the Supreme Being, and with others.