Wednesday, January 29, 2014
More Meaningful Than Happiness
Go on Amazon. Do a search for books on happiness. You'll find over 15,000 titles. Everyone wants to be happy and some need help finding it. Some even believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. We seek people and things that will fulfill this dream. "I want to marry someone who's going to make me happy." "I love going skiing - I'm in heaven when I'm on the slopes." "I'm happiest when I'm with my grandchildren. But then they leave and I'm totally sad." And therein lies the problem. If we seek people and/or things to make us cheerful, then when they are no longer present in our lives, or if the conditions are not ideal according to our standards, we find ourselves disillusioned and depressed.
In time, some come to realize that happiness is an inside job - it is a mindset that we maintain in spite of our current circumstances. Happiness, to a large degree, is the byproduct of gratitude. When we focus on what we have to be thankful for, we get a sense of pleasure and contentment. So, if I'm reasonably joyful then I have nothing to complain about. This may be as good as it gets.
Not only is happiness not the purpose of life it is also not the most important objective either. So what is? Some might say "nothing matters more than love." And while I would conclude that love is a critical goal (to be a loving person as well as to be loved), again, there is an intention far more significant.
In my book, The Great Truth: Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose, I discuss the single most essential matter we must pursue that takes precedent over everything else: to live a life of impeccable moral integrity, to live in such a way that embodies the purest essence of the Divine, to live only to emulate God in physical form.
Most people I know believe in God and try to be good, to be kind, to do what is right, and to help others. And being human they, like myself, often fall short - most noticeably because we deny our Spiritual (Divine) selves and operate from a place of ego (me-oriented). We concern ourselves primarily with the self: getting our needs met, making sure we are treated fairly, doing what we want or what feels good in the moment. This presents a problem when it interferes with doing what is in the best interest of the other person or persons. Yet when we live solely to please God, we always make morally right decisions which naturally benefit all concerned. Living to please God is not an easy task. It means giving up the self, developing an intimate relationship with the Divine, living in complete accordance with Divine Law.
Yet the surprising outcome of a life devoted to obeying God's Law, to living exclusively to please Him is abundant joy, infinite love, and a deep and abiding sense of inner peace. Knowing that you have made morally right decisions, that every thought, word, and action reflects perfect love, that you have not inflicted harm on any of God's creations but rather have uplifted and enriched the lives of all whom you encountered brings a sense of deep self-respect and admiration for a life well-lived. And that, my friend, trumps simple happiness any day.
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