Happiness: A How-to Guide
What is happiness? That is the question asked in this issue of Spiritual Link. It’s a simple question, but there are as many possible answers as people in the world. Everyone seems in search of their own idea of happiness in their own way.
From a worldly viewpoint, happiness is generally seen as comprising a measure of health and wealth, social status and professional or creative satisfaction, as well as a loving family and friends. But all these are transitory and fragile.
Lasting happiness, it is often said, can be achieved only when we finally leave this physical plane and return to our spiritual home. This is ultimately true – but does it mean we should give up on the idea of being happy until then, and just be miserable instead? No.
The saints advise us that even in the midst of this troubled world, we should strive to be happy – to take a positive attitude, smile rather than frown at whatever life brings, and not worry. This requires that we understand and focus on our real purpose, and have faith. Even scientific studies show that what produces contentment is not the active pursuit of happiness for its own sake but rather our attitude to life as a whole. Psychologist Viktor Frankl said:
It is the very pursuit … of happiness that thwarts happiness, because happiness occurs as a by-product, as a side-effect of finding and fulfilling a meaning – or of loving another being.
What brings happiness then is not only a clear understanding of what life truly means but also, and above all else, love – ultimately our love of the Father, and his love for us. It is that love which enables us to trust him to show us the way, and to hold our hand as we go.