The pursuit of happiness…

April 27, 2021

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

Happiness is not something that just happens to us. In fact, the Declaration of Independence even states – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So, we must pursue happiness and work for it. But, is happiness to be found in amassing money or possessions?

It is sad that even as young children we learn, or become conditioned, to want things that we don’t have, many times things that we see that other do have.

“It’s almost impossible to be satisfied in your own life if you’re constantly looking at what someone else has.” Rachael Cruze

The pursuit of things (possessions) begins to drive our pursuit of happiness, yet we see others around us who are happy with less. What is their secret?

“You are only a poor person if you are not happy with what you have.” Debasish Mridha

So, maybe, the secret is to refocus your pursuit of happiness away from things and onto something much more fulfilling. For we have been told in the Bible –

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

AND

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

We will not find happiness in the pursuit of possessions within the context of our short lives here on earth. Instead, we must believe in Jesus and accept the gift of eternal life that comes next. The happiness that comes next is a gift from God which comes from faith.  

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So, keep the faith and in your beliefs find contentment and joy in accomplishing the things that your heart tells you to do to help others and sharing the good news.

Perhaps the best advice for us in this life comes from this anonymous quote –

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

Maybe the words of that great philosopher, Groucho Marx, will help –

“Each morning when I open my eyes, I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

If you are reading this, that means that you woke up this morning. You got one more day. Be happy in it!


The pursuit of happiness…

July 5, 2015

“Essential to the pursuit of happiness is knowing when you’ve caught it.” – from the Arlo ‘N’ Janice cartoon.

I saw that little saying in a recent newspaper that carries the Arlo “N” Janice daily cartoon strip and thought that it really made an important point. My wife and I often sit out on our big, screened-in front porch and man daydreamingcomment on the fact that our lives are good and that we find happiness in what we have. I look back on the many years in my life of pursuing happiness, most of them looking for the wrong things, and realize that my true happiness was right there beside me for the entire journey. The rest of the efforts were to achieve things or buy things that, in the long run, were meaningless and fell away over time. Now, I will that our great old house in our wonderful little village is a major contributor to our happiness; but it too is just a possession. It is sharing our love and our lives that bring true happiness for us both.

For most people it takes quite a while in life to stop and look at what you have and perhaps find that youreaching goal
already have achieved happiness by finding your life mate. I suspect that it is because we get so much orientation in our youth that equates happiness to achievements, success, money and other measurements. We convince ourselves that we’ll be happy only if we get that raise or promotion, buy that car or other toy, marry the best looking person, go to the best events, achieve the highest score, win the tournament or whatever other things are out there dangling and shiny in front of us. We use terms like “goals” to define what we
think will bring us happiness; we set them and pursue them and then set new ones. We jump on the hamster wheel of life and start running, convinced that this is the way to happiness. Many never stop and get off the wheel to se if they may have already achieved the happiness that they have been pursuing.

man reaching for starAs you get older, you begin to realize that achieving that latest goal was less satisfying than you had imagined and that setting a new goal for yourself to pursue seems less exciting. You may also notice that you don’t seem to have the enthusiasm and energy to put into that pursuit that you used to have. Perhaps it is because there is an increasingly nagging little voice telling you to stop and look at your life and realize what is important. If you do it will likely not involve your possessions so much as it will be about your relationships.

It seems to be man’s fate that every generation must relearn the life lesson that money can’t buy happiness and that possessions seldom bring more than temporary happiness. In the end, when they take the inventory of all of your possessions, many (if not most) will end up in the dumpster that they back up to your McMansion and none of them will end up going with you. Even if someone remembers you fondly tooling around in your fancy sports car or on your big boat, it’s really you that they are remembering and not the possessions. If they are thinking about the car or the boat, what does that say about you and your

"Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

relationship with them?

As you near that end; you will realize more and more that the only things that really matters in this world is the relationship with the life partner shuffling along the path beside you; and the only thing that matters after this world is the relationship that you have with the God with whom you will be spending the rest of eternity. Get those two relationships right and you can end the pursuit because you have found happiness.