The True Definition
When Thomas Jefferson put that phrase to paper, I don’t think he even had an inkling of what that turn of words would come to represent. It hadn’t been the first time that this concept had been expressed. Many through the ages have dedicated their lives to the finding of this happiness, Confucius, the Buddha, of the Asian persuasion; Melchizedek, Enoch of the Jewish custom; among many, many others.
In fact, found in the writings of Buddha’s teachings is this little morsel, “ To bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” – Buddha
In spite of all the dedication to this very topic through the dominant and subordinate civilizations that have cropped up over the course of earth’s history, in the greater whole, this elusive definition of Happiness, and the pursuit of it have had dire consequences at times.
Philosophers have tried to encapsulate it within words. Leaders of peoples, tribes and empires over the centuries have attributed to it their interpretations resulting in some disastrous affects. Even those within those cultures, conclaves of individuals over the course of many years, have given it their flair and substance.
In more recent times, they who take on this course of study have come close to the mark:
- “A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.” – Soren Kierkegaard
- “Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.” – Immanuel Kant
- “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
- “The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.” – Fyordor Dostoevsky
The Universal Truth
Despite all that has been written, or done to gain their versions of what people deem as happiness, one essential truth that lays before us is that Happiness in life is a how, not a what; A talent to achieve, not an object to attain.
No matter your philosophical inclination, no matter your religious persuasion this is a Universal Truth whether you are Hindi, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Christian or Agnostic. Even in the perversion of other philosophies of looking at the world, pagan, wiccan or atheist, this still holds true.
- “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” – Buddha
- “Happiness is when how you think, how you say, and how you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- “The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness, the happiness of others.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
The Universal Truth is that there must needs be a Source of Purity, of Harmony, of Happiness, as there is another source for their opposites debauchery, discord and discontent. Again, no matter what your background is, where you come from and what culture you were raised within, this remains true. In the writings of Confucius, Buddha, in the Quran, the Talmud, and the Testaments; In every writ considered holy, there is one resounding theme, that there is A Source for all that is intrinsically good in the human experience.
Some enrapt the Source’s attributes in Virtues, Values and Morals:
- “If virtue promises happiness, prosperity and peace, then progress in virtue is progress in each of these for to whatever point the perfection of anything brings us, progress is always an approach toward it.” – Epictetus
- “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” – Ayn Rand
These, however, are descriptions of the symptoms or the results of the action, and not of the Cause or the Action itself. Virtues are what emanate from the Source, Values are what results from those Virtues in our experience and Morals are the application of the Code this Source has set into motion for our experience.
The Well-Spring Source
Ayn Rand once said, “Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” And those values have a Creator, a fountain from which these virtues and values spring. Something cannot come out of nothing. Mere nothingness is still just nothingness. As there are the elements that make the trees, rocks, water and us in our physical world, it is so with Purity, Wholesomeness, Good, Harmony, Peace. As He has done with those various elements, The Source also organized that which can make us truly happy.
The how of Happiness is how well we square our wills to the Will of God; to know the Will of God you need to come to know His True Self; to come to know for yourself the Nature of God lies within your Pursuit of Happiness.
As you come to know your true self, your Core Competencies, i.e. your Aptitudes, Attributes and Attitudes; who you truly are in your very essence, you will find that light within you.
We all have been born with the light. That light that quickens both the living and the dead, the light of Christ and it is that Well Spring from which we can become familiar with God’s Nature, His True Self and His Will for us. It is for all of us to do with that light what we will. If we choose to become more familiar with it and make it grow, or to chase it away and let it grow dim, it is all up to us.
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” – CS Lewis
May we all do as Buddha suggests, and find our way to Enlightenment with our Pursuit of Happiness.