“On the one hand, we all want to be happy. On the other hand, we all know the things that make us happy. But we don’t do those things. Why? Simple. We are too busy. Too busy doing what? Too busy trying to be happy. This is the paradox of happiness that has bewitched our age.” Matthew Kelly, in The Rhythm of Life.
Early on in his book, which I highly recommend, The Rhythm of Life, Kelly advises us to put the book aside, and ponder what we really want from life. Think about it, reflect on it, and write it down. (I, admittedly, did not put the book down as he suggested. It seemed like such a good idea that I wanted to see what came next. I have since, written down what I want from life. Good idea!).
He suggests that, chances are, whatever we wrote on our list, whomever we included, the places, the actions we included, we believe will make us happy. Even if our list included making someone else happy, doing so would make us happy. The human person has a natural thirst for happiness, and we do the things we do because we believe they will make us happy. It’s a human need alright. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We’ve all heard that one.
He points out that from time to time, people do stupid things. We look at them and scratch our heads. We may wonder, “Why would anybody ever do something so stupid?” He says, “Be assured, the reason people do stupid things is because they mistakenly believe those stupid things will make them happy.” I know all about that. I owned a boat once.
Years ago, I taught a seven-week class titled Happiness, Another Word for Prosperity. I had the participants engage in an exercise in which they were asked to do the following:
- Create your definition of happiness.
- Briefly describe one of the happiest times in your life.
- Explain what promoted the feeling of happiness in that experience.
I then had them break into small groups, giving each of them a few minutes to share on what they had written. The entire room turned electric! The whole energy of the room lifted to a new, higher level…just by sharing on happiness.
I suggest you do the same. Follow the three steps listed above. Then share with a friend what you wrote. You know, “I was reading this blog, and this guy had us…kind of sharing. You’ll both feel happier. If you’d like to refer them to my blog, even better! That will make me happy! Win win!
I’ll have more to say about happiness in the upcoming weeks. I’ll close for now by providing you with an agreement I had my class participants sign. It went like this:
I __________________________ pledge to my fellow learners and myself that for the next seven days this covenant declares my intention of more fully realizing the happiness that dwells within me.
I pledge to do my absolute best to maintain a conscious awareness of the Life Spirit within me and promise to serve that Life Spirit to the best of my ability.
Dedicate this week to happiness. Talk soon!