Are you happy in life? When you are happy, does it last, or is it fleeting? Where do you derive your happiness? If it seems like it’s temporary or elusive, it may be because you’ve been looking in the wrong places.
Happiness comes from within. It doesn’t come from anyone else but yourself. Yes, the people in your life and your relationships are certainly a good source. But what if you really don’t have anyone? Can you be alone and happy? Sure! You can (and should) look to manifest meaningful relationships in your life. But you can also produce happiness for yourself.
Fr. Robert Spitzer, a Jesuit Priest and author of several books, writes about different levels of happiness in, “Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts”:
- Materialistic Happiness – Tangible objects like cars, money, homes, jewelry, clothes
- Comparative Happiness – Ego driven actions, “keeping up with the Jones’s”
- Contributive Happiness – Doing good for others, selflessness, community engagement
- Transcendent Happiness – Pursuing perfect love, truth, goodness, and beauty
Everyone wants to be happy, but often they don’t find ultimate happiness because they get stuck in Levels 1 and 2. It’s so easy to get caught up in what other people are saying/doing, life’s guilty pleasures, money, substances that alter their reality, and instant gratification. Just think about it – you saved up all that money, and finally bought that new shiny toy. And while it was awesome at first, the feeling eventually faded away and you moved on to the next shiny toy.
Our environments, social media, news outlets cause us to become self-conscious about the way we look, feel, and present ourselves to the world. This sometimes forces us to do whatever it takes to be better than those around us. This gives us short term pleasure. It is true especially in today’s society, where the notion that everyone is beautiful and special in their own way has diminished drastically.
Transcendent happiness is not physical in nature. These aspects of reality transcend the physical world; they are not grounded in nature. They are the source of lasting fulfilment and are accessed with the immaterial aspect of our being – our minds. The closer we get to becoming perfectly good, producing beauty, love and expanding our minds so we understand the true nature of reality, the happier we can become. The more we focus on purpose and meaning, the greater fulfillment we’ll experience.
The best way to do this is to create a daily habit of deep, meditative contemplation, visualization, and subsequent action. Produce transcendent happiness in your mind first, and then share it with others. Give to others in a greater capacity than ever before. Build deeper and more meaningful relationships. Get out and engage in your community.
You will find that your happiness will increase, but so too will the happiness in the lives of others you interact with. This will deepen your relationships and garner new ones. When you set your sights on connecting with people in meaningful ways, and help to make the world a better place, you better position yourself to obtain lasting happiness.
Set your mind on transcendence and happiness will result from that mindset. Create beauty in your life in the form of art, music, sculpting, writing, or design. Set your mind on love, goodness, meaning and purpose. Contemplate the big questions in life and become more philosophical with your thinking. This will lead you down a path of deep and lasting fulfillment.
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