Finding happiness--and keeping it
THINK how much effort we devote to looking for happiness. We get married (or divorced) to find happiness. We choose or change careers. We move, travel, take up sports, buy things. The list is endless. While there is certainly nothing wrong with changing careers, traveling, and so forth, no outward change ever guarantees happiness. So how do we find happiness?
One learns in Christian Science that the only true happiness is spiritual, available now to all who accept the spirituality of man's true being as God's child and live to bless others in humility and love.
In the Bible we read that after supper with his disciples, Jesus, knowing ``his hour was come that he should depart out of this world,'' performed a simple act of humility that beautifully illustrates his Christliness: he washed his disciples' feet.
``Know ye what I have done to you?'' he asked. ``If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. . . . If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.'' 1
If ye do them. Here is the key to finding happiness.
Despite persecution, hatred, and even the cross, Jesus continued to do good, always expressing the deep humility and love from which flowed his spiritual joy. If we would find happiness as his modern-day disciples, we must follow his example.
But how? Life is often so hard. What with marital strife, drug problems, lack, pollution, threat of nuclear war, global terrorism, how can anyone hope for lasting happiness?
From a material standpoint we can't. One never finds real happiness when he sees himself merely as a mortal struggling with frightening problems and seeking personal fulfillment through human activities--no matter how worthwhile.
Mary Baker Eddy2 writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.'' 3
Once when problems seemed overwhelming and I had lost all my joy, I found great comfort and healing in this passage. What stood out for me was that true spiritual happiness, born of Truth and Love, couldn't ``exist alone.'' So there was no such thing as ``my'' happiness to be lost.
When I opened my thought to the concept of happiness as unselfish, universal, requiring all mankind to share it, I began to look away from a mortal concept of self, with its burdens and grief, to God's joyful image--my true being. I started each day rejoicing in my spirituality as God's loved offspring. I saw health, joy, and contentment as permanent spiritual qualities, not fluctuating conditions.
Gradually, I gained a deep conviction of my inherent joy as God's child. In this purified, spiritually exalted state of thought my problems, no longer so over-whelming, were soon healed.
With this realization of the true source of happiness came the revelation that in direct proportion to our attainment of spiritual dominion comes the adjustment and healing of whatever would trouble us.
Man in God's image is Godlike. And as we rejoice in this likeness, seeing it as the reality of ourselves and others, we find happiness welling up within us to be shared. As we share it freely, we keep it forever.
1 John 13:1, 12, 14, 15, 17. 2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Sci- ence. 3 Science and Health, p. 57.