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How does one achieve happiness in life?

How does one achieve happiness in life? Let us first define what we mean by the word happiness.

Def. happiness. The state or quality of being pleased and content.

Happiness is a general term, often indicating little more than freedom from sadness, sorrow, etc.

                                                                                    Funk & Wagnalls Dictionery

Let us assume that what we mean by the word happiness is freedom from unhappiness (unhappiness in the form of sadness, sorrow and other negative feelings). Then to answer our original question of how one achieves happiness we are led to the question, “What causes unhappiness?”

What causes unhappiness? There are many things. Let us list some:

            ● physical pain from some disease or ailment

            ● loss of a spouse or loved one

            ● argument, conflict

            ● abuse, humiliation

            ● feeling that you are a failure in life

            ● carrying anger, resentment, hatred or hostility

            ● carrying envy or jealousy

            ● lack of confidence, inferiority complex

            ● guilt

            ● mental illness

            ● being a slave to some compulsion or substance

            ● idleness, inactivity, boredom

How does one avoid unhappiness? One avoids it by living life by certain principles and rules — by living in the right way. How you live, your personal habits, determine to a very large degree how happy you will be in life. Those rules are, for the most part, found in the Bible. They are found in the teachings of Jesus, of Christianity.

People who are basically unhappy often try to find happiness by pursuing sensual pleasure. They look for happiness in alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, pornography, eating (gluttony), spending money, etc. The problem is these things only give very transient pleasure and they all backfire. They are sins that enslave and, in the end, create problems that destroy real happiness, rather than create it. One only finds real happiness by leading a clean, straight, moral, virtuous life. The serious, wise, prudent, god-fearing man who lives by conscience and reason is the one who is most likely to have a happy life. He is industrious, diligent, perseverant; he takes matters of health seriously; he is peaceable, amiable; he is disciplined; he lives by good personal habits and avoids bad ones.

“...happiness does not consist in amusement. In fact, it would be strange if our end were amusement, and if we were to labor and suffer hardships all our life long merely to amuse ourselves.... The happy life is regarded as a life in conformity with virtue. It is a life which involves effort and is not spent in amusement....”                 Aristotle

“The best Armour of Old Age is a well spent life preceding it; a Life employed in the Pursuit of useful Knowledge, in honourable Actions and the Practice of Virtue; in which he who labours to improve himself from his Youth, will in Age reap the happiest Fruits of them; not only because these never leave a Man, not even in the extremest Old Age; but because a Conscience bearing Witness that our Life was well-spent, together with the Remembrance of past good Actions, yields an unspeakable Comfort to the Soul.”             Cicero

The way of the superior person is threefold; virtuous, they are free from anxieties; wise they are free from perplexities; and bold they are free from fear.                   Confucius

For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.


Nov 2014

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