Reflection

Key to Happiness

The end for which we are all toiling, struggling and doing everything we do in this life is a search for fulfillment, in other words, a search for happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. We may have chains of desires and aspirations but the whole purpose of it all is to have a fulfilled and happy life at last. We go to school to study, to get good jobs and get money and thus, live a good and happy life. We want to marry someone we love because we will be happier with them. We enter the religious life because we believe our aspirations to give ourselves entirely to God will give us happiness.
Nevertheless, many have a wrong understanding of happiness. Some have a hedonistic view of happiness, where it is all about pleasure. To Some others, it is all about things going our own way. To many more, it is a life of no worries, no stress and freedom from any manual engagements. A deep look into all this will reveal the flaws in them. A happy life cannot be a search for pleasure because when pleasure is sought for its own sake, we end up becoming slaves to it and thus, loose our freedom. Even though, good pleasure would come along with a happy life. Nor are we to predicate happiness to things going our own way. If all of us wants things to be done our own individual ways, then, there would be chaos and no peace. More so, if we ascribe happiness to a life of rest and no labor, then happiness will be only for the rich and lazy.
Where, then, lies true happiness? Happiness cannot be found elsewhere except in the life of Virtue. Virtue in terms of living a life offered for the course of good. A life where we listen to our inmost being and do what we know before God, ourselves and others, is right. A life of reaching out to others. Just as the saying ascribed to St. Francis goes, "It is in giving that we receive", so too, it is in giving happiness that we receive it. Have you not noticed the kind of peace and fulfillment that comes to you when you reach out to others, when you do your duties well, when you pray and when you do what is right, in contrast to the anxieties and fears when you do the opposite.
This being the case, we can find happiness anywhere and in any situation. There is only one law; do what you know is right. According to Psalm 37:27, "Then turn away from evil and do good and you shall have a home forever". 'A home forever' here means a happy life here on earth and peace in heaven.