As a pastor, I get to spend a lot of time with some of the most amazing people. I’m blessed with the gifts of their stories of sadness, success, struggle, and celebration. More often than not, all of those stories revolve around the ultimate goal of achieving happiness, be it for themselves or others. The fleeting nature of the contentment they seek is hard to point out to them, because it’s hard to hear that you’re, metaphorically, building important structures on an unstable or non-existent foundation.
It is quite impossible to unite our happiness with a yearning for what we don’t have.
Happiness has all that it wants, and resembling the well-fed,
there shouldn’t be hunger or thirst.”
(Epictetus, Discourses, 3.24.17)
Ryan Holidays counsels us to, “Locate that yearning for more, better, someday, and see it for what it is: the enemy of your contentment.” (The Daily Stoic, p. 57)
That yearning IS hope… so, don’t be a sucker.
Finally, the quest for happiness is, likely, the most human quest there ever was or ever will be. How many times have we told ourselves or another person, “I want happiness”? Hundreds? Thousands? More?
If we take the statement “I want happiness” and take it apart, we discover the deception hidden within.
I = ego
Want = desire
If we take those two elements out of the equation, what we’re left with is, simply, happiness.
Happiness, then, becomes part of each moment, and the things preventing us from being in each of those moments become clear. Once we see things for what they are, we realize that we’re already dwelling in the only opportunity we have for happiness...
(See y’all tomorrow)