The Pursuit of True Happiness – Part 1: Secret Revealed

I recently enjoyed watching the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith. It is about the inspirational true story of Chris Gardner and how he conquered success in Life through self-confidence, the love and trust of his son, and a never-ending hope and commitment to overcome obstacles to secure a better and brighter future. We learn, in this movie, how anybody with motivation and the aid of some scarce values, and despite so many challenges and shortages, can achieve anything, happiness included.

The subject of Happiness has been long sought after and debated. In the end, you have the power to be truly happy even through unhappy circumstances.

But what is Happiness? It seems like the definition is very broad open and relative to each individual. If you ask yourself this question, what would your answer be? Some people say they are happy because they own a house or a new car, and feel financially secured.  Some others say they are happy when they feel good, healthy and energetic. Others tell me they are happy for what they have achieved, for their special titles in society and the constant goals they pursue, and so on. But if all of them are happy with what they have and suddenly they lose it somehow; or if they never really get what they want so much, could they still be happy? Could Chris Gardner be truly happy even before achieving his dream job and all the success he still enjoys?

The answer to those questions is Yes. Let’s define what True Happiness is. True Happiness is eternal and supernatural. It does not depend on your possessions, or your health or your social status. It is not just a decision or part of your positive attitude. And even if you are suffering and always struggling you can be happy. It involves all of your spirit, your mind and your body. It is about giving and taking action. It is part of our human spirit to constantly seek a greater good. God, in His infinite wisdom imprinted in our soul the natural desire and ability to look for Him during our path on earth, and return to Him after our life here ends. Not until then, we will be truly happy. But we can experience and participate in this meaningful happiness while still on earth, in this valley of tears.

“True Happiness is eternal and supernatural. It does not depend on your possessions, or your health or your social status.”

Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics claimed that happiness is not so much a state, but whatever activity brings about the fullest possible development of a person; happiness is something we do. Thomas Aquinas agreed with Aristotle. He argued that the most satisfying happiness depends on achieving the special excellence proper to human beings. But Aquinas differed from Aristotle in what he took this excellence to be. For Aristotle, the greatest possible happiness was found in communities of the virtuous, in which its members flourished together in a strictly human good. Aquinas envisioned happiness similarly to the extent that it involved people flourishing together in community, but for him, the center of this shared life was the supernatural fellowship with God and all that God loves.

Based on that principle, true happiness on earth lies in living in friendship with our Divine Father and helping others along the way on a daily basis, looking to achieve a collective state of well-being and fulfillment. This is also exactly how Jesus instructed us to live when He was confronted with the question: “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

To love the Lord our God is to accept and trust His Divine Will, worship and praise Him in all we do and to always give thanks in all circumstances. We can be grateful because we live another day, because we are happy, but we can also be happy because we are grateful. Just rejoice always.

To love our neighbor, our sisters and brothers, is to live in Charity, a distinctive and challenging way of life of cultivating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in everything we do. (Galatians 5:22-23). If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.

This is the secret for True Happiness: Gratitude and Charity.

Meditate about these two powerful virtues and develop them with constant practice, and cultivate them in your heart and those around you.

“Grant that I may not so much seek to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis



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