© 2009 Beverly Nadler
This article is excerpted from my free online Live Your Vision Newsletter of November 2008.
Regardless of what we think we want, there is only one REAL goal that human beings have! It’s called happiness or joy.
We may look for it in different things, but as Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), Dutch philosopher, said: “What everyone wants from life is continuous and genuine happiness.”
And as Anne Frank (1929-1945) said: “We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” What a fascinating insight from a 14 year old girl hiding with her family during the Holocaust.
Is There A Difference Between Happiness And Joy?
The dictionary definitions suggest they are synonymous. Actually, there is no definition for happiness, just for “happy” -- and one of the definitions surprised me: “favored by circumstances; lucky; fortunate.” I never thought of “happy” as being synonymous with luck. And the truth is, it ISN’T.
Why did I decide to check the dictionary definitions? Because according to a number of metaphysical and mystical teachings, there IS a difference between happiness and joy – even though most people (including me) use the words interchangeably.
What’s the difference? Happiness is usually determined and controlled by OUTER events, conditions and other people. Something we consider “good” happens and we’re happy. Something we consider “bad” (something we don’t like) happens and we’re unhappy. It is a CONTINUAL roller-coaster of emotions DEPENDENT UPON what occurs in the 3rd dimensional world of duality that we have little direct control over.
It’s a roller coaster that becomes very tiring and stressful. It’s stressful because NOTHING causes more stress on our body than emotional stress. Chemical stress (except poison) and physical stress (except severe accidents) do NOT stress our body, especially our nervous system (the master system of our body) and our immune system, nearly as much as emotional stress does.
Joy, however, is an INNER state that is not dependent upon the ever-shifting and changing dramas of life. A joyous person is aware of the drama, but CHOOSES to live in a balanced, harmonious state, regardless of outer conditions.
Groucho Marx (1890-1977), American comedian and film actor said it well: “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: ‘I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I just have one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
He was really talking about JOY – the inner state.
How Can We Attain True Happiness?
True happiness, which is joy, is a spiritual journey. It is NOT achieved through things, or through other people, or the world giving you what you want.
While researching for this Newsletter, I came across a fascinating quote by Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain (891-961) that validates my statement.
“I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen. O man! place not thy confidence in this present world!"
In case you don’t know who Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain was (I didn’t) -- he was the ruler of Cordoba in Moorish Spain, who declared himself Caliph, ruler of the Islamic World, in 929. He expressed the above in 960, a year before his death.
There is great wisdom in the words of the people I quote below, all of whom are referring to achieving true happiness -- what mystics and metaphysicians call “joy.” You will note that they represent a diversified cross-section of people who somehow all came to the same conclusion -- “happiness” is an inner state we must cultivate.
Martha Washington (1731-1802): wife of George Washington, First President of the United States: “I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances."
Henry James (1843-1916) American-born British novelist and playwright: “The infinite hunger of a soul cannot be satisfied with the things of sense.”
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970): British philosopher, logician, mathematician and activist, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950: “The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.”
Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965): French physician, theologian, philosopher who received Nobel Peace Prize in 1953: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.
Helen Keller (1880 –1968) American author, activist and lecturer, and first deaf-blind person to graduate from college: “Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
Eric Hoffer (1902-1983): American longshoreman who became a social writer and philosopher, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983: “You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.”
Denis Waitely, American motivational speaker, consultant and best-selling author: “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”
14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), head of state and revered spiritual leader of Tibetans: “The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.”
This is an interesting point of view considering that he was enthroned as Dalai Lama in 1950 at the age of 15, and in 1959 the Chinese government forced him into exile.
Ramona L. Anderson, VP, Chief Technology Officer and R &D Director for AGI, Inc: “People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.”
Now here’s a humorous quote by Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) American cartoonist, humorist and journalist: “It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an' wealth have both failed.”
So…what IS the “secret” of Joy and Happiness? It is an inside job, a state of mind that you, and only you, can create within yourself.
Here are some tools to assist in creating that state of mind
Dynamic Self-Healing Manuals
SCWL subliminal CDs and tapes -- especially #9 “Joy and Happiness,” #33 “The Unlimited Power of Positive Thinking.”
Click here to first read Your Subconscious Mind and How to Reprogram Yourself.
Click here to read all about SCWL programs, testimonials, the company that developed and produces them and other information.
If you have any questions, please contact me at 203-373-1973 or send an email message.