What Are You Seeking in Your Quest for Happiness?

4

All of us have various goals in life. Money is a goal for some of us. There are those of us who are obsessed with becoming famous. Many of us are on the lookout for a romantic partner. One goal of some of us is health. However, I think that, deep down, happiness is what we really want. If I could find the one… if I could just get that promotion… if I could just buy that house… if I could just acquire that automobile… then I would be happy.” The list goes on and on, but we can all think of examples of people who have everything society has to offer but are nevertheless unhappy.

We’ll skip over the potential sources of joy and focus instead on what provides it to us. With this book’s help, we may live a joyful life together. You’re wondering, “Why do I want to listen to you, Dr. Puff?” I’ll tell you what I think, but whether or not our lives improve as we go forward together will be the final proof. That’s the ultimate test of any idea: does it produce results? If you’re not enjoying yourself, put the book down and do something else; if it is, let’s give it a go and see if our lives don’t improve as we go.

I’ll start by telling you a little bit about myself. As I continue, you will learn much more about who I am. I consider myself a natural storyteller and enjoy regaling others with tales of my own making. Maybe it’s because God made me the way I am, and happiness has always been my driving force in life that I feel I have something to say about it. Have you ever encountered someone so fascinated with music that it consumes every aspect of their life? Or maybe you know somebody so devoted to mathematics that all they think about is numbers. My lifelong quest to answer “What makes us happy?” and “How can we be happy?” has been fraught with

difficulty and setbacks. I’ve picked up a few tips to help you enjoy your day, week, year, and life to the fullest extent possible. Again, the evidence is in the pudding, but let’s see if we can’t find some joy in the world by probing its depths. I promise that if you put in the effort, you, too, can find happiness. It’s not easy, but ultimately, this drives us all. We may be seeking it by devoting ourselves to our favorite sports team and watching them every weekend, by frequenting local clubs in the hopes of finding the love of our life, or by toiling away at our jobs week after week in the vain hope that we would eventually accumulate sufficient wealth to ensure our financial security. We will go into these areas to discover what makes us happy and keeps us that way.

Let me tell you a story I heard once and think gets to the heart of what it means to be happy. There was once a man named Jim who constantly petitioned the almighty in prayer. He prayed for healing from his disease, for the woman of his dreams, for more wealth, and an end to his suffering. He prayed to God regularly, asking for help with various issues. Maybe all of us can identify with this in some way. A voice suddenly began speaking to him one night as he prayed in the middle of the night. He cried out in alarm, “Who is it?” An inner voice spoke up, “I am God.” You can bet he was both terrified and thrilled. Jim questioned, “God, why are you even here?” Where are you going? God told him, “Jim, you have been praying to me for a long time and asking me for things regularly. What I’m going to do is offer you one final piece of advice. One final gift from me to you can be anything you like—remember that it may be the last thing I give you. Jim felt equal parts anticipation and anxiety.

He started consulting his buddies when he realized he was at a loss for words and didn’t want to ask for the incorrect thing. Friend #1 responded, “Ask for money!” Friend #2 added, “No, we all know people who have lots of money but still have many problems.” The advice of another close pal was to “ask for a long life!” Another buddy, however, warned against it, saying, “No, if you do that, you will outlive all of your friends and loved ones, and you will be sad and lonely in life.” He kept asking for advice on what to want, but nobody had an answer that satisfied him. Every suggestion was flawed in some way. So God contacted him again six months later. It’s been six months, Jim, and God says, “I need your prayer. Asking, “What do you want from me?” Jim prayed, “God, is there anything I can ask you first?” which prompted God to reply, “Yes, Jim, of course, you can ask me a question. Please explain. So Jim said, “God, I don’t know what to ask for, so can you tell me what to wish for?” If you ask me what you should pray for, God responds, “Yes, Jim. Whatever happens to you in life, Jim, you only ask that you find happiness.

The next time you feel down, remind yourself of those words: “Whatever happens in your life, you be content with it.” For us, what does this signify? One of your complaints is, “I’m in a job I don’t like… can I be happy?” If you can effect positive change, by all means, do so; if not, accept the situation for what it is. Even if you feel like you never have enough money to pay your bills, it’s important to remember to be grateful for what you have.

For example, a rule in science goes something like, “If any person in the universe can be happy with ‘this thing,’ then that means it is a possibility for anyone.” This suggests that if someone with cancer can find happiness, then anyone can. If it’s possible for someone to achieve satisfaction after losing the love of their life, then anyone can find happiness. We’ll go into much greater depth on this later, so stay tuned, and let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

The story’s moral is that contentment comes from making the most of one’s circumstances. Happiness comes when we accept and appreciate the circumstances of our lives. While it’s true that we can’t always get everything we want out of life, we can still find contentment by appreciating the good things in our lives and working tirelessly to improve them.

This chapter may raise more questions than it answers, but I hope you’ll stick with me as we continue to delve further into the subject of joy. Any one of us has the potential for pleasure, in my opinion. Not tricky, yet requiring effort nonetheless. Let’s find out how to enjoy the present moment together.

Expert meditator and public speaker Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D., releases new episodes of his weekly Meditation For Health at http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com. At [http://www.meditation-enlightenment.com], you may read his blog. Dr. Puff’s email address is DrPuff@cox.net if you need to contact him.

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