Monday, 8 June 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

This article was written by Ian Fearn, an Anglican priest whose spiritual outlook and insight is to me much broader and more incisive than most of his colleagues.

All through the ages, man has been chasing happiness, but the way in which it comes and goes in our lives remains, for the most part, a mystery!

Some have found the pursuit of happiness so futile in a world beset with worry and fear, suspicion and strife, that they have deferred the fulfilment of happiness to a future heaven. Others confine the quest exclusively to earth: ‘Let us eat, drink and be merry today, tomorrow is a long way off. We want our happiness now!’ One thing is clear - wherever we hope to find it, we know we cannot do without it, or life would become a misnomer, and existence an endurance test with the dice heavily weighted against us.

What is happiness? Who can define it? Can riches or prosperity confer it, or can power possess it? None of these can ensure happiness! The word itself gives us a clue to the secret of its elusive quality. It is derived from ‘hap’, and hap means chance, something that cannot be fixed as here or there; it cannot be found ready-made or fabricated by any means. Happiness seems to come by chance; indeed, happiness just happens!

Try to hold it and it will vanish; perpetuate it and we lose it. Happiness is a beautiful thing, the flight of Life in its passing through time. The pursuit of happiness always defeats its object; it is on the wing before our clumsy efforts can check its flight! As well might we hope to secure a butterfly with a harpoon!

Yet many of us spend a large proportion of our time and strength in this worthless occupation. And if happiness does not come our way we are disappointed, even resentful. ‘Why is happiness denied me?’ we complain and blame a cruel fate that has robbed us of something which gives zest to life. We become depressed without it - happiness is to the soul what oxygen is to the body.

Life’s Invitation:

What then is the secret of happiness? To we on earth, it is an elusive pleasure; it but mocks anyone who tries to hold it to the earth, and certainly, it is not a commodity that can be purchased with carnal currency! Happiness is a condition that is earned through response to the magic of the Spirit of Life.

Life is a very lovely thing; a beautiful becoming - never fixed never final. Anyone who would share it to the full, must attune his whole being to its quickening vibrations. Happiness is found through sensitive response to Life.

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