March 16    

Today's quotation:

As long as our self-identification centers around what we call the real world, no profound happiness is possible.  Happiness requires that we give up a worldly orientation--not worldly things but a worldly attachment to things.  We have to surrender all outcomes.  We have to live here but appreciate the joke.
   In order to become happy, we must become bigger than the worldly self. . . . Just as children play games in which they pretend to be adults, and thus pave the way for adulthood, so you and I must pretend to be angelic, noble, enlightened spirits just visiting here, in order to actually become them.

Marianne Williamson

Today's Meditation:

Discussions on happiness run the gamut of topics, from family to work to nature to success to relationships to food, and on and on and on.  "In order to be happy, we must __________."  Marianne puts a different spin on the idea here, and focuses on something that's very important to our lives--the idea of identity and its connection to the world as opposed to the spirit.  We identify with sports teams that we like, with clothing brands that we like, with universities that we attended, with music groups that we enjoy listening to, with groups of people (religion, politics) who believe in things that are similar to the things that we believe.

But these are all things of this world--they're not necessarily the things that are the most important to us.  And I think that Marianne has hit a very important nail on the head--we allow ourselves to get caught up in the things of the world rather than things of the spirit.

We worry about the clothes that we're wearing (and that other people see us in) rather than the compassion that we're showing.

We worry about the car we drive rather than the love we spread.

We focus on what other people think of us rather than how we treat other people.

And doing these things keeps us from being as happy as we could be.

This world is fleeting.  We're here for only a few years.  Identifying with the world that we'll be leaving anyway rather than our eternal selves keeps us tethered to the material rather than the spiritual, to the fleeting rather than the eternal.  Our happiness depends upon us realizing that we are truly more than just materialistic creatures, and then acting upon that knowledge.

It's for our own good, and the good of the world.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to identify with the materialistic world in which we live?

How do we forget about our spiritual natures?  What keeps us from focusing on them?

How might focusing on our own spirits help us to become happier people?

For further thought:

We may think that happiness is a result of happy circumstances.  A more mature view of happiness is that it is a by-product of sharing our good and serving others.  It is a sense of doing a job well, honest communication with another, visiting someone who may be ill, or sharing a sense of humor.  Happiness is a spiritual principle that we can lay hold of and use, regardless of outer conditions or circumstances.
It isn't necessary to wait for circumstances to bring happiness.  When we try to give it to others, it returns to us multiplied.  We can make our own joy, and let it act upon circumstances!  One of the great paradoxes of truth is that a happy heart draws to itself what it needs for happiness.

John Marks Templeton

more on happiness
more on spirit



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