Continuing our consideration of happiness, we come the the point where you begin to realize how often and how easily you let happiness slip through your fingers. It is epidemic, but fortunately not contagious. In the heat of any moment you have a choice as to whether or not you will give your authority away to that which is outside of you. It matters not if those around you have tossed their crowns to the ground, you can maintain your head high, your shoulders at rest and your dignity in tact.
You have likely come to realize that radiance is the key to disengaging yourself from the roller-coaster of life. When you don your crown of radiance, the quotidian ups and downs no longer govern your feelings, your movement or your perspective and with a meticulously maintained untroubled heart you face the world with courage, wisdom and integrity.
Let’s analyze a few more of the self-laid traps that distract even the best-intentioned from realizing their goal of happiness, as described by William George Jordan:
“We let some petty, mean trait of ours, some weakness we should master through self-control, cheat us of our happiness. We have held some penny of momentary satisfaction so close to our eyes that it eclipses the sun of our happiness. A foolish jealousy that deadened our ears to explanation, that shut our eyes to the truth and that stilled our tongue when it would speak the words of faith we could hardly keep back—we have let this jealousy, this snap judgment, expressive not of real love but of wounded pride, swallow up our happiness—as the ocean engulfs a treasure-ship.”
No doubt you’ve fallen prey to the trap Mr. Jordan described as holding: “some penny of momentary satisfaction so close to our eyes that it eclipses the sun of our happiness.” Revenge follows this pattern. You might have heard the day before yesterday that an Iranian woman who had acid thrown in her face by a spurned lover forgave her attacker and thereby saved him from an “eye-for-an-eye” punishment that court had authorized. Although she is now blind, Ameneh Bahrami rose above the pettiness of the fallen human condition and chose to bless rather than curse. A noble, courageous and admirable act indeed.
What happiness have you discarded for much less? Let us continue with M. Jordan’s meditations on the theme:
“We may let idle gossip, false sympathy, imbecile advice from those who know absolutely nothing about our real condition, shut us from love and faith, breed doubt and suspicion, and choke trust as by the fumes of some noxious gas. We may let some other folly which comes from our false interpretation cheat us of our happiness like one ignorant of the meaning of a deed—signing away a fortune.”
I’ve seen many people over the years throw away a friendship and worse, a lifetime of purposeful living and potential happiness based on a false interpretation. On the other side of the coin, I’ve seen others who have thrown their lives away because they were cast in false light by another. Both are tragic, both are folly and both are completely unnecessary, for at the end of the day, the truth is true no matter what the opinions are on the matter.
We return to the key to unlocking this unfortunate states of affairs. Man has been gorging himself on judgment for so long that he can hardly imagine living without it. Like a narcotic, judgment distorts perspective, darkens vision and bends reality so thoroughly that it can be quite a challenge to find the way out of this terribly efficient trap. Relinquish judgment once and for all and you immediately stop playing the game of life and begin living life as it was meant to be lived.
Happiness will no longer slip through your fingers like water, instead it will permeate your every cell and radiate from you to the constant blessing of your fellows. The forms your happiness takes may come and go, but the steady flow of the spirit of happiness will flow from the inside out from sunrise to sunset. It may even spill over and make your nights a little easier.
Why not give it a chance?