Throwing Away Our Happiness V

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?

10 thoughts on “Throwing Away Our Happiness V

  • When we depend on our own judgement to navigate our lives we become prey to other’s judgement as well. As if our own imbecility weren’t enough we annex the stupidity of others.
    Great stuff Gregg, it is making a difference,thanks.

  • The news article is a graphic example of what people are willing to throw away. The woman, no matter her external and internal scarring from that attack, is setting a brave precedent of not sinking to the common level of revenge (or the law of revenge in that country’s legal system). Thank you for sharing the article, and your post is very good. I am sharing your wife’s poem with my friends, too. A work of an angel!

  • There is no reason to not give this a chance. We seem to have two choices 1)judge, be miserable (and miss the opportunities of life) or 2) love, be happy (and actually be able to see the opportunities of life). Thanks for this practical, common sense approach to living.

  • What an amazing series of posts, thank you. It has become so clear to me that we chose to discard our rightful happiness for childish reactions. Even the horror of the deed that was done to the Iranian woman, I have to ask if she had chosen the courts option would it have added to her own peace or restored what was lost? The bullying that is so prevalent in our society is an example of a world ensnared in judgment, it corrodes the fabric of our society as the getting even then piles judgement upon judgement. Turn the other cheek was good advice. I think of it as choosing the direction that I focus on, not letting the force of someone else’s action dictate where I give my attention.

  • In the fields of science which interest me greatly, these pitfalls exist all over the place which is why the scientific method was established. Research undertaken to discover an unknown truth proceeds very carefully, through observing correlations and then forming ideas about cause and effect which then need to be tested, over and over again. These ideas are called hypotheses, which imply possibility, not certainty.
    True science proceeds in testing these ideas, without any desire to prove them. And here comes the snare. A background desire to prove the idea makes you an unworthy experimenter, for this ‘confirmation bias’ as it’s called, clouds the mind of the scientist which unconsciously skews both the formation of the design of the experiment, as well as its interpretation. Basically, you get what you are looking for, for you are set on proving this thought. Maybe there is some agenda, financial or otherwise. It happens all the time unfortunately, to keep tenure or the financial grants coming. This is why further peer review is required to look at these variables more objectively to see if they were handled correctly, and even here there can be shortcomings. The formation of the scientific method recognizes the pitfalls of the mind, and true science should proceed in a way where it looks to see if there is anything that can disprove the idea over time. And if over time there can be found no fault in trial after trial of our ideas, then it just moves to a theory and never a certainty, even though it has withstood more analysis.
    Nature is complex, and some things we simply don’t know for sure; it’s best to keep this attitude in our own lives as well, to help avoid false interpretation and the ensuing confusion and loss of genuine happiness. What you offer today is consistent with good science, nice to see the parallels!

  • So true! You can’t judge your way out of judgment. You just have to quit and don’t look back. Thanks for your insightful words.

  • If our heart and mind be still and at peace, our first-flush of feeling can be more acurately attenuated, to be productive, rather than destructive.
    One of the greatest blessings you provide, is the opportunity to start on the right foot, establishing victory, first thing in the morning, each day! Onward and upward.
    Thanks for this wonderful start to a beautiful day!
    From this place may I provide that radiant quality of expression to the world!

  • Sometimes you must stand for what is right, no matter what the people around you are doing. The refusal to judge is one of those times. It might be uncomfortable sometimes, especially because it seems like judgement is one of the most popular ideas around! In the end, however, the refusal to judge will allow you to maintain your radiance, which is the key to true happiness, as you have elaborated on. It really is that simple. Do not judge no matter what. Period. If you can manage that, happiness is a possibility for you!

  • “With a meticulously maintained untroubled heart you face the world with courage, wisdom and integrity.” This line is so very important to me as this is how I wish to face the world everyday. The inebriation of judgement keeps the waters of the heart in constant agitation. Most of u’s have even accept such states as normal, settling for less agitation to mean happiness. We must truly look for the signs our hearts give us, as I know from conscious effort, we are in such a habit of judging people, situations, etc. that we don’t even know we are doing it. To say, stop judging, is easier said than done, as evidenced by human condition still mired in chaos despite good intentions. I know this will take a very conscious and deliberate effort, paying attention with an honest look at the state of our hearts in any given moment, being willing to be uncommon. We must ” meticulously maintain ” untroubled hearts for the reality of happiness to radiate outward. This will take courage, widow and integrity, the tools that can destroy the false illusion of happiness set upon s troubled heart. “Let not your heart be troubled”, was not just a passive sweet saying, but a powerful creative command. Thanks for sharing!

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