GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
Mastery of happiness takes effort.
Being in a consistent state of happiness demands effort. Every person has
thoughts with which he makes himself unhappy. Make a conscious effort to think in a manner that allows you to feel happy. (Meir B’ahavah – Biography of Rabbi Meir Shapiro 1887-1934)
Happiness is a byproduct of thinking and behaving in a positive manner. An unhappy person who has a vague goal of obtaining happiness and is unprepared to changing is attitudes and behavior is doomed to failure. One focusing solely on, “I want happiness where can I find it?” is usually disappointed. Rather, ask yourself, “What thoughts can I think to enable me to be happy” and, “What specific behaviors should I engage in that will increase my happiness?”
2. Some people appear happy but lack inner happiness. They might feel that life isn’t too bad and they do feel happy on occasion. Some individuals are happy by nature, but most people must make a conscious effort to master happiness.
3. People differ in their natural tendencies towards feeling happy. A naturally happy person finds it relatively easy to overcome needless unhappy moods. People who tend to be pessimistic and sad have to put in the effort to change their thoughts, statements, and behavior. Invest the necessary time and effort and you will certainly be successful. Do not label yourself as an unhappy person (“It’s my nature to be sad.”), for if so you will not make the necessary effort and the label will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have confidence that if you try, you will improve.
The conquest of happiness.
The righteous will always feel joy and never feel sad about what the Almighty
has decreed upon them because they realize whatever He does is for their ultimate best. (Ibn Ezra 1089 – 1164 in his commentary to Psalms 33:4)
2. A person who lives with a constant awareness of the Almighty will live a life of constant happiness. (Chazon Ish 1878-1953; Emunah Ubitochon, ch.1)
3. The Chazon Ish describes the level a person is potentially capable of attaining if he has a long term goal for self-improvement: “If a person constantly strives to improve his character traits, it is possible he will eventually reach a level that he will no longer get angry, will not feel hatred or resentment, will not take revenge nor bear a grudge, will not have ambitions of seeking honor, and will not be addicted to pleasure.” (ibid. 1:15)
HAPPINESS IS AN OBLIGATION