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GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS

CHAPTER TWO APPRECIATING WHAT YOU HAVE

    • 2.1

      Human beings were created for pleasure

  • 1.

    The world with all its details is a source of pleasure. A person’s experience in

physical and spiritual areas has the potential for happiness without end. What destroys this potential is we become used to what we already have and take things for granted. We do not derive the great joy and limitless pleasure that the natural world could bestow because we become habituated to its sights and experiences. In order that we have an emotional feeling for the kindness of the Almighty, the Sages have prescribed daily blessings that express gratitude for. (Rabbi Noson Tzvi Finkel (1849-1927; Ohr Hatzafun, vol. 3, p.84)

2. Rational thinking dictates that we should strive to master the trait of taking pleasure with what we already have. Regardless of what you have, you can always have lasting pleasure that is dependent only on yourself and not on anyone else. Once you acquire this attribute, you have a guarantee for the future. You will be able to have this pleasure your entire life. (Chochmah Umussar, vol.2, p.63)

    • 2.2

      Learn to appreciate the world.

  • 1.

    Use your mind intelligently and you will never be considered poor since in your

possession is the entire world of nature. Appreciate the potential you have for benefiting from the world. Seeing beauty and wisdom in every blade of grass gives one an awareness of the Creator. (Rabbi Moshe Rosenstein, cited in Darkai Mussar, p.27)

2. All happiness is in the mind. He who possesses an understanding of the goodness of the world always rejoices. Life is full of intense pleasures which are available to all people, but many fail to appreciate them because of mistaken mental attitudes. The fundamental principle of the goodness of the world is proclaimed at the beginning of the Bible. “The Almighty saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). The Creator Himself declares that everything is not only good, but very good. The phenomena of the universe are all the Almighty’s handiwork and therefore infinitely good. The air we breathe is a great benefit, and is in abundant supply. Water is beneficial for the body and a delight, and the precious fluid is plentiful. The sunlight, the wind, the rain, the trees and the gardens, the mountains and the seas, the moon and the stars, fire, heat and cold, the snow and the dew, the use of our limbs, the ability to see and hear and smell and taste and feel, the faculty of speech, the faculty of thought and memory, the variety of food of every taste and color, the marvel of the body’s secretions and

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APPRECIATING WHAT YOU HAVE

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