GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
all of its magnificent chemistry, the materials which compose our clothing, the materials which supply homes and utensils, the grains and the vegetables and the fruits, meat and fowl and fish, the minerals, wood and coal and petroleum and all the resources of the earth, electricity, light, electronic impulses of every variety, and on and on: a lengthy list of useful and pleasurable objects and processes which fill our lives with every opportunity for enjoyment. Yet for many people these are as if they did not exist. The universal benefits which all humans possess are ignored. If the happiness of life passes by unnoticed, it also passes by un-enjoyed. When one sees no happiness in his lot, he will indeed see no reason to be grateful to his Creator. (Rabbi Avigdor Miller 1908-2001; Sing, You Righteous, pp.17-8)
Learn to focus on the Almighty’s kindness to you.
Whenever your mind is free, make a conscious effort to focus on the good that
the Almighty has bestowed upon you. (Rabbi Bachya Ibn Pekudah, 11th cent. Spain: Chovos Halvovos 10:7)
2. Utilize every opportunity to become aware of the Almighty’s kindness to you. This awareness will motivate you to emulate the Almighty and make the attribute of kindness an integral part of your personality. (Rabbi Mordechai Gifter; Pirkei Torah, vol.2, p.12)
3. Every single time you have some pleasure, even a very slight one such as gaining a small profit, feel grateful to the Almighty. Every day we have numerous such occasions which are easily overlooked. They are lessons to teach awareness of the Almighty’s Divine Providence. (Hashlomas Hamidos, ch.9)
Focus on what you have and not on what you are missing.
One who enjoys what he has, regardless of whether he has a lot or a little, will
experience life as if he constantly attends parties. He will always be in a positive emotional state. Conversely, a person who keeps focusing on what others have and what he is missing suffers constantly. (Proverbs 15:15; commentary of Mutzudas Dovid)
2. People who focus on what they are missing are blinded to what they have. While they could and should be extremely happy because of the positive elements of their lives, they keep thinking about what they are missing. (Chovos Halvovos, section 2, Introduction, and Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch, Shiurai Daas, vol.2, p.150) You will always be lacking things you would like to have. This is inevitable. If you keep thinking about what you do not have, you miss appreciating what you already have.
APPRECIATING WHAT YOU HAVE