GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
benefited increased his pleasure. Just as a person feels more pleasure when his children also have pleasure, so too, one who sincerely loves other people feels increased pleasure when other also benefit. (Darkai Mussar, pp.26-7)
5. It is easy to take mental capabilities for granted. Don’t. Try to feel pleasure in your ability to speak and think. Appreciate that you can study wisdom. Even the greatest scholar should appreciate his ability to pronounce words, to read sentences, and to study the basics. A person who masters this appreciation will live a life of joy. (Ohr Hatzafun, vol.3, pp.85-6)
6. When putting on clothes, give thought to all the benefits you gain from your clothing. (Daas Chochmah Umussar, vol.3, p.67)
7. Think about how much you have gained from your immediate environment. Without other people you would be all alone. What would you be like if you grew up all by yourself in a forest? Not much different from an animal. Appreciate that the people in your environment have taught you much knowledge and understanding. (ibid., p.68)
This type of thinking especially important for someone who finds himself easily annoyed with other people. Without others, life would be unimaginably difficult. The annoyances they cause you is the price you pay for the benefits you gain. Make a long list of all the people you gain from including workers in the food industry, building industry, publishing industry, transportation services, employees of the sanitation department and utilities companies.
8. Every person alive today derives much benefit from comforts and pleasures that in the past were not available. All of the latest inventions and findings of technology serves us to a remarkable degree. For all this we should be full of appreciation and gratitude. (Nachalas Yosef, Torah, p.115)
Make a list of items available for your use today that did not exist a few hundred years ago. Notice how these things help you and make life easier and more comfortable. Some examples are: electricity, telephones, refrigerators, cars, airplanes, light bulbs, washing machines, home heating systems, air conditioning, elevators, running water in your home. Some people focus only on how these things could be improved and how frequently they do not perform as well as they could. This focus is fruitful only if you plan to do something about it.
APPRECIATING WHAT YOU HAVE