Rosicrucian Writings Online
HappinessErwin S. Beecher
[From The American Rosae Crucis January 1917]
THE secret of happiness is so simple it is no wonder we often overlook it. Simplicity is the height of wisdom, and, therefore, difficult to attain. Christ told us that a little child should lead us, that truth issues from the mouths of babes, and that except we become as little children we could not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, which is everywhere in the Universe that happiness reigns.
What Jesus especially referred to in these often misunderstood statements was the blissful unconsciousness of self, the teachableness, the enthusiasm and absence of malice which make healthy children the happy and lovable beings that they are. No man, however hardened by disease, self-seeking or vice can look upon the innocent sports of healthy childhood without a sigh of regret, an involuntary quickening of the heart's best impulses.
It is selfishness, self-consciousness and sensitive vanity, egotism and a morbid desire for sympathy, notice, etc., exciting, harmful emotions, leading to base actions and placing men in wrong attitudes towards life, that causes unhappiness. There are people whose presence we cannot enter without an intuitive and oppressive feeling that we must render tribute to their vanity to get along with them. In others natural egotism incites them to speak in censure or detraction of everything and everybody. Selfishness leads men to take advantage of others in the attempt to secure riches, personal ease and indulgences.
The sensitive, self-conscious man is embarrassed and hampered by a constant sense of his deficiencies. Fear of criticism and failure paralyzes his energies. He wearies his friends with continual draughts on their sympathies. He magnifies and exaggerates the misfortunes of his condition until everybody dreads his company.
All of these people are unhappy because happiness lies in self-forgetfulness. To be happy one must cheerfully accept the conditions and circumstances of his lot, hope for the best, have faith in the final issue, and exert his powers intelligently to do the best he can for himself and fellows, leaving the consequences to take care of themselves.
The vain man is unhappy because he fritters away his time and energies chasing the will o' wisp, popular approbation, which cannot satisfy the soul's hunger for immortal principles. The egotistical man is not happy because he is wronging others, and conscience pricks. Selfishness hardens and vulgarizes. The selfish man's finer sensibilities atrophy. He ceases to grow morally and intellectually. Sources of pleasure dwindle. Abused appetites and functions refuse to serve purely animal ends. Strife between soul and body after much discord and friction terminates in disease and death.
The self-conscious man can steel himself by doing his best systematically, losing himself in enthusiasm for his work and love for those dependent on his labors. Those who crave sympathy or adulation should cultivate the sense of justice, for they are weakening and demoralizing their associates. Unhappiness attends attempts to satisfy these cravings because the keen intuitions of the soul are bruised and lacerated by every violation of right, whether the intellect understands the cause or not. Happiness is the natural reward of right living. It is a sort of joyous peace or untroubled calm. It is stirred by passing moods, as the wind ripples the stream, but abides in the depths of the soul.
Happiness varies in degree and kind with the character and development of the man who harbors it, of course. In the shallow, it shows itself as simple good-nature. In those who have suffered, learned and grown strong, it is manifested in broad charity, a diffusive kindliness and helpfulness, while there are a few who seem to radiate a pure exquisite sense of happiness, as beings who walk always with God. These are the fragile vessels over whom we sigh with foreboding, feeling that we must all too soon surrender them to a less harsh and rigorous world.
Happy people attract us all as a load-stone does magnetic particles. We feel, intuitively, that happiness is the natural destiny of man, but most of us set out on the wrong road, make many mistakes and endure the inevitable penalties before we are willing to become as little children and enter into our natural inheritance of love.
See also the articles, "Happiness" by James D Fulio and "Sowing Happiness" by O J Rankin.
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