Rosicrucian Writings Online


Frater O. J. Rankin
[From The Rosicrucian Digest February 1939]
MOST prescriptions for human happiness are like medical treatments for diseases of unknown cause. There may be relief for a time, but on the whole results are unsatisfactory because the cause of the trouble has not been found.
In metaphysical healing, cause is the primary consideration; effect is secondary. Similarly, cases of unhappiness should be cause-treated. The happiness formula most likely to give positive results must specify some element which will first remove the cause of unhappiness.
We would not sow seeds in a garden full of weeds; we would first clear the ground, then the seeds would grow, having been given every opportunity to grow. So it is with happiness. The process of weeding out deep-rooted growths of unhappiness is of far greater importance than the comparatively simple act of sowing the happiness seeds. The problem therefore is not "how to be happy" but "how not to be unhappy."
If we merely hunt for happiness we are cutting the weeds off at the surface and leaving the roots in the ground.
The quickest and most effective way of tearing out the weeds is to think and wish happiness--for others. This does not mean walking around thinking or saying "I wish Mr. X to be happy." It means sincerely wishing and then doing something about it, and not only for Mr. X but for everyone from Mr. A to Mr. Z. We eliminate our own unhappiness in the same degree in which we endeavour to make others happy. The happier we make others the happier we become ourselves. We reap (happiness) as we sow (happiness).
We must keep ourselves as busy as possible doing things as useful as possible. We must remember that we are here on earth to do things; we should realize how much there is to live for and how easily it is procured. Inaction is unhappiness. No one can avoid unhappiness unless he or she has a predominant inclination towards some useful pursuit; it is one of life's most important principles.
"The working fire is Action strong and true,
And helps ourselves and friends;
And Speculation is the chimney-flue
Whereby the smoke ascends;
Be busy in trading, receiving, and giving,
For life is too good to be wasted in living."
Before we can get a real "kick" out of life we must have some real object in living. Our interest in life increases in the same degree as we sense life's purpose. Happiness is to get enjoyment from everything, which is to get life from everything. At this point we get power from all things. This power is happiness. But there must always be Action.
All sensual pleasures depend for their effectiveness upon continued cessation and recurrence. Hence the reason why great riches sometimes bring misery, instead of happiness. Being able to appease all wants as soon as they arise, many soon reach a point where monotony decides that it is no longer worth while doing anything. These people cannot or will not understand that happiness comes through satisfying wants, not in having no wants.
Where riches do bring happiness there is always evidence that the possessor of both has been wise enough to continue one or more pursuits, thereby multiplying his wants. There are such men in the world today--men who know through life's experience that "it is better to wear out than to rust out." Wear and tear is a form of happiness I would say: happiness minus the peace element.
If it were possible to write out a happiness formula it might be well to specify health as the principal element. This--together with its two by-products: good humour and la joie de vivre--is the battle half won. Then by adding optimism, knowledge, and faith, we would have, I think, a very good mixture for experiment.
One must possess a certain minimum knowledge of life, as distinct from mere belief, and one must have faith in what one knows. The inscription on the Bacon monument at St. Michael's Church, St. Albans, reads:
"No doubt the sovereignty of man
lieth hid in
wherein many things are reserved
kings with their treasure cannot buy
nor with their force command."
Among those things which cannot be purchased or acquired is the secret of happiness, which is divulged only to those who take the trouble to dig it out.
Usually, what seekers find is not so complicated a formula as they had imagined at the outset. It is: that we should spend time in being happy, not in scheming how to become happy.
" 'I'll live tomorrow,' 'tis not wise to say,
'T'will be too late tomorrow,--live today."
Many people are unhappy because they are not receptive to happiness; it is rejected by their consciences. One must be ripe for it. "If I read my friends' books, or listen to their conversations," says a French philosopher, "I am almost ready to conclude that happiness is impossible in this modern world. But I see the absurdity of this idea as soon as I start talking with my gardener." What strange force does this simple-minded gardener possess? One thing is certain: his heart is imbued with the tranquillity of Nature. He is in a fit condition to be happy. His conscience is receptive to happiness.
Many have found Nature study an important contributory factor in building a State of Happiness. Like the gardener, they study and work with the first-hand products of the Master Hand; their hearts, minds, and souls become merged with their subject. Thus, scientists accomplish great and useful things. Pasteur, while under the intense persecution of the medical "authorities" of his day, spoke of the "peace and happiness of the laboratory" and "the immense happiness" of knowing that one has contributed something towards the welfare and progress of mankind.
So many are "almost, but not quite, happy" because they are heedless of the existence of the "Court of Law of Compensation," where it is decided whether the candidate has caused distress, pain, or strife to any fellow creature--whether his happiness includes any part or parts obtained by unfair means from another. Possessors of borrowed or stolen happiness are never "perfectly happy."
The law of this court is subjective and its buffets and benefits are felt through our spiritual senses which react upon our outer senses and determine the quality or durability of our worldly happiness. Subjective happiness must exist before we can ever know its counterpart, objective happiness, which is only a reflection of the real. If we are unhappy within we cannot be happy without.
Real happiness is within. There is an adequate supply in each of us. Those who are happy have found the means of tapping the supply; those who are unhappy have not. The secret lies in knowing how to open the storeroom and help oneself. Life is a lesson, and if we shirk part of the lesson we must rub along as best we can with the part we haven't shirked. If that part is not productive of happiness it is entirely our own fault, for we are what we make ourselves; we receive only as we give and only as we deserve, always in accordance with the just judgment of our conscience.

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