Searching for Happiness and Peace

Searching for happiness and peace has to do with our connectedness to ourselves, those around us, and to our universe.

“Many of us feel disconnected by difficult times, longing for ways to awaken God’s love in ourselves and the world,” Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, has written in his book The Universal Christ, “The reality we face is simple yet difficult—the healing of the world hinges upon honoring the inherent sacredness of the world and everyone in it.”

Searching for Happiness Involves Spirituality

Spirituality differs from religion. Though we can and should interweave them, they are not the same.

A person with their eyes closed facing towards a divine light

Spirituality is an inseparable dimension of a person. It includes your feelings of connectedness with others, your capacity to transcend the limits of psychological and physical conditions, and your ability to understand the wider meaning of your actions.

Spirituality also includes your need to develop your inner self holistically in relationship to your true ultimate value.[1],[2]

Searching for happiness, peace, and freedom involves our authentic self being positioned to bring love and goodness to the world.

To be a force for good, our subjective “being” self must be connected to our objective “doing” self. 

In other words, what we do and how we act need to fully reflect who our spiritual self is.

Divine Love

Divine or Agape love flows to us from the Divine. It is the highest form of love: the love of the Divine for us and our love for the Divine. That is a Christian paradigm.

However, whether you identify as spiritual, religious, agnostic, or even atheist, I believe that some kind of faith and a deep spiritual commitment to embrace the unknown are both crucial when searching for peace and happiness. 

When we commit to the unknown, we can focus on being love and then giving love.

Put differently, true faith involves not knowing and even not needing to know. 

Divine love is the essence of goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love.

“Divine Love is not a reward for good behavior, as we first presume it to be,” says Richard Rohr, “it is a larger Life, an energy and movement that we can participate in—and then, almost in spite of ourselves—we behave differently.”

Divine Love Brings True Happiness

Divine love is the only thing that can bring us true happiness.

“Being happy is not having a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, a job without effort, a relationship without disappointments,” Pope Francis recently said. “To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become the author of your own fate.”

A hand reaching out to a divine light

Searching for happiness and finding it is like walking through the desert and finally finding an oasis. The sand still burns your feet and the sun still drums relentlessly on the top of your head. But at the same time, you have an oasis with water to drink and some shade to rest in. Our lives are metaphorical deserts and our oasis is deep inside our soul.

Happiness involves thanking God (or Mother Nature or the universe or your highest self, if you are not religious and prefer to use one of those terms) every morning for the miracle of life. It’s kissing your children, hugging your parents, having poetic moments with your friends, forgiving them all, even when they hurt us.

What is Being Happy?

Pope Francis put it well: “Being happy is letting the creature that lives in each of us live, free, joyful, and simple. You have the maturity to be able to say: ‘I’ve made mistakes.’ It’s having the courage to say I’m sorry. It’s having the sense to say, ‘I need you.’ It’s having the ability to say. ‘I love you.’ May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness… that in spring he may be a lover of joy and in winter a lover of wisdom.”

“And when you make a mistake, start over. Because only then will you be in love with life. You’ll discover that being happy isn’t having a perfect life. But use tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your defeats to train your patience.

“Use your mistakes with the serenity of the sculptor. Use pain to tune into pleasure. Use obstacles to open the windows of intelligence. Never give up … Above all never give up on the people that love you. Never give up on being happy because life is an incredible show.”

A Self-Seeking Path

Serving others brings love and goodness to everyone and everything, even in the most difficult and trying times. Searching for happiness is about finding Divine or Agape Love.

But before love can flow out of us to others, we must allow it to flow in.

To find true Divine Love and happiness within our hearts, we must embark on a self-seeking path. “Phronesis” is a Greek word used by Aristotle to describe an intellectual virtue: of turning our moral instincts into practical kind and moral actions.

In order to do so, though, we must empty ourselves of all the garbage and clutter we hold onto. That is how we can become the best version of our authentic Divine self.

Here is my hope for this holiday season: May the Lord, who is the Prince of peace, bring you peace, as well as goodness, blessings, compassion, and healing.

May the Lord bring this to each of us and all of the world’s people.

May the Lord ease our suffering and give us the courage and love to be transformed into Agape Love.

“Love is a universal language and underlying energy that keeps showing itself despite our best efforts to resist it,” Richard Rohr insists.

A Time for Introspection

A person in the forest looking out at a divine light and searching his soul

Some people love the holiday season. Others find this time of year very difficult, spiritually and physically. But the holidays, I believe, are a time for introspection and soul-searching. We all need to reinvigorate our spirit and rebirth ourselves. This is the perfect time to begin a new stage of inner growth. 

“Kenosis,” in Greek is the act of emptying. In searching for happiness, peace, and the Divine, we must empty ourselves of all our mind-centered worldly struggles and pre-programmed behaviors. Then, we can be one with God and find our “unique” true place in the world as it relates to our Divinity, to each other, and to the universal oneness that connects everything. 

A Sense of Purpose

We must believe our being matters, and that we have a unique purpose on this earth at this time.

Gilbert K. Chesterton was a writer, philosopher, and literary critique. He was born in Kensington in 1874. “Everyone on the earth should believe, amid whatever madness or moral failure, that his life and temperament have some object on the earth,” Chesterton wrote. “Everyone on the earth should believe that he has something to give to the world which cannot otherwise be given.”

May the Lord give us all strength and rebirth. With this rebirth, may we succeed in searching for happiness and peace. We cannot and will not avoid grief, pain, or suffering. But we can find mastery within our pain and suffering so that we can also fill our hearts with peace, joy, beauty, and love.

Related posts:
Who Am I and Why Do I Exist?
Thriving in the Face of a Cancer Diagnosis
The Pursuit of Truth in Medicine

[1] Speck, B. W. (2005). What is spirituality? New Directions in Teaching & Learning, 104, 3-13. doi:10.1002/tl.207

[2] Emmons, R. A. (2000). Is Spirituality an intelligence? Motivation, cognition and the psychology of ultimate concern. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10(1), 3-26. doi:10.1207/S15327582IJPR1001_2

[3] Peter McGhee and Patricia Grant, The influence of managers’ spiritual mindfulness on ethical behaviour in organisations, Journal of Spirituality, Leadership and Management, 2015, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 12-33 Published by Spirituality, Leadership and Management Inc

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3 Replies to “Searching for Happiness and Peace”

  1. Eloquently and powerfully stated – a minister or priest could not have stated it better. Gain that certainty of Divinity. The evidence is overwhelming and those who don’t see it are not truly searching for it manifests in so many, many scientific and obvious ways. We are so blessed to have this master teacher share his potent message.

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