Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Happiness Now ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Happiness Now ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

A book released last summer, "Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile" by Daniel Nettle, points out that while most people rate themselves as moderately to very happy, they also "persist in the belief that they'll be happier in the future."

One reviewer, Peter Smith, commented: "Our tireless drive toward happiness is simply evolution's way of getting us out of bed in the morning. The possibility of good fortune lures us to go on, to achieve, to try harder, but following a period of euphoric adjustment to, say, a job promotion or a new romance, we slip back to our preprogrammed level of contentment. The phenomenon can be traced to 'adaptation' - whereby having achieved their ambitions, human beings unconsciously up the ante" (O, The Oprah Magazine, July).

This made me ask, Am I happy? Or do I believe I'll be happier, healthier, wealthier, more satisfied down the road? I had to be honest. I had big plans that were going to all pay off. Eventually. Soon. Some day. But where does that leave me now?

As someone who finds life-direction in spiritual teachings, especially Jesus' ministry, I realized that Jesus didn't advocate a pursuit of happiness. In fact, he said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20, 21). So happiness, true satisfaction, is already included in us. Pursuing it outside ourselves would mean setting aside the fact that we already have it.

Jesus knew so keenly our birthright that he went so far as to say that the poor, the mourners, the meek, the starving, and the persecuted are blessed. "The Amplified Bible" translates "blessed" as "happy, to be envied, spiritually prosperous - with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions" (see Matthew, chapter 5). Another commentator translates "blessed" as "walking forth" (Jean-Yves LeLoup, "The Gospel of Mary"). …

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