Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Sustainable Happiness

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Sustainable Happiness

Article excerpt

Happiness. It's a beautiful ideal - a state of joy, contentment, inner peace.

Is happiness elusive by nature, a state that we might attain one day but is somehow always in the future?

Lots of great writers have shared wise ideas about the pathways to happiness. Many speak about developing and using your talents, looking for the positive, and helping others. Research has shown that people who do volunteer work tend to report higher levels of well-being.

There is a growing global awareness that happiness is a basic human need and is a fundamental component in sustainable development. March 20 was the second annual International Day of Happiness, initiated in 2012 by the United Nations after its meeting on "Happiness and Well-Being," which brought together representatives of governments, academia, civil society, and religious organizations. The meeting was initiated by Bhutan, a tiny, predominantly Buddhist country in South Asia that favors the goal of gross national happiness over gross national product.

In his message for this year's International Day of Happiness, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that happiness is a deep-seated yearning shared by all members of the human family, and should be available to all. He then called on the nations of the world to promote peace, justice, human rights, and social progress for all.

A common thread in ideas about happiness is that it is related to connecting with something greater than oneself. What is this "something greater," and how can you make that connection in a practical way?

In my own search for happiness, I've taken various paths. Some ended up being dead ends. Others brought temporary elation but left me craving for something more. Eventually, the many issues I was facing in my life nudged me to seek something deeper.

I started reading books on spirituality and exploring the contemplative practices of meditation and prayer. Then an acquaintance introduced me to Christian Science. In studying the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, I've come to understand God as unconditional divine Love, and I increasingly feel the gentle presence of spiritual love in my life as I spend time in prayer every day and strive to express unconditional love and support to others. …

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