December 4, 2019-
Yesterday, whilst enjoying a bowl of soup and slice of avocado toast, I was amused by a little girl running gingerly back and forth, from her father’s table to a small shelf that had toys and books. Her happiness flowed outward-and was contagious.
There is some “back and forth”, on sites like Quora and other online places, as to the part that happiness plays in one’s life. There are those who maintain that happiness is a goal, or rather, THE goal, of a person’s life. Others say “No, it is triumph over suffering, that is THE goal of this life.”
I maintain that happiness is a baseline, not a goal, of life. ‘Abdu’l-Baha would ask people “Are you happy? If you are not happy today, for what day do you wait?” Think of the dreariest of mornings-perhaps in the dark of winter, or on an early spring day, with cold drizzle and snow remnants, blackened by soot. Chances are, you won’t know of this state of affairs until you get out of bed. So, it is the mood that accompanies a person, when she or he awakes and gets up, which sets the tone. The outward dreariness does not have to define one’s life.
Of course, physical ailments have much to do with the mood of the day, as well. So do social circumstances. These, however, do not have to circumvent basic happiness. I think of my late wife, bedridden for most of her final year in this life. Even when she was conveying her thoughts about her condition, her decline, there was an air of contentment, that she felt caring and love coming her way-this, from a base of happiness.
There is a common theme, in many of the world’s Constitutions, that the pursuit of happiness is an inherent right of every human being. Happiness, though, is already latent within us. It is obvious, in the eyes of an infant, or the joyful run of a toddler, that the state of being happy exists from the inside out. It is much like love-and actually flows out from the love that also is basic to our existence.
Love brought us into being, sustains us through ordeals and is with us, in the end. Happiness, whether from quotidian events or from grand experiences, is also enduringly present, if one chooses to recognize its presence.
The goal of life? To me, that is developing one’s strengths, positive attributes, to the greatest of one’s ability.