Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The Importance of Being Happy
At the risk of sounding like Wayne Dyer or some other New Agey positive-psychology guru, I just wanted to share a minor revelation I had recently about the importance of being happy. Up until recently, I saw happiness as...well, not very important, in the sense that it was up to me if I wanted to be happy but as far as anybody else was concerned it was none of their business how I felt. I also felt kind of selfish about wanting to be happy, which is a feeling that quite possibly stems from my Catholic upbringing where the insinuation is that one needs to make unpleasant personal sacrifices to please a God that is superior and external to ourselves.
Lately, however, I have seen "God" in a much different manner from which I was taught in my CCD classes. With the help of the author Caroline Cory (and her book The Divine Plan: Beyond 2012) I have come to understand God as a tremendous intelligent energy that we all stem from and that we are all a part of. Every single thing in the universe is an extension of this "God" and, although we all possess our own individual free will, it can be said that WE ARE ALL GOD. As my mentor Ray Carney once said, we are "God's eyes and ears, his arms and hands and fingers, his taste buds and nostrils, his consciousness..." - in other words, our experiences and actions in the world (good or bad) comprise the massive universal experience that is God.
In this light, "happiness" takes on a whole new importance to me, because it is no longer a personal issue that only affects the individual, but it is actually something that affects God and the harmony of the entire universe. If we aren't happy, our souls are not at peace, and if our souls are not at peace then there is a small piece of God that is in pain as well, and, if there is a small piece of God that is in pain, then there is a disruption in the universe (a 'disturbance in the force' to use Star Wars terminology) and universal harmony is damaged.
Therefore, we basically owe it - not just to ourselves - but to the entire universe to be happy in our lives. Contrary to what I used to believe, it is not at all selfish for us to want personal happiness but it's actually a selfless desire to keep God and the overall universe in a state of peace. Whether it's a job we despise going to every day, or a group of friends we don't feel comfortable being around, or a marriage we don't feel is right for us, or a religion we don't really feel comfortable following, or a lifestyle we lead that isn't true to ourselves...we owe it to the people around us and every other single being in the universe to change our lives in a way that makes us more happy.
Now, when I talk about being "happy" I don't mean to imply that people should have a big Jack-Nicholson-like smile on their faces 24 hours a day. And I don't think people should spend their free time frolicking through a meadow shouting "Wheeeeeee!" All I mean when I say 'happiness' is that our souls should be in a state of comfort. We should be doing what we WANT to be doing in our lives, not what outside influences (whether it be religions, corporations, politicians, celebrities, media, family, friends, grandparents, dogs, cats) want us to do. As selfish as it may sound, we should live to please ourselves and nobody else and in doing this we are selflessly pleasing God.