Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prosperity Does not Always Bring Happiness

There are probably few countries that are as introspective as Korea, which is still a homogeneous country, with a long history and one language, making  it easily accessible to this kind  of reflection. In recent years, with its ranking of 13th in economic strength, with a populace that is intelligent, diligent and devoted, it is hard to understand, writes the  priest columnist in the Peace Weekly, why the country ranks so low in the happiness quotient compared to other countries.

Is  it too much greed and not able to be thankful for what they have? he asks.  Although they have financial leisure and cultural advancement, he wonders if the lack happiness is a sign of spiritual disease, and proposes seven steps for achieving happiness.

Examine closely the way we live our lives as our Blessed Mother did in her life. Take care of our health. Make friends. Cut down the time watching TV. Study. Laugh; the Korean saying, "you get angry and age, laugh, and you get younger," fits, he says.  The seventh and last proposal is to be good to yourself; my happiness depends on myself; I am the subject of my happiness. If I am sad, tormented, and  unhappy this is what I will be sharing with others. When we are happy, thankful and at peace, this is what we will be passing on to others. His final advice is the suggestion that parents tell their children to imitate them when death approaches, and that they will meet in heaven.

Telling people how to live in order to be happy is big business. We have numerous entrepreneurs who live well telling others what to do to live well. Most of the wisdom that has come down to us from the earliest days has much in common with the search for happiness. Confucius wants us to overcome the  environment we were born in, wants us to study and have good relations with others. Buddhists want us to train the mind, the Taoist wants us to know that we think we know is not always the case. They are all seeing different aspects of life. Christians can use this wisdom, and add that Christ came to have us participate in divinity. This knowledge alone is enough to give us great joy.                  

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