Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finding Happiness

Happiness is a topic central to life. No one wants to live without joy. However, when we ask ourselves whether we are happy the answers don't come easy. A happy person makes others happy and in the process increases one's own happiness.

A religious sister in the Kyeongyang magazine, director of a research center, gives us her thoughts on happiness in a not particularly propitious time in Korea. If the present moment is all that we have than whether I am happy or unhappy depends on me and not on others, it's  my attitude.

Studies made on the happiness index of Koreans in comparison to other countries registers low. To come to an objective standard of what we mean by happiness is difficult. The understanding that happiness has in society will influence the citizens. She quotes a sociologist who sees Koreans as cliquish, in a hurry and wanting more, which opens oneself to envy those with education, wealth, and places in society.

Many have an understanding of happiness based on secular values, and not Christian. We are all connected and will not find happiness disconnected from others or with our private groups. Recent Korean history played out before our eyes, shows us what happened to those attempting this.

We need to be providers of joy and begin with those closest to us. I love you, thanks, I am sorry, forgive me.... Within the cells of our brains, our experience, and history are recorded. When we meet similar situations we will react with similar responses: consequently, the reason for training. When we use positive words the positive energy increases and we have joy and peace.

She gives us an example of a garden. We have all kinds of good seeds: joy, love hope but also negative seeds: hate, despair, fear, jealousy. Our actions and words are watering those seeds and the ones we water will grow.

She mentions the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh who recommends we overcome anger in this way: "Do not say it is because of the other person but to mention the feeling of anguish and ask for help. I am in pain and need your help." We need to change the negative energy of anger to positive energy with deep breathing and walking. 

For a Christian, we believe that peace is a gift of God. It comes from a trust in God and resting in him. When we surrender to him we will not lose our balance in a  continually changing world. Relatively speaking, less chance of losing our way within the chaos we find.

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