All beings want to be happy. Happiness comes in human life when there is a sense of fulfillment, a sense of meaning. There are different forms of happiness. There is your momentary emotional experience where you think, “I am so happy right now,” because something good has happened; some circumstance is there that you are enjoying and you have a feeling of happiness inside of you. That feeling of happiness is transitory. It is there for a while and then something else happens and the feeling changes. You even may feel unhappy or neutral but the feeling of happiness and joy does not sustain. It is not a permanent experience.
Feelings come and go. They are in response to internal thoughts, in response to external experiences and your opinion of those experiences. These feelings rise high and low and that is the nature of feelings. They are changeable. They are moods. They shift and shift again. In a healthy person, they will shift a great deal. Sometimes they may be happy, sometimes just in a peaceful mood, sometimes in a calm mood, sometimes a little sad, sometimes annoyed, sometimes feeling just overwhelmed with kindness or compassion. Different feelings come and go in the mind.
True happiness is not merely established in your feelings. True happiness is a state of contentment and a sense of purpose in your life. These are the components of true happiness. When you have a feeling of contentment and peace with yourself as you are and with the life that you have, then a certain harmony comes between you and your life experience, your environment and those around you. You feel at peace, content, calm and from that breeds a sense of happiness when that is combined with a sense of purpose in life.
No one wants to feel that his or her life is useless and irrelevant. No one wants to feel that there is no meaning in what he or she does, that it serves no purpose. When a person feels that life is meaningful, that it serves a greater purpose, that he or she is part of something larger than them, then life takes on direction and focus. From that sense of meaning comes a sense of purpose and contentment that brings a deep satisfaction within. That deep satisfaction within is the source of real happiness.
Many times having the company or companionship of others, having a spiritual goal and direction and knowing that your life is meaningful and helpful to others gives a sense of this purpose and contentment that leads to a feeling of well-being and ultimately to happiness.
Dissatisfaction comes when you feel that your life is somehow not relevant, that no one is benefiting from your actions and that you are disconnected from those around you, that you have no spiritual goal or purpose in life. From this existential void, come deep feelings of emptiness, loneliness and lack of love and this becomes the source of discontent, unhappiness and depression.
To the extent that such feelings are harbored within you, they will breed dissatisfaction and discontent, ultimately a depressive negative feeling towards the life but you are not helpless in this. You have the ability to turn your life around. All people have this ability, to bring meaning and purpose to your life, to do actions that help other people and to make your life something that you feel is noteworthy. You need not build great bridges or establish great works to lead a meaningful life. Simply giving a small amount of service to another person, helping someone in need with some small things that they need, doing simple acts of kindness, taking the time to notice others and their needs and performing simple acts of kindness. This alone can bring great meaning to your life. Taking the time to do some service work will bring meaning to your life. Making all the actions that you do during the day be a service to living beings, this will bring the greatest meaning in your life.
You know, two people can scrub a floor. For one, it is just doing a job to get it done. For the other, it is making the floor beautiful so it may shine in its greatest beauty and in service to everyone who comes in contact with that floor so they should see such a beautiful floor. This is giving service to living beings and to the world. Many acts can become acts of service if done with the proper attitude. When you take an attitude of service, an attitude of care and reverence for life, when you do your best in all that you do to bring service and to give your best work, then life becomes meaningful, your actions vital, connected to living beings. You will find that whatever you are doing, it begins to transform that in the process you are connecting with others in ways that you did not previously.
In this way, life becomes serviceful and life becomes meaningful. Love has many aspects and one is to give service to others whether they are human beings, animals, plants or even inanimate objects. In all you are serving the divine Beloved in his multiple forms and when you take the attitude in life that you are simply doing your very best to give service to that divine Beloved in all his manifestations, all the ways in which he has expressed himself in this world, then you find that you are connected, that you are living a life of service to God, that you are living a life of connection and love, service and surrender. Then your life becomes meaningful.
Never think, “Oh, I am too old; I am not relevant now. My life is over.” These types of thoughts or any version of these thoughts: “I am no one. I am not important,” no. You are important to God, to the Divine, to the true Beloved and let your life be a work of art, a creative expression, a gift to the true Beloved. Let your every action be a service to that one. Then how can you say, “My life is over. My life is meaningless?” It cannot be said. Even if you have a crippling condition, still all that you do can be done in love and service in even the smallest ways to the divine Beloved in all his many forms.
Then you live a life of purpose, a life of service, a life of love. Should anyone do harm to you, reject or condemn you, you need not respond to them as they have responded to you. You can respond with this love, this care for all living beings. You are not the reactive product of your environment. You are the child of the Great and you have the capacity to change your way of being to become a true lover of the divine Beloved, to become one who lives life with meaning and purpose, who lives in service and in love. When you live in this love, you are never alone. You are never helpless. That one who is the Source of all is the source of your strength, your purpose and your inspiration. As you serve that divine Beloved in countless forms, you begin to realize, “Lord is all around me, never leaving me.” You begin to realize you are never alone. That divine one is your constant companion.
So live your life in service to the Great. Live your life in dedication and purpose. Live your life in love unconditional. Find peace and harmony and the deep well of contentment and surrender. Then in that joy of that love, true happiness becomes yours. Moods come and go but real happiness is a sustained state of being, of love, of connectedness, of wholeness. So find this happiness. Find this love. Live a life of meaning and purpose to your very last breath and even then, a breath in complete surrender, letting go to the Divine. That is a life well-lived, do you not think?