Happiness is a By-product of Activeness
“You forgot something, Joanna. You didn’t say “goodnight.” I heard this call ring out across the street one evening. I do not know Joanna, nor the little girl who thus reminded her friend of a lapse from thoughtfulness. The call to Joanna has somehow lingered in my mind, as a symbol of a general failing in modern man.
Joanna presumably enjoyed her friend’s hospitality. She had been with her for some time, they had played together; they had lived together. Friendship is a privilege, which Joanna was blessed with. Is it not proper to express a thankfulness for this privilege? How then could she leave her friend without saying a word, not even a goodnight?
Is not this thoughtlessness the problem of man generally? We take for granted the love of our parents, their care and devotion, the anxious hours spent by them in seeing us through all kinds of hardship. We take for granted the kindness of our friends and neighbors. We take from the poets and the artists, the scientists and the men of affairs the blessings their genius has brought into the world. We take all of it without pausing to think of how much we owe them.
Natural factors, which at one time were apathetic for the animas activities, can develop in a very short time into mighty stimuli for the most crucial life-sustaining functions. Happy people learn that happiness, like sweat, is a by-product of activeness. You can only achieve happiness if you are too busy living your life to notice whether you are happy or not.
What, if not a sense of gratitude, is the object of religion? It seeks to awaken in us an awareness of the greatest privilege of all—the privilege of the blessings we receive from God. Most of us also take His blessings without due thought. We breathe the calm, clear air; we watch the stars in their majestic cadences in the sky; we enjoy the fragrance of flowers and the laughter of children; we draw upon the energies of our hands and brains to perform our tasks; we dream and hope; and we create in the image of our dreams and hopes. However, we take all as our due, without a word of appreciation. This is why modern man cannot pray. Prayer is our expression of thanks to God for the privilege of living. Most modern people take all life for granted, and they do not bother to say “thank you”
Joanna was only thoughtless. However, thoughtlessness is one of the greatest failings of character. When you leave your friends, say “good-night” When you are the recipient of blessings, whether from God or man, learn to say “thank you”
Intangibles of Warm-heartedness and Consideration
Self-knowledge is a slippery business. You might think the nature of your center mission in life would lie within easy reach for ready viewing, and sometimes it does. But frequently it lies buried under a pile of expectations we have for ourselves interlacing with those others have for us that make our mission appear to us to be one thing when in reality it’s something else completely-sometimes something we don’t even want to admit, not just to others, but to ourselves.
The intangibles of warm-heartedness and consideration are every bit important.
The China-U.S. relationship has perpetually had elements of friendly relationship and cooperation and rivalry. Human beings are born into this short span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies … and yet they leave behind their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow, as they will by the wayside, expecting them to “keep” by pressure of mere inertia. American Psychologist Lorne Ladner writes in his The Lost Art of Compassion,
If we spend time dwelling on our desire, we gradually concrete a world driven by greed, advertising and compulsive consumerism. When we dwell in anger and fear, we concrete a world filled with weapons, conflicts and wars. To the extent that we dwell in love and compassion, we concrete a world characterized by peace, mercy, safety and inspiring beauty.
When we let go of our concepts of duality and separation, then love, which is connection, and compassion, which is kindness, arise as reflections of the mind’s natural state. Like all works that strike the imagination, it pleased while new; but, wanting the foundation of reason, the whole fabric has long since fallen to the ground.