What is happiness exactly?
There are two kinds of happiness: physical and spiritual. Physical happiness is limited in duration, quickly vanishes and has no result.
Happiness consists of two kinds; physical and spiritual. The physical happiness is limited; its utmost duration is one day, one month, one year. It hath no result. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 673-674)
Temporal joy will vanish. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 178)
Many of us were taught that happiness lie in having more things, but as we learn, this will only bring us momentary pleasure:
Joy was not, He told them, a by-product of material comfort and affluence.
(H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – The Centre of the Covenant, p. 31)
If you possess the whole world, the treasures of the world, the pleasures of the world, they may be momentary pleasures, but they will be bitter sadness throughout your life. They will never bring you any happiness. People are wrong to change the places of their entertainment and enjoyments from New York to Paris, to Rome, to Africa, to Australia. They are searching for it, while they are carrying it along within themselves. (From Hand of the Cause Mr. Faizi)
Spiritual happiness is what we’re all looking for, because it’s eternal and unfathomable:
Spiritual happiness is eternal and unfathomable. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 673-674)
We have an innate longing for happiness, and when we find it once, we try to duplicate the feeling.
When a man has found the joy of life in one place, he returns to that same spot to find more joy. When a man has found gold in a mine, he returns again to that mine to dig for more gold. This shows the internal force and natural instinct which God has given to man, and the power of vital energy which is born in him. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 33)
Happiness appears in our soul with the love of God and causes us to attain all the virtues and perfections we’re looking for. This is why it’s so important to find the love of God. It’s the key to happiness!
This kind of happiness appeareth in one’s soul with the love of God and suffereth one to attain to the virtues and perfections of the world of humanity. Therefore, endeavor as much as thou art able in order to illuminate the lamp of thy heart by the light of love. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 673-674)
‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that the greatest bliss and delight possible is discovering that by the confirming grace of God we have become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men. This reinforces the idea that we’re responsible for each other’s well-being and happiness.
And the honor and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world’s multitudes should become a source of social good. Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight..? (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 2)
Here’s another quote which suggests we’re responsible for each other’s happiness. First we have to be cheerful ourselves so that we can bring joy and happiness to others:
I beg of God that thou mayest find a cheerful life, cause the increase of the longing of all present in the meetings of the maid-servants of the Merciful One and bring joy and happiness to the handmaidens of God; so that thou mayest diffuse the fragrances and chant the manifest verses. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 185-186)
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