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The Happiness Attitude

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017 - 10:32 pm

 For an under 2 minute audio version click here 

We all know what it feels like to be happy, but the actual source of our happiness has always been hard to pinpoint.

From a Jewish perspective, happiness is mostly determined by our thought processes and attitudes.  Thus happiness is really not a single feeling, but a state of being that is brought about through a range of attitudes and spiritual activities that make a person view life differently.

This is emphasised by the Zohar when it points out that the letters forming the Hebrew word B’simcha-בשמחה (with joy) are the same letters that spell Machshavah-מחשבה (thought)

While our circumstances are often not in our control, our mind is under our control.  Proper attitude is a character strength where instead of trying to change the situation, I change myself to fit the situation.

By constantly involving ourselves in spiritual activity, we can achieve a positive attitude that causes happiness. 

By placing less emphasis on the physical pleasure of life and by endeavouring go out of one’s self eg involving oneself with charity and volunteering, this uplifts us and makes us more appreciative of what we have, where our daily activities become a more joyous experience.

It is for this reason the Mishna in Avot states that the three physical emotions of jealousy, lust and glory remove a person from this world, as these are desires that can never be satisfied.

It is our spiritual activity that can put one’s life and all the nonspiritual activities life entails into proper perspective, leading to a much happier existence. 

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