Part 2 the pursuit of happiness
How we think and perceive the world is the second stage of being alone. We need to let go of the concept that we need to be happy all the time. This goal, albeit a nice one, is unrealistic and unnecessary. It’s time to free ourselves from the “pursuit of happiness” concept, it’s time to let go and relearn more practical and realistic life goals.
The truth is, life is hard sometimes, and constantly running after happiness is not always our best option.
“Wait? I don’t understand?” is this rabbi telling us to live a difficult, unhappy life?”
No, but he is telling us to live a realistic one.
Surrounded by the constant pursuit of happiness, it is understandable that the first thing we want to do is to help someone that is having difficulty. We want to see them happy again.
Instead, let’s give them a hug and say I am there for you, even if it is difficult.
Did our forefathers pursue happiness?
Near the end of his life, Jacob Avino- our father, meets the Egyptian Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks Jacob, how old are you, and how was your life? Jacob answers that he has lived a short and bad life. Is Jacob regretting his life? Definitely not. Jacob built a nation and created a dynasty that influenced the world, but he still had a hard and sometimes difficult life. We need to understand that’s okay, too. Humanity was forged from difficulty. Difficulty does not always equal unhappiness, and the lack of difficulty does not always equal happiness. Sometimes during difficult times, we learn our most valuable life lessons. So should we give up these lessons in the pursuit of happiness?
Jewish tradition places a lot of emphasis on Simcha. Does Simcha mean happiness?
According to the Mishnah in Avot: “Who is a rich person? One who is happy with their portion”. It is possible to be happy even when things are hard. In the Jewish tradition, we are asked to be grateful for what we have. To be satisfied with both the good and the hard things.
While you are alone, take the time to observe your difficulties. These difficulties are not your whole life, as well as moments of joy. If we accept both the difficulty and the joy – we will be “happy with our portion”.
Read part one
photo credit: Luis Fernandes