I’ve talked about happiness several times on this blog, mainly in the context of “The Happiness Project” book we read for our book club. Since then, I’ve given a lot of thought to what happiness really means.
So check out this quote:
“Know thou that there are two kinds of happiness, spiritual and material.
As to material happiness, it never exists; nay, it is but imagination, an image reflected in mirrors, a specter and shadow. Consider the nature of material happiness. It is something which but slightly removes one’s afflictions; yet the people imagine it to be joy, delight, exultation and blessing. All the material blessings, including food, drink, etc., tend only to allay thirst, hunger, and fatigue. They bestow no delight on the mind nor pleasure on the soul; nay they furnish only the bodily wants. So this kind of happiness has no real existence.
As to spiritual happiness, this is the true basis of the life of man, for life is created for happiness, not for sorrow; for pleasure, not for grief. Happiness is life; sorrow is death. Spiritual happiness is life eternal. This is a light which is not followed by darkness. This is an honor which is not followed by shame. This is a life that is not followed by death. This is an existence that is not followed by annihilation. This great blessing and precious gift is obtained by man only through the guidance of God . . .
This happiness is the fundamental basis from which man is created, worlds are originated, the contingent beings have existence, and the world of God appears like unto the appearance of the sun at mid-day.
This happiness is but the love of God . . .
Were it not for this happiness the world of existence would not have been created.”
Some interesting food for thought, eh?
I grabbed this quote from “The Divine Art of Living,” a compilation of excerpts from the Baha’i writings. The book is arranged in themes, with chapters such as “Trust in God,” “Practical Applications of the Spiritual Life,” “Detachment and Sacrifice,” and “Love and Unity.” And the excerpts range from one sentence to an entire page.
The book itself has been around for ages (the paper copy I have is the fourth edition and came out in 1979), but a friend of mine has recently created a professional audiobook version of it. You can find it here: http://books.voicesdivine.com/
Isn’t that a pretty cover? She asked for my input between two designs, and I said, “Tulips!” Naturally.
For the first 30 seconds or so, it was funny to hear my friend’s voice reading an audiobook. I never realized how lovely and soothing her voice was (unlike my shrill mom yell I blogged about yesterday). The recording is top notch. And for busy mamas like me, it’s nice to have the audio version I can pop in while I’m cooking dinner or driving in the car.
It’s also helpful to hear the writings be read aloud. I know lots of people are more auditory than visual, so an audiobook can be a great tool for memorization (or at least familiarization). It makes a great gift. You can listen to samples of each chapter at the link above if you want to check it out.
I’ll leave you with one more quote on happiness from “The Divine Art of Living,” which I particularly like:
“How excellent, how honorable is man if he arises to fulfill his responsibilities; how wretched and contemptible, if he shuts his eyes to the welfare of society and wastes his precious life in pursuing his own selfish interests and personal advantages. Supreme happiness is man’s, and he beholds the signs of God in the world and in the human soul, if he urges on the steed of high endeavor in the arena of civilization and justice . . .”
Good stuff. 🙂