What is the secret of a happy life?

Thoughts about the strength of gratitude
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1. Traps of our self-torturing dissatisfactions. Humans are pleasure and novelty seeking animals, therefore all human pleasures lose their novelty very soon. Due to this man soon becomes dissatisfied and seeks for more pleasures. Our lives become even worse when the "amount of pleasure-possession" becomes our measure to value our own ego. Our egos always compare everything with others. Others have more. We will only have more if we take it away from others. This avalanche does not stop, it can only bury us. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

 

2. The strength of gratitude. The ability of gratitude is the counterpoint of dissatisfaction which results in peace, serenity and joy. Those who live their life open to thankfulness and gratitude, find benefits in all events happening to them. Those who are capable of gratitude open instead of closing themselves into their own egos. Gratitude results in gratitude: a source of goodness opens goodness around itself. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

 

3. The fulfilling joy of the circles of gratitude – love service -- communion of love. The ability of gratitude transforms our whole life. Gratitude links us into a love stream that creates a communion of love. We can choose: either we follow the circles of gratitude – love service – communion of love or the circles of demand – hate/fight – and isolation in our own egos. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


 

1. Traps of our self-torturing dissatisfactions

 

Humans are pleasure and novelty seeking animals. This dual biological determination generates a self-amplifying trap because all pleasures lose their novelty very soon. Therefore people become dissatisfied and wish to find new and more pleasures. Our lives become even worse when the "amount of pleasure-possession" becomes our measure to value our own ego. This is the time when our feelings "I have got much too little" are expanded by our self-perceptions of inability and inadequacy. Moreover, the ego does not have an objective measure. Nothing can be enough if we think that we and only we are responsible to have "that something". Our egos always compare everything with others. Others have more. Others have better. There is someone who has more. There may exist someone who might be able to get more... We will only have more if we take it away from others. It is even better if we make others unable to get anything at all. This avalanche does not stop, it can only bury us. With all this, our dissatisfaction will be the source of either our moaning and depression or our egoism of demands, hate and fight.

 


 

2. The strength of gratitude

 

Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing.
In all things give thanks; for this is the will
of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.

(1Thessalonians 5:16-18)

 

The ability of gratitude is the counterpoint of dissatisfaction which results in peace, serenity and joy. Those who live their life open to thankfulness and gratitude, find benefits in all events happening to them. They can see the full part of the half-way full glass instead of the empty one. Those who are capable of gratitude open instead of closing themselves into their own egos. They find the good even where others do not. In this state of being open for the good and being full of gratitude they start to radiate the good around themselves. Gratitude results in gratitude: a source of goodness opens goodness around itself. Living like that, everyday moments become celebrations of bliss for us. Expressing gratitude decreases the level of cortisol, while increases that of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in our body. So even "at the level of scientific reasons" gratitude eases anxiety and creates happiness and love.

 

 

Let me encourage the Reader to write a "gratitude diary" for a few days. During these days try to observe those (maybe very little) good things that happen to you and that are worth being thankful of. Say thanks in your mind to someone actually, or the love of Totality that has given You all these goods (maybe in the form of a beautiful view). After the first few days it is worth thinking over your life’s events from the point of view what people, environments, meetings and situations have supported and helped You on your path so far. Who has loved You, what events have filled You, what has guided You? Who were those people You could give love to? Who were those people who felt accepted and embraced because of You? It is worth being happy because of all this, even retrospectively.

 


 

3. The fulfilling joy of the circles of gratitude -- love service -- communion of love

 

When Jesus offers me the Eucharist, I remember
that I am also "Eucharist". God takes me,
gives blessing, breaks me,
and gives me to his people as a gift, so I can be present by Him.

(everyday Saint Ignatian spiritual retreat, week 24)

 

The ability of gratitude transforms our whole life. Gratitude links us into a love stream that creates a communion of love. Pope Francis listed three attitudes that should never be lacking in Jesus’ disciples in His general audience on 7th March 2018. "First, learn to give thanks, always and everywhere, and not only on certain occasions, when all is going well; second, to make of our life a gift of love, freely given; third, to build concrete communion, in the Church and with everyone." These sentences describe a wonderful image. In gratitude the human soul ascends to the endless love of the Father and becomes united with Him. Here the soul become full of unlimited love and then returns to the Earth to present it to others. This creates a communion of love. At two spiritual retreats I saw (I was given) this totality of human life as an image, where millions of circles uprising and radiating in gratitude descended again filled with love. Each circle was a sacred human life. The uprising paths of the circles were together as they were the trunk of a wonderful tree striving and growing to one and only place, the Father’s love. The returning paths of the circles formed a huge, spreading canopy just like a willow’s branches reaching the ground. This glory-tree was the Tree of Life. We can choose: either we follow the circles of gratitude – love service – communion of love or the circles of demand – hate/fight – and isolation in our own egos. With the former we get closer and closer to God, with the latter we become more and more an animal.

 

I wish the path leading to the communion of love to all my Readers!

 

Please see my essay on a life spent to serve others in love here.
Please see my thoughts about the communion of love here.

 

 

 

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