Three Steps To Happiness

We are fascinated, even driven, to find what makes us happy. Even though we “know” (see my last post about the difference between knowing and doing) that happiness comes from the state of our heart, we keep seeking happiness outside. We fall into abusing alcohol and “friends” or even worse drugs. A mild form lies in buying things. Gee, if only I could have this new thing, then finally I’ll be happy. (Yes, for about five minutes when you need to buy the next new thing to make you happy.)

I subscribe to a Website called Big Think where the editors bring in writers to discuss big ideas. This post about happiness makes a good point.

It starts with one of Google’s first engineering employees, Chade-Meng Tan. He noticed his co-workers were often unsatisfied with life. He studied the situation and developed a three step process to happiness–sounds just like an engineer.

  • Step one is to quiet the mind through mindfulness meditation.
  • Step two is to track moments of joy.
  • Step three is to wish others happiness.

Meditation is slowing the mind and body down so that we achieve a state of relaxation. In this state especially if we have been focusing on a story or saying from Scripture, we can also allow God opportunity to whisper to us things He wants us to do or say.

We call the second step gratitude. Write down in a journal or piece of paper or an iPad daily or several times a week the things for which you’re grateful.

Tan’s third step is crucial. You now switch your attention to others. Steps one and two you do in your 15 minutes in the chair every morning. Step three is what you do for the rest of the day. You focus on how you can help other people. Even if it’s just opening a door or offering to carry part of a load.

In this way, happiness is not sought. Happiness is found. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes from within us–the state of our heart. A grateful heart whose attention is on service to others brings happiness and joy to its owner.

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