I will never forget the time when at the age of 18 years and living in Puerto Rico, how our little Evangelical church organized a surprise “going-away” party. I had enlisted in the Army as an artillery man, and was leaving for Basic Training the following day.
As I stood behind the table before slicing the cake, I raised my hands up in gratitude to God for the moment that I was experiencing, surrounded by friends and family. At that moment I was in a state of plenary contentment.
No illusion in the ephemeral could ever be compared to the moment of complete happiness that I was experiencing at that time.
When people focus on what they do not have, they begin to covet what is ephemeral in their lives, and to lose touch with the reality that surrounds them. But when we focus on what is already possessed, regardless of how simple or mundane, we become happy.
The reason why we become happy is because we become self-aware through appreciation and gratitude. The fact that we can appreciate what we have, confirms that we exist. And because we instinctively know that life is good for us, we become happy!
When we covet what we don’t have, we become less conscious of the self by merging our psyche with whatever is not part of our existential reality. Whenever we live for what we do not have, its as if we became partially dead to the now.
Thanksgiving for what we have, grounds us in reality and leads us to appreciate the value of our lives in the now. Self-awareness is the greatest gift that God has ever given to humankind.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)
Happiness comes from appreciating what you have and living the moment.