The power of the mind and happiness
Happiness is ultimately all in the interpretation. Any outer situation can be either a source of happiness or unhappiness, because happiness comes from within ourselves … Basically, if we think we’re unhappy, we are unhappy, or if we think we’re happy, we’re happy (Janis, 2013, p. 16).
The first catechism we were taught by the Church says that God made us to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and to be HAPPY with Him now and forever in the next world. The first Gloria to be sung by the Angels confirm that, “…all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours’” (Luke 2:13-14). The foregoing is an echo of happiness and we sing/replay it at Masses on Sundays and solemnities of our liturgical celebrations, except at Lent. The mission statement of Jesus Christ proclaims happiness all through as it states: “The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord” (Luke 4: 18-19). Again, the mission statement is about happiness. How come with all these uncountable blessings we still find it difficult to be happy? Meanwhile, happiness is our birthright! Hence, the BEATITUDES of Jesus Christ are about happiness (Matt. 5:1-12).
Miller (as cited in Janis, 2013, p. 74) states that “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” The mind from discoveries over the centuries is an amazing instrument and it has its own potentials. The core potential of the mind is the capacity to think and produce thoughts and their potencies. Thought is the vital and living force of the mind. It is a living thing! Sivananda (as cited in Sharma, 2013). Over the years, the mind has been neglected and suppressed and the effects are outrageous, particularly the absence of happiness. Therefore, “the first step to personal mastery and successful living is to learn how to run your mind like a winner. The second step is to understand once and for all that your mind can create magic in your life if you only let it. The only limitations in your life are those that you consciously set” (Sharma, 2013, p. 18).
Our minds affect the world through our thoughts, feelings, and actions, in obvious and subtle ways. Simply put: “Happy thoughts equal a happy world; sad thoughts equal a sad world. Fearful thoughts equal a fearsome world; angry thoughts equal an angry world. Benevolent thoughts equal a benevolent world; generous thoughts equal a generous world” (Janis, 2013, p. 74; Byrne, 2013). The aforementioned affirms the fact that people can make choices in life to be happy and the first step to increase or decrease happiness lies in the way they think, make choices and be responsible for them (Golden, 1998).
Furthermore, within the mind’s epicenter is the subconscious in which lies the hidden power or energy that is released for power, wealth, health, joy and above all happiness (Murphy, 1988; Sharma, 2013). The subconscious mind has the capacity to bring meaningful outcomes in a person’s life. Consequently, in the subconscious mind is the power to hold only one thought in its focus at any one time (Sharma, 2013).
Fundamentally, our happiness does not depend on what we have especially the tangible things of life (wealth, money, fame, position, power), but on intangible things of life especially how we think and feel about what we have. Even though this is an obvious fact of life, very few people truly harness the power of their minds to practice what is called synthetic happiness. To this end, “Once you understand that your mind is the source of happiness, you have an opportunity to consciously take back the reins of your experience of life. You can look at anything that happens, and think, how can I grow from this? How can I interpret this in a positive way?” (Janis, 2013, p. 75).
Fr. John-Mary Atep.