Dr Vera Ranki, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, said that the first lesson towards achieving happiness is to realize that happiness is not the same as fun. In our desperate pursuit of happiness we often forget that when we pursue pleasure itself we tend to be miserable, and that the greatest lessons in life actually come to us through grief, sadness and strife.
Wise people have always recognized that happiness is a by-product of a life that is filled with meaning. Jesus summed it up in His Sermon on the Mount which starts with a series of statements describing those who truly are happy. The strange thing about them is that they seem to be the very opposite of the things that usually drive people, like pleasure, power and possessions.
‘Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God wants,’ He said. ‘They are the ones who shall be fully satisfied.’