We are all searching for happiness and peace in life. But what does it take to be really, truly happy?
When you look around you, you will often see people who are pursuing their desires, believing that the fulfillment of their desires will make them happy. But, it's just not true. Such people will search for years, or even decades, chasing one desire after another after another, believing the next one will be the one to finally satisfy them. But, that coveted final desire never comes.
Why is this so? It's because happiness can't come out of the world. We can have many wonderful things in this world, but they can't cause us to be truly happy. They might cause a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but it will quickly fade, leaving an emptiness that we are desperate to fill.
Instead, to really live a happy, fulfilled life, you first need to start with the foundation.
The Foundation of All Happiness
The foundation of all happiness is simply the connection you have with God. We all have that connection, to one extent or another. If you did not, then happiness would be absolutely impossible.
Any time you are happy, it is simply a reflection of your own connection with God, which is absolute happiness. We're born with that connection pure and strong, but over time, through our own decisions, that connection is often weakened, sometimes to the point of barely being perceptible.
But you can see it for yourself. Look at your own life, and observe those areas that resemble light, happiness, peace, and goodness. Perhaps you're in a relationship that makes you feel good as a person. Perhaps you have a great job that fulfills you. Maybe you enjoy a hobby that really makes you feel complete.
Here are some examples for me:
- I have a wonderful wife who supports me in everything I do.
- I love to worship, to pray, to read the Quran, and to attend Mosque.
- I love working with the clients that God blesses me with.
- I love the friends I have.
- I love the sound of rain, especially at night when I'm going to sleep.
- I love my cat, especially when he sleeps at my feet at night.
All of these things are wonderful aspects of my life. Through them, I can see the love of God, expressed in my own life. Through them, I can see the innate connection with God that is always present.
But if I were to mistaken these things for a means of happiness on their own, I wouldn't feel nearly as good by looking at these aspects of my life. If I made my happiness dependent on these good things, then I myself would be empty, because they have no power on their own to satisfy me. They're only the effect of a healthy connection with God, not the cause of true happiness.
So, this connection with God is the foundation of true happiness. Without it, we are left to constantly search. With it, everything is enough for us, but we are always open to more.
That's not to say that you can't have desires. This is simply about your orientation towards those desires. Is it out of a sense of emptiness, or a sense of fullness? If it is out of a sense of emptiness, that means you're relying on this desire to fulfill you, which will never work. If it's out of a sense of fullness, that means that your connection with God is already alive and well, and therefore, all things are possible for you.
Strengthening The Foundation
If you've found your connection with God lacking, it's perfectly fine. It's unfortunately the state of many people today.
The first thing I will say is that God is always guiding you to strengthen that connection. You have countless opportunities every day to focus on the good. A lot of times, the difficulties we have in life are simply God showing us where we still need some work on surrendering and letting go of that which we are trying to control.
I will give an example, which I think I've mentioned several times in the past. Last year, we had a period of time when we were not doing so well financially. Logically speaking, there was no way that all the bills could possibly be paid.
But, I knew that this called for trust. I knew that if I panicked, and tried to solve it with my own logic, it wouldn't work out. In fact, it would likely only get worse. However, if instead I trusted, then everything would work out perfectly.
And indeed, within a few weeks of adopting this attitude, things started to work out perfectly for us. There was still more work to do in this area after that, but it slowly began to improve, because I knew that the best thing to do was to trust.
So, this leads me to my next point: God is always leading us to trust more and more. That is the way that we are supposed to live. We take the actions we need to take, and allow God to do the rest. He knows the perfect way that will be the best for us. There can never be any mistake in trusting and surrendering.
The most common complaint I hear from my clients is that they have trouble trusting. Indeed, it's not always very easy. However, if you're having trouble trusting in God with a particular issue, it means that you are still hanging onto the belief that this desire is going to fulfill you on its own in some way. You want this new job because it is only then that you think you can really be happy. You want this relationship because only that person can make you happy.
Once you begin to see through that delusion, it'll become a lot easier to trust. You will begin to feel content with what you have, and you will be given even more of it. God blesses those who are grateful for what they have.
There is a verse in the Quran which says this:
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' (Al-Quran, Surah Ibrahim, 14:7)
Why are you punished if you aren't grateful? Because, you're making your happiness dependent on outer circumstances, which means that God is unable to guide you to greater surrender, and therefore greater happiness.
Building on the Foundation
So many things begin to happen as you do this. The first thing is that you will feel incredibly happy. You will notice almost immediate relief, because you have given up a lot of your resistance.
That initial rush probably won't last, but you will always be increasing in your surrender and trust. You will feel better and better. That is not to say that you won't have struggles, as God will constantly demonstrate to you where you are still not letting go, and that can be painful. But if you have committed yourself to this path, then it will not be overly taxing.
Alternatively, it might be difficult right from the start. I've seen this happen if someone expresses the wish to strengthen their connection with God, but are still hanging onto their desires too much to really be willing to let go. So, God will send test after test, trying to show them where they are still hanging on, and it is their choice to follow, or not. If they do, things will get easier, quickly. If they still refuse, then it will continue to be a struggle. I would not recommend following this path.
Either way, you will soon get a very good feel for what God is trying to show you. You'll know exactly what you're being called to work through in your life.
Next, your way of living might change. Things which felt perfectly okay before, might now feel wrong to you. As long as you are moving towards a closer and closer relationship, my recommendation is to follow these feelings.
What is happening here? You are returning back to your natural state. We are all born instinctively knowing the spiritual laws of our universe. Just as you naturally follow the physical laws of our universe, so you instinctively follow the spiritual laws as well. However, through upbringing, environment, your own decisions, as well as other means, you veer away from this instinctive knowledge.
When we don't follow the spiritual laws, then life becomes painful. It is the reason that many search for happiness on the outside. They have forgotten this innate knowledge.
However, as you return back to God, you will remember those laws once more. In surrendering all things, you will be easily guided to the adherence of those laws. And in following those laws, your life improves drastically.
Some people dislike the word “law”, thinking it is a way of controlling us. But imagine if you went out every day and tried to fly. Every time you tried, you'd be reminded of the law of gravity, probably by means of a good bit of pain. If you persisted in this, you could incur rather serious injuries. We were created in a universe where gravity exists, because it makes the universe run in an orderly way. It's really best that gravity exists, it's just rather painful when you forget that fact. If we attempt to disobey that law, we're swiftly reminded of the consequences of doing so.
So it is with spiritual laws. If you break them, you will swiftly be reminded of their existence. It's not because of God wanting to torture us. On the contrary, the universe runs far better with these laws in place, but it's just painful when we forget that fact and must be reminded of it.
As you naturally begin to follow these spiritual laws once more, life will improve. You will feel happier, more at peace, and you will experience greater success in all areas. Things will simply become easier for you.
The first law is surrender. Follow this, and all else will be made clear. It is the foundation of all the others. From here, you will be on a life-long journey of deepening and strengthening your connection with God, and your knowledge of the spiritual laws of life. It may not always be easy, but it will always lead to better and better.
Image Copyright: rolffimages / 123RF Stock Photo
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