What makes us happy?: When we speak of happiness we think in general of the extent to which our needs and aspirations are met. These are predominantly of a material nature. Thus the greater the fulfilment, the happier we should become. It then follows that the happiest people should be those endowed with the resourcefulness and adeptness to maximise their material and financial resources. But is this really so? Does an increasing fulfilment of these aspirations not also lead to further demands in a never-ending spiral, culminating in physical and mental exhaustion as well as the inability to actually enjoy what one has because there will always be something better and newer on the horizon?

We all are aware of people who seem to have it all, but are nevertheless plunged into neuroses and depression even to the point of suicide or who take refuge in alcohol or drugs instead. They thought that they could find happiness in money and property, fame or earthly honours but were disappointed by the result, since those things alone could not give meaning to their lives. Instead of considering these feelings of inadequacy as a ‘wake-up call’ to change their way of thinking and make a new start, they have concluded that life is absurd and meaningless anyway and might as well be ended or at least made ‘bearable’ by alcohol, drugs or wild parties which, in the end, will have the same result, because, as they say, life has no meaning! They lament: To die old or young, what is the difference?

This is not meant to infer that one should shun material goods and live in poverty if one seeks spiritual values. Even the loftiest aspirations must be underpinned by solid material foundations, otherwise they will come to nought or become dependent upon the generosity of others. They may thereby become subject to the wishes of the donors, thus possibly compromising the original aims. The admonition by Jesus pertaining to material goods – you cannot serve God and money – is a simple statement that one should not amass material goods for their own sake and especially not to convulsively cling to them, that is, to become their slave! But it should not to be taken as a general prohibition of the possession of wealth if we wish to serve God, since our earthly needs must also be taken care of and the neglect to do so will have dire consequences for our lives.

Thus happiness on earth also necessarily includes the satisfaction of our material and earthly needs, but these alone will not bring happiness, because true happiness involves simultaneously satisfying a type of need other than the material and earthly, that is to say, the needs of the spirit.

However, the satisfaction of this other type of need is gained by experiencing our surroundings to the point where it touches our spirit, not merely the outer layers of our existence, thereby animating it and making it more mobile. This will automatically lead to spiritual growth and enhanced consciousness of the self, thus of the perception of ourselves as unique individuals, endowed with freedom of choice but also aware of the responsibility this entails because we really do reap what we sow, even if this may not happen immediately. At some time we will be unequivocally confronted with our past actions and suffer under them if they have been bad or enjoy the proceeds if they have been good. This also leads to happiness as we learn to discern which path to take or, if already on a given path, whether to proceed further along that path or turn back if it is leading us astray. The terror of being on the wrong path will give way to joy once we have found the right way.

In his Grail Message, Abd-ru-shin (Oskar Ernst Bernhardt 1875-1941) states that the human being originates as an unconscious spirit spark or seed in the spiritual realm, which is situated above the world of matter (consisting of the physical universe as well as the so-called beyond or ethereal world), and should return there as a fully conscious spirit personality after its wanderings through all the material worlds. If they are on the right path, human beings could savour true happiness in the process of becoming self-conscious, and they could attain this in dense matter, including the earth, in accordance with the Laws of Creation: Lecture: ‘Father, Forgive Them, For They Know

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