How to be happy according to Israeli sages

How to be happy according to Israeli sages

Rabbi Aharon of Karlin said: Sadness means I am owed, I lack. Everything is personal gain. His heart is not directed towards Heaven… And who told you that it is you who are owed and not you the one in debt?

In other words, the main cause of sadness is to have a reactive, not a proactive attitude toward life.  That is, the origin of sadness lies in having a passive attitude, waiting for others to invite us, others to address us, others to call us and others to look for us. And what happens when others do not do what we, in our heart of hearts hope, when they do not consequently meet our expectations?  Then we get sad, bitter, rancorous and “hate” the whole world. Instead, when the person starts to live a proactive life, ceasing to be focused on what is said and not said to them, what is done and not done to them, and so on, he or she begins to free themselves from slavery and the emotional dependence on their peers, thus turning into the active generator of his or her own reality, and contributing much more successfully to their own happiness.

The sadness in the service to Hashem is more harmful than the sin for which the person is sad. And why is this so? Because unlike the sin whose damage is punctual, sadness seeks to prolong the damage caused by the feeling of having sinned, and as a consequence the damage is projected and becomes something much more terrible and global. So, in the end, all that sadness attempts to achieve is to wear us and weaken us internally, making us feel that we are a disaster, not worthy of anything, always making mistakes, and that it will be no good for us to make an effort to change.

Image courtesy of Custom USB at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Custom USB at Flickr.com

And, without a shadow of a doubt, the negative effect from those feelings of anguish, remorse of conscience and self-pity, are much more terrible and destructive than the particular effect that the sin itself generated.  And while we must not neglect the fact that we commit transgressions, we must strive to go through  the process of repentance in a quick, focused and timely manner; getting out promptly of said place, in order to continue building our life with faith, hope, joy, love and happiness.

When the heart is overflowing with joy, it makes no difference between the people he loves and those he hates. And why does it not make a difference? Because everything that causes the person to behave differently when it comes to dealing with its peers, is nothing but the rigor and internal rigidity that comes as a result of negative feelings or thoughts that the person eventually holds within.

And despite the fact that we are people and not angels, and when bad things are done to us we -usually- are affected by them, there is no doubt that the effect that they have the potential to cause in us is much bigger even though we harbor in our hearts negative feelings and that in itself predisposes us intuitively toward it.

And conversely, when we learn to truly live with inner joy, happy of what we are and happy of what we have thanks to the goodness of Hashem, we tend to be much more flexible and much less rigid to ourselves and to our fellow men, being able to make our joy and our love flow and expand toward all others, without the internal stress generated by discernment when it is done out of place.  And without a doubt, the only way to win the struggle for happiness in life, is in learning how to live with much more love and much less rigidity, potentially transforming the negative into positive and potential -or true- enemies into friends.

The main aspect of joy is in the heart and the heart will not rejoice until it that which is twisted inside of it is eradicated for good.  In other words, only a person with a heart that does not think in a false and misleading way and that does not hold negative feelings toward his fellow man can achieve authentic, genuine and true happiness.

Image courtesy of Elpidio Guillermo at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Elpidio Guillermo at Flickr.com

And it is precisely at this point where we can find the true and genuine wisdom that the people of Israel received over 3,300 years ago at the foot of Mount Sinai, a wisdom that teaches us to have a sensitive mind and an understanding heart, making more and better things for the good of our fellow men, which will ultimately end up not being anything other than the greatest well-being for ourselves.

And until the person has not worked to depurate his or her heart, eliminating from it all “twisted” or negative feelings, it is impossible that the person can have access to a real and truly full life, filling their heart with joy and happiness.