Lying in bed this morning, the thought came:
Happiness doesn’t depend upon circumstances.
I kid you not when I say that the theme song of Star Wars immediately started ringing through my head, as if to indicate this was a major mystery solved! I smiled–marveling, then wavered–wondering, ‘Is it true?’ Could it be true, when the reality is that sometimes horrible things happen that hurt, hurt, hurt? Could it be true, when worries and fears about [current greatest concern] consume all of one’s emotional reserves, blocking the vital energy called happiness? Could it be true, when depression is real and a huge stumbling block to joy and hope?
‘But wait!’ I caught myself in the thought. ‘My depression happens despite my blessed circumstances: great spouse, financial security, good physical health, plenty of diversion, strong church community, supportive friends, etc. Could it also be that happiness is not contingent upon circumstances?’
The image of a glorious, eternal soul came to me–the Inner I that is not touched or damaged by the challenges and circumstances of life. The I that came from God, passes through mortal life, and continues from everlasting to everlasting. Surely that Soul’s happiness does not depend upon the externals of this life. Yet why is it so difficult for the conscious self, the Mortal Me that is the collective experience called [Shaunalei Boyer Andersen], to experience sustained happiness?
Then it struck me! Happiness (exhilaration) comes in purpose-filled doing (effort), no matter the outward circumstances. Depression (feeling stuck) remains during hope-sucking inactivity (wallowing), no matter the externals, either. In a nutshell,
“The key to happiness is effort.”
I’m excited to test the hypothesis, to see if indeed “working with a purpose” helps create “happiness on demand.” What do you think?