Archive for happiness

Slow Time and the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2018 by thecrossingchicago

I had a chat with a friend the other day about happiness.  She asked me about the pursuit and if it really comes to any meaning.  Perhaps it’s just futile and only leads us on a goose chase that leaves us feeling tired and bitter.  It was a great conversation and it gave me a lot of insights as I pondered it.

I once heard an author say that all of his writing comes from a question.  In other words, he doesn’t write because he thinks he’s an expert about something.  Instead, he is processing out loud as he writes.  That’s exactly what I am doing here.  I’m wondering as a wander, so to speak.

In such a conversation, it seems that we have to start with the semantics.  What is happiness?  Is it really something to be “attained”?  In my own definition, happiness is merely the emotional reaction to what we perceive another is doing to or for us.  While I’m probably just being over-analytical, I would venture that what we are really looking for is joy or contentment.  Or better yet – serenity.

If we stick with the word “happy,”  I have my doubts that it is something that can be pursued and caught up with.  It appears to be a futile chase toward something that is ethereal and can never fully be grasped.  Rather, it would be more like Thoreau’s estimation that it is something akin to a butterfly that will come and land on our shoulder if we would just stop and smell the roses.

Regardless of the right term – happiness, joy, contentment – I find myself more and more seeing it as a state of being rather than a condition to be attained.  In all of its elusiveness, we are shooting at a moving target.  It is nearly impossible to hit something that is constantly changing.  As I was considering this idea, it occurred to me: we are also moving.  If both the target and the source are in motion, then how can we expect to ever make contact!?

What I mean is this: when we aren’t centered and mindful, how do we really even know what we want?  How can we ever come to a place that we can be assured is genuine joy?  It is like hoping that two atoms from opposite sides of the world will eventually make contact.  It’s nearly impossible and only guaranteed to leave us worn out and hopeless.

So what would it look like if we did the inner work to truly know ourselves?  How would it be to slow time and actually live in the moment with complete awareness and intentionality?  Not multitasking, not running, not chasing.  Instead – breathing, sitting, being.

I’m talking to myself as much as anyone, but I would be willing to bet that, if we would stop and smell the roses, we would experience a great shift.  Not only would happiness not seem like an elusive ideal, but we would likely realize that, in that moment, we already have all that we need.  For the first time, we will experience joy and contentment.  Finally, we will have what we ask for in the old prayer: courage, wisdom, and the ultimate peace of mind: serenity.

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Happiness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 21, 2009 by pastoralb

As we head into the Christmas season, although it should be a time of thanksgiving and joy, this season often marks the onset of the “holiday blues”. We tend to start comparing ourselves to others by our ability to buy nice gifts for our spouses and children. Keeping good with the “keeping up with the Jones’s” style, we feel down because we do not do as well as our neighbors and also are upset with our companies for not allowing us to do better.

I read an article about happiness in Business Week last week which talked about the correlation between being happy at home and being happy at work. There is a direct correlation because the person experiencing the emotion is one and the same – US! We are the ones who decide if we are happy and choose how to react to our surroundings – or to change them. If we do not like the situation we are in such as how much we are paid our what we have achieved, WE are the only ones with the power to change it. So, as we head into the new year, let’s make some real goals on how to improve our lives and our attitudes and then actually make those dreams a reality.

Pastor B

*First Step Ministries is mostly funded by weddings performed by Pastor B. If you or someone you know is getting married and in need of a wedding minister or wedding officiant in Chicago or the Chicagoland area, check us out at