Like a mantra,
people utter the words, "I will be happy when..." Each person
has his own fill-in for the blank, but whatever it is, his
happiness depends on it. It might be the newest car, the
fanciest house, the corner office, or the wardrobe worth dying
for. It could be the right spouse, acceptance into
medical school, that great job, or people who understand me...
Each person has his own value system and his own criteria, but
he clearly knows, "Once I get it, I will finally be
Yet an amazing
thing happens. He does finally get it! And lo and behold,
he still isn't happy. What happened? It was all that he needed.
It was all that he wanted. He finally has it. Why isn't he
satisfied? What is the problem?
The problem is
that he isn't living the way his life was planned. If you use a
fine surgical instrument to pry open a window -
it does a lousy job, and it ruins the blade. When you live in a
way other than your Creator intended, life just doesn't work
well. And slowly, after a lifetime wasted, you learn that money
doesn't fill your soul. Pleasure and honor just don't satisfy
your inner needs. Oh, they look so alluring. They exert this
almost magical pull, but they never work. At the core of your
essence, you remain empty. And like drinking when you are
hungry, as soon as the excitement of finally getting it
passes, you find yourself more unsatisfied than before.
Unfortunately, most people discover this way too late in the
game to do anything about it.
The Most Enjoyable Activity Is Growing
the human to grow. It is in his very nature. Growth is the
activity that brings him the most joy. Hashem put man into this
world with many challenges and much to accomplish. When man uses
his life appropriately, he achieves inner balance and harmony;
he is at peace with himself. The sun is shining bright. The
birds are chirping. The colors are so vibrant - he is so alive.
He is happy. When he uses his life for any other purpose, he
finds himself empty and unsatisfied, listless, with a constant
need to fill a void within.
This is one of
the great ironies of life. The more a person focuses on purpose
and meaning, the more bountiful is his life. The more he focuses
on taking in all of the pleasures this world has to
offer, the less he enjoys them. Eat, drink and be merry for
tomorrow we may die is a formula for finding less pleasure
and less enjoyment in life. The hedonist is bound to
failbecausehisexistence becomes just an endless race to fill an
ever widening gulf within. This isn't a quirk in the system, and
it isn't by accident. It is part of the design.
mistake, pleasures have their place -
they are tools to be used. When a person is content, he
is better able to serve his Creator. By properly using the
luxuries and comforts of this world, man elevates himself. He
transforms the mundane into the holy and is better suited for
his mission. By doing this, he also elevates the world itself
because he is using it for its intended purpose. He enjoys this
world and gains the World to Come.
The Five-Star Hotel Called Life
We are in this
hotel called life for but a few short years. Nevertheless,
Hashem designed it as a five-star accommodation with many
luxuries and amenities. Hashem created a custom-made world with
flowers and trees, sunrises, and mountain tops for our use. All
of the extraordinary beauty was put here for us. The orange, the
apple, the pear, and the banana were created for us to enjoy.
The flavors, textures, and aromas in food didn't have to be
there. Nor did color.
Hashem invested great wisdom into creation for our pleasure. It
reason we are here. But it is part of the design. The difficult
part is not losing our way, not mistaking the passing for the
permanent, the hotel for our home.
man can't find happiness is that he isn't focused on why he was
created. Assuming that this world is the end all and be all of
Creation, man pursues everything but what he was put here for,
and so he lives out of sync with his very nature. Then, for some
"strange reason," nothing seems to satisfy him. So he begins
that elusive search for happiness -
in all the wrong places.
If a person
wants to live a meaningful, satisfying life, he
needs to understand himself. He must relate to the needs of his
soul. The only way that he can do this is by finding his mission
in life, finding out why Hashem created him, and why Hashem put
him into this thing we call life.