Is happiness just a mirage? Sometimes it seems that way. It dangles just out of reach. It seems to lie in another person, or in a particular location, or in a coveted job.
We might think we need only turn one more corner and it will be firmly in our grasp. And yet we turn that corner only to find that happiness has vanished, and now beckons from some further corner.
Things don't have to go on that way.
"The beliefs we commonly entertain about happiness and life afford no scatheless and permanent evidence of either," writes Mary Baker Eddy. n1 "Security for the claims of harmonious and eternal being is found only in divine Science." n2
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 232.
What kind of Science can offer us assurance of "harmonious and eternal being"? A Science that opens our eyes to the fact that there is no other type of being.
Christian Science shows how to cut through the mirage of happiness in matter and become fully aware of the reality that surrounds us and gives us life. That reality is God.
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," n3 said Christ Jesus, who taught humanity of God's nature as the indestructible Father. God is infinite Mind and Love. This infinite Being is present here; there is actually no other power governing man.
n3 John 10:10.
Here's where the scientific guarantee of happiness comes in. God is entirely good. His nature is perfection, holiness, richness. Therefore existence as God makes it is not agonizing; it's limitless.
The real man, the opposite of the flesh and blood creature we generally think we are, has never been downtrodden. Unhappiness is impossible to an expression of perfect good. Satisfaction and joy are natural components of immortal man, because they are elements of God's being. Nothing can separate man from this perfect being.
These are the facts we must claim for ourselves -- and search to more fully understand -- if we are to find permanent happiness. Analyzing, inspecting, and dissecting material prospects for happiness don't get us where we want to be. But the more firmly we take hold of God and understand our relation to Him, the happier we will be, because the lie that we are just lonely mortals crumbles when confronted with the actual facts of existence.
But does this really have an effect? How can just knowing a thing bring happiness?
When I was a child, my father called me to him one morning. He said with a smile that he had something for me. I responded eagerly, hoping for a special treat.
But what he wanted was to tell me about my true selfhood. He explained to me that rather than being a mortal, the child of two mortal parents, I was really the spiritual child of God. He told me that man is God's complete and perfect idea, depending on no other source and having no other being.
It was interesting to hear him talk about these things, yet I was a little disappointed. I had hoped for a present. I told my father that, and he smiled and said, "Don't you know that the more you learn about God and your true selfhood, the happier you'll be?" I smiled back, but I was sure he was wrong. Happiness was in things, not just in knowing something.
As I went outside to ride my bike, though, I found myself humming a little song. I felt so good. All morning a special peace and happiness stayed with me. "It's true!" I realized. It was better than a present.
As I've grown up I've often recalled that incident. When happiness seems elusive and distant, I know I don't have to search for some thing.m What I need to do is understand more what I really am. When i see clearly -- even if it's just a glimpse -- that my being reflects the immense goodness of God, I can't be anything but happy.
Happiness isn't "out there." We can stop chasing around corners and start enjoying the here and now, for wherever we are, all the good we need is at hand.