A Book of Friendly Thoughts | Nixon Waterman Podcast

Podcast Excerpt: One of the happiest observers of life and its higher purposes Anne Gilchrist says: “I used to think it was great to disregard happiness, to press to a high goal, while being careless and disdainful of it. But now I see there is nothing so great as to be capable of happiness, to pluck it out of each moment, and, whatever happens, to find that one can ride as gay and buoyant on the angry, menacing, tumultuous waves of life as on those that glide and glitter under a clear sky; that it is not defeat and wretchedness which comes out of the storms of adversity, but strength and calmness.”

The strongest incentive for the cultivation of a joyful heart is that it is a duty as well as a delight. Sydney Smith has very wisely observed that “humankind is always happier for having been happy; so that if you make others happy now, you may make them happy twenty years hence by the memory of it.”

True happiness has about it no suggestion of selfishness. The genuinely happy person is the one who would have all the world happy. Father Faber asks, “Is there any happiness in the world like the happiness of a disposition made happy by the happiness of others? There is no joy to be compared with it. The luxuries which wealth can buy, the rewards which ambition can obtain, the pleasures of art and scenery, the abounding sense of health and the exquisite enjoyment of mental creations are nothing to this pure and heavenly happiness, where self is drowned in the blessings of others.”

One of the most heavenly attributes of happiness is that it begets more happiness, not only in ourselves but in others about us. It has in it an uplift and a strength that enables us to build the stronger today against the distress that would beset us tomorrow.

“Health and happiness” are terms that often closely linked in our speech and in our literature. One is almost a synonym for the other. Perhaps the true significance that exists between the two would be more correctly stated were we to reverse the form in which they are usually set forth and say “happiness and health” instead.

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