The “pursuit of happiness” is one of the inalienable rights cited in the American Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. But, they should have demanded the “pursuit of enduring happiness.”
What’s the difference?
Happiness is temporary and can be had many different ways. From enjoying good food, to being entertained, to enjoying fine weather.
But enduring happiness, as the words imply, is a greater sense of well-being that does not come and go like our emotions and the sensual awareness of pleasure and pain.
The New Message book Wisdom from the Greater Community, (Volume 1) uses an entire chapter to define enduring happiness and describes what it feels like:
Happiness seems like an emotion because that is how everyone is used to thinking of it—lots of laughter. But I am speaking of something that is an abiding sense of purpose, meaning and direction in life. It gives you a sense of satisfaction and makes it possible for you to truly relax.
When you know that you are doing the right things, engaging with the right people, for the rights reasons, this produces a deep grounding of enduring happiness and peace that cannot be shaken.
I still enjoy diversions, good food, lively company and making money. But there is greater satisfaction from doing meaningful work in the world.
And I’m not alone.
Enduring Happiness Through Work
In survey after survey by human resource departments in large corporations, the #1 motivator of employees is “meaningful work.” To everyone’s great surprise, “money” is not the biggest motivator at work.
Because money produces temporary happiness and provides for other temporary pleasures. People inherently KNOW that meaning is more important than money in their lives. This search for enduring happiness is why people will gladly work at a non-profit organization for less money.
Interested in learning more about Enduring Happiness? Read chapter 22 of Wisdom from the Greater Community.
The world needs many saints now, not just a few. The world needs the gifts of Knowledge through many now, and not just from the few. Oppression will continue. Poverty will continue. But certain people will escape. They will jump out of the fire. And for them something special will happen inside, whether their circumstances be oppressed by poverty or political restraints or whether their circumstances are affluent, easy and undemanding, they have begun to escape the poverty of the soul. – The New Message for the Impoverished and the Oppressed
You’re on the road to riches if you have ever considered what your meaning in life may be.
If you have the good fortune to have a roof over your head, plenty of food to eat, a variety of clothes to wear and little worry about war in your country, then you’re rich.
When you have the basic necessities of life, then you can focus on higher order needs such as fulfillment, self-actualization and purpose, as outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
The bottom of the pyramid are the basic needs and the top of the pyramid are the ones rarely achieved by people.
It is truly tragic that a majority of the world’s population will never get to reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid and fully express their greater calling in life.
Even if the basic necessities of life are taken care of, as they are for most in the Western World, that still doesn’t mean you’re rich enough to think of a life meaning for oneself.
Many people in the West are debt slaves, or wage slaves, or slaves to culture and consumption. They may not live in physical poverty, but they are impoverished spiritually. Even if people have everything they need, they are often still poor on the inside.
How to Know You’re Rich Spiritually
At the end of his life, Maslow ultimately concluded that a person can only find self-actualization by giving oneself to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality.
It is through giving, not by providing for oneself or by consuming, that we can attain happiness.
Even if you’re not rich in terms of money, one can still give. God’s New Message says that most of the great contributors in world history came from poverty:
The great saints amongst you will come from the poor even more than the rich. The great inventors, the great physicians, the great engineers, the great craftsmen, the great politicians, the great leaders of humanity will so often come from the lowest ranks of society. History has proven this. – The New Message for the Impoverished and Oppressed
If you’re relatively poor, it may be a great blessing because you will have fewer distractions and fewer opportunities to lose yourself in the pleasures of life. But regardless of your circumstances, God has placed Knowledge – Divine intelligence of your life’s purpose and meaning – within everyone. This is the pathway to a rich spiritual life:
Everything that is beneficial that humanity has created and produced in all fields of endeavor have come from Knowledge, have come from God, working through individuals, working through committed relationships, working through great marriages, great friendships, great associations and work, working through charity and working even through government agencies. Even they can be inspired. – The New Message for the Impoverished and Oppressed
This pathway to Knowledge and a life of purpose and meaning is available to everyone, rich and poor. It starts with silence and stillness every day:
You will be amazed at what taking ten or fifteen minutes a day in silence and inner listening will do for your life, relieving you of stress, allowing your insights to catch up with you, responding to deeper things within yourself. – The New Message for the Impoverished and Oppressed
How to know you’re rich is when you’re at the end of your life and you reflect back on how you spent your time. Was it filled with meaningless pursuits of wealth, power or fame? Or did you spend your life discovering your reason for being in the world and expressing that through service and contributions during your brief life?
I can honestly say that my life has changed dramatically since finding the New Message.
When i discovered the New Message.. it was such a confirmation of my own spirit, that it changed the course of my life and continues to do so to this day.
And this is where i would really like to speak because the New Message, the Steps to Knowledge, provided the map. That deeper reality was already within me but i was too consumed by the world to realize it with real clarity.
It was through a greater resonance with the New Message material that you could say, i started to “remember”.. to know.
The Steps have never just told me what to think, what to do, or how to do it. It would be more accurate to say that they encourage one to exercise their own authority and self-honesty. It really isn’t about following anything mindlessly here.
The Steps are what made me question, they made me ask greater questions. What they present is more about unlearning than accumulating new ideas and “stuff.”
It has been a process of going through the layers of my mind. They made me turn to myself, to face myself, to be honest with myself and my circumstances. Again, not because they say, “change this and go there and believe this and then you’ll be fulfilled and have purpose.” No, its really about self-honesty and for the individual to know what they need to know for themselves and their journey.
And that process will differ depending on the person, where they come from, their background in life and where they are going as well..
And it has been in taking the Steps, learning to work through those layers of the mind that i have come closer to that Mystery within, that knowing mind.. such a process, a gradual process.
Those layers being all the social conditioning that has been accumulated over so much time, in so many ways.
The New Message gave me my life back.
What it did was It held up a mirror. Simply and powerfully, so that i could see.. and from there, discover what i need to Know through my own experience.
The Steps are the map up a mountain that already exists.
Editor’s note: You may begin to read your map of life today. Read or download the Steps to Knowledge for free.
There is a movement in the world to love everything. Love the hard times, love the challenging moments, love the brutal tests of patience and endurance. Just love it all and you can avoid suffering!
If you can find the joy in every moment, the love in everyone, this movement asserts, you can escape suffering.
The assumption behind this philosophy is that suffering is bad. Suffering is to be avoided, denied, and pushed away.
You can’t deny the appeal of such a philosophy. After all who wants to be a “Debbie Downer”? Nobody!
But where does it say that suffering is bad?
Granted, suffering is not fun. But is there no value in suffering? What is your suffering trying to tell you?
I have found the following wisdom to be extremely effective in escaping suffering. It does not deny it or try to paint a happy face on suffering. This wisdom recognizes that suffering exists and that it must be faced, or else it will dominate you:
Your first objective, then, is to face your suffering directly, and by this I mean you must face suffering without judgment. If you are present with suffering, it cannot affect you. But if you are reacting to suffering or trying to change it, it can overtake you at any time. Those who fight suffering will become enslaved, for they are responding to it. It is capturing them because it is a habit and an addiction. It is something that claims people in spite of their good intentions. – Wisdom from the Greater Community, “Escaping Suffering”
So, no one seeks out suffering. And denying it, or calling it something else, or trying to find the love in everything in order to avoid problems in life is not the solution. Suffering must be faced despite our good efforts to be happy and to make the world a brighter place.
This wisdom goes even further and suggests that suffering is a key to finding meaning in our lives. Suffering will exist for as long as we are not engaged in our meaningful work.
It is the goal of life to find real work in the world. It is what is meaningful that is lacking, and that is why people suffer. When meaning becomes your foundation—true meaning—then that will be the source of your happiness, and you will be able to take it with you wherever you go, regardless of circumstances. – “Escaping Suffering,” Wisdom from the Greater Community, Volume I
Lack of meaning in life will produce suffering. A life of meaning greatly reduces it. Escaping suffering is possible.
Why are you here? What is the purpose of your birth? What is the meaning of your existence? Why do you seem to be separated from other people and yet share so much with them? The New Message revelation “The Separation” has a lot to say about this:
These questions are important, but ultimately the answer must be found within your own experience beneath the surface of your mind. Stay at the surface of your mind, acting and reacting to the world, and you will never understand any of these things even though they hold the ultimate value and purpose of your life and the meaning of your existence in this world, at this time, under these circumstances, no matter how troubling they may seem.
So, the meaning of your existence is not found in NFL football games on Sundays. The meaning of your life is not found in what is going on in social media. Watching sports and surfing Facebook are not evil activities and they can be a nice break from the hard work of life. But these diversions, and many others, distract us from the deep voice of truth inside us and the bigger reality of our life.
Why you do not want to hear the greater voice that God has put within you, the voice of Knowledge, the voice that resonates through your deeper nature, which is still connected to God? Why do you reject this? Why do you avoid this? Why do you want to live out in the world and be lost there, consumed by your interests, your hobbies and your dilemmas? Why do you run away from that which will redeem you?
The Meaning of your Existence is the Source of your Redemption
OK. Maybe you get it. But redemption? Why do you have to be redeemed? It’s the same reason why we seek distractions and hobbies and fulfillment in our work.
We are not satisfied with life: just waking up, eating, working and having children (possibly). We can’t be like the animals just surviving, finding food and shelter. We suffer from the memories of our past and we are anxious about our death in the future.
For a sentient being, the awareness of the future and the regrets from the past are an immense burden and source of suffering and misery. Only a greater purpose in life can utilize the past and the future for a greater purpose, thus relieving you from the suffering and the anxiety that it would otherwise produce in an overwhelming way. – “The Separation“
So, it is engagement with your greater purpose, the meaning of your existence, that saves you from the misery and anxiety of living.
Sorry. New clothes, technology, movies, TV and hobbies are all enjoyable, but they will not save us from the burden of consciousness, the pain of knowing that our lives are finite.
OK. So HOW do you find that greater purpose, the meaning of your existence, which will redeem you?
It is like the treasure is in the temple, but it is locked deep inside, and you have to go find it. That in part is why God has sent a New Revelation into the world—to provide the Steps to Knowledge in the clearest possible form that can be translated into any language and studied directly, powerfully, without human commentary and without the weight and the corruption of history oppressing it.
- “I need a job so that I can be free from poverty.”
- “I need political equality to be free from oppression.”
- “I need to tell the truth so that I am free from guilt.”
- “I need to release my anger so that my heart is free.”
All these desires satisfy basic needs to escape oppressive circumstances, but they don’t explain the meaning of freedom. What is the purpose of freedom? What is freedom to be used for? What is the driving NEED for freedom?
Usually, these questions go unanswered simply because the concept of freedom is so valued.
Wars are justified in the name of freedom. Soldiers give their lives in the name of freedom. Governments are toppled in the name of freedom. Freedom is such an esteemed virtue that we rarely consider the meaning of freedom.
Because the meaning of freedom is not examined and considered seriously, freedom is often squandered, taken for granted and eventually rendered meaningless to people who seek it so fervently and mindlessly:
Freedom without purpose is quite meaningless. What is the value of freedom if there is no purpose? It is only license to be chaotic. But the true meaning of freedom is so that true purpose may continue to be discovered and expressed. To have this freedom, you must learn to live in Knowledge and to use Knowledge. – Wisdom from the Greater Community, Volume I
This passage from the New Message from God explains the purpose of freedom: to discover Knowledge and to follow Knowledge and to live it in one’s life. Knowledge is your True self that contains your life’s purpose.
Since freedom is rare and difficult to achieve, once it is achieved, it must be used vigorously! Freedom must not be squandered – it must be squeezed for every last drop to discover and express our purpose for being in the world.
Freedom must be used and not taken for granted in order to give meaning to your life! There is a reason why freedom is hard won: it is gives you the greatest opportunity to fulfill your purpose in life.
Why do we search for meaning in our lives? Why does it seem like we have a spiritual fire burning a hole in our souls?
Really, why should we do this? It holds no immediate gratification to find meaning in life and yet many people still yearn for it, search for it and work towards it.
What is this drive, this spiritual fire that pushes us into unknown territory, beyond the expectations of our family and culture? From where does it come?
Why do people hear a calling to serve others or to seek out new discoveries in science and art? Where does altruism come from and the desire to improve the human condition?
Animals don’t have this drive, this burning need to find meaning and contribution in life. Sadly, many humans who are oppressed by economic circumstances and religious dictates also don’t search for it because they have more pressing needs of the moment to attend to.
Only the person who has achieved a certain level of financial independence, and who can provide for their own needs of food, water, shelter and clothing seek this journey of meaning.
What is this burning need to find something greater than Earthly pleasures of comfort, distraction and entertainment?
The New Message from God calls this burning need “The Spiritual Fire”:
As a creature of the earth, your heart will continue to beat; your body will work. But these things cannot produce the desire to create, the desire to establish true relationships, the desire for meaning and the search for meaning. These must come from a deeper incentive that lives within you, deep down within you. This comes from the fire. – The Spiritual Fire
Consumer Goods Attempt to Satisfy our Spiritual Fire
So, we all have this Spiritual Fire. But BEWARE . For the person who has achieved a basic level of comfort and security, the mental environment is constantly appealing to our spiritual fire and attempting to drain and weaken it.
The advertisements running in the mental environment – on television, radio, and online – also know what is spiritual fire inside us. The advertisements speak to our deep yearnings for meaning, relationships, service and purpose in life.
Whether its a car or a toothpaste or an article of clothing, the promise of all advertisements is that we will be happier, filled with meaningful relationships and confidence with these products. Look at any advertisement and you can know this is true. They are appealing to our spiritual fire in a slightly dishonest way:
But no amount of possessions or purchases can satisfy the spiritual fire. It burns and drives us forward in search of that meaning and the truth of our lives:
This is your freedom, you see, for nothing in the world can extinguish this [spiritual fire]. It remains pure within you. Even if your life has been defiled; even if your life has been misspent; even if your life is currently under suffering, under subjugation or oppression by others, the fire is pure within you. It will give you the eyes to see and the ears to hear and the strength to look at life objectively. It will restore you from your obsessions and addictions, for it is more powerful than they.
Have the courage to see the messages behind the messages in our culture: the ads, the offers, the inducements which entice us to substitute our real life meaning for trinkets of short-lived pleasure. You need this spiritual fire; the world needs this spiritual fire. What is spiritual fire if not the ultimate truth of our reason for being in the world?
What’s the first thought or feeling that comes to you when you think of “work”?
For me, it was first dread and then excitement.
For most of my life, I dreaded work. I mostly hated school (except for gym class). I have disliked most of my jobs which were boring and uninspiring.
But I also have had great passion and success when I worked on my own projects. When I worked in creative pursuits, when I was building something, I could pour hours and hours of immeasurable energy into projects. It was as if everything I could give would be given, and even more than I knew I had to give.
In these circumstances, I felt alive. I felt a tangible meaning in my life. I was not a random mutation. I was not a misfit anymore.
The New Message recognizes this ambivalence of hating and loving work:
What is this work that we speak of? Is it your current employment, which you resist and have difficulty with? … Review how you have responded to work in the past—your desire to work, your ambivalence concerning work and your resistance to work. Recognize how all desire to escape work has really been a desire to discover Knowledge. – Steps to Knowledge
This revealed to me why I resisted school and resisted work. I had to know what my life was FOR before I could begin my true work!
It was not that I didn’t want to work or that I was lazy. I always knew I could work very hard on something when I was motivated.
That was the key for me: motivation! Why would I be motivated sometimes and not others?
Work with Knowledge is True Work
In the past, I didn’t see the point of studying something in school if I didn’t know how I would use it. Yes, some things just need to be learned in order to function in society and be an educated person.
Beyond these essentials of education, I really wanted to know what I was supposed to do with my life. What was the meaning, purpose and direction that I should follow?
If I knew these things, then I could focus like a laser on getting there by learning what I needed to learn and then accomplishing the things I knew I had to do in life. The New Message calls knowing the meaning, purpose and direction of life our “Knowledge.”
Your true work in the world is to discover your Knowledge and allow it to express itself through you. – Steps to Knowledge
In my jobs, I worked hard, but it was never because of money. Yes, money is a very useful thing and sometimes I didn’t have enough which really motivated me to work! But beyond having enough money to live on, very few jobs motivated me if I didn’t feel a meaning and purpose for me to do the job. I needed the money, but I didn’t need the job.
I see this with everyone when I look at the world. If you have enough money to live on, then you need something more to motivate you. You need inspiration; you need Knowledge to guide you to your life’s meaning, purpose and direction:
It is through your work and meaningful activity that you will experience your value—the value of your individual life and the assurance of your true destiny. Your true work guarantees you all things of value and provides you escape from all things that conceal you and render you helpless and miserable. – Steps to Knowledge