The Cause of Happiness

Susan Gehlbach has a great observation in the post below about happiness:

Susan’s Pendulum: Happiness

Depression in my view is the extreme inward turning of the personality and the soul. It has physical, medical and spiritual causes. But one thing that I certainly know from my experience is that when I am depressed, it is very hard to see outside myself. When I am least depressed, it is because I am finding (being given?) contentment in the vocations God has given me. So Susan and her pastor are right. We sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are at our best when we are in service to our neighbor.

So how does one get outside of oneself to serving the neighbor, thus finding the contentment and happiness which only God can give. First, the Gospel. Only the Gospel can pull out outside of ourselves and into the lives our our neighbors from a spiritual perspective. Second, addressing whatever the medical or physiological aspects that are going on. This may happen via medication (traditional or non-traditional), therapy, exercise, diet, and a host of other elements that all come into play with our bodies.

That’s the way I see it. What do you see?

-DMR

14 thoughts on “The Cause of Happiness”

  1. I think (but still in the thinkin' stage and not sure…) that if you go looking for a way to get outside yourself so that you can feel better and serve others, that it doesn't work. All during December every year, we hear about people who say they want to "give back" because ….
    it makes them feel good.
    Thing is, if they're giving to others for the sake of feeling good about themselves, then it's ultimately a selfish endeavor. And then it doesn't really have the same [full] effect on them. However, somehow, some way, that givingness still does make them feel good. I guess that's one aspect of what Pastor is talking about when he says sacrificial love is part of being made in God's image, and it's just simply a truth that undergirds the universe.

    I wish I knew how, when a person is in the dumps, turned inward, focused on herself, how to break that cycle and start caring and loving and paying attention to others. I think you listed several important things. In addition to whatever exercise or medication or supplements or socialization, it seems (in my own limited experience) that the thing that really makes the biggest difference is immersion in hearing God's word.

  2. I think (but still in the thinkin' stage and not sure…) that if you go looking for a way to get outside yourself so that you can feel better and serve others, that it doesn't work. All during December every year, we hear about people who say they want to "give back" because ….
    it makes them feel good.
    Thing is, if they're giving to others for the sake of feeling good about themselves, then it's ultimately a selfish endeavor. And then it doesn't really have the same [full] effect on them. However, somehow, some way, that givingness still does make them feel good. I guess that's one aspect of what Pastor is talking about when he says sacrificial love is part of being made in God's image, and it's just simply a truth that undergirds the universe.

    I wish I knew how, when a person is in the dumps, turned inward, focused on herself, how to break that cycle and start caring and loving and paying attention to others. I think you listed several important things. In addition to whatever exercise or medication or supplements or socialization, it seems (in my own limited experience) that the thing that really makes the biggest difference is immersion in hearing God's word.

  3. “So how does one get outside of oneself to serving the neighbor, thus finding the contentment and happiness which only God can give. First, the Gospel. Only the Gospel can pull out outside of ourselves and into the lives of our neighbors from a spiritual perspective. Second, addressing whatever the medical or physiological aspects that are going on. This may happen via medication (traditional or non-traditional), therapy, exercise, diet, and a host of other elements that all come into play with our bodies.” So a portion of the post from the blog darkmyroad.org.

  4. “So how does one get outside of oneself to serving the neighbor, thus finding the contentment and happiness which only God can give. First, the Gospel. Only the Gospel can pull out outside of ourselves and into the lives of our neighbors from a spiritual perspective. Second, addressing whatever the medical or physiological aspects that are going on. This may happen via medication (traditional or non-traditional), therapy, exercise, diet, and a host of other elements that all come into play with our bodies.” So a portion of the post from the blog darkmyroad.org.

  5. All I can do is speak from my own experience. I don’t know the author of the blog nor do I know their particular experience. I really wish that when I was very ill-as opposed to being treatable now-that there had been a sort of gospel magic wand some well meaning pastor could have waved over me, and presto! There would have been no attempt at suicide; there would have been no banging of my head into door frames; there wouldn’t have been days spent paralyzed by fear; and there wouldn’t have been the absolute hatred that I had for myself. Then there’s the chunk of my life that wouldn’t be ‘missing’. I do agree that the spirit needs treated in cases of depression, I would also argue that perhaps after safety-which is always the first concern-the spiritual dimension should be second.

  6. All I can do is speak from my own experience. I don’t know the author of the blog nor do I know their particular experience. I really wish that when I was very ill-as opposed to being treatable now-that there had been a sort of gospel magic wand some well meaning pastor could have waved over me, and presto! There would have been no attempt at suicide; there would have been no banging of my head into door frames; there wouldn’t have been days spent paralyzed by fear; and there wouldn’t have been the absolute hatred that I had for myself. Then there’s the chunk of my life that wouldn’t be ‘missing’. I do agree that the spirit needs treated in cases of depression, I would also argue that perhaps after safety-which is always the first concern-the spiritual dimension should be second.

  7. To treat the spirit requires a great deal of time and a great deal of patience; it is often NOT a gospel experience time. It wasn’t for me-what the f**k do I want to hear about the great things Jesus did for others when I’m trying to drive a gd car off a bridge and Christ is sitting on his a** watching? Now that’s ‘plain’ talk and maybe it upsets some of the brothers out in cyberspace, but I could care less-THAT’S the language of depression.

  8. To treat the spirit requires a great deal of time and a great deal of patience; it is often NOT a gospel experience time. It wasn’t for me-what the f**k do I want to hear about the great things Jesus did for others when I’m trying to drive a gd car off a bridge and Christ is sitting on his a** watching? Now that’s ‘plain’ talk and maybe it upsets some of the brothers out in cyberspace, but I could care less-THAT’S the language of depression.

  9. Don’t come around me telling me Jesus this and Jesus that while I’m banging my head into a ****ing door frame to stop the noise inside my head-THAT’S the reality of depression, and THAT’S where you have to meet people. Here’s another newsflash: ‘pastors’ aren’t Christ, at least I’m not. I can’t make my member not try to take their own life anymore than I could stop my own attempt. I’m not going to sit there and sing ‘I am Jesus little lamb’ with —, holding one hand while — has a razor in the other.
    And I’ll tell a dirty little secret: once you’ve tried suicide, you never, ever forget it. The absolute and utter freedom to take your own life and to end all the ‘noise.’ It’s depression, it’s mental, it isn’t like fixing a hernia: snip, tuck, cut, job done. For those of you who have managed to escape it or can stay one step ahead of its grasp: AMEN! Then there’s others…

  10. Don’t come around me telling me Jesus this and Jesus that while I’m banging my head into a ****ing door frame to stop the noise inside my head-THAT’S the reality of depression, and THAT’S where you have to meet people. Here’s another newsflash: ‘pastors’ aren’t Christ, at least I’m not. I can’t make my member not try to take their own life anymore than I could stop my own attempt. I’m not going to sit there and sing ‘I am Jesus little lamb’ with —, holding one hand while — has a razor in the other.
    And I’ll tell a dirty little secret: once you’ve tried suicide, you never, ever forget it. The absolute and utter freedom to take your own life and to end all the ‘noise.’ It’s depression, it’s mental, it isn’t like fixing a hernia: snip, tuck, cut, job done. For those of you who have managed to escape it or can stay one step ahead of its grasp: AMEN! Then there’s others…

  11. …there’s others who put on an alb on Sunday mornings, cinch a stole, chant the liturgy flawlessly, deliver a lovely homily, celebrate the sacrament, give the benediction with a smile, and all the while demons battle for control of the mind. It would interesting if we could hook speakers up to the minds of the depressed so others might also celebrate the ‘noise.’

  12. …there’s others who put on an alb on Sunday mornings, cinch a stole, chant the liturgy flawlessly, deliver a lovely homily, celebrate the sacrament, give the benediction with a smile, and all the while demons battle for control of the mind. It would interesting if we could hook speakers up to the minds of the depressed so others might also celebrate the ‘noise.’

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