The Key to Happiness

If you are like most people in the world, your day will be made up of countless bits and pieces of fragmented activities: exercise, work, eat, converse, entertain, sleep. Add up the pieces day after day, year after year, and you end up with an entire life split into millions of fragments, with no connecting thread. Fragmentation rattles our peace of mind, creating untold tension and anxiety.

To be a happy, wholesome and healthy person, your body and soul must work in perfect harmony. The body and soul are in constant conflict—the body basically looking to satisfy its needs with the soul. Thinking that we are a single entity leads to confusion and despair.

Acknowledging that within your body is a Godly soul, a soul that can give your life purpose and lift it above the mundane pursuits of everyday life. The only way to unite body and soul is to accept that God is far higher than our limited selves. The soul, because of its transcendent nature, can rise above selfishness more easily than the body, and can discipline the body, through study and prayer, to recognize its true mission. Only then can the body rise to its true prominence — when it serves as a vehicle for the soul instead of acting under its own power, with its selfish wants and needs.

It is not enough to acknowledge your soul, you must actualize it by partnering it with the body to help a neighbour in need, to listen to a friend in distress, to help provide food or clothing to someone who cannot afford it. These become a means of putting your physical body to good spiritual use.

Begin each day with a prayer; thank God for the new day. Acknowledge your soul. Think about what you would like to accomplish that would make today a meaningful day. If you train yourself to do this every morning, you will immediately begin to see your life in a new, sharper focus.

You should end your day just as you begin it. As you prepare for sleep, review the day and how you used it. Go to sleep with the resolve that no matter how good or bad today was, tomorrow will be better. By doing so, your sleep will be more peaceful, and your waking more meaningful.

(Excerpt from Toward a Meaningful Life – The Wisdom of the Rebbe)

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