Saturday, February 28, 2009

A New Look at "The Way to Happiness"

A New Look at "The Way to Happiness"

Introduction - Why Others Need Encouragement on the Way to Happiness

The Lawmen newsletter deals with law and associated topics.  This message concerns an associated topic, for a very good reason which I shall reveal.  And I encourage you to read this to the end, for there I shall give you very special treat, one that you will probably want to share with those whom you love.

Most people interested in the Lawmen newsletter postings have some sincere interest in the law and in using it for good purposes.  And many recipients have had, do have, or anticipate having some difficulties with the law, either because of abuse by some public employee (police, judge, state attorney), or because of some dispute over an alleged violation of law that causes difficulties and troubles in life.

I write now to defuse and disable some of those difficulties by pointing out

The Way to Happiness.  

With this "way" as a backdrop in a person's life, the person actually survives more successfully, and becomes better able to "flourish and prosper."  So this topic should interest you and those precious to you.

Religion, Common Sense, or What?

Many, if not most, people connect morality with religion, and use religion as a way of understanding and achieving happiness. I think that all well and good, except that people often get confused over the differences between religious dogma and simple common sense.

After all, we don't need "orders from God" to tell us not to steal, murder, falsely accuse, covet another's relationships and possessions, disrespect our parents, and revere God.  We do not need a "Ten Commandments" to know that we should strive to know and love God as our "heavenly" parent, love one another as brothers and sisters, serve one another unselfishly and lovingly, and strive to let truth, beauty, and goodness characterize our pursuits on this world.  We don't need an array of religious philosophers, seers, prophets, angels, and messengers from God to tell us the Golden Rule of "do unto others what you would have others do unto you." 

We intuitively know that we should organize and perpetuate a sane, humane, and virtuous family, community, government, and civilization by yielding some of our sovereignties to higher-level government for the good of all, and by making and keeping sensible agreements with others.  Most of us know those as plain common sense, don't we?

And anyone should see that the above common sense maxims or precepts DO constitute the goals (or fall within the embrace) of "religion."  

Wikipedia defines religion this way:

A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narrativessymbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernaturalor transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth... The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system,"[2] but it is more socially defined than personal convictions, and it entails specific behaviors, respectively.

Wikipedia unduly clouds the subject.  I define "religion" differently.  

"True religion is a wholehearted devotion to some reality which the religionist deems to be of supreme value to himself and for all mankind."

In other words, religion means "devotion to supreme values."

Seen this way, a supposedly irreligious mother and father seek to protect children from danger express "religion" because they believe in their hearts and with all sincerity that parental care and protection of children have supreme value to the family and possibly to civilization. 

The Urantia Book explains the impact of religion on the individual this way, in part:

     "The accepted supreme value of the religionist may be base or even false, but it is nevertheless religious. A religion is genuine to just the extent that the value which is held to be supreme is truly a cosmic reality of genuine spiritual worth.
     "The marks of human response to the religious impulse embrace the qualities of nobility and grandeur. The sincere religionist is conscious of universe citizenship and is aware of making contact with sources of superhuman power. He is thrilled and energized with the assurance of belonging to a superior and ennobled fellowship of the sons of God. The consciousness of self-worth has become augmented by the stimulus of the quest for the highest universe objectives--supreme goals." The Urantia Book , Paper 100, "Religion in Human Experience." Topic 6, "The Marks of Religious Living." Page 1100.

I shall always use the word religion as "devotion to supreme values" to avoid confusion and to adhere to common sense.

The Connection between Religion and Law

A noble set of laws constitutes an integral part of the sublimest sense of the human's religion impulse.  Sensible laws provide rules of "live and let live" behavior that increasingly incorporates respect for the dignity of others with an obligation to personal responsibility as our civilization evolves.  

We have developed such a comprehensive system of laws in the United States.  These laws sometimes seem unreasonably to interfere with personal liberties (like the considered right not to wear a seat belt).  But they have evolved because modern Americans have developed a social conscience that holds in high esteem behaviors deemed valuable and necessary to achieving and maintaining what I call "balanced happiness."

While I might not want to buckle up my seat belt, I know from personal experience and observation that without it, a traffic crash can injure or kill me or my precious family. That would also crush me with guilt if I lived through it.  I don't want anyone to suffer such devastation.  So I agree to buckle up and make everyone in my car do so, ultimately because my love for them drives me to do so.  That comes from common sense, of course.  Buckling up also has a religious aspect because I supremely value the safety of  those I love and I have developed a devotion to supreme values.  

In that respect, I am a religionist.  And I believe every subscriber to the Lawmen newsletter has the same status.

As you should now see, fostering a practical set of laws constitutes the "living" of one's most personal religion.  That at least partly explains why the Old Testament, the Koran, and  other even more ancient religious texts propound laws by which people should live.  And it explains why Jesus of Nazareth told his followers a new "law:" 

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."  Holy Bible, King James Version, New Testament, John 13:34

Details of The Way to Happiness

You could say that the foregoing presents "the way to happiness" in a nutshell.  I think it does.  But  many people, particularly children and those beset by, beleaguered with, and befuddled over problems, need a more succinct, codified explanation of the way to happiness.  They need one of common sense that does not suffer the constrictions of the dogmas of "organized religion" so that it will appeal to all, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Shinto, Hindu, Buddhist, or Animist.   

Well, I have found one such explanation, and I present it to you now.  You will find it at the following web site.

I discovered this most recently when my wife handed me a little booklet entitled "The Way to Happiness." She had picked it up in the One Stoppe Shoppe near our home in Clearwater, Florida.  She asked that I give it to our niece, a woman of 40 years who doesn't particularly seem to need it.  While waiting to drive our niece to the airport, I sat down and read the booklet.  It took me a couple of hours.  I loved its simple, clean message, and most of all I enjoyed the "flow" of it. 

You see, the author, a rather famous philosopher and science fiction buff, couched the lessons not as a lecture telling the reader "you have to do this and that," but rather as encouragement for the reader to get others to do the behaviors that lead to happiness.  In this way, the author goes into league with the reader to help the reader take part in creating a better world through the simple things in life.

And by the way, the author, decades earlier, wrote two basic rules for happy living, from which most of the principles in the booklet descended. I paraphrase them as:
  1. Don't overwhelm others, and
  2. Don't become overwhelmed by others
Right in the middle of The Way to Happiness booklet, in keeping with the above principles, the author encourages the reader to get people to obey laws and take an active role in creating and perpetuating good government.  Throughout the booklet the lessons encourage good and considerate personal behavior and excellent community spirit.

I think all of you will enjoy this utterly superb little booklet.  I encourage you to obtain copies and give several to each of your friends and children so they can hand them out to their friends and associates.  You can form family home activities surrounding the little lessons in the book, and thereby get support from the author in bringing greater responsibility, nobility, and respect for the law to our land.

The above link contains a video that beautifully presents the lessons.  You can buy a DVD of the video lessons and let family and friends watch it for an uplifting experience.  

I encourage you to check it out, and act on your best wisdom.  If you like the message and the manner of presentation, then you probably should support the effort to get it out to others.  Its lessons, internalized, will make children and adults into better family members and citizens, for it does propound "supreme values" for the people of our land.

And, incidentally, you might want to contact Linda or Paris at the One Stoppe Shoppe to express any appreciation you might feel for their generous donation of copies of The Way to Happiness booklet to the public.  I consider them a precious blessing to our community, our nation, and our world.

One Stoppe Shoppe
411 Cleveland Street 
Clearwater, Florida 33755 
Phone: 1-800-262-3353 
Fax: 727-449-0888 
E-Mail: sales at onestoppeshoppe dot com

Please forward this message far and wide.


Bob Hurt 
2460 Persian Drive #70 - Clearwater, FL 33763
+1 (727) 669-5511
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