Sparks of Light Webinar #4 – Anatomy of Happiness (Simcha)

Everyone is seeking happiness and it seems more elusive than ever in our days

Happiness, a universally recognized internal feeling, often eludes many as they navigate their busy lives. In the pursuit of this elusive emotion, we often find themselves caught up in the relentless pace of business, leaving little time to cultivate this essential emotion.

However, happiness holds a central position in Jewish life, as several prominent Tzadikim within the Jewish tradition have emphasized its invaluable significance.

happiness at work

One such figure is Rav Yitzhak Luria, known as the holy Arizal. Rav Yitzhak Luria possessed an unbelievable understanding of the spiritual worlds, akin to an open book before him. His extraordinary abilities included conversing with spirits, deciphering the language of birds and trees, foreseeing the future, and journeying into the Heavenly Academies, among others. Astonishingly, he attributed his elevated spiritual level to his exceeding happiness in life.

Rav Chaim Vital, his main disciple, expounded on the relationship between happiness and one’s capacity to perceive Godliness and experience visions. In his work, “Sha’arei Kedusha” (Gates of Holiness), Rav Chaim Vital asserted that nothing obstructs a person’s ability to connect with Hashem and receive spiritual insights as much as sadness does. He further posited that dreams, visions, and even psychic abilities are intricately tied to one’s emotional state, particularly their joy in Avodat Hashem.

The importance of happiness in spiritual and holistic well-being is further reinforced by the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Rebbe Nachman wrote extensively about it, acknowledging that it is the ultimate source of all Avodat Hashem. He took this concept even further by suggesting that a lack of happiness can lead to various physical ailments and diseases. In this view, Rebbe Nachman contended that our emotional well-being profoundly influences our physical health, underlining the holistic impact of happiness on human existence.

So, what is happiness and why is it so important?

Now, let’s delve deeper into the theory and subsequently explore the practical aspects of attaining it.

Many people offer their own definitions of happiness, but one perspective that resonates deeply with me is that is a state of mind where an individual experiences a sense of completion, coupled with the realization that they are fulfilling their Divine purpose and are at peace with their current circumstances. It is a profound inner contentment born out of alignment with one’s purpose.

This sense of fulfillment is intrinsically linked to the recognition of one’s purpose and the extent to which it is being fulfilled. When we acknowledge that we have a unique purpose and are actively working towards fulfilling it, we often find ourselves in a state of happiness. This aligns with the notion that happiness emerges from understanding and embracing our life’s purpose.

There’s a saying that the path to being in the right place at the right time begins with the realization that you are already there. In essence, happiness can be rooted in recognizing that you are exactly where you are meant to be in your journey.

To understand the connection between happiness and energy, it’s crucial to recognize the principle that the soul is consciousness, and consciousness is energy, albeit of different frequencies. Every thought and emotion we experience carries a specific energetic frequency. Holistic healers frequently emphasize that happiness emanates from a high-frequency energy state.

The Zohar provides insight into the connection between the heart and happiness. According to the Zohar, the heart is considered the seat of happiness, and indeed, we often feel happiness in our hearts. This concept aligns with the Kabbalistic Sephira of Binah, associated with understanding and insight.

However, a challenge arises in the form of the body’s consciousness, which can sometimes be heavy and obstructive, preventing us from experiencing happiness to its fullest extent. Consequently, to access and amplify happiness, it becomes essential to increase our energy and direct it towards the heart, where happiness resides.

Uman Rosh HaShanah

Numerous techniques exist to help us access and enhance our sense of happiness. One fundamental realization is that happiness is not an end in itself but a means to a greater end. It is a powerful tool that resides within us, waiting to be harnessed. The challenge often lies in the fact that this inner source of happiness is concealed, and many of us are uncertain about how to access it through our consciousness.

In the following sections, we will explore various techniques and practices designed to unlock this hidden wellspring of happiness, enabling us to lead more fulfilled and purpose-driven lives.

The difficulty with happiness

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, my Rav, emphasizes a fundamental concept—that true happiness is independent of external factors such as wealth, health, or relationships. Despite its universal accessibility, achieving happiness remains one of life’s most formidable challenges.

Upon grasping this insight, we must recognize life as an extraordinary gift, not merely wishful thinking. The opportunity to accumulate merits and experience incomprehensible bliss in the next world is a unique privilege, considering the potential wait for reincarnation that some may endure.

Hashem, displaying unwavering belief in each individual, crafted spiritual systems across the spiritual realms for rectification, intending to bestow the ultimate goodness upon us. Our very existence is an extraordinary act of love from the Creator.

Building upon this idea, the third key is expressing gratitude to God for our blessings. By linking these blessings to their source, we forge a genuine connection with the Creator, the origin of all goodness, thereby unlocking happiness and opening ourselves to further gifts.

Gratitude, a potent force, provides everyone with ample reasons to be thankful.

The fourth key is surprisingly simple—smile! In just 8 seconds, the brain, unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy, releases serotonin, the “hormone of happiness.” This underscores the powerful lesson that a smile can alter our emotional state, irrespective of external circumstances.

The fifth key, as emphasized in Breslov literature, is to dance, ideally for at least five minutes daily. Happiness acts as a unifying force, dissolving sorrows and harmonizing our character traits.

In essence, this mirrors accepting God’s will and finding contentment in one’s present state—a significant step toward salvation, as highlighted in the recommended book, Chovot HaLevavot by R’ Bahya Ibn Pakuda. Accepting tribulations, he teaches, is a powerful means of nullifying adverse decrees.

Beyond spiritual insights, genuine happiness offers numerous physical and psychological benefits. Now, let’s delve into the practical aspects.

PRACTICAL EXERCISE

Find a comfortable position, sitting upright with hands on your lap, palms facing up. Remember to keep a gentle smile.

Let’s take a moment to count to 10 while practicing deep breaths. Aim for breathing through the lower part of your belly, but if that feels challenging, don’t push yourself.

Begin to sense the tension dissipating, starting from your feet and gradually moving upward.

Feel yourself relaxing, as if melting into your seat. Savor the moment, and feel free to smile. There’s no rush for anything else.

Now, journey back to a time when you were genuinely happy—a wedding, landing your dream job—any joyful moment. Replay this memory in your mind, immersing yourself in the associated feelings. Let the scenario unfold in your thoughts for a while.

Next, envision a soothing light descending from above, in any color of your choice. Feel it energizing you from head to toe. Visualize this light concentrating on your heart, expanding it, and bringing that joyful moment into the present, intensifying its energy.

Allow the sensation to grow, but maintain a relaxed state.

Let’s continue this for a bit longer, concentrating on your heart.

Stay as long as you wish in this state.

I’m sure you’re feeling better now. There’s much to discuss about this experience.

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As you may realize, the past is vividly alive within us, accessible to our souls. What we’ve done is essentially resurrect a past moment and magnify its impact.

This meditation is adaptable—it can be practiced anywhere, even while walking, and with consistency, it becomes more potent. Such a brief meditation can provide a significant energy boost and enhance our overall well-being.

As with all forms of meditation, explore what works best for you. Perhaps a different setting or memory will yield better results. If you don’t feel an immediate impact, don’t be concerned—persevere. Meditation takes time to manifest its effects, and we all have the capacity to reap its benefits.

I wish you all can find happiness in your lives in Avodat Hashem.

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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