Happiness (August 2010)
We will again be charged at the forthcoming Installation Ceremony to be happy and to communicate happiness to others. It is an important and significant dimension to brotherly love, relief and truth. Brotherly love can be achieved by a passive relationship but happiness requires more.
Individuals may be smugly contented and self satisfied thereby believing themselves to be happy as a result: some people will believe them! Others are the jesters in the lodge sometimes drawing misguided humour from the group at somebody else’s expense. Both fail to enjoy true happiness and they invariably fail to communicate happiness to others.
Happiness seems to glow in people who try and understand the concerns and the needs of others. It seems to be strongest when a person enjoys seeing the happiness experienced by others rather than their own personal experience. If they have caused the person to be happy they enjoy the same reciprocity that is normally experiences by extending benevolence and charity.
It seems that the enjoyment of happiness does not depend upon rank and fortune. Providing a person is above the level of survival sustenance and they have come to terms with the burdens of their age and other afflictions and can communicate this to others. Invariably they will have self-actualised, will be comfortable within themselves and have a strong regard for the feelings of others.
Communicating happiness requires more than political correctness, a sterile compliance with requirements and lip service to conventions. There is often a need to find away to rebuild bridges. It requires an engagement with others, more listening than talking, remembering and avoiding areas of sensitivity, finding something good to say or ask questions about without being patronising. Insincerity is so transparent, be inclusive.
Receiving the communications of happiness demands some positive action rather than being there like a sponge. Share the joy of others and almost you will find a happiness that is truly infectious.
The issue of happiness is just one of many matters of guidance for our way of life which is enshrined in our ritual. In this case it is in the address by the Installing Officer which finalises the ceremony of Installation. It is such an important point because it sets the tone, not only for a lodge to work properly but for us to relate to our family members and people in the general society.
By being happy we can experience the joy of living and by communicating it to others we can build a more harmonious lodge and society.