Provided below is a reflection on the International Day of Happiness (20 March) and Harmony Day (21 March)…

Why is 20 March named as the ‘international day of happiness’? There must be something in our society that has called for it. In fact, it was founded on 28 June 2012 when the UN General Assembly adopted the UN resolution 66/281:

recognising the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human right and goal, and universal aspiration in the lives of all human beings [1]

It is surprising that we needed to be reminded of the importance of being happy, or to know that there are people who live life lacking this emotional state!

When asked what ‘happiness’ means, some people connect this state of feeling with relationships, others with personal success. In 1899 Mary MacKillop asked people to ‘find happiness in making others happy’.

So, what really makes for happiness? When I compare people’s responses and the comment of Mary MacKillop with my own experience, I conclude that real happiness is joy shared with those around us. Attaining success might bring personal happiness, but it needs to be known by an external entity to be complete. For example, I worked hard in my studies in order to advance in my career and attain security.  When I reached the goal, I felt a sense of success and I was happy. But this feeling could not be retained within myself forever. I needed the feeling to be known and to pass it on to another being, either human or in nature.

Another thing – I have had a tendency throughout my ministry and life journey to set myself over-difficult goals or expectations, and I missed out on happiness in attaining them. What was needed was love – love for what I was doing, and love for the people involved in that journey.  I find it is not hard to work on eliciting a smile from others.  This is happiness!

There is an obvious connection between ‘Happiness Day’ and ‘Harmony Day’. When we bring happiness, we bring harmony.  The celebration of Harmony Day on 21 March began in 1999, just before we entered the 21st century. This same day is also the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

For us Australians, this day is about:

inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, and united by a set of core Australian values [2]

Our world now is in great need of harmony between humans and with the rest of the creation. To become more inclusive is to respect others and the natural world. When we understand and respect the needs of others, and when we can share what we have, all can be in harmony.

I remember the parable of long spoons or long chopsticks. The story was told to help people understand how heaven is attainable now, by including others and sharing with others. When all of creation acts in this way, we need not go on searching for harmony and happiness, as we and the rest of creation are harmony and happiness.

Hun Do rsj

Image within article: People Happy obtained on Pixabay. Used with permission.
Thumbnail image: Sun Happy Sunshine obtained on Pixabay. Used with permission.