THE FOUR LEVELS OF HAPPINESS

Today’s Prayer to Passage will be from the book ‘The Four Levels of Happiness’ by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

Today I pray, “Dear God, We like to think we live in a happy-centric world. Nothing wrong with that. Knowing that happiness can be accepted in such a broad-range variety, and knowing that life is lived within a limited range of time, what is to be made aware of happiness by way of Your vision? Amen.”

Following my prayer, I held the closed book in my hands and opened it to this passage on page 3:

“So what are these four kinds of desire which give rise to four kinds of happiness?
1. Desires connected with biological (instinctual) opportunities and dangers
2. Ego-comparative desires
3. Contributive-empathetic desires
4. Transcendental-spiritual desires

These four kinds of desire/happiness come from the following faculties (internal powers or capabilities) within us:
1. The brain, nervous system, and sensory faculties (giving rise to the first kind of desire).
2. Self-consciousness (giving rise to the second kind of desire).
3. Empathy, conscience, and self-consciousness (giving rise to the third kind of desire).
4. Transcendental awareness (giving rise to the fourth kind of desire).”
—ROBERT J. SPITZER, S.J., PH.D.

I love this book. I probably tend toward compartmentalization more than I care to admit or explore, and this is a perfect example of compartmentalizing happiness. I attempted to explain The Four Levels of Happiness to a friend a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so to paraphrase my summation:
Level 1: Having money and things.
Level 2: Growing wealth, status, power, and popularity.
Level 3: Charity, benevolence, and selfless acts that benefit others.
Level 4: A deep, spiritual connection to God, including meditation.

I experience desires for all four levels every day. I have noticed, as also noted in the book, that the more closely connected I am to attaining happiness in levels 3 and 4, the less jealousy and competitiveness I feel as a necessity to “get ahead” in life. And in attaining Level 4 daily, my happiness is more of a tranquil contentedness and a patient devotion to my life. For me, balancing Levels 2 and 3 can be challenging sometimes. Level 4 feels completely natural. And this blog has, at times, been an interchanging balance of Levels 2, 3, and 4. I prefer Levels 3 and 4, and Levels 1 and 2 are appreciated with much love and gratitude.

I invite you to take a look at how these Four Levels of Happiness fit in to your life. And I wish for you the very best happiness life has to offer in the very way that it is meant to bring you joy.

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