Cookies & Cream

From masterwordsmith.

Happiness is produced, not found. Do you agree?

Let's use the chocolate chip cookie aroma as a metaphor to explain happiness. Why? Well, because it is difficult to define happiness which is ever so elusive and it is not easy to bake good cookies. I love to bake good chocolate chip cookies with walnut toppings and to eat them when they are still warm. Yummy!

Part of the whole chocolate chip cookie experience is the wonderful cooking cookie aroma that fills the house when they are baking. It is such a delicious, warm, and comforting aroma, isn’t it? The aroma is not only marvelous in itself but it is also the signal that warm, chewy cookies are soon to be placed on the cooling rack and, almost immediately, into my mouth. The aroma is wonderful and it communicates something else wonderful that is soon to come…cookies!

From where, or what, precisely, does the fantastic cooking cookie aroma come? “Well,” you might say, “it comes from the cooking cookies, of course.” Yes, that’s right but think more specifically.

Think about each ingredient in the cookie dough before baking. Does the flour have that aroma? No, on its own flour doesn’t smell like much. How about the butter—does it smell like warm cookies? No, not much aroma there, either. The baking soda, eggs and the pinch of salt or walnuts don’t have scents. The chocolate chips have a mild chocolate aroma but it isn’t that delicious cooking aroma, is it?

“The aroma,” you say, “must come from the baking process, right?” Well, that depends. Baking cookies at different temperatures for different time periods produce different results.

The bottom line is that cooking without careful attention to both the length of time and the temperature is not enough to produce the delicious aroma. Only the right ingredients mixed together in the right amounts, formed into the right sizes, and cooked for both the right time and the right temperature will produce the aroma.

All these factors work together to make delicious smells and delicious cookies—no one factor can do it. The invisible aroma comes, then, as a byproduct of doing each important thing in the cookie making process and allowing these things to work together.

Lasting happiness is very much like the aroma produced by following the correct steps in making cookies. Happiness, like the aroma, cannot be seen, grasped, or even directly produced.

As with the warm cookie smell, happiness arises as an indirect byproduct of doing important things well. “Looking” for happiness and “hoping” you will somehow “find” it is like spending your life sniffing around in search of cookie aroma—it is really a waste of your time and energy. You can produce, however, both delicious sensations as the indirect results of your actions and behaviors.

In the case of cookies, the actions are measuring and mixing the ingredients and correctly cooking the dough. In the case of happiness, the actions are taking specific, real steps to achieve goals that are meaningful to you.

The fact is, if you want either warm cookie aroma or a warm awareness of happiness, you are going to have to take the steps that make them. Truth is: happiness is produced, not found.

Happiness is like a sort of aroma—an invisible and pleasant awareness produced (as suggested earlier) when we move forward in achieving goals that are important to us and in generally living the kind of life of which we are proud - moral happiness.

It is a stable sense of well-being and satisfaction produced by keeping your promises to yourself and others and by acting with integrity and honesty when it might have been easier and more self-serving to act in opposite ways..

This deep sense of peace and contentment, of overall life satisfaction, is what many, many people today say they lack. These folks may be “happy” when someone remembers their birthday and gives them their favorite cake and they may be “happy” with the way their new living room wallpaper looks.

But if you ask them, “overall, are you happy?” they will immediately go to the place inside themselves where moral happiness resides and, upon reflection, tell you “no, not really.”

People want to feel the very appropriate and necessary feelings of emotional happiness to be satisfied with things or situations in our lives. All of that is perfectly reasonable.

But beyond these types of “happiness” we want to feel that our life and what we do in it matters, is important (even if just to ourselves and maybe one or two other people), and that we are satisfied with it. This is the kind of happiness people hope, in vain, to “find.” As we have seen, though, it cannot be “found” because it does not exist until you perform the acts that produce it.

This lasting kind of happiness is what many hope money will buy them and yet, it cannot. This deep and powerful feeling of living a meaningful life is what people yearn for and the wise among them learn that, to produce it, yearning alone is insufficient.
The reality is that the deep happiness you want and need cannot be found or purchased with any of the available “currencies” but is a byproduct of achieving things that express your sense of meaning and purpose on this planet.

Remember, happiness, at least moral happiness, arises like an aromatic byproduct as you achieve the goals that drive you toward achieving your mission (your meaning and the reason you are here—your purpose). Define your mission in words because it makes the difference between a life that is well lived and one that just goes from day to day without much direction or deep happiness.

This happiness that comes from living out your mission can be yours as well. Firstly, give up the idea that you can find it, pursue it, or obtain it. Secondly, don’t confuse this deep form of moral happiness with the emotion or evaluation types of happiness. Thirdly, this happiness resonates in your life as you discern what you are about, what you want your life to be about and then actively set about doing it. As you continually express your mission in activity, you will notice the presence of happiness arise like an invisible, intangible, yet marvelously delicious aroma. As you do you may find yourself silently nodding and acknowledging quietly to yourself that happiness is produced, not found. To me, the best happiness is the one that comes from God and from ourselves - it is one feeling that money cannot buy!

May you all be truly happy and contented!

God bless you with long lasting happiness....