A modern-day sermon on happiness would sound more like; “Blessed are you with loads of stuff, the sexy, healthy, respected, popular, productive, growing richer.”
But all this just puts conditions on happiness, and God forbid it would mention God either, while Jesus’ teaching on real happiness, the beatitudes’, the blessedness-es, which Luke, focused on humility, calls sermon on the plain, and Matthew, focused on Moses, calls sermon on the mount,is about our unconditional happiness.
For this, you have to stop wanting anything less than the I am who never changes throughout all the conditions of our lives, the I am who is always here, the I am covered up by the conditions of the world, the body, and the mind, and give up, turn back, repent, surrender all, rest, in One I am.
If I confuse who I really am with I am 32, or I am 54, or I am 76, I am well thought of, or I am tired, I am searching, I am loved, I am lonely, I am scared, I am in an intimate relationship, I am in a special state of mind, I am feeling a substance in the body, all this is to mistake who I am for a passing state, a changing, and a forever fading away. Happiness peace and fulfilment are nothing to do with these.
Jesus said; “Blessed are you who are hungry now, you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, you will laugh,” because he is telling you to dis-identify with changes, and everything changes, it really does, even gender changes nowadays.
I heard Lord Chartres, former Bishop of London explain how at London School of Economics he heard someone advertise what sounded like G&T’S, and thought he would get Gin and Tonic, only to find the adverts for GNT’s, gender neutral toilets.
Jesus’ I am statements, like I am the bread of life, the true vine, the good shepherd, the way the truth and the life, mean I am is unconditional happiness. The prodigal Son admitted defeat and came home from the world body and mind back to the source from which they came, which is religion. He gave up searching for conditional happiness to submit to our Father, or as one 14th century mystic once put it; “I travelled so far in seeking God, but it was only when I gave up, and turned back, that I found out there he was, present, in me.” This is awareness.
The Sea of Galilee, where Jesus taught the beatitudes, is a very large still lake in a peaceful fertile place, like our conscious awareness is. Our thoughts are like ripples on the surface, our feelings like currents in the water, but we are not these because a wave cannot find peace and fulfilment in another wave, or a different part of the ocean of consciousness, it must give up and sink into itself, the depth of the ocean where there is no motion, mind and heart silent, still, and we cannot learn this new understanding unless we are humble, so Jesus said; “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Pride doesn’t do it-humility might.
Jesus also said; “Blessed are you when people hate you, exclude you, revile you, defame you on account of the Son of Man, rejoice and leap for joy, surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets." There is a modern prophet in 16 year old Greta Thunberg, inspiring school strikes for climate change. She said at the UN; You speak of economic growth because you are too sacred of being unpopular. I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. 200 species a day and our civilisation being sacrificed for a very small number of people to make enormous amounts of money.
A truly religious man or woman does not rely on approval or react to criticism, reputation isn’t who they are, and only they can turn off their light, but people to whom God isn’t central cannot see this, and they will lash out harder if you turn ever more intensely to God as your source, which is a test, but there is a story about a monk who slept outside with a stone for a pillow and was criticised for needing a pillow at all. He threw it away and used the earth, then he was mocked for throwing it away just because someone criticised him. So the monk decided to please God alone, not other people’s perceptions of him, and found heaven in his heart and the whole universe. The saint overcomes the tribulations of the world.
I hardly dare say it, even in torture, Jesus said Father forgive them, they know not what they do. The Aramaic Idiom he used when he said blessed are those persecuted for the sake of righteousness means deeply and firmly happy are those in whom the urgent desire for justice and salvation is so strong they cannot sleep at night. This righteousness such beings are filled with is saving union with God, in a Biblical context, absolute, goodness with no opposite, no form, no limit. Such longing for God is like being in a lake with someone holding your head under water until you gasp for air; the kind of intensity of longing which leads us to realise God by giving up our search. Incidentally this is exactly what John the Baptist did to people, in the Jordan, in the days before the health and safety executive and personal liability insurance, so maybe he was John the Drowner, and he lost a few. But the others got a near death experience out of it...
So Jesus also said; “Blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted.” One who mourns loss or loneliness indicates a deep sense of emptiness that can only be filled with One true Self not confined to anybody, to any thought, or to any world. A consciousness in whom all our smaller consciousnesses partake.
Jesus said; “Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.” He didn't mean be a doormat but that the gentle have earth for a heritage because they overcome the delusion of ever being able to possess it, they are free from an idea that anything really belongs to anyone. Like two aborigines who know arguing over who owns the earth is like two fleas on a dog's back arguing over who owns the dog. In self surrender, maybe with possessions but not with possessiveness, they lose a sense of ‘me’ and ‘mine,’ God’s servants, entirely dependent, but strangely happy, finding they gain everything in the truest sense.
Jesus said; “Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy.” To find God, be God-like in mercy even for those who are harsh and unhappy. Humans remember hurt, the sin persists in their eyes, but not in God’s. Mercy is the fruit of an inner calm in which one is an empath who feels and shares joy and sorrow of all beings.
Jesus said; “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” To know who you are, desire and fear must dissolve, pain and pleasure, passion and craving must pass, as St Paul says; “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This process purifies, simplifies, calms the mind to attend to God’s purity, your nature.
Finally, Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called children of God.” His Aramaic idiom makes it more like; “firmly and deeply joyful are the peacemakers,” because a peacemaker does not worship his own human ideas, brainwashing him or herself with a text, but understands different body minds illuminated by One God.
Jesus was a Jew, a teacher, a Rabbi, they called him Rabbouni and he taught them contemplation. In the Jerusalem Talmud, the central text of Judaism, the Rabbis say that every sacred text is written in black fire on white fire, the black fire is the diverse tracing of all our thoughts, and the divine white is the silent inscape of present and immediate experience, an ecstatic reflection of existential reality, the mystical understanding of a faith, any faith, which is trust.
To be happy then stop desiring happiness, which is unhappiness. Let go, let be, accept what is, deconstruct conditions, know we are One being in different conditions, just like Father, Son and Holy Spirit +