So what just is the secret of true happiness?

Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia has discovered the secret of happiness.

In a new book, ‘Happy Money; the new science of smarter spending’,she reveals all. Her five principles are been worked out after much research, and include some that are stock financial wisdom, such as more careful use of credit cards. Her key principle is that pepole should use money to buy experiences, not possessions. She asserts: “ Experiences tend to be shared with other people. Doing things together makes us close to others, whereas material goods can separate us form other people.”

Now there’s some wisdom there! Nothing tends to sour relationships more than constant boasting about the acquisition of a new piece of art, or new car, or new yacht. The green -eyed monster begins to prowl when such boasts are made. On the other hand, friendships begin, as C.S.Lewis pointed out, “the moment one person says to another. ‘What? You too? I thought it was only me!’” Sudden discovery of a mutual friend, or a common experience can bind people together.

Dunn is right in saying that possessions cannot buy happiness; but she is wrong to imagine that there is some magical formula to guarantee happiness. Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor argued that happiness only emerges when you are looking for something else. He wrote, :Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to cause greater than one-self or as a by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.’

Frankl is suggesting that happiness is not in possessions or in experiences but in attitudes. The Beatitudes of Christ begin in modern translations with the phrase,’ O, how happy’. The folk who are truly happy, Jesus claims, are those who are meek, who hunger after righteousness, who are peacemakers. And why? Because they have learned to bring their wills into line with God’s will and purpose.