The essence of happiness = self-forgetfulness

By Dave Henning / June 24, 2022

“Self-forgetfulness is the essence of happiness.  A diminished sense of self can grow a greater sense of connection. . . .  You’re in the zone of happiness — only when you leave the zone of self.”- Ann Voskamp

“The knowledge of God is very far from the love of God.”- Blaise Pascal

“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.  The old life is gone; a new life emerges.”- 2 Corinthians 5:18 (MSG)

In Chapter 4 (“How to Be Known”) of WayMaker, Ann Voskamp talks about the keys to, or essence of happiness.  Research shows that we find ourselves happiest when (a) we stand before a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon or (b) we work in a deeply creative zone – the flow.

Above all, in each instance of complete happiness this happens: we completely forget ourselves.  Psychologists refer to that experience as a diminished sense of self.  Because in the face of something larger and greater, that smallness creates a deep sense of bonding and connection.  Hence, Ann underscores:

“When we forget ourselves — we find exactly what we are looking for: joy. . . .  Why doesn’t anyone tell you that self-fulfillment is perhaps a gross misnomer and fulfillment is a function of self being made small with awe?”

Thomas Aquinas first defined our core human identity as homo viator.  Pilgrims on a journey, human wayfarers.  Thus, we’re more than in a process.  We’re in the Way Himself.  Ann explains:

“There will be miles in the valley, but in Christ we are in via, on our way.  In Christ, the Way, there’s power in us, to not get bogged down in the valleys, but to keep walking through the valley of all the haunting shadows. . . .  when your life isn’t going the way you want . . . you can most know the Way.”

Today’s question: Do you agree that self-forgetfulness is the essence of happiness?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Stay close enough to touch Him”

About the author

Dave Henning

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