Monday, April 8, 2013

Finding happiness


Philosopher Albert Borgmann has written:

Aristotle recognized that different people find happiness in different ways, some in pleasure, others in a life of honor and actions, and still others in contemplating the order of reality and its divine source of movement and meaning. Wisdom was the skill of being equal to the demands of the contemplative life, and in wisdom, as Aristotle understood it, the highest human faculty, the noblest object of inquiry, and the best kind of life, all became one. (Real American Ethics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), p. 100 referring to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Book I)

What is the path that will lead you to happiness? Where do you find the wisdom to discern that path? And, if you have the wisdom to see the path, do you have the courage to follow it?

This Zen story from Shinichi Hisamatsu about St. Francis seems especially timely in view of the selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis

Francis [is] dealing with a painful and festering wound. Someone brought Francis a fiercely hot blade in order to sear the wound, cauterize it and bring healing.

St. Francis did not welcome the red-hot blade. When fear of that fiery hot blade set in, Francis dismissed those in the room with him. Then, the story goes, Francis sat and talked with the blade confessing to that knife his cowardice. Hisamatsu explains that Francis talked to that blade until he could muster up the invitation, "Welcome, Sister Fire." Not only did he take the heat, but he also relinquished all tears and cries of anguish.


In that moment, the deep wound was cauterized and ultimately healed.

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