I began a philosophy today after my weekly ritual of Aphrodite that I perform as Her devotee every Friday - the day of the Love Goddess. Below is my statement concerning this new thought of mine, and I think it can speak true to a number of different people for different reasons, even if they may not share the same religious beliefs as me.
If you can find joy and happiness in the simplest beauties in life - to delight in splendid bliss at the sight of your own shrine and altar as it burns sweet fragrance to the Gods, while others are lamenting unhappily at mansions they cannot afford; or to be peacefully content with a lovely book whose words you adore, while many people elsewhere are angry over mere money, then you have reached enlightenment, released from the chains of this world that only offer fragile temporaries, and all the things that can bring out the worst in a man.
This revelation, if you will, came to me today after I closed my ritual of Aphrodite. Prior to it starting, I had been worrying myself with the typical plagues of the human mind that people constantly let bother them, and I thought I would never find happiness completely. Then, after doing my ritual of the day, I realized how beautiful it was, and how happy it made me, to be here at this shrine, in this place in my home, doing what I loved and making the best connections that a human can make; with the Gods. When I looked at the beauty of my shrine and altar burning sweet fragrance to Aphrodite, I realized how happy and blessed I am, and that I can find joy in the simple things in life. Happiness is where we make it. Now, I figured that some people would interpret this as me making a philosophy out of not having some of the things I want in life, that I become satisfied with not being satisfied, or trying to make myself feel better about a lack of achievement. But this is not the case because I believe that everyone should better themselves where necessary. Instead, my philosophy is quite the opposite of a contentment with a lack of gain. It's about realizing that you already are satisfied at some point, and everything else is just a shiny stone that you merely think you have to have.
If we base our happiness and fulfillment on mere material gain, then we are setting ourselves up to never actually be happy, because no matter what we get, there is always going to be something better. There's always going to be a bigger house, a nicer car, a better career, etc. Something, somewhere and someone is always going to outdo us. Even a very wealthy man will find someone richer. Therefore, when we base our happiness and self-worth on these things, we are always going to want more and more, and will eventually always find unhappiness or disappointment somewhere. My philosophy is about realizing where a true happiness lies that can never be broken, taken or outdone, and that's the happiness within you, and in the things that are an inherent part of yourself. These levels can never be outdone or outmatched, because they are only you forever. When you can find happiness in your eternal being, and in the greater picture of things (the Gods), all else seems small because it is. I suppose it relates a little bit to what Socrates once taught, which was to care more for your soul than gold and silver.
You'll notice these things immediately in your life, and identify them quickly, because when they come, they always bring a smile to your face, peace to your mind, and bring out the absolute best that resides within you. In my younger days, all I thought about was material gain, whether it was through a desire to have a nicer car or more money, and when I look back, I realize that I was never happy. The reason I was always discontent is because my happiness was based on all things temporary or that can be bested by someone else. I had fallen in love with everything that is changeable.
In the Goodness of The Dodekatheon,