This morning on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta preached about the power of happiness as it effects our health. Recent studies have shown that people with an optimistic outlook outlive pessimists. He profiled a monk who meditates for 12 hours each day who had recently subjected himself to an MRI. They found that he was able to generate brain activity in the part of his brain associated with good, happy thoughts that lasted beyond the time spent meditating about happiness.
Two thousand years ago, a man commonly known as John the Baptist preached from the banks of a river about the benefits of living a joyful life full of hope and anticipation. He baptized people as part of a renewal ritual. In a homily given on December 17th, 2000 on the Jubilee of the Entertainment World, Pope John Paul II put John the Baptist's message in context; "However, this joy that flows from divine grace is not a superficial or fleeting happiness. It is a deep joy, rooted in the heart, which can imbue the believer's entire life. A joy that can coexist with difficulties, trials, even - however paradoxical this may seem - with pain and death."
When my sister Cindy and her friend Nella offered spa treatments to our Ste. Anne's B&B guests back in the early 90s, we immediately noticed that the people who had spa treatments generally became happier, nicer people over the course of a weekend. It was this realization that lead us down the path that brought us to where we are today.
So regardless of your your faith, regardless of your views on meditation, religion or divine intervention, I would encourage you to find a source of joy in your life and nurture it, and to be a source of joy in the lives of others. I would like to wish you joy and happiness during this festive season. Spread joy, live a long, healthy and happy life.