Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts

Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts

by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer


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Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer

One of the hottest topics in contemporary culture is happiness. The explanation for this current fixation seems to lie in the contrary phenomenon—unhappiness. Despite the fact that we have tremendous access to every imaginable form of entertainment, we experience a pervading sense of insecurity, emptiness, and malaise amid sporadic peak experiences.

Finding True Happiness attempts to provide a way out of this personal and cultural vacuum by helping people to identify and then reach for happiness. As Aristotle noted 2,400 years ago, happiness is the one thing we can choose for its own sake—everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.

After an exhaustive investigation of philosophical, psychological, and theological systems of happiness, Fr. Spitzer developed the Four Levels of Happiness, which he based on the classical thinkers Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas; the contemporary philosophers Marcel, Scheler, Buber, Ricoeur, and Jaspers; and the modern psychologists Maslow, Frankl, Erikson, Seligman, Kohlberg, and Gilligan.

Finding True Happiness is both a philosophical itinerary and a practical guidebook for life’s most important journey—from the mundane and the meaningless to transcendent fulfillment. No other book currently available combines such breadth of practical advice and such depth of philosophical, psychological, and spiritual wisdom.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586179564
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Series: Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence , #1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 376,173
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. is the former president of Gonzaga University and the founder of the Magis Institute, which educates the public about the relationship between physics, philosophy, reason, and faith. He is the chief education officer of the Ethics and Performance Institute, which delivers web-based ethics education to corporations and individuals, and President of the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, which delivers similar curricula to non-profit organizations. He is the author of Healing the Culture, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, and Ten Universal Principles.

Table of Contents

Introduction 13

Chapter 1 Choosing Happiness Introduction 29

I A General Definition of Happiness 31

II The First Kind of Desire: External-Pleasure-Material 34

III The Second Kind of Desire: Ego-Comparative 35

IV The Third Kind of Desire: Contributive-Empathetic 37

Conclusion 46

Chapter 2 Are We Really Transcendent? Introduction 47

I Is Science Really against the Transcendent? 47

II Evidence of the Transcendent Within Ourselves 58

III Transcendence and Happiness 64

Chapter 3 The Comparison Game Introduction 67

I The Four Levels of Happiness 67

II The Comparison Game 71

III Existential Emptiness 81

Chapter 4 Escaping Your Personal Hell Introduction 86

I A Three-Step Process for Transforming Our Fundamental Attitudes 87

II First Fundamental Attitude: What Kind of Purpose in Life Am I Looking For? 94

III Second Fundamental Attitude: What Am I Looking for in Others? 97

IV Third Fundamental Attitude: What Am I Looking for in Myself? 101

V What Kind of Freedom Am I Seeking? 103

VI The Benefits of Moving from Dominant Level One-Two to Dominant Level Three-Four 109

VII The Level Three-Four Comparison Game no

Chapter 5 Call of the Transcendent Introduction 114

I Is Level Three Enough? 115

II The Exterior Call of the Transcendent 125

Conclusion 142

Chapter 6 A Dynamic Encounter with God Introduction 144

I A Little Leap of Faith 145

II The Self-Revelation of God-Jesus Christ 149

III Church Community and Our Spiritual Nature 153

IV The Church as Dynamic Encounter with God 156

Conclusion 186

Chapter 7 Contemplation in Action Introduction 188

I Simple Contemplation 188

II Our Image of God 189

III Making Common Prayers Contemplative 191

IV Ignatian Contemplation 200

V Silence, Joy, and Action 205

Chapter 8 Divine Inspiration and Guidance Introduction 211

I The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit 211

II Discernment of Spirits 214

III The Guidance of the Holy Spirit 222

Conclusion 235

Chapter 9 Interior Transformation Introduction 237

I Step One: The Prayer of Gratitude 239

II Step Two: Imitating the Heart of Jesus by Seeking a Heart of the Beatitudes 245

III Praying the Examen Prayer 259

Chapter 10 Transcendent Happiness Introduction 264

I Overcoming Cosmic Emptiness, Alienation, Loneliness, and Guilt 264

II A Life of Unconditional and Eternal Significance 265

III The Joy of Church Community 266

IV Help of the Holy Spirit 271

V The Joy of Contemplation 272

VI The Redemption of Suffering 274

VII Noble Cause in the Cosmic Struggle between Good and Evil 275

VIII The Assurance of Eternal Life with God 277

Conclusion 281

Bibliography 285

Name Index 297

Subject Index 301

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