The main way to get yishuv hadaas, a settled mind, is by being happy. —Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (Likutey Moharan II, 10)
Rebbe Nachman tells us that when we are happy and we are able to control our thoughts and therefore achieve a calm, centered mind, we are able to think about the important things in life, especially life’s ultimate purpose.
He explains that joy gives us real freedom and that a joyous mind is essential to being a truly free person, one who is not in exile.
In the Western world, happiness is something you feel when you obtain your desires. In Judaism in general, and Breslov Chassidus in specific, happiness is an achievement that has almost nothing to do with satisfying your desires.
In fact, it is the complete opposite of the general view of things.
Why Is Happiness Important?
Happily-ever-after is not really the goal. The goal is closeness with God, having a relationship with Him. Happiness is one of the requirements. If you are unhappy, it fogs your mind, clouds your ability to think, and actually damages the highest powers of your intellect (especially the psycho-spiritual thought process).
Turning your mind away from what you lack towards what you have and what your deepest potential is the first step for some. For others, laughter is the best medicine. Joy is the medicine, a settled mind is the relief of symptoms, and closeness to God is the state of emotional health.
The Rebbe tells us we should do whatever it takes to be happy, including dancing, singing and acting like a foolish kid.
And, while it’s true that events on the outside, such as an engagement or wedding, the birth of a child, friendship, do increase happiness, even spark a dormant joy, we have the power to cultivate joy for ourselves. It’s not easy, but it’s essential.
Breslov quotes about Joy