May 20th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

What makes people happy?

Happiness is something we all strive for in our lives. But is there a secret ingredient to being happy?

We asked five faith leaders of varying perspectives to answer the question, "What makes people happy?" Their answers showed that happiness comes from meaning and purpose in life. It's in your heart and soul and can come from helping others.

And if you're looking for perfect happiness, it doesn't exist. But imperfect happiness does.

- Associate Producer

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders

soundoff (800 Responses)
  1. John

    I get neither happy nor sad at all. Happiness is not in the reach or everyone.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  2. John O.

    Happiness is seeing Joel Osteen exposed for the fraud that he is. Doesn't it freak anyone else out the way that guy flutters his eyes.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  3. sharon

    It is so sad to know that there are so many confused people in the world. I think that being happy does come from within ones self, however, I do not see how anyone could be happy living in this world without knowing that there is an awesome God watching over you and your family. After many years of working as a nurse, I have seen plenty of proof that there is a wonderful God looking down over us. You all can say what you what but in the end I have to wonder how certain some of you will be in your current belief. There will be an end to the world so be ready. Jesus came to give us live so that we can live in true happiness. Life should not be filled with so much judgement and hate. We are here for a reason and that is to love one another as Christ has loved you.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • TheTruth


      May 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
    • Kevin

      How arrogant to suggest that commenters who don't subscribe to your Jesus scenario are confused. It's positions like this that sent me away from organized religion. We don't feel confused at all and we are not. Tell us what makes you happy and thank you. But don't tell the rest of us what should make us happy. It's insulting.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  4. Mudkip

    I love getting on my knees and pleasing Jesus.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Uh ... I'm not sure if you meant it that way ... but that sounds really dirty. I'm surprised it got past the censors.

      May 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  5. PB

    The Gentlemen above have elucidated some very useful ways to make ourselves Happy. However, I don't believe that there is any one definite way to be happy.
    I believe, Buddha (Gautam Buddha/ King Siddharta) rightly preached that desire is the root cause of all misery. And Shri Aurobindo adapted that thought very well when he said "When you go beyond enjoyings, then you shall have bliss; Desire was the helper, desire is the bar."

    or you can forget all this and enjoy the Grey Goose 🙂

    May 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      I would clarify Buddha's statement to say that UNFULFILLED desire is the root of misery. There is nothing wrong with desiring chocolate, unless you're in a situation where you can't have chocolate. Then it becomes a problem.

      People cast about looking to blame something for unhappiness in the world's wealthiest country, but look at how you are bombarded with messages of how much other people have. Advertising is designed to MAKE YOU UNHAPPY with what you have in life, for the purpose of selling you stuff.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  6. Drew

    Interesting that in getting "all" views, CNN did not get the view of the Catholic church. 1.2 billion people, and the largest religion in the U.S. There seems to be a concerted effort to defame and sideline Catholicism and paint all religious people as religious right, though I did enjoy both ministers' comments and think Joel Osteen is especially blessed and intelligent. I guess the Catholic church is only covered when there is a 30 year old accusation of molestation.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Two out of five comments are from Christians, and still you find an excuse to complain? I suppose you think that THREE out of five comments should have been from various types of Christian? Or maybe you think ALL of the comments should be from Christians.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Mari

      Yes, they started the list with two agnostics. Think there isn't a dogma being asserted here? Jewish people are great, but they represent less than 1/10 catholics in this country. Who knows about the "humanist" guys who populated the first two entries. What a joke.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      In other words, you want to get rid of the Jew and the two dirty heathens, and ensure a pure Christian environment. Gotcha.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  7. WOW! Awesome Comments!

    Read books. Read about others. Read about their journey. It all points to a peace and joy found within. Quit looking out and start looking in. They key to "reigion" is a global understanding... The world was created and we were created. There has to be a point. We must help others and ascend to a greater state of being. There are only two people in the world... teachers and learners. That and ive seen to much crazy sh** to think this is all there is around us. Someday we will all die and all that will remain is how much you loved. Good book and easy read – Midnights with the mystic. Another good book – "the key" by whitley strieber (yes the alien dude). They will atleast open your mind!!! Never tell somebody they are wrong and just listen to what they have to say. You dont have to believe it but you will learn alot.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  8. Enaf

    I found happiness by learning to think critically, being at peace with myself, and letting go of the guilt that comes from trying to force yourself into the mold Christianity requires. The silent peace is overwhelmingly wonderful and I urge all Christians to try it.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • wls

      AMEN to that!

      May 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Indeed. A huge WHOPPING AMEN at that. We don't have to feel guilty about not believing things like "He floated up into Space (without a space suit), is still alive, and will return someday to beat you up if you dare to doubt his existence ... Oh yeah, and his father was a ghost and his mother never had intercourse. These things are nonsense on their face. Awake! (No, not a Jehovah's Witness, either.)

      May 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  9. Alexander

    These self-proclaimed gurus are all charlatans, every last one of them, whose key to happiness is your money. Deepak Chopra, for instance, charges $75,000 per lecture and rakes in millions of dollars from his books. So much for all his gibberish about finding the Light within and not being caught up in consumerism and materialism. The same goes for the rest of these clowns: They are selling snake oil and getting rich and famous from it, not to mention power over masses of gullible people who think that they will become like them if they only follow him and hand them their money. These self-proclaimed gurus are not enlightened beings but con artists who are utterly devoid of spirituality, the proverbial wolves in sheep's clothes. I am amazed that the author of this aritcle does not see them for what they are but is actually promoting their garbage for them. Then again, I am not surprised at all.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Actually, I don't recall Deepak Chopra saying that everyone should renounce material things. It was Jesus who said that everyone should renounce material things. You're projecting Christianity onto Chopra's New Age mysticism, and in so doing, you're chastising him for not doing what Jesus preached, as if he ever promised to.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
    • David

      Alexandra...we need to get you,mike wrong and these muslims in the same room and lock the door and let you all sort it out. I say none make it out alive

      May 22, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Just being honest

      M Wong your annoying, and your seeking attention....you probably look annoying as well.

      May 22, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  10. MuhaSFislam

    The happiness comes when your are feel the peace in mined. when you are not feels worries about every thing around you. the way for that is should have to do your obligations towered others( Allah, parents,wife, kids, neighbors,relative , friends , community specially poor people).
    Allah did you fallow the order and the warship. and asking him for aid. why that?? we can't control our body as (heart beeps ,breads , stomach movement no one can controled seek Allah refuges from the Satan.
    Parents have you take care of them as they take care of you when you were young did you treat them good and they are proud of you for that .
    Wife and husband should be fair relationship complete each other in good way.
    Kids raise them on the good manner teach them not be looser other wise what you teach them will come back to you when you got old or before that.
    Relative did you have a good relationship with them you should ask about them will makes you feel strong.
    Neighbors are they feel safe with you or you don't know their names as usually.
    Friends is not easy to find a friend who loves you for you !!! not for something exp.using you .
    community specially poor people same as Neighbors are they feel safe with you. did you support they community at least go donate a blood ones or tow time a year will makes big different at the hospitals. pay some money even if a $ for charity to help the poor people make them smile .
    Smile always don't be arrogant with other people treat the people the ways you wants to got treated.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  11. terpfan

    The Maryland Terrapins beating Duke makes me happy.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  12. james

    Grey Goose

    May 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  13. Jeff Schieding

    This guy's a fraud. he's basically a Hindu masqerading as an 'expert' on happiness,etc. He's making millions selling books to gullible people. There is one way to happiness and true peace. "My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, I give my peace to you " Guess who?

    May 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • jonny

      Now THATS fraud!

      May 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • wls

      I bet he is happy making money.........from poor distressed souls.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • Alexander

      Quoting Jesus again? Sorry, my friend, but Jesus was a charlatan, too. His teachings have caused nothing but chaos and turmoil in the social and political arenas since they nailed him to a cross for doing so over 2,000 years ago. He even said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword, so spare us the admonitions to embrace him over his fellow con artists.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  14. jonny

    And No, Buddha is not mythical.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  15. scarpeta.blogspot.com

    No women?

    May 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  16. jonny

    Happiness doesn't come from OUT of us, but Only From Within; WE are Our Only God and Goddess.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • Jeff Schieding

      You are God? Gee, let's see- when you die you will immediately be ushered into the presence of the real God. You won't be talking, you'll be flat on your face quivering as He asks you,"So-you thought you were me, did you?"

      May 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      And then you'll say "Yes, Galactic Overlord Xenu, my mistake."

      May 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      "Yes, Galactic Overlord Xenu, my mistake." Wong, your postings are spot on and very funny! The only way to combat ignorance is with reason and intellect. Faith is the enemy of reason and intellect. Where reason and intellect fail .... just have faith! Ha! Resist the Borg!

      May 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Money = Happiness

    May 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • wls

      Remember the Reformation...............Martin did not like that!

      May 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  18. LouAz

    How in the world could five christian con men know anything about what makes happiness. They have made nothing but promises and money for 2000 years. They world is in just as much turmoil as it ever was with the only difference being that finally the christians admitted that the earth was round and not the center of the universe. Peace on Earth my a$$ !

    May 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  19. rose

    Harold Kushner said it so well that there is no need to say anything else. That is for me what happiness is.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  20. wls

    Faith Leaders????????? What a joke!
    Its the money stupid!

    May 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.