I ran across this piece on happiness, and enjoyed it. I don't know if the guy is a Christian or not, and it isn't the "end all" definition of happiness, but his conclusions are apparent.
William Lyon Phelps – Professor at Yale, writer, critic, lecturer.
“No matter what may be one’s nationality, sex, age, philosophy, or religion, everyone wishes either to become or to remain happy. Hence definitions of happiness are interesting. One of the best was given in my senior year at college by President Timothy Dwight: “The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts.”
This definition places happiness where it belongs – within and not without. The principle of happiness should be like the principle of virtue: it should not be dependent on things, but be a part of personality…..
If the happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts we are bound to grow happier as we advance in years, because our minds have more and more interesting thoughts. A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands.
Here lies the real value of education. Advanced education may or may not make men and women more efficient; but it enriches personality, increases the wealth of the mind, and hence brings happiness. It is the finest insurance against old age, against the growth of physical disability, against the lack and loss of animal delights. No matter how many there may be in our family, no matter how many friends we may have, we are in a certain sense forced to lead a lonely life, because we have all the days of our existence to live with ourselves. How essential it is, then, in youth to acquire some intellectual or artistic tastes, in order to furnish the mind, to be able to live inside a mind with attractive and interesting pictures on the walls.”
When I was in Thailand, I went to a crafter's mall, where they sculpt and paint etc.
I doubt many of the people had an academic background, but the detail, ornament and over all beauty of the art showed how the mind of man is ever perfecting itself, educating itself and if a formal education is unattainable, self education is always available.
Photo by Marek Dstrowski