Peace and Happiness

It was April 2016 General Conference weekend, a little over a year and a half since the world as I knew it ruptured and collapsed.  It had been an uphill battle to this point, climbing and fighting to put the pieces back together in both my inner and outer worlds trying to establish a life the best I knew how.  God had never forsaken me, and in my greatest moments of need when in a very real way it seemed all was lost, a path was placed before me.  I didn’t always have the faith that it would happen, but it did.  I felt deeply grateful, and yet still stunned, still processing.  It had now been about a month since my divorce had been finalized, something I had never considered a real option much less a possibility in my own life.

I felt great peace as I sat on my couch watching and listening, like I was able to breathe fresh crisp air again after a long period of breathing smog.  And while I heard a thought here or there from the speaker, it felt as if the Spirit sat with me like an old friend guiding my thoughts where I needed to go, aiding me in processing and learning.  It went on like this at various levels of tiredness and alertness for the next two days.

Nearing the close of the conference, as I was reflecting upon what I heard and all that I had been experiencing, my mind was suddenly caught up and I had a very strong visual pressed upon my mind.  In this visual I saw what appeared like organized strings of light, and as I thought on them I understood that these strings collectively represented the spirit or mind of man/woman.  As I looked on them further and contemplated their meaning, I then understood that each string of light represented an element of love or truth.  Or in other words a string was a portion of love, that accorded with a particular principle of truth, that an individual had organized within themselves.  The more strings organized within a person, the greater love they had obtained. 

As I continued to look upon it, I realized that it was like an instrument – not that it appeared so much like an instrument as much as that I understood that it was comparable to an instrument.  And as I looked closer I saw that these strings had a natural vibration to them.  I then perceived that this natural vibration of the strings is the cause of what we call peace.  It was state of being.

I then looked more broadly, and I saw while these strings had a natural resting state/vibration, it was also possible that these strings could be ‘played’.  I saw that the strings could be played by acting upon or living these principles of love – and by doing so music was played.  I perceived that this music was the sensation or experience we call joy or happiness, the melodies and harmonies of lived truth.

In this frame of mind this realization was amazing to me, I felt a sense of awe, for I had always supposed that happiness was something we get to, something that is reached.  But here I understood a big distinction, peace was a state of being from the love within, the peace of love,  but happiness was something that you do.  Or in other words joy is an active experience – a way of life.  As soon as you stop doing, peace or who you are does not cease, but happiness does.  Continue with the music, and you are living happiness again.

I then could see that salvation likewise is not so much a place we reach or even a station we attain; salvation is largely a way of life.  By living/playing love that person is experiencing happiness and is  therefore “in salvation”.  On the opposite hand, if an individual ‘plays’ principles of hate and discord, the music they experience is the feeling of misery and they therefore do not have salvation. And whether in this world or the world to come, it is the same.  In other words living/playing hate or selfishness is misery.  Living/playing love is happiness.  It gave new meaning to the old question, “Are you saved?”

Eventually the experience ended.  I’ve reflected a lot on that experience since.  It wasn’t the very beginning of the paradigm shift that I’ve had, nor the end of it either, but I feel like in many ways it sits at the heart and center of the changes I’ve experienced. And for that reason I wanted to share it with you.

In future posts, I look forward to speaking more practically to how these ideas and others branching out from them have changed my outlook and approach to life, that has made such a difference for me.  I would love to hear your thoughts, I appreciate all of you who are in my life, and look forward to next time!


Hi, my name is Steve. I am a dad to two amazing children who keep me laughing and constantly on my toes. I am an entrepreneur at heart and have a deep love of life and learning. Some of my passions include music, soccer, and trying to understand quite literally how everything works.  We live in Chicago and are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which lies at core of who I am.

The last few years of my life have been a period of refinement.  Those close to me know that a lot has changed in my world during this time – a tapestry of grief, loss, hope, despair, pain, growth and love.  But despite the many outward changes, perhaps from a long-term view one of the most significant changes that has taken place during this process of refinement has been a major paradigm shift in the way I view life itself.  The pains and beauty of life have simultaneously become more pronounced, I feel them more acutely, and I have found my capacity for love and joy have both increased.  What I want in life, what I want from life, and how I approach life have all been fundamentally changed, and I believe changed for the better.

I have created this blog because I believe some of these insights and some of the continuing insights that come from this paradigm shift could be valuable to my family and friends as we continue in this shared journey of mortal life.  And I consider anyone seeking or desiring to seek goodness, a friend.  In the same way I also enjoy learning and find value in the insights other people bring to the table through their experiences, and hope this can be a two way street.

I think there are many things that we could and will want to discuss here. As I reflected on it I believe the center and essence of those conversations will be love and joy – the two great purposes of life. What is love? What is joy? How do I obtain love? How can I experience joy? Why does it matter? Why does life matter?

To that end, in the upcoming and first non-introductory post I would like to share an experience with you that gets to the heart of these questions, and that has provided me a simple and yet very meaningful model for understanding the experiential phenomena we call love and joy.  My hope is that this model might provide a foundation and framework to introduce you to the paradigm shift I’ve had in the way I view and approach life, a shift that has brought greater love and joy into my own life.

And whether this blog ends up being a few posts or many posts, whether it is read by a few close friends or more, I believe it will be a journey worth taking and look forward to doing so together.