ABD AL-RAHMAN III ruled Córdoba during the 10th-century. In his own words

“I have now reigned above 50 years … Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”

Every wish, every whim granted, every material possession was Abd Al-Rahman III’s to command. Sounds like good old Abd won the Lotto every day of his life; if any man was every happy, surely he was?

ABD AL-RAHMAN III goes on to speak to us from a thousand years past:

“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”

Never having personally known Abd, I can only speculate as to why he found so little happiness in life. However, I think the answer lies in the phrase “Riches & Honors, Power & Pleasure”. These represent an enumeration of extrinsic goals to the inclusion of intrinsic ones. There is nothing there about family and friends or relationship or knowledge or making the world a better place.

We heard it a thousand times: happiness is an inner game, fame and fortune are phantoms and mirages when it comes to the delivery of happiness. Once beyond the bottom level of Maslov’s Hierarchy, money and material goods have very little impact on lasting happiness and life satisfaction. Happiness, joy and contentment are found by living lives of connection, contribution and growth.

We KNOW this but do we put this knowledge to daily use? Do we live our lives in harmony with these principles? To know and not do is to not know.

I suspect if we ever find ourselves morose or unhappy, re-focusing on “connection, contribution and growth” will find us busy and content in short order.