There are two kinds of gold: the gold that we obtain from outside, and the gold that the Eastern alchemist knew how to make for himself. The same may be applied to happiness. Every soul seeks for happiness, and either depends on external objects for it, or like the alchemist of old, creates happiness for himself.
Those who seek for happiness from external sources are never really satisfied. A man imagines that if he could have a certain sum of money he would be happy, but if he gets it he is not really content; he wants more. No earthly happiness is lasting: it never remains. The only cause of this lack of happiness is the discomfort of the spirit. If we were offered all the homage and riches of the world if only we would remain floating in the air, we would forego them all, for our body belongs to the earth; and if a like offer were made to us if we would always stand in the water, we should refuse for the same reason. For our earthly body has its comfort only on earth.
So it is with our spirit. The Bible says, "The spirit quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." Our spirit is the real part of us; the body is but its garment. There is absolute peace in the abode from whence the spirit came, and the true happiness of the soul lies in that peace. As man would not find peace at the tailor's just because his coat came from there, so the spirit cannot get true happiness from the earth just because the body belongs to the earth. The soul experiences life through the mind and body and enjoys it, but its true happiness lies in peace.
In order to gain this peace we have to begin with ourselves. There are fights going on within us between spirit and matter. Struggles for our daily bread, and want of peace in our surroundings; we must first get this peace within ourselves before we can talk of peace in the world. Then we must be at peace with our surroundings, and never do or say anything that disturbs that peace. All thoughts, words, and actions that disturb the peace are sin, and all thoughts, words, and actions that create peace are virtue. In our dealings with those with whom it is difficult to keep peace, a constant effort to do so has a great effect.
There are two forces in us, love and reason. We must keep an even balance between the two. If we give too much expression to love we become unbalanced and fail into trouble, and if on the other hand we lean too much on the side of reason we become cold.