To paraphrase the author Henry Weil in his book “Closer Than Your Life Vein”, spiritual happiness comes from acts of submission to the will of God. To submit to the will of God, we not only follow His teaching but do it with praise and gratitude. Further, praise by itself is not enough nor is gratitude by itself, but when done together, praise and gratitude bring instantaneous happiness. This spiritual happiness grows when we do that more often. Of course when go off the path, we lose the happiness. But the sooner we put down the fear and are able to give praise and gratitude again, we will back on track again. When a little kid does things wrong after we show him the right way we hope the child will not be afraid to come to us, ask forgiveness and snuggle with us. God want us to be like that little kid always not afraid to be close to Him and want to talk to Him. So when we fall down, get up again. We are afraid because we been taught that way and that is not how God wants us to behave.
I will share a bit of my personal experience. When I followed pastor Jiang’s inner life practice, she shows everyone the need to sit for few minutes and be to close to God when we finish one thing (or reach a break point). In our daily life, being close to God means praying to God or talking to God. She also says when we are feeling in trouble, praise to God is a powerful way to uncover the miserable situation with spiritual help. I try both and both are helpful. But more recently I try to practice feeling and showing gratitude together with praise while being close to God, as it has a greater effect on me.
The more we learn about God, the more gratitude will be generated. I try to practice it three times a day at lest, morning, evening and after I read. I give Him thanks for what I learn from reading, from what I realized at night or in meditation, for the people in my life, for what I learn from them. God has arranged some close friends in my life to comfort me and companions to be with me on easy days and on bad days when I have troubles to overcome and I learn from. He make my life happen this way so I have the chance to build a relationship with Him again, and tell Him I put my trust in His hand. In the beginning it was not easy, but gradually it built up and I can feel the relationship growing. It is interesting and nice to see the change. I pay more attention to small details of things. The more I pay attention to, the more I can give thanks.
For me, the key to spiritual happiness is gratitude. When we are in difficulty we need practice to still be able to look at the positive side and make ourselves feel better. Things always have two sides. It just matters if we see them or not. I hope this is enough for you to get started in the practice of praise and gratitude..