Take my yoke upon you . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Think about what this means. When we are feeling burdened, weighed down, and heavy, Jesus is telling us that relief comes only as we do what all of our intuitions tell us is the last thing we should do—take upon ourselves an additional burden. Although yokes distribute burdens between partners, Jesus is asking us to take on the burden of a yoke we aren’t presently carrying. This is an additional weight, or at least it seems to be, and therefore what sounds like an added measure of heaviness.
This particular weight, it turns out, is different from all others. It is a weight that lifts, a burden that is light, a heaviness that brings peace to the soul. Which, of course, sounds absurd. So the world, with all good intentions, looks for happiness in other ways—embarking on paths that seem, by their very natures, more happy and promising. As I have walked my own share of such paths, I have learned that what they offer is a mirage—a kind of cotton candy to the soul that leaves us emptier or else more puffed up than before.
So where does this leave us? As I have studied and pondered upon this question, I have been awakened to an incredibly helpful idea—a great truth that Jesus and all of his prophets have freely taught but that I had nevertheless been missing: Happiness so often seems elusive because it rests on a paradox—an apparent contradiction that lies at the very heart of the gospel. This book is an attempt to bring out into the open the liberating paradox that is at the center of our beliefs. It is a book about happiness, and the surprising way it is found.