The way to happiness, therefore, is the way of ego death. Which is why Jesus said, “Take up your cross, deny self, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Taking up one’s cross is not enduring hardship, while trying to “grin and bear it.” It isn’t feeling sorry for yourself because you have a “cross to bear.” Not at all. The “self” Jesus is telling you to deny is this illusory ego-self in you. As that self takes up a cross and dies to its-self, then you are freer and freer to walk in the joy of life as God intended. In other words, As the ego in you dies, you live. Until it dies, you don’t.
Dr. Steve McSwain is an author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher. His books and blogs inspire spiritual seekers around the world. He is a devoted follower of Christ but an interfaith activist as well. He is frequently heard to say, in the words of Mother Teresa, "I love all religions; but I'm IN LOVE with my own." Read more from Dr. McSwain on his blog Your Best Life Ever.