Because I work in a pre-school, I hear the song "Happy" almost every day, as the teacher in the room next to my office uses it to help the kids wake up. In his popular song from the movie "Despicable Me 2", Pharrell Williams sings about how happy he is, how no one is going to bring him down, how his happiness is so big, it's like being in a "room without a roof." I hum that song a lot, and think about how it stands in stark contrast to our rather cynical world.
Psalm 1 is basically advice on how to find that kind of big happiness, the kind that the material world can neither give nor take away. First, you must try to do what you know is right. Now, the psalmist says this means "not following the ways of the wicked", but I prefer to think of it in terms of the church of my childhood. Doing what is right means following the "still, small voice", your conscience, what some might call the voice of God in your head. Sometimes this is hard, like when you are tired and in a hurry and don't want to stop and help the elderly man on the subway take his walker up the stairs. But you do, and then you are happy. You are happy in a way that is really amazing.
The other instruction for real happiness that the psalmist gives is to "delight in the law of the Lord". That spoke to me of not only trying to do what God would want us to do, but also finding joy in his creation, the manifestation of his law on Earth. Great happiness is found, I think, in moments of awe at the beauty of our world. Those times, as I heard someone say recently, when you just have to say "halleluiah" to yourself in delight. Sunrise in the Hill Country does that for me. When I stop and really see things like that, I am happy. I am happy in a way that is really amazing.
My favorite line of "Happy" asks if you, like the artist, believe that "happiness is the truth." Surely it is. Surely happiness is the truth of what God wants for us and we can find it, as Psalm 1 suggests, in the beauty of God's world and in trying to do good in it.