The Spirit of Happiness
This article is one of the Unity Classics written by legendary leaders of Unity. Some date back decades, even a century. That’s why the language may seem a bit formal, and the writers sometimes used masculine nouns and pronouns that were considered proper for their era.
Unity legend May Rowland on the wellspring of joy
"Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless his holy name!"—Psalm 103:1
Have you ever been so filled with joy that this Scripture sprang from your heart to your lips, and you thrilled with the ecstasy of living?
If you have not yet touched the wellspring of joy within you, then sing this paean of praise to yourself until the deep waters of your soul have been stirred and their healing started to every part of your being.
The power of a blessing of this nature is so great that it not only brings healing to the body but reaches out and transforms your environment. Sunlight always dispels darkness. The radiation of light from a prayer of praise and blessing casts out the darkness of error.
Joy, thanksgiving, and praise bring light into our world, while sadness, depression, and gloom cast long shadows on our paths.
Freeing ourselves from limitation
Because some of us do not know why these shadows cross our paths, let us uncover the errors back of the shadows, with the idea in mind that we are overcoming them and casting them out of our life. The limitations of the personal man are really not worth mentioning, except that by uncovering them we are better able to free ourselves from them.
Have you ever thought that most of the unhappiness in your world comes through selfishness? You are unwilling to give up the petty things. You want some individual to do just as you think he should do; or someone has done something that you do not like and that you are unwilling to forgive; you cannot see why someone treats you as you have been treated and why everything that you do goes wrong.
Perhaps you are harboring thoughts of self-pity and injustice until you are a veritable cloud of depression. The remedy is to stop thinking so much about yourself; stop thinking that everything that happens will affect you personally. By thinking of self you are keeping your good away from you ...
True happiness is unconditional, not dependent upon persons or things. It is not the hilarious expression which comes to one when something especially pleases, and the next moment is turned into unhappiness when something goes wrong.
True happiness is that firm, strong, unwavering substance of joy which cannot be touched by the variation of mortal thought. The one who has touched this spirit of joy feels the strength of it constantly sustaining him; no matter what may seem to go wrong in an external way, you will find him master.
Opening up to real happiness
One of the many things that will bind us to limitations and shut out real happiness is personal will. We should make it a part of our daily practice to let go of personal desire, that the Christ may more fully express in and through us.
Say, "Not my will, but thine, be done." When we say this, and mean it, the Christ spirit takes possession and attracts to the individual even greater good than he could anticipate for himself. The personal man's vision is limited; consequently, man calls forth, through his personal will, conditions that are not always desirable.
When this stage in our spiritual evolution is reached, we are overwhelmed with the desire to "let go," and the human will is merged with the divine will.
Most of us become involved in the working out of plans that we feel we could not possibly give up. Good judgment may show us that the steps considered are not wise, but personal love, being selfish, wants to cling. We may repeat the words, "Not my will, Lord, but thine, be done," before we reach the state of consciousness in which we really mean them. Our cherished ideas are held so closely to us that they seem to be a part of us.
Finally, though, when it dawns upon us that heretofore we have merely said the words, we are willing to give up everything held in a personal way: personal attachments, personal ambition—everything. When this stage in our spiritual evolution is reached, we are overwhelmed with the desire to "let go," and the human will is merged with the divine will.
Cultivating a feeling of fellowship
In a very short time all that has seemed so involved works out in perfect order, and we reach a state of poise and happiness previously unknown. Courage and strength are required in the giving up of a cherished idea into which we have put much substance and thought, but with each renunciation a little more of the personal consciousness is transformed.
After a while we can say, "The will of God is my will, for I am His perfect expression."
When we know the truth we shall have no need to go through such a process of denial, for we shall follow the better way all along the path of life.
One who desires to be happy does not place himself in bondage to personal attachments. He learns to loose his relatives and friends. He loves them with a broader, more universal love, and contributes to their happiness instead of bothering them with petty thoughts that they have mistreated him, that they have slighted and misunderstood him.
Free yourself every day by placing your dear one in the care and keeping of God; say, "I am not bound by personal limitations; I am free with the freedom of Spirit." This affirmation will help you come over into the path of light where little personal things become unimportant, and you will begin to appreciate life in a more comprehensive way. Cultivate a feeling of fellowship with all people, instead of limiting yourself to the little circle in which you have been living.
Climb the mountain path that leads to the heights; lose sight of the miniature world in which you have been living. Learn to look upon those things that are enduring and eternal, and be free from personal bondage. ...
The panacea for all inharmony is God. Find Him and recognize your unity with Him. Then the very spirit of joy will enter into you and you will know that the king of glory has come in.
Excerpt from The Magic of the Word by May Rowland.