Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #10
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‘Tis the season to be jolly. Ho, ho, ho. It’s an interesting thing when we sing about and deal with joy, happiness, in a religious context. It’s interesting how many restraints seem to rear their head. The reason is, of course, there has for a long time been a feeling that religion represented a sort of a pious somber expression of life, and it went hand in hand with the idea that happiness and joy were simply works of the devil.
As a matter of fact, some of you may be aware, or you may not, if you’re not then hear this little tidbit of information, that in Puritan England it was against the law to celebrate Christmas. Against the law, and the law specifically read something like prosecution for people who celebrated all merrymaking and fun and hilarity and so forth. This carried over into early Pilgrim times here in America, when they were more somber than ever when it came around the holiday season, because holidays were against the law. There was a time way back in medieval days which is carried over to a certain extent in modern times when the holy people were always the people who were sad and mournful.
You may recall the character Simeon Stylites back in the 15th century who lived for some 35 years on the top of a pillar. It’s said that he was so foul smelling and vermin ridden that he was nauseating to anybody that even came near him, yet everybody revered him as a holy man.
We have this heritage in our religious experience, and many persons would probably in the typical religious setting look around if they heard somebody laughing or clapping or expressing some sort of joy. Where did he come from? You may recall the story that’s told of a woman from a rural area in a very rural backwoods and probably fundamentalist church came to New York, and she was visiting a Fifth Avenue church. She walked in and everything was so somber and so forth that she could quite not understand it. Then she went in and took her place in the pew. As the minister warmed to his sermon, she began to react as a good fundamentalist would. She began to clap her hands, “Amen, amen, praise the Lord! Praise be! Hallelujah!” The head usher came down the aisle and he said, “Madam, shh.” She said, “But I’ve got religion.” He said, “But, madam, this is no place for that.”
Yes, it’s a strange thing what has happened in the evolution of the whole religious experience. We’re not trying to say that religion should be a religion of shouting and hilarity and so forth, but what we really want to deal with is the idea that joy, happiness, call it what you will, is fundamental to the person, that it is the natural expression of the human mind. Now we haven’t realized this. We’ve tended to think of joy as something that came as a result of something, so life has been what I call life on the deferment plan. When I get this and when I get that, then I’ll be happy.
Remember, there was a song years and years go, I’m sure many of you don’t even remember it, you probably weren’t alive at that time. You’re all too young for that. It sang something like, “I want to be where you are, do what you do, then I’ll be happy.” Remember that? I see some nodding heads, which indicates years I suppose. This is life on the deferment plan, that happiness comes as the result of something that happens.
As a matter of fact, I think that one of the weaker spots in an otherwise great document, one of the greatest documents in the history of mankind, one of the weakest parts of it, and that’s the Declaration of Independence, is the idea of the pursuit of happiness. I suspect, I don’t know, I may be wrong about this, but I have a feeling that this has a great deal to do with the tremendous materialism of our society, because there is the suggestion that you have a right to go out and pursue happiness. It’s like telling the prodigal son, yes, go out into the far country and live riotously and search for this and search for that, all with the thought that looking under this stone and back of that tree and in this place and over this hill and so forth, then I’ll be happy. Somewhere I’ll find happiness, the pursuit of happiness.
There is the encouragement then for what I call the merry-go-round complex of life, which is riding the merry-go-round round and round and round, always reaching for the brass ring, every time you come around, reaching for it. Occasionally grasping the ring, and then what happens? You get a free ride. So you ride more and more, and occasionally you get brass ring, so that life becomes a vast merry-go-round of chasing after this and getting that betterment and this increase and so forth and finding that thing and having this love and this person smiled at you and so forth, all supposedly bringing happiness, but never giving you anymore than incentive to continue the chase, the pursuit of happiness.
Happiness then is a very fundamental innate experience, which very few people discover. We may experience it occasionally. It may bubble up as a result of some outward stimuli, but very few people along in life come to realize that joy is not a reactionary emotion. It’s not something that happens because of something out here that happens, but it’s a causative energy, that it comes as a result of a releasement of an inner communion, and the only way that one can ever really experience any kind of joy or happiness is when something happens within him, when he awakens to this inner flow.
Again, one of the sad parts of the whole Christian religion is that Jesus is normally set forth as the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, so that all the artists pictures show Jesus with a sad face and a somber look and so forth. It’s a very, very serious and somber and pious kind of an expression, which is unfortunate, because there are other evidences in the Gospel that belie this entirely. In other words, Jesus said, “That my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Now what was he talking about? Was he just making sounds? Is this something that he wasn’t really serious about? I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, we find evidence in the Scriptures that Jesus was criticized as, to use a word that I don’t even understand, as a winebibber, he was criticized for spending too much time with the loud, laughing, party seeking people of the marketplace, and yet there is this continuity of attitudes that Jesus was a very somber, sad sort of a person, which is unfortunate.
I doubt very much, those of us who know life and human relationships and how personality reacts between people, I doubt very much if Jesus could have had the kind of attractiveness that he did to large throngs of people and to this inner circle of people, men who were willing to go all the way with him, if he had not had a happy personality. It’s often been said, “Laugh and the world laughs with you, and weep and you weep alone.” It occasionally shows Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Obviously he was a man who had emotions, he felt things, he had concerns, but the very fact that this would be recorded that he wept at this time, evidence that this was something special, this was a happy man who occasionally had these feelings of concern for society and for his fellow man. But joy was a natural function. So he said, “That my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Now that’s important. It is important as a realization of an innateness within all of us. This is one of the most important things that I think we need to discover in truth. I’m not saying that the most important thing in the world is to around laughing and telling jokes and so forth, but it is important that we understand that life more abundant implies an attunement with this flow of joy so that regardless of what circumstances in life, regardless of what happens, we can experience a continuity of this bubbling effervescence of spirit which keeps us alive from within. And every person can do this. This is the greatness, this is the good news, the good news of truth, the Gospel, the good news, that you are a spiritual being and you have your own innate flow of jubilance which comes right out of with your own self and you can turn it on anytime you want. Now that’s a marvelous thing to realize.
Some of you may recall what I like to think of as one of the classic cartoon strips presented by the cartoonist, remember Schultz, isn’t it Schultz who does Charlie Brown? One of the great cartoonists, I’m sure. I think of Charlie Brown as one of the great contemporary philosophers. This one sequence that I love so much shows it has four frames. The first one shows Charlie Brown like this. The caption is, “This is my depressed stance.” The second caption shows him still like this, and he says, “If you want to get anything real out of depression, you got to stand like this.” In the third sequence, he says, “Whatever you do, don’t stand up straight and hold your head high because then you’ll begin to feel better.” Finally, “If you want to get any joy out of depression, you got to stand like this.” Well, that’s Charlie Brown.
This is so important. Shakespeare says, “Assume the virtue if you have it naught.” William James talks about “acting as if.” This can be carried to a great extreme and perhaps too great so, but there’s one instance I think in which it is important that we understand this process. That is that most of us tend to play roles in life. We talked last week about this. We talked about the fact that many of us play certain roles as we increase in age, and we’re mature so we have to act in a certain way. As we get older, we’re in our cups, not our cups, what’s the Shakespeare term? I forget. Anyway, we’ve gone beyond a certain stage where we feel that we can act hilariously, and so we’ve got to act our age. We’re playing roles. I think the unfortunate part is we tend to respond to stimuli from the world around us.
Many of you have been to TV Shows, I’m sure, in this big hub of the television industry. At a TV show, you have a manipulated audience. There’s good reason for this. I don’t criticize this. After all, the show means a lot of money to the advertisers and it would sound terrible if you were listening to a happy show and everybody was sitting on their hands. So they have the warmup period in the beginning where they do all sorts of things to get you alive and awake, and they have signs that say, “Applaud, clap, shout, scream, smile, be joyous,” and so forth. The audience is manipulated.
The interesting thing is that this is not too far removed from the lives of most of us. We also are greatly manipulated because we allow it to be this way. Something happens to us, and we say, “Gee, I was feeling so good until that happened, and now I feel terrible.” We have allowed ourselves to get into a position where things and circumstances and experiences of life have control over us. We say, “That makes me so unhappy, or so angry, or so disturbed.” Does it really?
Nothing really has the power to make you upset. The thing is we have allowed ourselves to get into a position where we become deficient in the will to control our life, to control our consciousness. Nothing can make you happy and nothing can make you unhappy. Yet anything can provide you with a great opportunity to be happy if you want to be happy, but you have to make that decision, you see. This is a very important thing that has so much to do with life.
In other words, the joyous consciousness is a consciousness in which we keep ourselves in tune with the rhythmic flow of the universe that flows from within and always flows in a harmonious expression. There is no sadness in the kingdom, in other words. Sadness is purely on the circumference of life. It results in a negative appraisal of things.
We awaken in the morning, and I suppose we usually awaken in the morning, but when we wake up, some of us wake a little more slowly than others and some of us have little different reactions, but in a sense we peek out from the covers and we look out, and one of the things you might see is, say, snow falling or rain or the weather is too hot again in the summertime, which is nice to think about in the winter. We peek out of the covers and we say, “Oh, my, not that again.” So right away there’s a reaction. There’s a tendency in that consciousness to prejudge the whole experience of the day, and in a sense to say, and sometimes we say it literally, “Another one of those days. I guess it’s going to be another one of those days.”
We determine at that moment how we’re going to act during the day. Everything we meet, every person that comes along, “See, I told you, looked just like I said. Another one of those days.” We’re pulling out of every relationship, every situation, every person, the kind of things that’s going to support the attitude that we’ve already made up our mind to hold. We started it usually right in the very beginning when we awakened in the morning.
It was Sir William Osler, the great physician who coined the term “live in day-tight compartments.” I like that. In other words, his attitude was that you always live one day at a time, so start in the morning and determine this day you’re going to experience what you desire to experience. You’re going to have what you want to have. You’re going to go along in the way in which you want to go along. Live in a day-tight compartment. Decide that this is the day which the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.
If we could only do this, and one can. There’s no reason why. It takes discipline, but the discipline is not a matter of lifting yourself by the bootstraps. It’s not a matter of making yourself become something that otherwise you’re not. The discipline is simply to keep yourself in tune with the reality of your own being. This is why we talk so much about self-discovery. This what life is all about really. It’s what truth is all about. We spend so much time trying to discover things out here, trying to make our name in society, to find our good, to find the kind of friends we like and so forth. We’re always trying to discover it out there, yet you never really find it until you discover yourself.
You cannot find the means of providing you with happiness or fulfillment or meaning in life until you find yourself, until you find your own innateness, until you deal with the fact that you’re a spiritual being and you have within you the unborn possibility of limitless life. Yours is the privilege and the responsibility always of giving birth to it. You can give birth to it at any time that you want along life’s way.
One of the things that makes this real to me is the idea that happiness comes from the root word, happen. Happen and happiness come from the same root. That may surprise you a little bit because they seem totally separate. What does a happening have to do with a happiness? Everything, everything. As a matter of fact, this unfoldment of the word is not unusual. It’s very real, because actually life is an experience of happenings, and the person who is in tune with life’s happening, that is the person who is non-resistant, the person who lets experiences unfold, he says, “After all, life lives from without out, and I’m ready to let it happen. Let it happen. Let it unfold. Let it be.”
This is the person who experiences the flow of creativity. He paints pictures, he builds houses, he bakes cakes, he writes books. He’s a creative expression because he’s in tune with the happening process of life. Because of that, he experiences what we call happiness. Happen-ness, because things are happening to him. This is not a play on words that has no validity. You’ll find in the root meaning of the words that they’re both closely related.
The interesting thing is that the corresponding or the opposite concept of unhappiness comes from the tendency to try to unhappen things. This is exactly what unhappiness is caused by. The person who tends to resist the changing of experiences of life, he does not see life as a continued experience of happenings. He’s insecure, he’s fearful. He doesn’t want things to happen. He tries to hold back the dawn, to sweep back the tides.
He’s very much like a person who goes to a Broadway show, if you could imagine such a thing, and he sees the first stage setting when he walks in and he becomes fixed to it and decides that’s nice, that’s the way it is. At the second scene when the stagehands start altering the setting, he gets up on the stage and wrestles with them, “You can’t do that. You’re tearing it apart, no.” So all through the show he’s wrestling with the stagehands because he resists the happening process. What kind of a play would it be if things didn’t happen? There’d be no point in having the play.
What kind of life it would be if life was not a continuous series of happenings? The fact is the major source of all the unhappiness that society experiences together or that each one of us experience individually is the result of trying subtly to unhappen things or people or circumstances. Think about that. Take that little word, unhappen and happen. Mull it over. Meditate on it. Reflect on it. Write it out on a piece of paper and turn it around backwards and forwards, and get the realization that life is a constant process of happenings. If we determine that we’re going to get into the flow of the happening process of life, we will experience the corresponding joy and happiness that we all seek, you see.
How important this is to realize that first of all, there must come the tendency, the willingness to let it happen, to let life happen. As Meister Eckhart would say, “To let God be God in you,” and know that God is a creative process, that you can’t stay the same.
I often tell people in weddings that one of the tragedies of the kind of sloppy sentimentality of love songs is the idea stay as sweet as you are. I always tell them, “Don’t stay as sweet as you are, because if you stay as sweet as you are, then you’ll go rotten because life is not like that.” When two people love each other, this is one of the things that I suggest always to people who are getting married, when you love another person, you love that person essentially because your love is a prophetic insight. Love has enabled you to see that person not as he now evidences outwardly, but as he can be spiritually. You’re beholding the divinity within him. Your love is related to the namaskar consciousness, I salute the divinity within you. You see him as he can be.
This is why it’s said love is blind, because the other person can’t see as the lover sees. He doesn’t see that. The lover says, “Oh, he’s the most wonderful person in the world,” or “She’s a living doll.” And somebody else says, “I don’t see what they see in each other.” Of course you can’t.
The point is this can lead to a great problem if we say, “Don’t let anything ever change you. Don’t let a thing ever change you.” If nothing ever changes you, you’re in trouble, because you’re not good enough. You’re not done yet, as the little boy says. You got a long way to go, and we all have.
A life can only be vital and real, relationships can only be happy and harmonious, and you can only experience joy in life if you’re in the constant process of growth and change. Let it happen. The next time you find yourself resisting some kind of change, and there are an awful lot of changes that rear their head from time to time, all the way from movements about in your work, or a loss of employment, or something happening in your neighborhood, and all these many things that we could cite as being terrible, abominable situations, determine right away, I will not resist change, but I will adapt myself to the unfolding law of divine order.
The change may cause a certain amount of insecurity, but the insecurity comes because I’ve allowed myself to center my attention in the thing, and I have assumed that the thing itself has the power to make me happy or unhappy, so if it goes then I’m going to be unhappy. Not necessarily so. It is only that way because that’s the way I’ve related to those things.
You may recall the little nursery rhyme, Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, and so forth, and he put in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and he said, “What a good boy am I,” of course. The point is most of us live in what you could call the thumb-plumb concept of life. We’re forever putting in our thumb and hoping that we can pull out a plum, whether it’s in our job, “I want get the big plum in this thing, I want to have the raise in salary, I want to have the seniority, I want to have the promotion when it comes.”
We, unfortunately, have carried this over into our practice in metaphysics, because metaphysics is thought of as sort of a metaphysical and spiritualized version of the pursuit of happiness. We’re still pursuing happiness, demonstrating this, and demonstrating that, and demonstrating the other. It’s sort of a metaphysical version of putting in the thumb and pulling out the plum, and oh, what a good truth student am I. Look what I demonstrated, you see.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with demonstrating things, demonstrating the job, demonstrating over this condition or that condition, or demonstrating the love affair, or demonstrating the divorce that solved the bad marriage or whatever. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but the problem is that we can so easily tend to lose our perspective. We can so easily tend to forget that the key to the kind of joy and fulfillment that we all long for is to get busy seeking to relate this process within ourselves and know that the plums of life may well be delusions. They may well be leading me on down the glory path, in other words, to a kind of experience which will lead only to emptiness, such as prodigal son out in the far country when he came to know want. Eventually, it says, “he came to himself.” He came to realize that what I’m really seeking in life is not all of life’s plums, but I’m seeking the awareness of myself so that I can know that the real plums are the consciousness that draw the conditions, not the conditions themselves. It’s seek first the kingdom and the things will be added.
When I work from this approach, I may still get the plums if they’re the right thing for me and if they’re the things that are in keeping with my consciousness, they’ll come. I won’t be able to keep them away, but I won’t forever be tensely anxiously out here trying to do this. They will come easily and naturally, and none of them will have the power to make me happy and none of them will have the power to make me unhappy. The fact is you have to make a decision. If you decide that anything has the power to make you happy, then the loss of it has the power to make you unhappy.
If you decide in the beginning, “I’m so happy, I’m so elated that this thing has come along,” it’s a dangerous point. That happens to a lot of us. We tend to get very emotional. Suppose something happened to your job, you got a raise in salary. “Oh, wonderful, I just had this raise in salary, I could shout from the housetops. I feel so good, so wonderful. It’s the greatest thing to happen to me.” That’s a very critical stage in your life, because you are right now investing in this job, in this situation the total power over your happiness and your peace of mind.
I remember a few years ago, a person came to me for counseling, and he was crushed. He was just absolutely at the end of everything because he’d lost his job. He was a very creative person. He had great talents and great abilities. As I could see it, there should be no concern about finding other employment, probably even better than he had. But he was so crushed, so upset. He couldn’t understand himself why he felt this way. It was as if someone had died, almost as if something in himself had died.
We talked to a great extent about this, trying to get to the bottom of it. I felt at that time I had more time to be involved in this type of thing. I felt almost like a detective seeking out the clues, ‘cause I had somehow to find out what it was that was causing this kind of a reaction in the person. Suddenly we discovered, looking back that years and years ago, when this promotion came, it came out of the blue, and it was such an exciting thing, that he went on a binge of festivity and hilarity and celebration for weeks because it was such a tremendous thing. Without knowing it, he had invested in his consciousness this idea that this job itself was more than life itself to him, so that in these years later when he lost the job it was almost as if he died, you see.
This is a very important thing. The next time you find something happen to you or around you or something happening for you, whatever, and you feel yourself being very emotional and elated and upset, this is a very important time to take yourself in tow and say, “Wait a minute, what am I doing?” It’s fine to be grateful, it’s fine to be truly joyous, but if you become wildly enthusiastic about something, you’re doing several things.
First of all, you’re investing the thing in the power also to give you unhappiness. You’re also saying that this thing came as a stroke of luck. “I didn’t expect it. It was a miracle.” This is why I don’t like the word miracle, because you see anytime you assume that something is going to come as a result of a miracle working, at the same time you’re putting the control of your life and your destiny in outside forces. The opposite of a miracle is some work of the devil, some terrible thing, some outside force that could come and step into your life and change things. So I say often, don’t wish for a miracle, don’t pray for a miracle. Pray for the divinely natural unfoldment of the Spirit of God within you releasing to you that which is your perfect potential and expression. Give thanks for it, rejoice in it. Don’t be wildly enthusiastic over it. Be very grateful, but be very controlled, knowing that this is the natural outworking of the divine for you. Praise God, it’s wonderful, you see.
It’s sometimes hard to be that controlled, but I simply say that you have to be very careful. When you get wildly elated about something, then in that moment you are saying that this thing has the power to make me ecstatic. The loss of it would also have the power to make me terribly depressed and miserable. It’s something to think about, you see.
What we’re saying then is that every person contains within him as a spiritual being, as a whole creature, a flame of jubilance. I think it was George Washington probably quoting some unknown source that referred to the little spark which a man may desecrate but never quite lose, a little spark of joy within, that it’s always there. We tend to assume that the spark of life, the joy of life, the jubilance of life is to be found out here, so it’s almost as if we carry a candle that is unlit, going around wishing someone to light our candle. Maybe this will do it, maybe that will do it, maybe this will make me happy, you see. But every person has within himself this spark which a person may desecrate but never quite lose, this little flame of life.
If we’re going to experience joy or happiness in life, there’s only one way. Turn up the flame. The turning up process is within ourself. It’s our own volition. Everyone has the capacity to do this. Unless you do it, you’re going to experience depression, upsets, confusion, and all of the resulting inharmonious conditions that come out of a negative consciousness.
There’s a story that’s told of a woman who I read, and first of all she was experiencing a very, very serious physical condition and a lot of other related or unrelated financial conditions and difficulties and injustices in her life. Just generally, she had a terrible experience facing her. She read in some truth magazine, it might have been in the Unity magazine, I don’t know, she read these lines that jumped out of the page, grasped her, as these things do. The words said, “Until you are happy, you will be neither healthy nor free.” Until you are happy, you will be neither healthy nor free.
Well, first she was angry at this. “What right has somebody to say that I can be happy first and then I’ll be free. He doesn’t understand what it is to be sick, to have pain, to have difficulties, to have financial problems. How can one be happy with all of these problems?” So she fought if, of course. The little ego quite often rears its head with all of us. But she was in her own view a sincere truth student, and so she decided, “Now, wait a minute. Why am I so upset about this?” Let me read it again. So she read it again.
She took the words, “Until you are happy, you’ll be neither healthy and free,” took that as a little slogan, put it on her desk, carried it around with her, decided she was going to get to the bottom of this, to figure out just what was the meaning in terms of her experience. First of all, she began to realize that she had been doing some rather ridiculous things. She had put what she called the happy tag on a lot of things in her life, things that she didn’t have. She put the happy tag on the health that she wished she had. She put the happy tag on the money that she felt she needed to solve her financial problem. She put the happy tag on some person that she felt was unjustly treating her, and if we would just change things would be right for her. She had all these happy tags out here. It’s like going to a tag sale. It was almost a case of do I have enough to afford it? She was facing this complete menagerie, as it were, of confusions and difficulties, but she had lost the hold on them herself.
So she decided, “Well, now wait a minute. Certainly I’m a spiritual being. I should be able to experience a consciousness of happiness regardless of situations.” It was very difficult for her, but she took some time, as good truth students do, to reflect and to meditate and to study, and she tried to divorce herself from the feeling of the self-limitation, from the confusion, from the pain, from the fear relative to her physical problem and so forth. She gradually began to experience the flow of joy within her. At first, she said she felt guilty about it. She felt she couldn’t justify it. She even found herself saying, “How can I possibly be happy when I have all these problems?” But she found that she was beginning to release more of a spirit of joy.
Then the interesting thing happened. As she felt that consciousness of joy, as she felt an experience of the flow of jubilance from within her, her physical problem began to go away, things began to happen in her life. Suddenly, changes took place that she couldn’t believe in terms of changes of her finances, of the adjustments that were necessary and so forth. It all came when she realized that until you are happy, you will be neither healthy nor free.
This is a very vital realization. It’s a handle on the truth that sometimes we might overlook, because I’m sure that most of us, the only time we ever deal with truth, or let’s not say the only time, but let’s say at least at first when we become interested in truth, the reason we’re interested is because we have problems. Certainly it’s true that very few people pray or treat or affirm the truth unless they have something to pray or treat or affirm the truth about, right? So we have problems.
Usually, hand in hand with those problems is Charlie Brown’s, and we play the role. That’s the way I feel. I’m praying, I’m treating, because as a result of that I believe I can be better. I believe things can happen to me, but still here I am. We talk to other folks sometimes. We say, “Oh, if you only knew the trouble I’ve seen, if you only knew my problems, my difficulties, oh, you wouldn’t believe how bad things are,” and so forth. Well, maybe he wouldn’t believe. It would be better if you didn’t believe.
The important thing is you can change all of that, and you can change it basically by knowing that you have within yourself this little flame of jubilance. You realize that you have the control in your own hands.
You see, what happens, and it happens so often to most of us, it becomes almost habitual, some experience crosses your path. It may be just an untoward circumstance of any kind. It may be just somebody beating you to the quest for a seat in the subway, I don’t know. So you feel terrible. You feel upset. “I felt good until that happened. It’s awful. I’m miserable.” You begin to act unhappy. What happens is as a result of this experience, you have turned the flame down. At the very time you needed to turn it up, you turned it down. Now I say you because this includes all of us this is the way we do it, isn’t it? It’s the usual human reaction. We say, “I have a good right to be unhappy, or angry, or sad, or miserable. After all, look at ...” So we have the happy tags all out here, you see. “I have a good right to feel, look at here, I can show you this and this and this and this, good reason to be unhappy.” So the depressed stance again.
All right, take the stance. If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’d better stay that way. Don’t raise your shoulders and square your head and so forth. Keep yourself depressed, keep acting the part, and it’ll stay that way for you. The moment you change, the moment you square your shoulders and put your head high and put a smile on your face, as one of our dear friends says expressed by this [Kimball 00:37:34] in St. Louis who has a lot of unique expressions, he says, “Keep your apples up,” the apples of course are the what happens to your cheeks when you smile. Keep your apples up.
The point is the moment you break into a smile, the moment you square your shoulders, the moment you begin to act the part of the kind of radiant happy person that essentially you always are regardless of what happens outside, things begin to change. You begin to radiate a whole different consciousness. You begin to draw from circumstances a whole different kind of a vibrational pattern. Suddenly, the whole thing is different, almost like putting a different reel in the motion picture. The scene has changed, everything’s changed, because you changed. Why? Because everyone has within him this flame of jubilance that is always there. We need to turn it up.
There was a very interesting story about a man by the name of Philippe Vernier who was a philosopher and religionist in France who was incarcerated by the Nazi Germans during the war, and he was exposed to unheard of indignities, had a terrible experience, but yet remained optimistic and courageous and joyous in spite of it all. He released a series of writings, and I can’t remember all of them, but one thought that has always stuck in my mind, he says, “Flame up and shine before men. Hold high your head before God.” This was from a man who was being tortured and beaten and mistreated in a way that was unbelievable, yet he was saying to the world, “Flame up and shine. Hold high your head before men.”
This was a very beautiful thing. I think it’s interesting if we could face any kind of a challenge that we have, and life presents challenges because life is change, and change is quite often unfolded to certain challenges. The challenge is an opportunity to grow. There is a tendency for us to start right off with the experience of some kind of challenge by saying, “Oh, me, not that again. Oh, that’s terrible. That’s terrible.” Does that sound like anybody you know? We tend to do this, the unhappy stance again, you see.
The point is this is the time to say, “No, flame up and shine. I turn on the flame of jubilance. If there’s one thing I’m going to do, I’m going to insist that the happening creates happiness. I’m not going to fight it. I’m not going to resist it. I’m not going to say this cannot happen to me. I won’t allow it and struggle with the stagehands that are trying to change the scenery.”
Let it happen Let it unfold. Know that whatever it is, it will flow forth and pass away, and the good will come because you’re a spiritual being and you will ultimately attract to yourself only that which is good. If you insist on that and realize that you have that flow of jubilant energy within you, it can become to you a tremendous motivating force that will cause things to happen.
I think the poet, I don’t remember who it was, says, “All things respond to the call of rejoicing, all things gather where life is a song.” Let me say that again. “All things respond to the call of rejoicing, all things gather where life is a song.”
The happy person, the radiant consciousness, the jubilant soul, is a person who is on a different wavelength. The vibrations go forth from him and come back from situations and circumstances, and tremendously harmonious and orderly circumstances take place in his life. You may call him lucky, and you may on the other hand say, “Well, he’s just a Pollyanna.”
I think and I from time to time feel the need to straighten the record on this, ‘cause you look in the dictionary and you look under Pollyanna and it talks about this unfounded state of optimism and so forth. Pollyanna was the creation of Eleanor Hodgman Porter. It was the story of what is often referred to as the Glad Girl. She was a young girl who had irrepressible joy and happiness and optimism. Everything was fine. She had some serious physical reverse that put her in the hospital for a long period of time, and even in the hospital she remained happy and joyous and grateful and smiling and so forth, so people called her Pollyanna. At the time, I think it was thought of as a compliment. As the years have gone by, we’ve thought of Pollyanna as being about the worst thing you can to a person. Many truth students are called Pollyannas.
The fact is Pollyanna knew, this was the message of Eleanor Hodgman Porter, Pollyanna knew that nothing can make you happy, but anything can provide you with the opportunity to be happy if you want to be happy, and she just wanted to be happy. What’s wrong with that? It gave her a consciousness that enabled her to cope with situations, to deal with things, to meet the kind of changes and reversals that happen without any tendency to suddenly try to unhappen them, to let it flow, let it unfold, and this too shall pass. Out of it shall come growth, no scars, no long range difficulties, only the unfoldment of tremendous good. What’s wrong with that?
Don’t let anyone discourage you by calling you a Pollyanna. If someone says, “Oh, you’re just a Pollyanna,” to yourself beam and say, “Gee, that’s a great compliment,” because you know that nothing can make happy, and yet anything can give you the opportunity to be happy if you want to be happy.
So the question is, do you want to be happy? Do you want to be joyous? Knowing full well that the consciousness of joy and happiness is the key to releasing the kingdom of heaven possibilities within you and unfolding the greatness in your life which is your potential to do. If that’s what you want, say yes to it. “Of course, I’m a Pollyanna. I’m happy. I want to be happy, and I refuse to get involved in resisting the changing experiences of life trying to make things unhappen.”
All right, now I would like for you to join with me for a few moments this morning. We’re going to have a little happiness meditation. I want you to relax. This is so very important that you relax, that you get this sense of letting go. Get the sense of releasement, freedom from the pressures and the tension and the strain that tries to make things be a certain way, to keep people from acting in certain ways, that resist the changing circumstances of life. Just relax and let. Few of us experience this consciousness of letting often enough. It’s one of the greatest self-treatments we can experience. Without knowing a lot of truths or speaking a lot of affirmations, just practice letting.
I always like to call up the illustration of the storage battery that is being charged. If there’s one thing required of the storage battery, of course it has no will or volition of its own, but the one requirement is that it must let itself be recharged. Of course, it does because it has no resistance.
This is the basis really of true prayer and meditation. Let God be God in you. Let life happen. Let go of your resistance, your tendency to be afraid of things, to wonder, to be concerned, to be anxious, to be fearful. Just let go, let go and let it happen. The rhythmic process of nature within you will cause your heart to beat, your blood circulation to flow, to cause the various involuntary functions of the body to do their thing. It’s nothing to be concerned about. Your strain and your tension is not going to cause anything to happen positively, so just let, let go. Let it happen.
Then for a moment in your imagination, look within yourself and see, and you will see it because it’s your image, it’s in your mind and you can cause it to see what you want to see, see a little flame, a little spark of celestial fire. The Scriptures call it the candle of the Lord. Just see that little flame flickering. Remember that this flame is not really in you. It is you. It is the divine of you. It’s the Christ of you, which expresses a radiant jubilance.
This is what Jesus meant when he said, “That my joy may be in you, that your joy may be made full.” The key is when you know that this spark, this flame, is yours, that it is you, then you must fulfill the Scriptural injunction, stir up the gift of God that is within you. Let your light shine. Stir it up. Turn it on.
Now in your own image, remember this is taking place in your mind so you can cause it to do what you want, in your image think of taking hold of the controls and turning the flame on and on and on and on and on. See this little flicker become brighter and brighter and brighter and brighter with a radiance, with a jubilance that is unbelievable. Remember as you do this, you are releasing your own potential for inexpressible joy.
Now with this feeling of this radiant, bubbling, jubilance of joy within you, now turn out in your glance and survey your world. Become aware for a moment of all the little happy tags that you have placed out there. All the situations that you think have the power to make you happy, and because they’re there and not here, they make you unhappy. One by one, see this great radiant flame just cause all those little happy tags to go up in smoke. You radiate and project this consciousness of joy and jubilance.
Suddenly you discover that, as Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” That which you’ve been seeking in your pursuit of happiness is at the center of your being. It’s the consciousness of your own relationship to the Divine flow, and you know it, and you know that you know it, and you rejoice in it, and you feel good about it, and you’re grateful.
Then make a commitment right now that you will never forget that the key to the continuity of jubilance, joy, and happiness is within your hands, and you will remember in the face of every kind of untoward circumstance, flame up and shine before men, hold high your head before God.
May we hold this consciousness with us as we go from this place today. May it remain with us through the week, through this season given over to at least the outward expression of joy. May it carry us through the joys and the sadnesses, the changes, the opportunities, and the difficulties. Always knowing that the flame of jubilance is within us and nothing can ever put it out, the little spark of fire which a man may desecrate, but never quite lose. Flame up and shine, hold high your head before God. And so be it. Amen.