Mrs. C. L. Baum
Studies in Divine Science
The Colorado College of Divine Science
Denver, Colo., 4th ed., 1924.
The importance of a right beginning is so thoroughly accepted a fact that it has become proverbial. How easy it is to dominate a thought of a whole day by a little concentration on a good idea in the early morning, and how surely are the hours of sleep and rest affected by the last waking thought. The whole life, likewise, is influenced by early teachings and habits, and proficiency in any one line of work depends largely on the way in which it was begun. Consequently the value of making the right beginning cannot be overestimated. How essential it is, therefore, that anyone beginning the study of Divine Science shall get a clear conception of the elementary principles on which to build the structure of life.
The subject of this lesson is one that, perhaps, has been a little neglected or underestimated in its relation to life. A great deal has been said and written about peace, and probably more about love, until we have quite a clear idea of the value and power of these qualities. But joy has been the subject of many false concepts. Certainly in the Old Thought, joy is postponed to a time and place called heaven, and people regard suffering and misery as a necessary part of life on the earth plane. And sometimes people in the New Thought forget that joy and happiness are inherent elements of true life and are to be known and experienced now. Is it not significant that the advent of Christ was announced with a proclamation of joy? “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Are we not justified, therefore, in emphasizing this note of joy in the beginning of our study of Truth? Surely joy and happiness should be a part of our experience now and always.
We can come very quickly into a realization of this great joy. Everyone who has studied the principles of Divine Science and knows the omnipresence of God, the unity of Life, the purity of all Substance and the reality of Health, realizes these tidings of great joy. Whoever has come into a full knowledge of truth may constantly abide in joy. All gloom should have passed away from such a soul.
If joy is not a reality in your life, you need a change of thought. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Simply be renewed by the strong consciousness of the presence of God. That alone will give you joy through a realization of the unreality of many things which seem temporarily to affect your life, but which will pass away. The little things that worry and trouble you crowding out the spirit of joy, amount to nothing and have only such power as you give them in your thought. It is a common experience that after a season of worry and anxiety we see the futility of it all and realize that joy might better have dominated our thought to the exclusion of worry. Joy is real, eternal and changeless, while the other beliefs are temporary and without reality.
Joy is the fullness of divine content. It sees its own creation as perfect, harmonious, divine. Joy is complete satisfaction here and now, so that we do not long continually for all manner of external things to make us happy and joyous. It is a state of serene consciousness, not created by any act of the will, but entered into through unfoldment, through constant thought and study of truth. We find it when we absolutely know our unity with the Spirit, which is universal Joy. “I too partake of that great invisible Spirit, which is perfect, divine, abiding Joy.”
The joyous souls are not always those who have many things in the external. Some of them seem to have nothing in the external to make them happy, yet they rejoice in the joy of the Spirit. Joy should spring forth in the human heart and should be fostered as one cares for a beautiful plant, in order that it may remain to make life brighter. Cultivate the spirit of joy within you and it will change your very life. It is always ready to manifest itself, but it must be made welcome.
Many people are afraid to be joyous, and consequently they never are. Fear shuts out joy as clouds obscure the sun. There is that foolish notion that too free indulgence in joy and happiness will be followed by some sort of disaster. Put away all fear; banish all belief in misery and unhappiness; know that joy is a true inherency of the Spirit of God and man.
In time of adversity prepare for prosperity. The blue is always back of the clouds and all we have to do is to dissipate the latter. In times of depression prepare for joy. Never hold on to depression or feel that such a belief is going to stay with you permanently. Any condition which is opposed to joy is but a belief in your own thought which is depressing you by crowding joy out of your consciousness; so realize the unreality of it and prepare for joy which is real and eternal.
So brief the time to smile,
Why darken we the air
With frowns and tears, the while
We nurse despair.
Stand in the sunshine sweet,
And treasure every ray,
Nor seek with stubborn feet
The darksome way.
Joyousness is not frivolity nor foolishness, although it may be so regarded by those who make of life a struggle, a rebellion or a tragedy. It is something which sweetens our life and our environment. Joy is the sunshine of the soul. If the soul is still in darkness, open it to the sunshine. We can keep out the light if we will, but we might as well let it in and be so filled with the consciousness of joy that we shall experience it continuously. All nature urges us to look through smiles and not through tears.
Ever laughs the sunlight in our eyes, at morning and at noon
Comes the cool, pure wind to whisper on our cheek its cheery tune,
Just to tell us earth is beautiful, and at the quiet even
Every star looks down, lest we forget that earth is crowned with heaven.
There is quite a marked difference between joy and what is called happiness. The root meaning of happiness is “that which happens.” Happiness is not an abiding state of joy. We may be made happy by something which happens in our life, or may be unhappy if it does not happen. We may obtain happiness from the external; we do not attain it from the inner. Consequently it passes away as things change and grow old, and we find ourselves dependent for more happiness on more occurrences in the external. If we are not happy or joyous without things to make us so, we have not entered into the consciousness of joy. Joy is that calm inner state of blessedness which depends on no external thing. Things can give us happiness for a time but can never give us an abiding sense of joy. If this were not true, people who have the greatest possessions, the greatest number of things, would be the happiest people in the world. But they are not; the fact is that the greatest joy is found in people who have little of the external. We have not entered into the blessedness of joy until we have found it within ourselves.
There is nothing to keep us out of this state except ourselves. Joy is of the soul and is rooted and grounded in God. It belongs to the wealth of one’s own being; it is one of the blessed possessions of the soul. As we come into the consciousness of joy, we shall enter a beautiful life of service. We shall be light bearers to the world, which is as yet in the darkness of false beliefs. The light of joy from within us will illumine and transform everything upon which it falls. Thus we have the power within ourselves to be transforming agents in the world. If our light seems darkened at times by the clouds of false belief, it is our place to remove the clouds, for God never puts a veil between himself and his creation; it is we who get in the shadow of a false belief that we are holding in our own thought.
The gift of a bright and cheerful disposition is a good one. If we have a radiant thought atmosphere and can always see the bright side of life, we share our joy with others. Let us smile and give a cheery greeting to everyone we meet. We may not know how much joy we have in life until we begin to express it. Even if we have friends who come to us with dark and gloomy tales, let us listen and know the truth of joy for them, for we shall thus bring them into a better state of consciousness. Let us have a note of joy in our voices; we should not affect a complaining attitude in the hope or expectation of receiving pity from others. Self-pity or the pity of others is weakening and should not be indulged. Emerson says, “Sympathize with my strength, not with my weakness.”
No one can attain a consciousness of joy for us, nor can we get it from another. We may help each other, but each one must come into it in his own unfoldment. Let us go along the road with a bright smile and a happy word, recognizing the fullness of joy for ourselves and for our brothers. We are all “comrades on the great highway of life,” and if we rejoice in the happiness of others, we shall find our own joy and happiness increasing.
STATEMENTS FOR MEDITATION.
I am a radiant center of joy.
Nothing dark can come to me.
I transform everything I shine upon.
I have a merry heart.
A merry heart is better than medicine.
I rejoice and am glad.
I sing unto my world a new song.
Joy is the grace I say to God.
I go forth to manifest the joy I am.
TAKE JOY HOME
Take joy home and make a place
In thy heart for her,
And give her time to grow
And cherish her;
Then will she come and oft
Will sing to thee
When thou art working
In the furrows, aye,
Or weeding in the sacred hour of dawn.
It is a comely fashion to be glad –
Joy is the grace we say to God.
– Jean Ingelow.
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Studies in Divine Science
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