Happiness is a decision for which we are responsible. It is not more complex than that. We don’t need to fix anything outside of us; we have to let go of the idea that anything outside of us can be fixed. None of that is the problem.
Our work as students of A Course in Miracles is to decide to be happy; happiness itself follows naturally and perfectly.
Therefore, if we are not happy – e.g., if we cannot say that we “. . . have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but [are] merely perfectly calm and quiet all the time” (T-15.I.1:1) – then it is because we have decided not to be. We have chosen against joy. And while this is not a crime against God or nature, there is a better way.
That way is to find out why we are deciding against happiness.
The work of A Course in Miracles is to ask that question and be as open-minded, creative and courageous as possible in finding the answer. We don’t have to become happy – we have to find out why we are resisting happiness. When we get clear on the nature of the resistance, then the happiness naturally arises, care of a power that is in us but not of us.
Our study and practice will reveal to us the blocks to love; our work is to see them. They are undone for us; not because we see them but because seeing them means we are reclaiming the Love that we are in truth.
The easiest way to identify blocks to love is not notice when you are happy and when you are not. In this instance happiness is not the ersatz happiness of the world, i.e., getting what you want, having more than what you need, et cetera. It is much closer to what the poet Jack Gilbert called – here paraphrased – “a natural, serious happiness.”
To be naturally seriously happy is to be coherent at all levels of our being. Coherence is the absence of resistance; it is a natural and radical (in the sense of reaching from the roots) acceptance that brings forth what is whole and unified. It is the remembrance of oneness by oneness. There is no doubt in it; there is no fear.
Coherence, like Love – for which it is merely another synonym, like Knowledge – is natural and easy. It isn’t forced; it doesn’t need to be protected because it can’t be threatened. We all know this space! The work is to nuture and bring it forth in a reliable sustainable way, which often means learning how to recognize it in the first place.
There is a level of being at which we are simply extending the Will of God, which is creative and loving, and is experienced by us as creative and loving as it extends through us. The best analogy is that we become prisms unto God’s love: a light moves through us and appears in the world as beautiful peace and joy. Our brothers and sisters are illuminated, and feel it too, because it includes them.
And so the practice – after the Workbook, after the Manual, after The text – is to come to stillness each morning, and give the day to the Holy Spirit who will give it to God on our behalf, because we are still not ready for that. Which is fine – that’s why we’re here. Our goal is to accept our role as learners and then be the most cheerful and willing student we can manage.