On Being Right vs. Happiness

Here is one of my favorite sentences from A Course in Miracles: “do you prefer that you be right or happy (T-29.VII.1:9)?”

I like it for two reasons.

First, it’s a good question! It helpfully points to the impossibility of inner peace when one is stuck on being right about something. Being right means somebody else has to be wrong. Right and wrong are the parents of conflict, not peace.

The second reason I like it is because it literally makes the very error it says we should not make. In doing so, it demonstrates the futility of experiencing inner peace by any means offered by the world – including A Course in Miracles and its excellent questions.

Right and wrong are natural aspects of the body’s experience of both itself and the world. To minds that believe they’re isolated in bodies, right and wrong appear as obvious possibilities with high stakes. You have to choose and your choice matters.

This is as true for minor problems (should I read another chapter or go to bed) as for major ones – like, should the U.S. launch preemptive nuclear strikes against other nuclear powers?

A Course in Miracles suggests that getting worked up about the answers to those questions isn’t going to bring us peace. Make a decision, sure, but don’t confuse your decision with the cause of your peace or lack thereof.

In other words, within the context of a dream, decisions only seem to be causes of effects.

Since it, too, appears in a dream, this also applies to A Course in Miracles. Thus, that question posed by the text, so helpful in guiding our decision-making minds, is itself the very problem it claims to resolve.

Why do I say this?

Because there is a right answer to the question of do you prefer to be right or happy and every course student knows it.

The right answer is: I prefer happiness.

The question which aims to liberate you from the right / wrong conflict is itself embedded in that conflict.

Even A Course in Miracles cannot escape the framework of separation that gives rise to both ego and world.

This need not be cause for dismay! Instead, it reminds us that nothing – nothing – in the world will save us, and so motivates us to empty our hands, unburden our hearts of all attachments, and forget all that we’ve learned.

Peace is not a dream yet it is also not in a dream. It is your inheritance from a God who loves you. But you are still confused about what you are, and you are still clinging to illusions of what love is.

There is no question – much less an answer – that can save you. Salvation is not a mystery, and real happiness is not conditional. What do you refuse to give your God Who asks for nothing?


  1. Would I rather be right or happy; or would I rather have the dreaming’s edges of right and wrong soften (from video)? And to find that as sustainable and its own prosperity. Nice, thanks.

  2. Just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I enjoyed your video and how helpful I found it.

    As I continue to baby step this talk — and to forgive myself when I get stuck or stumble or back slide — I am grateful to have your words for support and guidance . . . and it’s really cool to see your face and hear your voice.

    Thank you,

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