The Decision to be Happy

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.

east-facing window

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.

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  1. Thank you.

    I have been thinking so much about “do you prefer that you be right or happy.”

    When I took a look at this, I realized that being right has been more important to me, and while in theory it seems like something so easy to let go of, being right, I am still fighting so much with the idea of just being happy, because I don’t want to let go of being right. It is that simple, but until now I haven’t let go. It’s funny really.

    Your reminder that these blocks are undone for us, is really helpful as I have been struggling a bit on this one.

    This morning I was reading “….the mind that judges perceives itself as separate from the mind being judged, believing that by punishing another, it will escape punishment.” This helps me at least understand why I seem to have this block to letting go for happiness. I trust it is being undone.

    The photo of the light in your blog is beautiful. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Susan. It is truly liberating to realize that we are doing this to ourselves – that we are the authors of our own suffering, our own fear, our own loneliness. From there, the way is light 🙂

      I agree that question about right vs. happy is a gem. It really synthesizes the essence of the course. Ego wants to win an argument, holy spirit wants us all to be happy together. It seems so easy but then we get caught up in the familiar patterns of perception and cognition that have been colonized/taken hostage by the ego.

      So, you know, baby steps 🙂 And sometimes a couple steps backwards. No big thing.

      That’s a great line you quoted and, again, emphasizes the way we do it to ourselves. Separation is an illusion! There is only one cry for love and only one response.

      I love prisms, have as many around the house as possible. They’re beautiful and they also remind me how God works 🙂

      Hope all is well! Thanks again for reading and sharing.


  2. So beautifully expressed, like snowflakes gently falling on the limbs and branches of trees in winter, now made light in contrast to the darkness, but without a trace of conflict. Perhaps this is what it is meant: To see the Light no body’s eye can see, that is the Meaning Love is spreading all across the world this winter’s moment, that in time’s passing turns to new leaves budding in the warming of that Light, letting go of what was once called ‘right’ or ‘left’ or any other name, because behind, beyond all names is that one Name, that some call ‘Love’ and all the many other things they think of as what ‘love’ means, but is the simple One, the only Name whose meaning is the one that’s Love. How joyful is it to see It holding in the Arms of God the one, called ‘you’ and ‘me’ and ‘brothers-sisters’ thinking we are in this dream we call ‘the world,’ when in truth we are all at once awake within another that some call ‘the universe of Love,’ as just the Son of God, awakening from that dream.

    May you accept the Blessings of Peace and Light that radiate from Love, and from that understand the meaning of what each of us think of, often quite confusedly, as ‘happiness,’ but whose meaning is completely simple!

    From the one that some call ‘Ted.’

    1. Thank you, Ted. That is lovely and affirming – and I am sitting in my office watching snow fall through birch trees – so very timely. Thank you for reading and sharing.


    2. Good morning Ted. I can’t say thank you enough for your post. It was so beautiful and I felt the joy of Light as I read it. It reminded me of this beautiful saying….
      “ I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently” Lewis Carroll

  3. Happy New Year to all the lovely readers, learners and explorers of the mind.

    I read today, in the Courses introduction of the chapter on Specialness …

    “All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognised, is faith in specialness”.

    If we ‘move through our journey’ feeling special, separate and small and then cherish the hidden belief, which we all seem to do at least occasionally, just imagine all of the love that we miss, when we could simply instead become a prism unto God’s love. I think that being a prism, is so much more fun than being special.

    “Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead. The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep … ” (The Forgiveness of Specialness).

    I did some forgiving these last few days that was tied to an old belief. I’d been inadvertently cherishing, protecting and defending this hidden belief my entire life … As a result, of uncovering it and bringing it to the light, l have been a lot happier and flow has returned. I’m going to monitor my ‘happiness’ level from now on as a barometer of any needed forgiveness and as a tool to indicate any possible hindering beliefs.

    Thank you Sean for your eloquent insights and your metaphor of the prism which is so beautiful.

    1. Jayney, thank you. This is very beautiful and helpful 🙏🙏. Happy New Year – thank you for being here and sharing the light.


  4. Thank you Sean. ⛄️ A poem for you.

    “Gentle Snow”
    Snow..the peace of God’s love, gently falling… each snowflake, unique like us…created in the grace of God’s love.
    Snow and short melody of Angel hymns that call us back through the wind of whispers, and the songs of Hope.
    Oh, snow, gentle snow, I close my eyes and accept your invitation of quiet touches from heaven, while my tears of joy blend with the witness of your flakes of forgiveness.

    Blessing to you Sean and happy new year.
    Love, Sharon

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