Purpose: To try again to correct our false belief that God is fearful. To realize instead that, since God is Love, He must be a giver of pure joy.
Longer: Every hour on the hour, for five minutes (if you cannot do this, at least do the alternate).
- Say, "God, being Love, is also happiness. To fear Him is to be afraid of joy."
- Then, just as in previous days, enter into a meditation aimed at finding the happiness God placed in you. Seek this holy place in you filled with anticipation, expecting God's joy to take the place of your pain. Realize you cannot fail, because you seek what is already yours. Also seek this place filled with a sense of welcoming the happiness that will surely come to you. And remember to draw your mind back when it drifts off to thinking about all the false promises held out to you by the world's definition of happiness.
Reinforce your expectation that you will find God's joy by saying, "God, being Love, is also happiness. And it is happiness I seek today. I cannot fail, because I seek the truth." By bolstering your expectancy, this will enhance the depth of your hourly practice periods.
Response to temptation: Whenever you feel any form of fear.
Quiet all your fears with these words: "God, being Love, is also happiness. And it is happiness I seek today. I cannot fail, because I seek the truth."
"God, being Love, is also happiness." There's one I never heard in church! "God is happiness." (Well, the Westminster Catechism of the Presbyterian Church did say that man's chief end is to love God and to enjoy Him forever. But you didn't hear "enjoying God" talked about very often.) Yet the way the lesson logically presents it, the idea is obvious and inescapable. Without love, no one could be happy. If love were absent, happiness would be absent also. That seems so simple to understand. Happiness must be an attribute of love; they go or come together.
God is Love. "Love has no limits, being everywhere" (1:4). Because that is true, happiness or joy must also be everywhere, just as God is. So God is happiness, as well as love.
The denial of happiness, then, is the denial of God. As a matter of fact, the Text says something very much like that in Chapter 10, when it says that depression is blasphemy (T-10.V.12:3-4). Careful, though; the point of saying this is not to make us guilty about being sad or depressed. The Course's point is to undo guilt, not to create it. It is pointing out the cause of our sadness and depression to us. It is saying, "You're hurting because you are turning your back on God, on Love, on Happiness Itself. It isn't something outside of you, out of your control, that is doing this to you. You have the power to change this, to choose again and lift that depression."
We are sad and depressed because we think that what we have made is real (2:1). We think there are "gaps in love" (1:6), that it is not everywhere and always. We are sad because we believe we are, to some degree at least, outside of God's Love, beyond its "limits." And we are not; we cannot be outside of His Love. If we knew that in the core of our being, we could never be unhappy.
Because I believe love has limits, I have come to be afraid of it: afraid it will be withdrawn, afraid of its conditions, afraid that what seems to be love is only a tease, a tantalizing promise that threatens to disappear if I misbehave. That fear, that constant anxiety over love's potential for disappearance is the source of my lack of joy. How can I be joyful, even when things are "good," if love may be withdrawn at any moment? This is the error of our minds we are practicing to uncover, bring to the light, and let go of.
Right now, this moment, I am encircled by His embrace. Right now, without a single thing changing, the Love of God radiates to me without limit and without reservation or question. To know this is happiness, and it is this I seek today.