1 – Happiness a Worthy Goal?
We often don’t think that happiness is a worthy goal. We think that there must be much bigger things to do in life than to be happy.
2 – Salvation
And, of course, there are. We are to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is our function, but happiness is also given in A Course in Miracles as our function. How might we link forgiveness and happiness?
3 – Forgiveness and Happiness
If we are in turmoil emotionally, we are likely not going to “be there” for others. If we are unhappy, that translates into turmoil, great or small. So when we develop lives that are happy, it stands to reason that we will be more likely to be there for others, to forgive them when they trespass against us. We are also more in a flow and better able to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings; we are not so hard on ourselves.
Here is the full passage:
“God established His relationship with you to make you happy, and nothing you do that does not share His purpose can be real. The purpose God ascribed to anything is its only function. Because of His reason for creating His relationship with you, the function of relationships became forever ‘to make happy.’ And nothing else. (T-17.IV.1)”
4 – Living in Reality
So we want what is real, and when we share God’s purpose for our lives, we live in reality (though maybe not yet in the “real world”). His purpose is lofty, we can be sure, and so we need to see happiness as well as forgiveness as lofty goals. We would not be satisfied with inferior goals. We want the best. We want it all (from ACIM).
5 – The Elaborately Framed Picture
“Look at the picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it you will believe that you are damned. (T-17.IV.9)”
The above passage comes from a particularly poetic portion of ACIM. Jesus describes an elaborate, overwrought picture frame that is inlaid with gems. He goes into some great detail, knowing that we would be attracted to such shiny objects. But he wants us to look at the picture that the ego has made, surrounded by all of that which would entice us, as well as distract us. The picture is small, a picture of nothing. If we believe the lies that the ego tells us, we will be “damned.” But we do not have to settle for this. We can leave this egoic part of ourselves in the ditch, with our eyes on the heavens. We can instead see a picture that is framed in light.
6 – Special Relationships
“The special relationship has the most imposing and deceptive frame of all the defenses the ego uses. (T-17.IV.8)”
We see here that this elaborately framed picture is a metaphor for our special relationships, and our special relationships are ego-inspired. We think that we will be happy if only we can possess this one special relationship, a relationship with a significant other who has attracted us. But we will not be happy for long. This way paves the path to hell for us, for the heights of joy are contrasted with depths of depression. The ego always does this to us. Never are we to be at peace. Never are we to have a stable happiness that will not desert us.
6 – Holy Relationships
“The picture of light, in clear-cut and unmistakable contrast, is transformed into what lies beyond the picture. As you look on this, you realize that it is not a picture, but a reality. (T-17.IV.16)”
The picture of light is a metaphor for the fact that our special relationships have been transformed into holy relationships. Jesus says that, in the beginning, when this transformation is first happening, we may be in a very disjointed frame of mind. The purpose of the relationship has shifted, and we are not immediately prepared for the shift. We may, in fact, break off the special relationship at this point, thinking that it no longer satisfies our needs.
7 – A Better Understanding
But we need to hang loose. We will come to know a much better relationship once the shift is completed. We will know love in a way that special relationships never promised (although they seemed to so promise).
8 – Love
The picture of light is gracious to us and gracious to God. We see an image that reflects back to us the love that we are offering to another. And this love is wholly pure. Though still in this world, it is not of this world.
9 – Eliminate the Ego
Change the elaborately framed picture of egoic special relationships to the picture framed in light that is a metaphor for holy relationships. Once we have done this, we will never look back.
Affirmation: “I would see the picture framed in light today.”
I would see the picture framed in light today. I would turn aside from the tiny picture hung in an elaborate frame of gems that are meant to betray. Help me to develop the holy relationships that You long for me to have. May I, with Your help, turn all special relationships, past and present, into holy ones.
My brothers and sisters, seen and unseen, are in my mind today. People from the past, and new people from the future, crowd my mind. May this mean that I would have holy relationships of all others.
Thank You for being there for me. There is no better way to live a life than without the ego, with You only.