Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happiness is an inside job.

The idea of the ego in A Course of Miracles is a pivotal concept. The ego is the sense of self which we create for ourselves based on our interactions with other people and our environment. Based on those experiences of interaction we form a sense of ourselves as separate beings. We generalize from these experiences and develop expectations of what the world around us is like. These generalizations ACIM calls projections. These generalizations are the expectations which we have of what our future experiences will be like based on past experiences. Many times these expectations turn out to be wrong and we become distressed. The Course reads, "You make by projection, but God creates by extension." T-11.Intro.3.1 The way I have come to understand this idea is to say the "happiness is an inside job." And further, "my happiness doesn't depend on what other people do."

I like relating to people who are happy with themselves. I don't want to be responsible for making them happy, and I have learned that if they expect me to make them happy, I will usually fail. Some egos are toxic in the sense that they love to play the victim and engage in drama. Life, and other people, have always done them dirty. Their problems are caused by other people they perceive as evil they love to blame, and circumstances which they resent and believe they are exploited by. As Jesus was being crucified He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Jesus was not a victim. He did not act like a victim, and He refused to play the part assigned to Him in their drama.

Unitarian Univeralists believe in the free and honest search for truth and meaning. This search does not involve and, in fact, eschews the drama of playing the victim. The UU search is one based on respect, hope, optimism, and reverence.

As the bumper sticker reads, "Don't believe everything you think."


  1. Our self is a social construction and yet in our very individualized culture we deny the influence of the group, the organization, the society and tend to blame the individual. This is not only destructive to individuals, families, and friendship groups but impoverishes us all as human beings. "I" can only be some one in relation to "you". This is the elemental fact of our consciousness we deny and ignore.

    I, too, prefer to relate to people who are happy with themselves, but often this is not possible. There are a lot of wounded, and suffering people even when they don't recognize their suffering themselves. You can tell about their suffering though by the way they seem to manage their own thoughts and feelings and the way they relate. It is our job when we are aware of this to help them if we can. Not so much for their benefit as for our own.

    Thanks for your article. I am looking forward to the continuation of this series. May this work bring blessings and grace to all.

  2. People I find attractive are people who are genuinely humble. The are curious because they know what they don't know, and people who are reverent. They call a spade a spade and will take the bull by the horns, but they are not cynical, bitter, and negative, but rather compassionate, hopeful, patient, and yet persistent.

  3. A good sense of humor also is highly valued by most people. It is one of the most important factors to which people attribute their happiness in marriage. People who have a good sense of humor especially when they can laugh at themselves and their own foibles are a lot easier to like and love. UUs have good sense of humor. All the UU jokes could fill a large book. This self denigrating humor at our foibles and pet egotistical beliefs and practices offers a great deal of grace in this sometimes weary world which takes itself way too seriously.