A Journey In Jubilance
“Life for every person should be a journey in jubilance!” Well, when we think of all the pain and suffering, the poverty and hardship, and the personal and world-wide conflicts that abound, these words of Charles Fillmore [co-founder of Unity] would seem to be “Pollyannaism.” I would like to have you think about this with me.
You know, there are some people who are born happy, others who achieve happiness, but no one has ever had happiness thrust upon him or her. It just doesn’t come as a compulsion from the outside, happiness is always an Inner Light. One of the great discoveries of human unfoldment is that happiness and joy are not effects, but causes. A person is happy, though he or she may not be aware of it, not because of what did or did not happen, but because he or she is a happy person.
Within each of us is the unborn possibility of limitless joy…and ours is the privilege of giving birth to it at any time. It is the little fire that we may smother but never quite extinguish. Some persons have quickened this Divine Fire into the flame of jubilance, others have hidden it. Unhappy persons find all manner or reasons for their unhappiness, and the happy people are forever encountering things to make them happy—more aptly, to vindicate their happy spirit. Now, there is not a single one of us who doesn’t want to be happy, who would certainly like to experience life as a journey in jubilance. We long for it; we spend much time, money and effort in trying to achieve it. Unfortunately, we have been deluded into thinking that it is to be found in things and experiences and relationships. So, we ride the merry-go-round over and over, ever reaching for the brass ring. And if we occasionally come up with the ring, the reward is simply another ride for more reaching and more riding, on and on, and on and on, seeking for that which can only to be found within.
Today, with the wide-spread acceptance of psychosomatic origins of physical ills, we know that happiness is not only a prerequisite to the abundant life, it is essential to a life of health wellness. One cancer research expert has said, “A person who is unhappy is more likely to develop cancer than anyone who is leading a happy, satisfactory life. Internal balance is health, and internal unbalance is sickness. The bodily functions are controlled by glands that are influenced by mental health. In other words, the bubbling up of jubilance from within is a vital flow that is the concomitant of health.
Humans have evolved certain mechanisms in their subconscious mind that quite often work against them. For instance, a crime may take place in the city and the next day a preacher lashes out at the “sins of the world” and the depravity of the modern generation. This is a common practice for preachers. But, here is someone who should be helping to bring light to the world, who is trying to fight darkness by turning out the lights. We may do the same thing unthinkingly. When we walk into a room of hostile people, we may quickly turn off the light of our love and friendliness. There is no power in darkness, so we suffer in it as much as those whom we blame as the culprits. In the same way, we may experience something, perhaps only observe something, and we may say, “Oh, that makes me so sad.” At the very time that we need more light, we reduce the flame of jubilance and we walk in darkness. We may even justify it all by saying, “You know, I was really feeling good until that happened.”
We sometimes act as if we have an unlighted torch, and we are chasing here and there trying to find some flame from which to rekindle the torch. We may feel that if we could just associate with happy people, we could “catch fire” from them. But it is all shadow chasing. The only way to find enjoyment or cause for joy in life is to “flame up and shine.” It is an inner process.
It is interesting to recall that as little children, we always expressed the joy-potential, spontaneously. Children are filled with enthusiasm for life and the boundless bubbling forth of joy. They do not learn this; it is natural to them until it is unlearned. Children are the epitome of “sponte,” which is the joyous releasement of their Inner Fire, until the adult mind begins to set dampers: “Why don’t you grow up?” “Don’t be so silly!” “What do you have to be so happy about?” So, maturity, too often, comes to mean shackling spontaneity and hiding the spark of fire under the cover of dignity and reserve. And so from their adult peers, children learn that joy may be released only on special occasions when they have good reason. In time they lose the awareness of the inner fire and come to assume that joy is a commodity that comes from outer things and experiences…mostly from intrinsic objects. And yet, often people feel that in growing up they have lost something that they had in childhood. They usually think in terms of years…they wish they could be young again. But what they have lost is the spontaneous jubilance or bubbling forth of the free flow of Spirit. The fountain is there always. Remember, Jesus says we need to “turn, and become as little children.” [Matt. 18:3] Now, he doesn’t mean that we should become childish. He is pointing to the need to recover the natural awareness that joy is an inner fire that can be turned up at any time, regardless of circumstances.
The philosopher, William James used to tell his students that they could regulate their feelings by acting the part they wanted to feel. “Speak cheerfully and smile,” he would say, “and act as if you are radiantly happy.” Now, this “act as if” concept is rejected by some persons, who otherwise follow meticulously this New Insight In Truth, and for good reason. Certainly, if the Ugly Duckling had been encouraged to act as if he were a beautiful duck, he would have gone on compounding his problem. So you see, the “act as if” approach can become a lure into an experience of sham and artificiality. So, it is a valid concept only if it deals with the releasement of an Inner Power that is constant. You may act as if you are a Child of God, because that is what you are. You may act as if you are full of love, because that is the truth about you. Remember, the Bible says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” [Jeremiah 31:3] And you may act as if you are happy, because there is a glowing fire of joy at the heart of you, always, awaiting your commitment to “flame up and shine.”
When we realize that it is a matter of creating the channels through which we can release our “Imprisoned Splendor,” as Robert Browning puts it, then we know that we are completely sincere. It is not just putting on a smile for all the world, which appears to be pasted on the face. It is a sense of turning up the corners of the mouth to establish a vessel into which the joy of the Lord may flow forth.
There is an important principle involved in this matter of releasing the spirit of joy from within, regardless of circumstances. It was expressed by a poet who wrote, “All things respond to the call of rejoicing; / All things gather where life is a song." [Anonymous] The truth is that we live in a world of rhythm and harmony which is limitless in potential…and each of us is limitless in the capacity to demonstrate a personal experience of that limitlessness. But we must get in tune, and one important key is the bubbling forth of a Jubilant Spirit. In other words, no matter what the provocation, the trials, or the challenges, no matter what you have or have not, no matter that the world seems to be upside-down, and people may say that you have good reason to be glum, actually, you have every reason (and perhaps the desperate need) to be joyous, because “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” [Nehemiah 8:10]
Let the world call you a “Pollyanna,” an irrepressible optimist. Don’t be too concerned about that, just see to it that nothing causes you to turn down the inner radiance of your peace and poise and power. “Flame up and shine!” Begin every day with the insistent affirmation: “This is the day which the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Or as one poet sings, “And every morning I will say: ‘There is something happy on the way.’” And that “something happy on the way” may be, first of all, the bubbling of jubilance that is on its way from within.
When you start your day in a happy spirit, with joy in your heart and a smile on your face, people respond, for “all things gather where life is a song.” And, you leave a veritable “mile of smiles” as you walk along, and all your relationships, even important business contacts are influenced by this contagion. Your trek through the day, which could so easily have been a walk through the jungle, becomes a “Journey In Jubilance!”
Whenever, during the day, an untoward thing happens, and there seems to be good reason to be saddened and discouraged, it is well to remember that you cannot become unhappy without turning down your own flame…no one else can turn it down for you. People and situations can provide you with an excellent opportunity to be sad, if you decide that you are going to be sad. So, when things do not please you, resolve to please yourself by entering into the joy of the Lord. When fate seems unkind to you, do not be unkind to yourself by becoming disheartened. Instead, rejoice in the Truth that you are stronger than any fate; that you can master your life and determine your destiny by your invincible will. If you have failed or have lost something, have no regrets. Be glad, and begin again. Be glad that you can begin again. Be glad to know that all things work together for good…even seeming loss. The future is always richer and better than the past, if you claim the unfolding good that is yours. It is true, some persons may say, “Well, what do you have to be so happy about?” Some might even, angrily say “What right do you have to be happy?” for your bubbling spirit is a threat to their established position that gloom is the natural result of gloomy conditions. But what is that to you? You can walk in the light of joy. And actually the health and well-being you desire is dependent on that light of joy. This is a great discovery to make about life, and about yourself. Joy is not just a reactive emotion, it is a causative force! So, why not have a perpetual “Journey In Jubilance.” It’s a practical way to live, and it will insure the flow of health and the experiencing of what the world calls, “good fortune,” “for all things gather where life is a song!”
© Eric Butterworth