Sunday 25 February 2018


2018 0225 08  James Allen: Byways of Blessedness Contd: Abiding Joy

Abiding joy! Is there such a thing? Where is it? Who possesses it? Yea; there is such a thing. It is where there is no sin. It is possessed by the pure hearted. As darkness is a passing shadow, and light is substance that remains, so sorrow is fleeting, but joy abides forever. 

No true thing can pass away and become lost; no false thing can remain and be preserved. Sorrow is false, and it cannot live; joy is true, and it cannot die. Joy may become hidden for a time, but it can be always be recovered; sorrow may remain for a period, but it can be transcended and dispersed. 

Awake! arise! Be holy and Joyful! You are the creator of your own shadows; you desire and then you grieve; renounce and then you all rejoice. When sin and self are abandoned, when the clinging to things for personal pleasure is put away, then the shadows of grief disappear, and the heart is restored to its Imperishable Joy. 

Joy comes and fills the self-emptied heart; it abides with the peaceful; its reign is with the pure. Joy flees from the selfish; it deserts the quarrelsome; it is hidden from the impure. 

Joy is as an angel so beautiful and delicate and chaste that she can only dwell with holiness. She cannot remain with selfishness; she is wedded to Love. Every man is truly happy in so far as he is unselfish; he is miserable in so far as he is selfish. All truly good men, and by good men I mean those who have fought victoriously the battle against self, are men of joy. 

Joy is the companion of righteousness. In the divine life tender compassion fills the place where weeping sorrow sat. During the process of becoming unselfish there are periods of deep sorrow. Purification is necessarily severe. 

All the saints and prophets and saviours of the race have proclaimed with rejoicing the “Gospel” or the “Good News”.  What is the “Good News” of the saintly ones? 

This: that there is peace for the troubled, healing for the afflicted, gladness for the grief-stricken, victory for the sinful, a homecoming for the wanderer, and joy for the sorrowing and broken-hearted. Not that these beautiful realities shall be in some future world, but they are here and now, that they are known and realized and enjoyed; and are, therefore, proclaimed that all may accept them who will break the galling bonds of self and rise into the glorious liberty of unselfish love. 

Seek the highest Good, and as you find it, as you practice it and realize it, you will taste the deepest, sweetest joy. As you succeed in forgetting your own selfish desires in your thoughtfulness for others, in your care for others, in your service for others, just so far and no further will you find and realize the abiding joy in life. 

Knowing this—that selfishness leads to misery, unselfishness to joy, not merely for one’s self alone, but for the whole world and because all with whom we live and come in contact will be the happier and truer for our unselfishness; because Humanity is one, and the joy of one is the joy of all—knowing this, let us scatter flowers and not thorns in the common ways of life—yea, even in the highway of our enemies let us scatter the blossoms of unselfish love—so shall the pressure in their footprints fill the air with the perfume of holiness and gladden the world with the aroma of joy.


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