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The Basis for Happiness

THERE are times when happiness seems elusive -- when the apparent complexities of life would have us feel we just can't capture the joy that we may once have felt and that we intuitively know is natural to us. The reason for the unhappiness may appear to be an unfortunate set of circumstances that we can't see our way out of. And we've all undoubtedly faced such a challenge at some point. Yet we can begin to see light as we consider more deeply the implications of the First Commandment, ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me.''* This commandment has a loving message, designed to help us, whether we feel we've done something to warrant rebuke or not. Can't we see the commandment as saying, in effect, that there is just one God, who the Bible tells us is totally good, and that to worship Him in our thoughts and actions is to experience the happiness that He alone can give?

We'll be helped, then, even if we feel we're already God-fearing, by seeing how we can more fully worship the one God and prove that He is good, that He is the only genuine provider of happiness.

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Christ Jesus' words ``God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth''** are helpful in this respect. It could be that we need to focus less on swirling events around us, or on the depressing thoughts we've made our companions, and turn more trustingly, more wholeheartedly, to the infinite goodness of divine Spirit. It's true that we can't see Spirit with material eyes, and yet we can do so through purified thought, as Jesus clearly indicated. This is not to ignore our own or another's problems but to begin to see how they can be resolved, because only the light of divine power can dissolve the shadows of evil that are sometimes so ominous.

A superficial, materialistic sense of things would tell us that we're victims of the way things are, that there are certain adverse circumstances which are simply inescapable. But the way things really are is the way God made them, and what He made is totally good. That fact may seem theoretical at best from our current standpoint, but it can be a powerful help in enabling us to see a resolution of what is troubling us and to find more reliable happiness.

The creation of God, Spirit, is spiritual, and it's concordant in every detail. The need is to begin to discern that reality through prayer and purified living, through greater trust in the unwavering goodness of God. The need is to be guided more consistently by our God-given spiritual sense, even when our eyes and ears are telling us such efforts are useless. It's those very efforts that will bring us more in harmony with Spirit and open the way to happiness. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Chris tian Science, says, ``To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, -- this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true.''

None of this may be easy, but in the long run it's essential. Purification of thought is required as well as childlike receptivity to the possibility of good, beyond what our senses take in. What is called for is deeper worship of God, which is the basis not only of our happiness but of our ultimate salvation from evil.

*Exodus 20:3. **John 4:24. See Matthew 5:8. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 428.

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