Doing Nothing Equals Happiness?

There is a very popular song from the 1920s English musical comedy "No, No, Nanette," in which Nanette sings:

I want to be happy
But I won't be happy
Till I make you happy too.
Life's really worth living
When you are mirth giving
Why can't I give some to you?

Is total complete unclouded sunshine happiness really possible? Obviously it is, or you wouldn't be studying Christianity in the hopes of coming into the experience. Somewhere inside yourself you know that out-of-this-world happiness is not only possible, but inevitable. Otherwise, why bother?

Yet as you continue on your spiritual journey, you will occasionally feel frustration, or perhaps observe your spiritual brothers voicing discouragement:

"No matter how fully I feel the presence of Jesus Christ, no matter how many hours of my day I spend in prayer, no matter how thoroughly I allow the lessons of A Course in Miracles to work on me, I continue to notice myself experiencing fears from time to time, and I continue to detect my ego inserting itself in day to day situations. It's disheartening! What do I need to do to be perfect as Jesus would have me be?"

How often do we hear such expressions of disappointment? Yet a little honesty tells us all such feelings are generated by the ego, not by our holy spirit.

Our holy spirit feels mirth when we feel frustration, and responds that resplendent happiness is indeed possible; an answer which of course the ego then tries once again to twist to its purposes by wondering how to achieve it:

"Do I need to quit my job? Do I need to abandon certain relationships? Do I need to move to another location? Is it required that I live in Wisconsin with a master teacher? What must I do?"

If you let your mind become preoccupied by such thoughts, you may not notice your holy spirit patiently smiling at your useless determination to continue in silliness. There is an answer being given any needed moment, but a preoccupied mind might not hear the answer. So Jesus states the answer clearly in A Course in Miracles for the purpose of saving you time:

When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation, and fight against giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation, or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it ALWAYS comes with just ONE happy realization, – “I need do nothing.”

“I need do nothing” is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant, and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation.

"Yikes! Do nothing! But then how am I going to get out of these experiences of pain, fear, and self-sabotage?"

Jesus is saying we'll automatically find ourselves out of darkness when we do nothing. Isn't it clear by now that doing something with our mind is what got us into trouble in the first place? Doesn't it begin to make sense that if we quit doing something a vacuum will be created for our holy spirit to rush in and take care of everything?

A Course in Miracles makes this very point using terms of body awareness (ego identification):

To DO anything involves the body. And, if you recognize you NEED do nothing, you HAVE withdrawn the body’s value from your mind. Here is a quick and open door through which you slip past centuries of effort, and ESCAPE from time. This is the way in which sin loses ALL attraction RIGHT NOW. For here is time denied, and past and future gone. Who needs do nothing has no need for time. To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. Into this place the Holy Spirit comes, and there abides.

In the Holy Bible this principle has been illustrated in terms of material wealth, but it is a simple matter to broaden our viewpoint and expand our translation. A young man wants to experience perfect peace and joy and love. He tells Jesus he has followed all the commandments and asks what else he must do:

"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Matt. 19:20-22)

If you were to interpret this Biblical passage to refer only to material wealth, you would certainly be taking a step toward heaven, but Jesus knows that once you see the point, you will grasp the deeper principle he is trying to teach. "Sell your possessions" really means "divest yourself of all your ego-mind's creations, all thoughts your ego-mind would have preferred to hang on to." "Give to the poor" means, as it always does in Jesus' teachings, "extend your heart and soul to the seemingly poor in spirit, give all your love and respect."

Notice that giving your heart and soul completely is not a doing. It is a willingness to refrain from doing, refrain from building defenses, and allow the total love and respect of your holy spirit to extend.

But even giving to "the poor," the "seemingly poor in spirit," is not the point of Jesus' teaching. The point is we are seemingly poor in spirit any moment when we are not giving, when we are not extending the love and respect of our heart and soul. A Course in Miracles lesson 126 states: "All that I give is given to myself."

Obviously the important thing is not who or what is the recipient of the giving which happens when we do nothing to defend against the flow of light. The important thing is that we are doing nothing, which is the very requirement for allowing the divine extension. So there doesn't have to be a person to give to. We can give to trees, flowers, animals, noisy neighborhood scenes or pictures of ugly war zones. But there doesn't even have to be any object. Even giving to nothing is giving to the entire universe.

"But the problem is, I forget to do nothing. Then I get frustrated."

Yes, for a little while longer you might notice yourself forgetting from time to time. But you don't have to do frustration, which is a doing. Your holy spirit is not absent. Your holy spirit is still present, shining inside, reminding you that radiant happiness is your birthright.

He will remain when you forget and the body’s activities return to occupy your conscious mind. But there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of the quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, IN WHICH YOU DO NOTHING, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For, FROM this center, will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center, from which the body is ABSENT, that will keep it so, in your awareness of it.

"But it's so hard to do nothing!"

Your holy spirit smiles when you voice such ego-silliness. For your holy spirit knows the truth is just the opposite. Doing nothing is easier than any doing could possibly be, it is the easiest thing in the world.

So if you find yourself feeling fear or allowing the ego to assert itself in some crazy way, be at peace. Simply say to yourself, "Nothing doing!" And allow happiness to be felt once again. Maybe you can even have fun singing the delightful little song Nanette made popular long ago ... singing it to yourself:

I want to be happy
But I won't be happy
Till I make you happy too.
When skies are gray
And you say you are blue
I'll send the sun smiling through

Each month our Holy Spirit gives a message of prophetic revelation which helps individuals open spiritually and understand Jesus' teaching.

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"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)

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