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ON THE IDEA OF HAPPINESS

Why do some of you think that what matters is whether you are what you call "happy" or not? Why do you place your aim in that? That is not the point. It is not that the Work is to make you unhappy, but that work on yourself will change your idea of what it is to be happy. It is an undoubted fact that if you are in the Work and have worked on yourself, after a certain time you will find inevitably that what made you happy before is not what makes you happy any longer. When you become a little more interior through self-observation your hitherto forms of happiness become undermined and you begin to see that they were not real forms of happiness but having your own way. What matters is not whether you are happy or not, but whether you are at peace with yourself. What used to make you happy will not continue to make you happy. Mechanical 'l's that belong to the idea of being happy are not necessarily the 'l's that you ought to follow in the Work. In fact, you will find they make you unhappy because if you compare your present state of increased consciousness with your former state you will say: "I used to be so happy, but since I met the Work I do not feel nearly so happy." Of course these so-called happy 'I's belong to some of the illusions that characterize False Personality. For example, someone says: "He always used to be so nice to me. Whenever I wanted a new hat he used to buy me one. Whenever I was sad he took me out to dinner." Now I will leave this subject of being happy and talk about something connected closely with it-change of Being. Very superficial trivial people ought not to be in the Work, because they will always sing this song: "I used to be so happy." This is a false idea. In fact, it is an illusion about what used to be, even if he did get you a new hat and take you out to dinner. Now your happiness is, by derivation, what happens to you. This means that it is nothing to do with you but with how external life behaves towards you. You are happy when things go according to your wish and unhappy when things do not go according to your wish. If you are like most mechanical people you are very unhappy when happenings go wrong. We all think that what happens to us should be good, even without earning it. Now the world of what happens to us is a very dangerous world to trust because things may happen that do not make you happy at all. For this reason Mr. Ouspensky, when talking about this word "happy", said that he disliked the word, that it was a word of no density of meaning when people said: "All I want is to be happy." If you understand this Work you will see that happiness does not depend entirely on whether things go for or against you. If that is your situation you are entirely dependent on the events of external life. This Work is to make something in you independent of what happens to you. How can you think that inner peace depends on what happens to you? A machine will behave in that way but not a man or woman who is trying to become more conscious and tries to meet all daily events, whatever may be their complexion. Therefore you see the Work is about making some point in yourself more or less independent of the happenings of daily life, and the apparatus of this Work and all that it teaches you about self-observation, Self-Remembering, and so on, has to do with making a point in you distinct from the machine that is governed by happenings. I like very much to see a person with whom things have gone a bit wrong still maintaining a feeling of the Work, a person whose feeling does not

Do you not often wonder how you could have felt that or thought that? It seems so incredible afterwards to see how you could have written or thought or felt that. Of course. I have spoken to you many times about the psycho· logical country that we inhabit. What do negative emotions do to us? They make us see everything falsified. but being negative stands for Falsity. So you see the Work is telling you things about yourself and where you are in yourself. before you can be happy again. That is why the Work says being negative brings you close to Hell and Falsity. and the happiness that is found is not external but belongs to inner peace or inner stability. If you dream after being negative you may find yourself in the slums in considerable danger from toughs. we know we are behaving badly. For us aa we are the Work stands for Truth. Now there is a certain happiness that can take the place of mechanical happiness which depends on whether we can meet the unhappy situation and not identify. you have to get into a better place in yourself before you can expect any inner peace or. when you are free from the negative state. but something independent of external life. let me say. Now do you see how each of you is an arena of Truth combating Falsity? You understand what temptation means when you see everything from the negative emotion and yet retain in yourself the point of the Work so that you will not give way quite to your negative states. Now if you are in a bad place in yourself interiorly through being negative do you think that anything in life will help? No. There is no other teaching that I know of that lays such emphasis on what the Work lays emphasis on-negative emotions. but simply are. Now do you . This is simply a warning from Higher Centres that you are in a bad place. or. This means not acquired conscience but a deep conscience that belongs to the fact that we are born as "self-developing organisms".depend on what happens to him or her externally but who has another centre of gravity which does not respond to the ups and downs of life. if you do not know when you are negative. It is only by the development of inner taste that one knows one is negative and people who have Magnetic Centre have this inner taste and can work eventually on negative states. This is the only path whereby we can get real light from Higher Centres which seek to make us nourish and create in ourselves something a little bit independent of external circumstances. But we are only saved by Truth combating with Falsity and. A person who has begun to find this can distinguish between internal happiness and external happiness. If you do not agree with this. you are a long way from seeing what this Work is about. if you like. We know that we are saying something and we do not quite believe in the suspicious negative emotions that arise. Inner taste is connected with inner conscience or buried conscience. Here lies for me the battle of the Work. observe what thoughts and emotions you have when you are really negative. Here the quality of happiness deepens and becomes not an external thing dependent on what other people say or do to us. But no one applies this to himself because for many years in the Work people are convinced that they are never negative. *** In everyone there is a tremendous battle between Truth and Falsity. That is why we must overcome Falsity with Truth. after a phase of being negative. if we retain a little point in the Work.

think that if you are born a self-developing organism you can waste your force in being negative? And don't you think that one of the most important things is to realize and see for yourself that you are being negative and that negative emotions are making you say and think what you are saying and thinking? Some people are very happy being negative." then you are a person who has begun to work. Is not this a strange happiness? But if you have reached that stage of inner development through the force of the Work that you can say: "I am not happy because I am negative. and are you not a person in whom whoever has taught the Work will feel a certain inner delight because you are beginning to understand what the Work is about? .