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The Duty of Happiness

After all, it rests with ourselves as to whether we shall live in a World Beautiful. It depends little on external scenery, little on those circumstances outside our personal control. Like the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not a locality, but a condition. It is a Spiritual state, and depends on our degree of receptivity to the influence of the Holy Spirit. We have all of us met persons whose very presence is a benediction; who harmonize and tranquillize those about them, and with whom we feel on a higher and serener plane. The world is distinctively the better for these benignant spirits; but such lives are not only to be enjoyed, not only to be recognized and appreciated, but to be lived as well. As the poet has it:

Be thou the true man thou dost seek!
—John Greenleaf Whittier

If one admires the patience, gentleness, sweetness, and unfailing energy of another, if he finds himself renewed and invigorated and inspired by such contact—why does he not himself so live that he may bring the same renewal and inspiration to others? The responsibility is on each and all of us to live on the ideal plane; to realize in outward action, in every deed and word, those qualities which we recognize as pertaining to the higher life. For it is these that produce the Spiritual. And to live this higher life is to live in happiness, even in holiness. It is the life of peace and love and joy; it is the life of larger sympathies, and, as a result, of larger interests. The more liberal the sympathy, the more is the interest of life extended; and the more extended one's range of interests, the more does one multiply the means and resources of happiness...Unfailing thoughtfulness of others in all those trifles that make up daily contact in daily life, sweetness of spirit, the exhilaration of gladness and of joy, and that exaltation of feeling which is the inevitable result of mental peace and loving thought—these make up the World Beautiful, in which each one may live as in an atmosphere always attending his presence.

Like the Kingdom of Heaven, the World Beautiful is within; and it is not only a privilege, but an absolute duty, so to live that we are always in its atmosphere. Happiness, like health, is the normal state; and when this is not felt, the cause should be looked for, just as in illness the cause should be scrutinized and removed.

Live in the sweet, sunny atmosphere of serenity and light and exaltation—in that love and loveliness that creates the World Beautiful.

From The World Beautiful

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Lilian Whiting

  • Born on October 3rd, 1859 in Niagara Falls, New York and died in 1942
  • Author and journalist
  • Edited The Boston Traveler and The Boston Budget
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