Hope springs eternal in the human breast, and with each New Year we take stock of the world and of ourselves.  We hope that THIS year those bearing the burden of authority among the nations will progress from economics to ethics, from warfare to wisdom, from hate to humanity.  We hope that the causes, for which we struggle, whether for humans or animals, will advance a stage further.

And we hope that THIS year we shall really and truly “turn over a new leaf” and put behind us all those little character defects, those quirks and undisciplines which act like lumps of lead in our shoes, tempting us from time to time, when the going is rough, to put our feet up for a bit, and substitute the fatal word “tomorrow” for “today”, as we endeavor to follow the long, winding path towards the light.

But whatever the state of the world (which is a reflection of the state of the people, including ourselves, in it) there is one resolution we must stick to – to be HAPPY.  I don’t mean that forced conviviality and assumed good cheer stuff which is maddeningly irritating, and indeed lethal when offered to those in trouble or distress. I mean that inner happiness, that calmness and serenity which comes from an upsurge of love and compassion, from faith (meaning trust) fortified by knowledge; and from a determination not to dwell on evil – for such dark thoughts only add to it – but to seek out, appreciate and foster the good, beautiful and true, wherever they are to be found or even suspected to exist.

I go so far as to say that to be happy and serene is not only a spiritual “duty” but something we also owe to our bodies.  Anger, for example, is the cause of much illness and disease, not to mention the equally damaging effects of jealousy, envy, hate, malice, bitterness, resentment – in fact all those emotions which stem from lack of love.  We poison ourselves and then complain.

I think the greatest contributory factor in a happy serene state is the sure knowledge that whatever our circumstances, problems or pain, we are never ever alone, abandoned or overlooked.

All our troubles are known and shared.  All we do, or aspire to do, is sympathetically understood.  Our efforts and work are encouraged.  We have only to try to do our best.  As one great spirit teacher puts it;  whether we succeed or fail is not as important as whether we have tried.