Posted by Roberta Grimes • January 27, 2024 • 28 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus, Understanding Reality

What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give? Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie, Then I guess it is wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
– Burt Bacharach (1928-2023) and Hal David (1921-2012), from “Alfie” (1966)

Those who first created the Christian religion, early in the fourth century CE, put no stock at all in advancing human happiness. You can tell how little the Romans cared for making people happy by the way their armies ruthlessly destroyed every form of Christianity then extant that did not conform to the Romans’ own narrow concept of Christianity as it was designed at the First Council of Nicaea in the year 325 CE. Oh, no. And then for most of the rest of Christian history, making people happy has sadly been the last thing on the minds of those who were working to advance the Christian religion! In fact, now that we mention it, those early widespread Christian massacres led to my Thomas’s first, tentative attempt at breaking the conversational ice with me one morning in the summer of 2015. This was not long after my Thomas had first announced himself to me through a medium. And then he had pressured me into channeling Liberating Jesus. So our first open interactions were not what you might call easy or friendly, his and mine. But I guess that once that first compulsory task of channeling Liberating Jesus had been completed, Thomas decided that since we were going to be occupying one body for the rest of my lifetime, perhaps now we ought to work on becoming friends.

It was very early on a late-May morning. The sun was just rising, and we were sitting at my kitchen table, sipping coffee and watching the sharply slanted sunlight taking over my backyard, coming in from the right through the trees. I was becoming used to hearing a distinctive voice in my mind from behind my left shoulder. Since my husband is not an early riser, I would have seemed to you to be sitting there alone.

But I was not alone. Thomas was saying to me from behind my left shoulder, sounding dreamy and almost romantic, “Does this remind you of the morning when we first met?”

“We met?” I said to him in my mind. “What are you talking about? I don’t know when we met. Did we ever meet?”

“Of course we met! Don’t you remember? The Romans had massacred a Christian village. You were the teenage son of the chieftain. I found you just as the sun was rising.”

He talked on in that soft and dreamy voice until I began dimly to remember what he was talking about. I had been badly wounded. He had been a grizzled old giant of a man who had been badly wounded, too, in defending the village that now lay destroyed around us, and littered with dead and dying people. He found me just at dawn. He held me until I died in his arms. Then later that same morning, he died as well. He took me back with him to Jesus in the astral plane, and he told me as I sipped my coffee and watched the sun rise on my modern backyard that although I would have no memory of it now because of the amnesia that we accept when we enter these earth-lives, I have been a part of Jesus’s circle of friends ever since that ancient Roman massacre. So, I have been Jesus’s friend for almost two thousand years? That was what he was trying to tell me? And I have been Thomas’s friend ever since then as well.  

But Christianity, tragically, has not followed Jesus at all! The religion has taught just sin and our certain punishment for sin, while Jesus has taught only love and forgiveness and happiness in our certainty of God’s love and care. How can the religion have gone so completely and so hideously wrong, and for so long?

Even to this day, Christianity has given no attention to the promotion of human happiness. But Jesus, throughout His ministry, really talked of little else but how to ease the painful struggles of human life! Jesus wanted people to be happy, as He still wants us to find happiness in these lifetimes as we can, despite the fact that our lives on earth are difficult, and are meant to be difficult in order to give us the negativity that we need to push against in order to grow spiritually. Repeatedly we see in the Gospels Jesus promising us joy as a result of His coming. I have always especially enjoyed the following passage from the Gospel of John, which is the most spiritual Gospel. Although what Jesus might have known of childbirth during His life on earth, I cannot imagine. But I think what He was referring to here was the birth of His spiritual Way, and the fact that the Romans might not like it to begin with, but nevertheless He would guide it and care for it from the astral plane, and He planned for it to succeed wonderfully. Which indeed it did, for three hundred years, until the Roman Emperor Constantine much later on had his ruthless way with it.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you that you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy! Whenever a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore, you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one is going to take your joy away from you. And on that day, you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (JN 16:20-24)

Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”

Please read that passage from John again. That is the very essence, the sum total and the entirety of Jesus’s mission and His message on earth! Those words in one variation or another are in the Gospels from Jesus over and over again. That is what Jesus’s teachings on forgiveness and love amount to. That is what Jesus came to bring to us. So it is simply incredible that Christianity as the Romans designed it and as it still is taught to this day is such a flat-out dour and depressing religion, built as it is around sin and shame and guilt, when Jesus says these beautiful and uplifting words in the Gospels over and over again! Our daily happiness mattered to Jesus then, and it still matters very much to Jesus now. For us to be happy each day of our lives matters to Him so much, although to see the religion that the Romans designed three hundred years after Jesus’s ascension, that thought is almost inconceivable to us. No, the architects of Christianity cared less than nothing about human happiness. They built a Christian religion so harshly negative that it is difficult for people who have been Christians ever to believe that the Being they know as Jesus the Christ came to make people happy! Even though in the Biblical Gospels we find Him repeatedly saying things like, I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly” (JN 10:11). The religionists entirely ignore His words, and instead they beat their ugly guilt-based drums that emphasize our hopeless sinfulness and the dogma that Jesus had to die such a horrible death on the cross as a sacrifice to God in order to redeem us from God’s judgment for our sins. None of that religious nonsense is, nor has it ever been true!

It is no wonder any more that Christianity is dying. As recently as 1990, 90% 0f Americans were Christians.  That percentage had already declined to 80% by the year 2000. And in 2022, just 64% of Americans still identified as Christian. That percentage continues to drop rapidly. For my part, though, what I notice is how far down on the happiness list the most traditionally Christian countries fall. It should not be so, of course, when Jesus Himself makes such a point of teaching happiness! But to this day, the religion that carries Jesus’s name simply does not care one fig about the happiness of the people who are its parishioners. Not when Christianity remains so obsessed with sin and guilt and shame and punishment.

Perhaps, my dear ones, it is time that I come out to you as a modern oddity. Even though I am otherwise a normal third-generation American who seems to have successfully melted into our melting-pot, by reason of the fact that there was still a thriving Danish expat community in Massachusetts less than a century ago, every one of my ancestors came from Denmark around 1900. Genetically I am a purebred Viking, which is something that I have enjoyed throwing at my husband on occasion throughout our marriage, whenever it has seemed to be necessary that he be reminded of the sort of fierce, wild thing he married. My parents raised me to be proud of being an expat Dane, a native of such a minuscule but nevertheless fiercely independent country which managed to save nearly all of its Jews from the Holocaust. And I learned to be especially proud of that particular bit of history when I was barely a toddler. I could say the word “Jew” before I could speak in sentences. When my younger daughter lately took her family to the Holocaust Museum in DC, she was dumbfounded to discover a whole room devoted to the Danish rescue effort that she had been hearing about for her entire life, but that I guess she never had quite believed. I have taken of late to keeping a Danish flag on my desk, with a picture of my Danish farmer immigrant grandparents.  

On happiness indices, Denmark and Finland routinely rank as the two happiest countries in the world. (Here is a short film about Denmark and Finland, if you have the time; it’s quite wonderful.) In fact, all the Scandinavian countries generally rank at the top of world happiness indices. Billionaires claim more attention, but it seems that having more money actually does not make people happier. Instead, the more money you have above a certain modest amount, the more it complicates your life and the more dissatisfied you become. The fact that these cold and dark countries which actually look down on the accumulation of excess wealth are generally rated the happiest worldwide still mystifies people. But it really shouldn’t. Less actually is more.

I have come to believe that Danish happiness may be in some part genetic. It is difficult for any of us to know how other people feel about life on a daily basis, but as I was working on this blog post after Thomas had chosen the topic, I came to realize that my own happiness set-point always has been quite a bit higher than are most people’s happiness set-points. It used to irritate many of the boys that I knew in college that I was always happy for no reason. And I, in turn, can recall feeling confused by the fact that most other people were not happy all the time. What was there for them to be not-happy about? I can see now that my constant cheerfulness is a reason why my husband likes to be around me, because he finds it harder to be always cheerful. I guess I never really had thought about any of this. And my grandparents, the Danish subsistence farmers whose picture I keep on my desk, also had my Danish happy gene. They never had anything in their lives except family, which meant to them that they had everything. I should have thought about this much sooner, that there are so many people who find it hard to be happy. But oddly, it just never before in my life has occurred to me that I cannot recall ever having had even one truly unhappy day.  

And so does our beloved Jesus seem to have this same high happiness set-point. With Him, of course, it cannot be genetic! No, with Him it is a deep and abiding love for people as individuals, a joy that He takes in each human being, a deep desire for each of us to be living in a rich and mutually satisfying love for one another as we go about our days, living always without the least sense of guilt or shame, without even the smallest feeling of sin to ever weigh us down; and without fear of course, without any anxiety, and knowing only the joy of perfect happiness in living in deep harmony with one another. That is what Jesus wants for each of us! So what Jesus teaches is a pattern for living on such a high spiritual level that human joy is absolute.

Abraham Lincoln said that most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. Which seems to be just simple common sense! And it gives is a pretty low bar, perhaps. But it does give us a place to begin.  

As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie, I know there’s something much more!
Something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie. Without true love we just exist, Alfie!
Until you find the love you’ve missed, You’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk, let your heart lead the way.
And you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie!
Burt Bacharach (1928-2023) and Hal David (1921-2012), from “Alfie” (1966)

Roberta Grimes
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28 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. I will be happy when I receive a direct friend that can email me and we physically meet each other. Is it possible? I have prayed to get a friend from this country so that we stand together.

    1. I understand, dear. I think your best hope for finding such an American friend is to reach out to churches in the US of your own denomination, and to explain your situation and see if you can find someone that way who can help you. I’m sure that everyone here wishes you luck!

  2. Hi Roberta,

    Thank you for your blog today. I just finished watching the video you linked on the happiness of Denmark and Finland. Thank you so much for sharing this. I enjoyed watching it very much, and it gave me something to think about.

    1. Oh yes, my dear Keith, I love that video! So much charm, and such an astonishingly different way of life from what Americans are used to; and yet, it makes you think, why not?

  3. Well … Having a genetic predisposition to being depressed or not happy is not much fun.

    It is sad that many of us have this brain chemistry. It is a cross we have to bear. It makes living life much more difficult.

    Those who do not suffer from depression never seem to understand it.

    David D.

    1. Oh my dear, that is so true! But we have found that someone with a depressive mental tendency can have his depressive tendency alleviated to some extent, if he is willing, by having a happier partner. I give my husband a lot of credit for being willing to try to ride on my happiness coattails. He was a pretty significant depressive when he was younger, very often quite depressed especially seasonally, and I didn’t give his issues nearly the credit that I should have done, but still he was so very open to being loved into a better state of mind.

    2. Hi David,

      I’m in the same boat. I never knew I had depression until later in life. I remember not being able to get out of bed when attending college. My life was in constant turmoil and I even had to walk away from my profession as it wasn’t healthy for me. I just couldn’t understand what was happening until I hit rock bottom. I’m lucky I didn’t end up becoming an alcoholic as I was drinking quite a bit. This is part of my family genetics.

      I finally found a way to live with it and be happier. I started working out more and it helped a ton. I even found ending a shower with cold water helps with the dopamine. Winter is always tougher as I am outside almost every day in the summer working on something. So I make sure to jump rope and hit the weights during the cold months.

      Depression is always there waiting to resurface, but being active helps keep it in the background. I realized what I needed to look for when it comes to knowing if I was about to have a episode. I crave chocolate like you wouldn’t believe (dopamine?). Then I know I better get in a workout or it’s going to be a rough ride.

      All the best to you brother. You’re right, people don’t understand this as they haven’t dealt with it. That is fine, as we don’t understand a lot of things that others are going through. It’s just the way we function as humans.

      1. Oh my dear beautiful Thomas, my husband and I have been talking so much about this whole depression thing this week! He was affected by depression quite a bit more when he was younger, but body chemistry seems to mellow out as we get older. I can’t even recall the last time when it really bothered him.

        1. Hi Roberta,

          Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t mellow out. I tried anti-depressants and didn’t like the way they made me feel. I ended up figuring out how to naturally do what the anti-depressants did. It worked for me while may not work for others. If I don’t follow my routine it comes back.

          Even though I was low risk for covid, I ended up getting the covid shot with my mother since she was higher risk due to her age. I was warned about depression beforehand and boy did it bring back bad memories. I forgot how bad it was until after that shot and reminded me how lucky I was to survived it.

    3. Hi David,
      I feel for you and I also share a genetic predisposition to depression. I wish you success in finding ways to alleviate your kind of lowness. I’ve learned that each of us can have different depressive expressions too, even within one classification.

      FYI: I don’t make enough serotonin apparently, so I take a modest amount of antidepressant in a daily capsule. It makes a perceivable difference. I hope you have found, or will find, your own way to relieve this condition.

      As you rightly say, those individuals who don’t share what we endure are unable to really understand it. What these people perceive as life experience and access to external achievement must be very different, methinks. (Most probably they find things easier by a margin.) I guess they see quite a different world..

      Yes, we can choose to be happy – but we can only shift our ‘set point’ somewhat. Nonetheless we can find workable ways to be happier. That’s why I try not to be closed minded about the possibilities of happiness.

      And to be honest, I think to face an earth life with many struggles AND have depression as well, is quite a cruel circumstance.

      For me, spiritually based ‘elevation’ and the deep feelings that are soul nourishing make a big difference. Hence I will continue to travel along these lines.

      I wish you the best outcome, brother.

      1. Oh my wonderful much-beloved Efrem, I am so sorry that you have the depressive gene as well! And no, those of us who have just the happy gene don’t really get what it is like not to wake up every morning feeling utterly besotted with joy, which was my whole life when I was very young. In retrospect, I get why the boys that I knew then were so irritated by me! It is a wonder that they didn’t simply wring my neck.

        1. Dearest Roberta,
          Apparently both higher and lower set points are relevant to the genome, in terms of advantage to the survival of the species. For instance, as with optimism and pessimism; the optimists may have invented the airplane, but the pessimists invented the parachute! 😉 Different gifts to society spring from the spectrum of the human psychological makeup.

          Lovely of you to feel for me dear Roberta. Thank you. I am actually doing okay. My depressive episodes are cyclical and there are long spaces between them, and my system seems to be ameliorating said depression as I get older.

          So I am doing better than many with a similar condition. My hope is that new ways of treatment are just over the horizon and some medical trials are already producing promising results. ❣️

      2. Hi Efrem,

        “And to be honest, I think to face an earth life with many struggles AND have depression as well, is quite a cruel circumstance.”

        I was thinking about this the other day. I believe Roberta said that all mental issues were part of our pre-planned strategy. That is why I keep kicking my soul’s butt for making it much more difficult than needed. haha

        I do wonder how much is “planned” and how much is genetics. My dad’s side of the family has a history of mental disorders. Schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc… I’m wondering how much can be planned around genetics. Is the genetics we receive from others be controlled?

        1. Hi Thomas,
          I think you are very strong to manage depression yourself without medication. And yes! Doesn’t chocolate help greatly as a comforter and mood lifter?! I’m as addicted to chocolate as the best of them. Always have been. 😉

          Your query about controlling our genetic inheritance is an interesting one… I don’t know much, but I am aware that personalized, gene therapy research goes on apace. Maybe, before too long, there will be some relief for people enduring depression. Heck, I hope so.

          Take care brother; none of us are truly alone in all this.

          1. Hey again Thomas ✋🏼
            I forgot to add that I can trace depression to both sides of my family. So doctors have told me that I have drawn the short straw for depressive disorder. (ie: It is basically factored into my makeup.) This type cannot be undone but it can be ‘stabilized’ quite well over time.

            And I too would like to have a ‘quiet
            talk’ with my Higher Self for planning major depression into my life lessons. Especially as I have ANOTHER biological life issue to manage which leaves me considered a fringe, minority person. (Including all that this entails over a lifetime.)

            Let’s say my ‘quiet’ talk with my higher self may be more thunderous at that. What’s the afterlife equivalent of taking a sawn-off shotgun to a one-on-one meeting? 😉

          2. Hi Efrem,

            I think even when many of us have the same issues, it can be harder on some compared to others.

            My friend/neighbor had it way worst than I. We talked about it from time to time. He eventually couldn’t take it any longer and left us. Definitely hit hard as it could be me and was almost me on different occasions. Seeing what his family went through was tough. It was a reminder to me that it isn’t just me who would be impacted if I didn’t try to do whatever I could to live with this. Like I said, for some it is just way more harder and even though I miss my friend I understood.

            With that said, I think we are all rock stars when it comes to battling the demons in our life. I am glad we are all here and able to help each other.

            God bless brother.

          3. Oh my dear beloved Efrem, I am responding to what you have said just below. My goodness, a sawn-off shotgun to an afterlife meeting?? We will have to try dear to cultivate instead an atmosphere of warmth and forgiveness, my darling. Somehow!!

  4. I appreciate your blog and your perspectives on religion. But I found it quite confusing when you suggested to Nyamongera Wilson that they should contact a church in order to find a friend. All this time, I had thought that your opinion was that you actually do not believe in such organized religion. Seems I was mistaken. However, I do agree with the advice that you gave Nyamongera Wilson. Thank you for being here.

    1. Oh my dear Judy, of course I understand your confusion, but Nyamongera Wilson is in a specific situation. He – I believe that is the right gender – has been emailing me for a while, and trying to establishing a more solid friendship than it is possible for me to enter with someone based in Africa. Given how much I have going on in my life, I have told him – or her, if I have the gender wrong – that he would have far better luck establishing a relationship with a church in this country.

    2. Judy, While conventional Christianity may have distorted Christ’s teachings into fear mongering over sin and Hell, apart from people whom you work with, where would there be any better place to find good people to befriend?

  5. I certainly agree that those without depression symptoms have a difficult time relating to those who do. In my younger years I felt depressed on many occasions to the point of considering suicide. The remedy for me was to seek out new
    interests and activities, thereby establishing a purpose for living. This approach has never failed and depression has not bothered me for the past 50 years. I think drugs should not be taken unless absolutely necessary, they probably do more harm than good in many cases.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      ” I think drugs should not be taken unless absolutely necessary, they probably do more harm than good in many cases.”

      I didn’t feel happier when taking anti-depressants. It was more like a numb feeling. I am definitely happier doing it naturally.

      1. Do you know, my sweet friend Thomas Belknap, the more I read responses from my dear friends who have been depressed, the more guilty I feel about how little I have been appreciative of your problem when I was younger. Wow, was I clueless!

        1. Hi Roberta,

          Please don’t feel guilty. I don’t think it is easy to understand unless you experience it. Some depression is normal and I think most people view it through that reality.

          I believe it was mentioned that we choose these types of diseases before coming here. If so, I was wondering if all was preplanned or if there was surprises that can happen due to family genetics that were not part of the plan?

    2. Oh my dear beloved Thomas, you certainly are a strong one! Not everyone is nearly so strong as you are!

  6. Dearest Roberta,
    My apologies for presenting a ‘sawn-off shotgun’ image here in this blessed blog. At the very least please allow me to explain that it was a dramatic image rather than an actually resentful one. My bad.😖

    I do know that when I meet my Higher Self I will realize one thing:

    A ‘fuller’ form of me freely accepted to take on certain trials in my life. Not least among them was an inherited depressive disorder. Hence I will realize that I did this to myself for growth. And as I don’t hate myself, thankfully, I will bear no resentment but instead gain a new form of dawning understanding.

    I cannot see how things really work while here on earth. Yet in the Afterlife, in a higher dimension, I reckon that I will finally understand. Therefore I must conclude that forgiveness, trust and patience is what is right for me concerning life’s inbuilt difficulties.
    Therein lies happiness.
    🙏🏼 ❣️ 🌅

    1. Oh my dear beloved Efrem, you did make me chuckle when I saw your response. And it came right away!! Even though, goodness knows what time it must be there. I do know, my dear heart, that you were writing metaphorically. And no harm done at all! Your depressive tendencies are yet another thing to forgive, my dear. And we truly can forgive it all!

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