A cheerful spirit is one of the most valuable gifts ever bestowed upon humanity by a kind Creator. It is the sweetest and the most fragrant flower of the Spirit, that constantly sends out its beauty and fragrance, and blesses everything within its reach. It will sustain the soul in the darkest and most dreary places of this world. It will hold in check the demons of despair, and stifle the power of discouragement and hopelessness. It is the brightest star that ever cast its radiance over the darkened soul, and one that seldom sets in the gloom of morbid fancies and foreboding imaginations.
Pain and pleasure, good and evil, come to us from unexpected sources. It is not there where we have gathered up our brightest hopes, that the dawn of happiness breaks. It is not there where we have glanced our eye with affright, that we find the deadliest gloom. What should this teach use? To bow to the great and only Source of light, and live humbly and with confiding resignation.
Gloom and sadness are poison to us, the origin of hysterics, which is a disease of the imagination caused by vexation, and supported by fear.
Gloom obstructs our comprehension of the divine mysteries.
To bear adversity with meek submission to the will of God; to endure chastisement with all long-suffering and joyfulness; to appear cheerful and amid surrounding gloom, hopeful amidst desponding circumstances, happy in God when there is nothing else to make us happy; he who does this has indeed made great advances in the divine life.
Disease generally begins that equality which death completes; the distinctions which set one man so much above another are very little perceived in the gloom of a sick-chamber, where it will be vain to expect entertainment from the gay, or instruction from the wise; where all human glory is obliterated, the wit is clouded, the reasoner perplexed, and the hero subdued; where the highest and brightest of mortal being finds nothing left behind him but the consciousness of innocence.
For an artist to do creative work, he needs at once physical health and some physiomental ill-health. He needs both serenity and gloom.
Nothing is so intolerable to man as being fully at rest, without passion, without business, without entertainment, without care. It is then that he recognizes that he is empty, insufficient, dependent, ineffectual. From the depths of the soul now comes at once boredom, gloom, sorrow, chagrin, resentment and despair.
Ye men of gloom and austerity, who paint the face of Infinite Benevolence with an eternal frown, read in the everlasting book, wide open to your view, the lesson it would teach. Its pictures are not in black and somber hues, but bright and glowing tints; its music - save when ye drown it - is not in sights and groans, but songs and cheerful sounds. Listen to the million voices in the summer air, and find one dismal as your own.
I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The former is an act, the latter a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient; cheerfulness, fixed and permanent. Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment. Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, filling it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties and causes a kind of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul; and thus it may be looked on as weakness in the composition of human nature. But if we consider the frequent reliefs we receive from it and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt to depress the mind and damp our spirits, with transient, unexpected gleams of joy, one would take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life.
Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment: cheerfulness keeps up a kind of day-light in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
It is so often true that whether a person carries with him an atmosphere of gloom and depression or one of confidence and courage depends on his individual outlook.
Pure religion may generally be measured by the cheerfulness of its professors, and superstition by the gloom of its victims.
Cease, cease, wayward Mortal! I dare not unveil The shadows that float o’er Eternity’s vale; Nought waits for the good but a spirit of Love, That will hail their blest advent to regions above. For Love, Mortal, gleams through the gloom of my sway, And the shades which surround me fly fast at its ray.
The everlasting universe of things Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves, Now dark--now glittering--now reflecting gloom -- Now lending splendour, where from secret springs The source of human thought its tribute brings.
The correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting — no more — and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth. Suppose someone were to go and ask his neighbors for fire and find a substantial blaze there, and just stay there continually warming himself: that is no different from someone who goes to someone else to get to some of his rationality, and fails to realize that he ought to ignite his own flame, his own intellect, but is happy to sit entranced by the lecture, and the words trigger only associative thinking and bring, as it were, only a flush to his cheeks and a glow to his limbs; but he has not dispelled or dispersed, in the warm light of philosophy, the internal dank gloom of his mind.
For deep the cave of human consciousness;
The thoughts, like light, upon its depths may press,
Seeking and finding wonders numberless;
But never may they altogether pierce
The hollow gloom so sensitive and fierce
Of the deep bosom: far the light may reach,
There is a depth unreached; in clearest speech
There is an echo from an unknown place:
And in the dim, unknown, untrodden space
Our life is hidden; were we all self-known,
No longer should we live; a wonder shown
Is wonderful no more; and being flies
For ever from its own self-scrutinies.
Here is the very effort of the soul
To keep itself unmingled, safe, and whole
In changes and the flitting feints of sense:
Here essence holds a calm and sure defence;
It is a guarded shrine and sacred grove,
A fountain hidden where no foot may rove,
A further depth within a sounded sea;
A mirror ’tis from hour to hour left free
By things reflected: and because ’tis so,
Therefore the outer world and all its show
Is as the music of the upper wave
To the deep Ocean in his sunken cave;
A part of its own self, yet but its play,
Which doth the sunbeam and the cloud convey
To central deeps, where in awful shade
The stormless heart receives the things conveyed,
Knowing the cloud by darkness, and the light
By splendours dying through the infinite.
It's good the great green earth to roam,
Where sights of awe the soul inspire;
But oh, it's best, the coming home,
The crackle of one's own hearth-fire!
You've hob-nobbed with the solemn Past;
You've seen the pageantry of kings;
Yet oh, how sweet to gain at last
The peace and rest of Little Things!
Perhaps you're counted with the Great;
You strain and strive with mighty men;
Your hand is on the helm of State;
Colossus-like you stride . . . and then
There comes a pause, a shining hour,
A dog that leaps, a hand that clings:
O Titan, turn from pomp and power;
Give all your heart to Little Things.
Go couch you childwise in the grass,
Believing it's some jungle strange,
Where mighty monsters peer and pass,
Where beetles roam and spiders range.
'Mid gloom and gleam of leaf and blade,
What dragons rasp their painted wings!
O magic world of shine and shade!
O beauty land of Little Things!
I sometimes wonder, after all,
Amid this tangled web of fate,
If what is great may not be small,
And what is small may not be great.
So wondering I go my way,
Yet in my heart contentment sings . . .
O may I ever see, I pray,
God's grace and love in Little Things.
So give to me, I only beg,
A little roof to call my own,
A little cider in the keg,
A little meat upon the bone;
A little garden by the sea,
A little boat that dips and swings . . .
Take wealth, take fame, but leave to me,
O Lord of Life, just Little Things.
For the most part, the human mind cannot attain to self-knowledge otherwise than by making trial of its powers through temptation, by some kind of experimental and not merely verbal self-interrogation.