9. Progress

The kind of progress that Benson speaks of in his book Joyous Gard is not typical of the current ideas on the subject. It seems most common today to think of progress in terms of technology, invention or discovery. And when considering your own personal progress, it is most likely that you would be thinking of financial or social gain.


But the progress of Joyous Gard is of a far different character. It is personal, most certainly, but it has little to do with financial or social advancement. Nor is it akin to the ideas underlying what are called the wheels of progress. No, progress, according to Joyous Gard, is more of a resolve to seek the highest and best in one’s own life, giving up the things that add little to the pursuit of happiness but then attending to the things that are of vital interest to the development of the spirit.


The progress of Joyous Gard is the carving out of a life that focuses mostly on the things that really matter, the things of beauty, of peace and love, of the acquisition of knowledge and of life’s betterment by means of simple pleasures. The progress of Joyous Gard involves giving up some pursuits in order to more fully realize the leading of God’s hand.


I think that claiming such progress demands a certain discipline, the discipline primarily of avoiding the traps of comfort and prosperity. You must guard against holding a purpose that has as its end, relaxation and rest, while also being careful not to merely replace such a limited scope with the thoughts of staying constantly occupied and on the move. Let neither the idleness nor the occupation of your mind prevent you from enjoying the sunset.


Day 9 Guide


What occupies your mind? Where is your focus? What does progress mean to you? Are you overlooking the simple pleasures?


© 2005, Levi Hill

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