Happiness. What is it?
Abe Lincoln said that “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” There’s some truth in this statement. Happiness is, in part, the result of choosing to be happy.
But beyond choice, what makes us happy? The sources and causes of happiness vary somewhat for all of us. A song can make us happy. A fulfilling relationship can make us happy. Living according to our purpose can make us happy. Chocolate can make us happy. Or fine wine. Or pleasant conversation. All these things and more can contribute to our feeling happy.
But not always. Sometimes being in happy situations doesn’t cause happiness. Sometimes external sources are not enough.
Beyond choice, beyond the external, beneath every cause, there’s an internal happiness. Or a lack of that happiness.
What then is the source of internal happiness, the sort of the contentment that persists, that doesn’t falter when the world is falling down around us?
It seems it’s a combination of two things, eliminating the blocks to happiness and knowing the truth of our existence, our divinity. We won’t be happy if we’re blocked by unforgiveness, by bitterness, or by a fear of trusting. And we won’t be happy if we’re not secure in our knowledge of our place in the universe.
Chasing happiness then, is a threefold process. Choosing to be happy, eliminating the blocks, and knowing, feeling, and experiencing our divine place in the world, in our universe. This trifecta is a sure and certain formula.
How happy would you like to be?
Are you willing to choose to be happy?
Are you willing to heal those parts of you blocking your happiness?
And finally, are you willing to trust in your divinity, your perfect and purposeful place in the universe?
Love and giggles,
1. Open your mind – I must be teachable to learn. I must learn to become willing to see that there is something beyond my view. If I believe I know, I will not seek.
2. Accept your imperfection – If I listen to my ego, I will believe I need not change; I need to see clearly my need to change by seeing clearly that I have not yet arrived at perfection.
3. Embrace your perfection – If I look too closely at my imperfections, I risk dwelling in the mire of shame and self-condemnation. I must reverently accept myself where I am. I must start where I am. Not where I think I ought to be, nor where you think I ought to be. I am here; I am now. This is where my journey begins. This is the perfect place for me to start to learn and grow.
4. Love without limitation – I must learn to love God in whatever form I see God in this moment, from this viewpoint. Next, I continue to love God as my perception shifts. In time, I will begin to love self. As I continue, I learn to love others. Placing limits on love places limits on growth.
5. Trust unconditionally – I must first forgive all who have harmed me in the past, including, and perhaps most importantly, myself. If I have forgiven, I will have no harm left in me, either real or perceived, and thus, perfect trust is assured. There is no reason to be afraid of the harm that will come in the present or future if I know I will forgive. Forgiveness is healing. Healing cures harm. The absence of harm allows complete trust.
6. Learn the lessons – As I walk and talk and dance and cry and live, lessons strengthen me, move me, orient me, mold me, meld me. The fire and the ice create the me that I am, that I am becoming. I must be willing to continue to learn, meaning, I must not cling to what I have learned in every moment leading to this moment. When I am willing to release my wisdom, I can be born into new wisdom.
7. Wake up – When the time is right, I will open my eyes, I will reach up and touch the face of God, I will spread my wings and fly, I will teach others the way….
Enjoy the ride…
I know you want to say it. Just like I do. Not every day, to be sure. And not every moment of even the worst days. But it’s there. It’s in all of us. The anger that’s a natural and healthy reaction to being hurt.
Sometimes it’s little things. An aggressive driver. An annoying spam email message received. A client being pedantic and patronizing and under-appreciative. Spilling coffee on your pristine shirt on the way to work. An overbearing boss, or significant other, or parent, or child, or friend.
We recognize, sometimes in the same instant as the anxiety-provoking cause, sometimes hours or days later, that it’s really, in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. There are no big deals, says one old axiom.
And yet, the anger is real. We strive to not let it get to us. We strive to forgive and forget. We want to believe we have somehow evolved beyond the need for so base an emotion as anger. But for most of us, the anger is indeed real.
Anger, based on fear, is a reasonable and human reaction to being harmed in some way, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally. And when we experience anger, when we feel anger, we have two choices. And from those two choices spring other choices. But the basic two choices that allow us to continue in our daily lives are to suppress or to express.
When we suppress our emotions we are not accepting our present truth. When we suppress our emotions we are choosing denial. When we suppress our emotions we are lying to ourselves.
So the best course is to express. Here is the power of fuck you. Fuck you is the expression of anger.
Of course, in a civilized and mostly kind society, screaming fuck you is not a reasonable response. Nonetheless, we can write out our fuck you in a personal journal. Or we can scream our fuck you not with voice but with imagination. Try it. See yourself at the top of a mountain or alone on a desert island or in a broad field of corn. And see yourself shouting the words. FUCK YOU! Does that not make you smile? Feel a little better? Thought so.
Love and giggles,
P.S. Fuck you.
Skyler looked at the October sky, gray, ominous, matching Skyler’s mood. This morning didn’t feel much like a day for collecting nuts, climbing trees, doing the things squirrels did best. Deciding instead to go for a walk, Skyler wandered into the Dark Wood.
Not sure how much time had passed, Skyler noticed the clouds growing darker. There was a tree, an oak, nearly a hundred years old by the looks of it, offering shelter. Skyler would find a place, not too high off the ground, to be sheltered from the storm.
A blue jay surprised Skyler just as the perfect spot came into view. Not really in the mood for company, but less in the mood for a wet and muddy tail, Skyler decided to risk sharing the opening between the two massive limbs with the jay.
The wise old jay, magnificent in both color and presence, spoke. “Hello Skyler. Welcome.”
“Hello.” Skyler replied.
“You’ve had a long journey this morning. We rarely get squirrels this deep in the Dark Wood. They call me ‘River’. It’s nice meeting you, Skyler. I’ve been waiting for you.”
“How do you know my name? How did you know I’d come? What do you mean you’ve been waiting?” Skyler had many more questions, but these were the only ones that came out.
“Some things are inexplicable.” was River’s reply.
Skyler accepted the answer, for now. More important questions begged asking. “Why must I be a squirrel? Sometimes I don’t feel like gathering nuts and climbing trees. I’m a little scared of heights. But I think I’m even more afraid of being just like all the other squirrels. It seems like there’s more…”
River only smiled.
“I want my life to mean something. And I want to taste the colors of the morning sun. But when I tell my friends these things, they just laugh at me. I can’t explain why I feel I have to be more, but I just do.”
“What is it that the winds whisper to you, my friend?”
Skyler thought this a silly question. Of course the winds sometimes made sounds, sometimes sounded like whispering, other times like howling, but talking winds?
“Speak from inside” River prompted.
Skyler took a breath, listened to the growing wind. Time passed; Skyler wasn’t sure how much. “The winds are telling me it’s okay to feel different. They say it’s time to change. The winds say that they call out to many, but only few listen.”
“Yes.” River said, “that’s just right.”
Skyler felt lighter, different, and was surprised that the skies were clearing. Walking home, Skyler noticed a quiet, not from outside, but from inside.
“I’ll never be the same.” Skyler realized the words were from the whispering winds.
Sure, enlightenment requires some thought. But it also requires a willingness to release the thoughts that hold us back. Enlightenment is realized when we surrender our desperate need to understand.
Which thoughts hold us back? Most of them. Any thought attached to limits, to fear, to anger, to justification or rationalization. And that covers most all of our conscious thoughts. It’s not our fault. It’s a vicious cycle perpetuated from both sides of the spectrum.
Most people have no beliefs beyond those they can prove with their senses. They believe the sky is blue, chocolate is rich, sex is fulfilling, and that one plus one equals two. All these ideas are apparently true. But none of them are always true. The sky is blue only to we who have sight, only during daylight hours, only looking up from earth, and only on certain days. Chocolate is rich only when tasted. Sex is fulfilling only with the right partner, in the right circumstances. And one man plus one woman often create a third. (1+1=3)
And those at the other end of the spectrum, the teachers and sages and “lightworkers”? Many of them are just as wrong in that they’ve come to believe that there is no truth beyond love or oneness or the “now.” How silly. How utterly shameful that so many preach from the mountaintops while not realizing there is no mountain.
The highest truths are quite lonely. All is love. Only the present moment matters. There’s more to existence than we perceive. But even these highest truths aren’t always true. All is love only to we who believe all to be love. The past is a great teacher; the future gives us the possibility to grow and change and hope. Perhaps there is more to existence than we perceive or perhaps we create our existence purely by our thoughts and perceptions.
So what of the search for truth? It’s a good thing, in that it allows us to grow. But as soon as we decide we’ve found the highest truth or truths, we stop our growth. And that’s not enlightenment. That’s the opposite of enlightenment. And if enlightenment is indeed bliss, than ignorance, or the pursuit of ignorance, is a useful tool in the pursuit of enlightenment.
Think you have all the answers? You don’t. And you’re limiting your growth if you think you do. And mine too, as we’re all connected, at least in some sense. So stop it! Be ignorant. Play with the idea that all you’ve learned as TRUTH may not be. Be willing to be a fool. There is where we grow, change, and evolve.
Love and giggles,
We are limited only by the limits which we set upon ourselves.
Most of us, instinctively and intuitively, know this to be true. That life is unlimited, but for the limits we set with our own thoughts.
But what does it mean, really? And why, knowing this to be true, do we still have difficulty manifesting our dreams?
Is it our duality, that we are both divine and human, that we are both infinite and finite? Is it the external limits set by others individually and those set by the common base of knowledge that governs us as a society? Or is it simply old experiences and illusions which, we think, necessarily predict our future outcomes?
I think it’s all three of these. And I think, further, as we accept these limiting factors in our thinking, that we can begin the process of transcending them and living closer to the boundless creatures we are capable of being.
As I began my journey, years ago, I learned from others, mostly others no longer with us, spiritual giants like Buddha and Christ and Rumi, that it was possible to break through the barriers of self and to become enlightened, to transcend this perceived reality and realize a higher one, one of pure light and love. As many others, I worked hard to climb the mountains of understanding and to break free to the realm of perfection, of Nirvana, of bliss, of Heaven. I traveled to the edge of the abyss. I traveled to the very edge of human understanding. There were no small steps remaining; all that remained were three options: remain in a place of “near-transcendence”, descend back into human reality, or leap.
I was at first elated. Enlightenment is a beautiful sensation, a perfect nuance, the intersection of sense and the senseless, of existence and non-existence, in a word, bliss. I tasted bliss. I was immersed in bliss. I danced in bliss. I merged with bliss.
But then, the experience drew to a close.
I was both overjoyed and terribly saddened. I was relieved to still be “here.” Here in the realm of the physical, here in my human form. Here where I could taste, smell, connect, learn, and teach. Here where I could feel the light tickling wonder of a slight giggle.
But saddened, too. And confused. If I was enlightened, why was I still here? If I was still here, was I really enlightened? Or was it all simply a pleasant delusion?
Until one day, an epiphany. Transcendence is not a departure and an arrival. Transcendence is an expansion. I exist, my expanded self, in both realms. Duality, which for a time was a curse, became a blessing.
And so, the simple truth of the Zen proverb “before enlightenment chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment chop wood, carry water,” becomes clear… This is my reality. I am both perfectly human and tragically divine. I am both tragically human and perfectly divine. I exist in two (or more than two) realms of thought. And so, I am both unlimited (in my reality of divinity) and limited (in my just as real humanity).
To transcend is not to leave here and arrive there; to transcend is to remain here and remain there—two realities in one perfect moment. Duality is lovely.
So if you’re standing on the precipice, waiting on the edge of understanding, staring blankly into the abyss… Fear not! Leap!
Love and giggles,
Procrastination is most prevalent in the practice of those things we hate and those we love.
I procrastinate most frequently with cleaning, accounting, and writing. Two things I hate, and one I love.
The cleaning and accounting don’t bother me much. I don’t care to leave a legacy that says “he kept a clean house” or “his books were in order.” Both to me are quite uninspiring. And I do enough of both to get by.
But the writing. The writing I love. And what I love most I fear most. I’ve spent years accepting the fact that I’ve got some writing ability. But I still forget. The memories haunt me. Insecurities. Not enough. Never enough.
Enough ranting, time to write my novel. One word at a time…
The funny thing about growing is that it’s sometimes difficult to see ourselves as the new people we’ve become.
We’ve all got insecurities. We’ve created these false views of ourselves based on what we’ve heard people say to and about us. And what we’ve said to and about ourselves. I see myself, not as who I am today, but to a great extent as who I was.
And so, I measure my abilities and limits based on past performance, abilities, and relationships. I am the mirror, in my limited thoughts born days past, of days past.
But this is not my present truth. This is not my present reality.
For me, these old beliefs manifest and actualize as current predispositions and views. For example, I’ve never seen myself as being well educated, as in fact, I’m not. At least not in the traditional manner. I never attended college. Not one day. I’d planned to, in my teens, but my life turned out differently than my plans. Married at eighteen, fathering nine children, I never had the opportunity. So in this respect, I have often felt a little inferior to others who were afforded higher education. This is the root of my insecurity in dealing with people with advanced degrees. I believe I’m not as smart as they are; I fear I won’t be able to keep up intellectually. I cower in my fear. My fear impedes my willingness to see myself as equal.
The truth is I’m fairly well read, have a keen intellect, and extraordinary abilities in many areas. The truth is I am as intelligent as anyone I’ve ever met. The truth is that I can keep up, on an intellectual level with anyone I meet, for were it not so, our paths would not have crossed.
If I can embrace the changing me, release my old limiting beliefs, and surrender my fears, I can continue to grow, to express, to connect, and to excel.
May it be so…
Deep within each of us is a knowing. It’s not limited to psychics and mystics and the enlightened. We all know.
We know when we meet a kindred soul we can trust them. We know when we meet a lost soul, we can’t. Sometimes we listen to the quiet voice. Sometimes, sadly, tragically, we don’t.
I posted a tweet yesterday, one among many. At that instant, I was in a good place, a clear place, a place of love. I said “In the midst of the din, hear one thing. I love you.” The tweet was, almost immediately, retweeted by three, favorite by six. I posted the same or similar tweet three more times in the subsequent twelve hours or so with almost no reaction. The difference, I think, was that I wasn’t in that place of clarity and love with the subsequent postings. And my followers knew, sensed, the difference. The first post was from the heart, and people knew the difference.
I think all effective expression is like this little example, whether professing our love, painting a portrait, writing a novel, or selling widgets. People, all people, can sense the difference between authentic and not, between heart and mind.
So, before you express, before you interact, find the truth that’s within, find the love that’s your highest essence, and expose only that to those with whom you interact.
I love you.
Chapter One- A Sudden Urgency
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. – W. Edwards Deming – statistician, professor
The signs are all around us. There’s an increasingly pressing need to change. The longer we stubbornly wait, the more it hurts. Most of us are in some degree of pain – inexplicable, from a deep unknown place.
But, the quiet voice within beckons. The voice of Change is telling us the time has arrived. Change is insistent.
We all have free will, of course, and you’ve got the ability to put this book aside and continue in your old life. But it’s not going to get much better or any easier. The longer we wait to begin to incorporate change in our thinking and in our lives, the more pain we are forced to bear.
Clinging to old thoughts and patterns do not serve us anymore. Humankind will evolve. Those who resist indefinitely will cease to exist. They’ll die in wars, disasters, or sickness. No one can remain in the old ways and continue to thrive. It’s time to change. Evolution demands it.
My purpose in this strong beginning is not to evoke fear, but instead to simply and quickly attempt to persuade you to begin to look at the truth. The truth is that good things like love, peace, and abundance are available to all of us, to any of us willing to change.
My way is love and my intent is love. I desire only to rouse you. I wish only to prompt you to wake – to help you to choose to look for and see the truth of the world in which we live today – a world of loving change.
It takes courage to change, real courage. Real and true courage is not being fully free from fear but instead having the willingness to face and embrace the fear and keep walking anyway. Courage is much more about willingness than about fearlessness. We’re all afraid. We’d not be human if we weren’t.
The world naturally has a tendency to flow. That which stands in the way of flow is carved away. Visualize a sandcastle built with loving care at low tide. It’s a beautiful creation. But it’s not part of the bigger picture. When the high tide arrives, the sandcastle will return to its natural state of being a part of the larger whole of the sandy beach.
Our time of willfulness is as the sandcastle. It stood proudly for a time and will forever be a part of our history. But our willfulness, our ego-centered ways, will not stand against the rising tide of Change. Change, like the ocean, is patient and strong. In time, all the sandcastles will be washed away. In time the beach will return to its natural state. In time, humanity will return to a state of cooperation with the divine Change and Harmony that’s rising.
It’s not possible to pinpoint the exact moment when this change began. Probably it was aided significantly by the information age and the Internet which brought and continues to bring widespread knowledge not unlike the advances set forth in humanity following Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.
Many of the religious as well as scientific and philosophical traditions have understood the nature of the universe for a long time. But the widespread dissemination of that knowledge is creating an unprecedented breadth of understanding. What was once understood only by the highest achievers and deepest explorers is now freely available in books and on the Internet.
We’re nearing a point of saturation, a point from which there is no return. The meek are beginning to inherit the earth. The old power structures are starting to be made irrelevant. Borders are dissolving. Peace, love, and understanding are beginning to prevail. More and more of us are seeking, and thus living, our highest truths. And as we do, all the illusions are falling away.
We needn’t follow tyrants anymore. We tire of spending our time at unloving or unfulfilling jobs. We’re learning to not allow others to treat us with anything but love and respect. And as we learn to embrace only love, the power of fear dissipates. And each little change by each and every one of us contributes to and supports the blossoming global change.
As more of us wake and talk about these sorts of things, they become increasingly prevalent. We lose our fear of being different and we follow the way of love. We follow and live our highest truths, not the precepts and illusions of the old and dwindling leadership. This rising change is not revolutionary, but evolutionary. The change is quiet but pervasive. The change is subtle but imminent.
The change is you. The change is me. The change is now. Welcome.