Category Archives: happiness

Changing Your Consciousness Filter

Everyone wants to be happy.

If you’re not happy, it’s not because you don’t have the right job, car, or house.

It’s because you don’t have the right attitude or belief.

Do you find yourself wanting what others have?

Do you bitterly compare yourself to those who’ve achieved what you haven’t?

Do you embrace the self-destructive premise that only certain objects can bring you joy?

If so, then you are destined to live a life of misery, unless you make some much-needed changes.

The good news is that you have the power to change it all.

It’s your beliefs, not your material goods that bring you pleasure.  If that which you focus on expands, then why would you want to keep concentrating on what you lack that others are enjoying? It’s not about changing the circumstances of your life; it’s about changing what you make those situations mean.

More often than not, people, many unaware, view life through a filter of lack rather than through one of abundance and gratitude. Whatever the choice, the Universe will surely fill your order.

If you want things to change, then you must change your consciousness filter.

Your consciousness is always in the process of creating. If you keep focusing on your problems or on what you are lacking compared to everyone else, guess what? You’ll just attract more of the same. Instead, direct your energy to the emotions and experiences you want, not the conditions you’re trying to get away from. This means to direct your attention to solutions.

When viewing others’ lives, rather than choosing to see things through the lens of envy, be genuinely happy for them. This shift in energy is a critical step in breaking free of envy and in letting go of desperate striving, unfair judgment, and endless competition.

Look at what you possess and be pleased for yourself. Unsubscribe from the “belief” that you need more to be content. Instead, embrace the understanding that you’ll get more as you welcome joy. See the good things within and around you, and expect the Universe to send some more.

Be willing to let go of the things that are keeping your energy down and making you unhappy. Be relentless in your refusal to engage in negative energy. True happiness can’t coexist with negative thoughts and emotions. Do an immediate intervention whenever you find yourself tangling with negativity. Take some deep breaths and let the thought go.

Appreciate what you can about the present while pursuing your goals of the future. Choose to see the value of your life and your true self in the present moment.

Behind every personal quest is the desire to find and experience joy, but real achievement comes from finding that joy on a daily basis. Happiness is not some future event.  It is a present choice we make.

A Toast To Presence

Day 20 of 29 Days of Spiritual Messages.

We are either practicing the Presence of the Sacred or Its Absence.

29 Days Template (18)

There’s no middle ground.

How does this translate into daily life?

Ask yourself if you are content.

Are you?

Today’s tidbit of wisdom comes from Abraham Lincoln, when he says:  “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”

We are only as happy as we want to be.

Making up our minds to be happy means we don’t need to look any further than ourselves. Abe’s statement implies choice. Either we choose to be happy, or we don’t. Happiness is entirely up to us.  We are in charge of it, not anyone or anything else.

So, why do so many people feel that they just don’t have enough? Why isn’t enough enough?

Because they are practicing Absence rather than Presence.

They’ve latched onto attachment, and they can’t let go. Well, let me rephrase that. They won’t let go. They’ve become attached to being attached to outward things that they think, feel, or believe will make them happy.

Yet, when they attain those things, they’re still not happy (though they may be temporarily). When that temporary feeling wears off, they begin seeking once more. It’s an exercise in futility, not fulfillment.

Anyone in a state of seeking can never be truly happy; they’re so busy acquiring things that they don’t have the time to appreciate what they already have. Their minds are constantly focusing on the next prize. They get attached to the outcome. They get addicted to attachment. If they didn’t, they would be resting in what they already have; they would find that they have enough.

Practicing Presence is not about unnecessary self-denial. There’s nothing wrong with having money or possessions; although, some people do go to the other extreme, thinking that to be spiritual means living a life of renunciation, where they give up or avoid gifts, money, experiences, and people in fear of being selfish or attached. They become attached to not being attached.

Practicing Presence is about taking responsibility for our own happiness. It’s not about seeking happiness; it’s about allowing ourselves to be happy. If we are to be happy, then we are to do things that make us happy.  If we do things that contribute to our unhappiness, then we will feel it going against the grain of our core, and we will remain unhappy unless we make the necessary changes, whatever they may be. champagne glass

Practicing Absence leaves a void to be filled. Without self-examination, we find ourselves filling this void with things that do not last. We may even try to numb the emptiness with drugs, alcohol, or other addictive substances or behaviors.

Practicing Presence fills this void with the champagne of joy that bubbles up from within and spills outward into our lives.  We find ourselves filled with gratitude for what we have and for who we are.  Our perspective evolves.  Our lives change.

When we choose to be happy, we practice Presence in our lives.  We allow Presence to work its mystery.  We allow it to guide us.  We allow it to create with us and for us.  We move from futility to fulfillment.

I’ll toast to that.

 

Walking The Tightrope Between "self" And "Self"

Recently, a former student of mine (I’ll call him J.R.) said, “I wanna be a waiter in NYC…that auditions for lowly theater companies. That is my dream life, and sadly, I can’t muster the courage to follow it. Damn society and its confines!” And I thought, how incredibly sad–and angering–that such a young man, in preparing himself for the “real world,” feels that he can not follow his passion because of the dictates of society.

Here is a young life, overwhelmed with AP classes so he can be accepted to a prestigious university, overburdened by expectations to succeed in a reputable career, and over-scheduled by activities that drain him of his time and energy (and life!) so he can project and market the “right” image.

Photo courtesy of Google Images
He’s teetering on a tightrope between what’s expected of him versus what he desires for himself. How many of us have been in a similar position?

Dreams can be big, or they can be as simple as J.R.’s. But, a dream is a dream, no matter the size. J.R. doesn’t want to find a cure for cancer. He doesn’t want to save the world. He wants to be himself — not some copy of someone else. Some people may say that J.R. will be throwing his life away and wasting his intellect should he follow such a simple dream. I say his desire is a compass for direction in his life.

He is yearning for expression. The person J.R. wants to be will always be with him, tugging at his shirttails in those quiet moments, nudging him to follow his passion and live his dream life. I don’t know what he will decide. All I can do is encourage him in his decision-making process and hope he finds the courage to bloom into his authentic self, whoever and whatever that may be.

As we reach toward and re-claim our authentic selves, as we walk that tightrope from who we are expected to be to who we yearn to be, we find ourselves riddled with questions and haunted by self-doubt. The shakiness we feel is normal any time we find ourselves transitioning between self and Self.

But we can take comfort in knowing that Divine Wisdom underlies all events, and no transition fails to bring good. As we attune ourselves to the unfolding, we release those nagging questions and doubts to a higher hand. I will not tell J.R. what to do with his life or how to live it, but I will encourage him to be true to himself and to go into the direction that he believes will serve his highest good on the road to his authentic self.
May we all rely on Divine Wisdom to guide us toward our happiness.

Holy Cow! A Lesson In Bovine Beauty

Study an animal long enough, and it may provide you insight to carry into your own experiences. We usually associate certain qualities with certain animals.  Dogs are loyal, and cats are curious.

I took a lesson from a herd of cows today.

Nothing seems to bother them.

They graze.

They laze.

They are sociable, staying in the same part of whatever field they are in.

They are a happy lot. They are content no matter where they are.

In India, the cow is a provider of milk. It is also equated to one’s mother. Cows are sacred for many reasons in Hindu mythologies and tradition. Kamadhenu, for example, is a divine bovine-goddess described as the mother of all cows. She is the wish-fulfilling cow and is honored through the veneration of all cows in general throughout the observant Hindu population. Because they are sacred, it’s not unusual to see them roaming the streets, completely unharmed.

When I was sojourning in Kathmandu, Nepal, on my way to the Himalayas, I remember watching a cow striding down the middle of a highway without a care in the world. Cars slowed down to move around her. People even threw vegetables toward her to honor her spirit. The experience touched me in a very deep place.

She was one happy cow.  It was as if she knew she had the endorsement of the entire universe behind her existence.

Looking at the cows in the field today reminded me of that experience in Nepal. I saw them not as walking hamburgers or receptacles of milk, but as symbols of the Earth; they give so much of themselves without expecting anything in return. . .such innocent creatures who are comfortable just being themselves.

That’s something to be happy about.

The Spiritual Discipline of Cultivating Joy

Reclusive author J. D. Salinger once said, “The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy is a liquid.”

Many people use the words happiness and joy interchangeably. While they are cousins, they are not identical; there is a difference.

There are many definitions for the word happiness; there doesn’t seem to be a consensus and so a true definition remains elusive. Nonetheless, we know it when we feel it, and we can say that it is a subjective experience of emotion that we choose to feel; it is marked by feelings of pleasure or satisfaction. It is aroused in us when something good happens, such as when we buy something for ourselves or when we get a promotion or a raise. This means that happiness comes and goes; it is fleeting. Probably the biggest distinguishing factor is that happiness is dependent on outward circumstances and sources. Happiness is about the self’s pleasure.

Like happiness, joy also eludes definition. But it is marked by something much deeper than happiness and by something much greater than ourselves. Joy is about the inner self; it is a soul-satisfying experience in which the ego is absent. It is marked by inward peace and contentment, even in the midst of trial and tribulation. Joy is constant, and with it comes a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life.

But this does not mean one is better than the other; they actually reinforce each other. They are the dynamic duo of positive emotions, working together for our highest good. But, while happiness is an emotion that is automatically felt (it is not a learned emotion), joy is to be cultivated.

So, how does one cultivate joy?

For starters, observe joyful people. Joyful people are often in good health. They are grateful and appreciative. They are generous, playful, and kind. They value relationships. They have a positive mindset. They have coping skills in place. They are creative. And they live their lives from the inside out, not the outside in. In other words, while they are appreciative of outside things, they are not dependent on such things; these things do not define them, or confine them. Instead, there is a fluidity to their lives that makes room for abundance in every area; magical experiences of synchronicity flow into their lives.

Cultivating joy is a spiritual discipline. Below are ways to nurture the joy within:

1.  Choose joy. Remember, we have the freedom of choice. We can choose our responses to situations and people. We can choose joy, or we can choose fear (joy’s opposite), anger, boredom, etc. Sure, we may face challenging times, but joy is still achievable if we believe it to be.

2.  See life as a gift. Life is temporary. Make the best of it. We don’t know when we will depart this life. We can either approach life passively, or we can be active participants by creating the reality we desire through our power of choice.

3.  Keep a gratitude journal/scrapbook. Write down five things for which you are thankful. Each day add to it. Do this for 30 days. Read your list as a meditation each day and give thanks.

4.  Get physical. Practice some kind of movement meditation. This can be yoga, tai chi, walking, etc. Regular physical exercise releases endorphins (“happy hormones”) that help to reduce stress and anxiety, the twins of negativity that lead to illness.

5.  Pay it forward. According to neuroscience studies, when we give to others, the pleasure and reward region of the brain lights up. Generosity stems from a place of love. In giving selflessly, people have reported feelings of euphoria and of increased energy. Psychologists call this “helper’s high,” in which endorphins are theoretically released. Whatever the case, people have said giving makes them feel good; they touch a place that’s deeply profound.

6.  Honor relationships. Make time for those whom we love. Forgive those who need forgiveness. These are acts of love that strengthen bonds.

7.  Release the past.  Learn from it, bless it, and then let it go. Our past does not define us.

8.  Maintain a positive attitude. Studies have shown that negative and positive emotions affect our physiology and psyche. Fear, anger, and sadness, the unholy trinity of negativity, can have devastating effects on our minds and bodies, leading to all kinds of ailments and illnesses. Joy and happiness, on the other hand, have the reverse effect.

We all have the choice to live in joy or in fear.  Joy and happiness carry high vibrations, and as a result, we feel lighter in our beings; we feel better about ourselves and about our places in the world, allowing for the continual flow of goodness and positivity. Joyful people lead happier, healthier lives, regardless of their circumstances. They have no need to rely on external sources; instead, they yield to an inner source, to that which is greater than themselves because they know this is where joy resides. Joy brings meaning and purpose to our lives, even during challenging times. Joy sustains us. By cultivating joy, we honor the sacred space within.

Cafe Universe – Now Open!

Welcome to Cafe Universe!  This is the place where you can order anything you want for your life.  And it’s free!  With Spirit as our partner and co-creator, there is nothing we can’t manifest in our lives.  All you have to do is state exactly what you want.  If happiness is what you are craving, then satisfy that spiritual appetite by stating what you want in the present tense; that is, state it as if you already have it in your life.  For example, you can say, “I am feeling happy,” or “I am happy,” or “I exist in a state of happiness.”  It doesn’t matter how you word it as long as it is positively worded in the present tense. Repeat as necessary. If it sounds simple that’s because it is.  
Most people want to improve their lives in terms of relationships/love, health, happiness, and/or money but they have no idea how to go about bringing these things into existence.  They pour time and energy into thinking about it, but they stop short of taking any type of action toward making these things happen.  Many times it is fear that stops people.  But by taking the first step to vocalize or think about what you want as if you already have it in your life actually alchemizes the process.  That’s because the Universe operates by special laws, one of them being the Law of Attraction, which basically states that positive thoughts and feelings are magnets for positive life experiences.  It works in reverse, too — negative thoughts and feelings attract more of the same, so this is where one must attune one’s thinking to the positive instead of the negative.  Basically, if you have a specific desire, focus joyfully — not negatively — on that desire and it will be fulfilled.  
Ask yourself what you are feeling at this very moment.  This is important because what you feel is a determining factor in manifesting (or not) what you want in your life.  If what you want is to be happy, but in your core you are feeling fear, the two don’t match.  They are two different emotional frequencies.  One cancels the other out.  In this case, you need to raise your vibration from one of fear to one of happiness by participating in things that actually make you happy.  Studies show that when one is actively engaged in activities that make one happy, seratonin and/or endorphins (the “happy hormone”) release into the bloodstream thus elevating a person’s overall mood.  When you feel good, you’ll want to keep doing those things that make you feel good.  Of course, giving gratitude for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, is a great tool to use to help lift you higher on the emotional scale. Tools such as daily journaling, creating vision boards, and employing visualization techniques are some of the many ways to help you align yourself with your bliss.  Find what works for you to keep you elevated vibrationally.  
As you begin to change for the better, people will take notice.  They will wonder what your “secret” is.  Of course, you can share this information with them so that they can improve their lives.  And if they say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” then allow them to move on to continue attracting what they will attract while you go on creating the life you want.  Send love and light to them with the hope that they find happiness at some point in their lives. 
Why not help yourself to generous portions of peace, love, joy, and happiness?  The Universe wants to serve you your dreams.  Grab a seat at the counter and place your order.