(This is the third in a series of commentaries on Happiness, and How To Find It.)
In our last commentary here we pointed to the fact that life gives all of us the opportunity to heal an old injury, to close an old wound, to alter an old pattern, to shift an old reality, to release an old story, to change an old idea, and to create a new experience of Self. In other words, to be transformed. And thus, to be happy in and with our lives. Finally. And not just for a moment here or there, but until the end of our days.
Okay. That’s saying a lot. And you might now ask, “How is all this possible? How can all that healing and change occur?”
To see this clearly you must observe, with Gratitude. Life’s most wonderful gift: Reliable Repetition
To explain: You can depend on Life to be repetitious. Very few events or situations arising in your life will be much of a surprise to you anymore. Not in the sense of your never having experienced anything like them before. How you are going to react, then, can actually be anticipated by you, and you can reject your prior decisions about such events or situations if you wish.
And that is Life’s great secret. The greatest secret is not the Law of Attraction, but the Law of RE-traction.
This is a tool used to retract old decisions and make new ones, instantly. That is what true creation is all about.
When you bear witness to your responses to Life’s current events and immediately retract what you decided in the past about similar events, you give yourself almost unimaginable power—including the power to end struggle and suffering forever.
Buddha demonstrated this precisely, and taught it.
It is Gratitude that gives you this power. Gratitude gives you a Fresh Start. It is like being born again, and having the Mind re-set to zero. It wipes the slate clean of all prior negative judgments that you may have held about any person, event, circumstance or situation.
At the risk of a little Repetition right here, let’s review from a slightly different angle how the whole Process of Life works, so that you can see all of this even more clearly:
Within an astonishingly short period of time following your birth, you came into contact with—then analyzed, assembled, and stored—a monumental amount of data about your exterior world. You did this so efficiently that after only a few years on this planet, it became almost impossible for you to encounter any new experiences. New events, yes. New experiences, no.
This is by design.
You are not supposed to encounter new experiences. You are supposed to encounter the same experiences over and over again.
The experiences you are encountering repeatedly are inside of you, not outside of you. All experience is interior. It is events that are exterior. But events have nothing to do with your experience. The proof of this is the fact that two people can have distinctly different experiences of the exact same event.
So we see that you can encounter any number of new exterior events, but one can have virtually no truly new experiences. And the older you become, the more this will be obvious to you. Indeed, this truth will evidence itself exponentially as each year goes by.
You have already experienced this.
You have already experienced love, and you will no doubt experience it again. You have already experienced animosity, and you will no doubt experience it again. You have already experienced commitment, and you will no doubt experience it again. You have already experienced betrayal, and you will no doubt experience it again.
You have already experienced disappointment and excitement, agony and ecstasy, frustration and exhilaration, exasperation and exaltation, anger and joy, agitation and peace, loss and gain, fear and fearlessness, cowardice and courage, ignorance and wisdom, blah’s and bliss, confusion and clarity, and just about every other emotional polarity that one could describe or imagine.
The reason it was said that all experience is interior is that emotion is the sponsor of your experience, and all emotions are created within. Events are simply outer physical occurrences. It is the emotion you hold about a particular event that creates your experience of it. And there are no new emotions for you to experience at this stage of your life. There is an endless number of unique events which can and will be physically presented to you by Life, but the emotion generated by the event, and the interior experience that this emotion produces, will be one which you have encountered before. In most cases, many times before.
The Mind remembers its experiences. Every one of them.
And now we see the reason for this.
Your Mind has been designed to hold in memory literally millions of experiences in order for you to notice that you are encountering conditions and events in your exterior world that are the same or nearly the same in their emotional content as you have encountered before.
The noticing of this is, in turn, intended to offer you repeated chances—literally millions of chances—to respond differently to conditions and events (both past and present) should you choose to, thereby recreating yourself anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about Who You Are.
We see, then, that a single Life offers in miniature what reincarnation offers in “maximature”: limitless opportunities to evolve.
This is the Process of Life in all its forms.
Scientists tell us that even the Universe is evolving. Do you imagine that you are not?
NOTE: The following is an examination of the theological and spiritual causes of all the terrorism and warring between people during this tumultuous time on the earth, written as if it were an article leading off one of the Internet’s major daily news sites…
The reason there is so much upheaval, anger, and killing in the world today has at last been revealed. In just a few short paragraphs offered to humanity in the book The New Revelations, God made it clear that the problem facing the world today is a spiritual problem.
“Your ideas about spirituality are killing you,” She said. The challenge, God made clear, is that humans keep trying to solve the world’s problems as if it were a political problem, or an economic problem, or even a military problem, and it is none of these. “It is a spiritual problem,” God repeated, “and that is the one problem human beings don’t seem to know how to solve.”
Expanding on this observation, He said: “You keep saying that your Holy Book (your cultures have many different ones) is what has given you the authority to treat each other the way you are treating each other, to do what you are doing. You are able to say that only because you have not really listened to the deeper message of these books. You have read them, but you have not really listened to them.
“The basic message of all the sacred scriptures is the same,” God then reminded us. What is different, She said, is how human beings have been interpreting them. There is nothing “wrong” with having different interpretations, God made it clear. But, He added, “what may not benefit you is separating yourself over these differences, making each other wrong because of these differences, and killing each other as a result of these differences. This is what you are now doing. It is what you have been doing for quite some time.”
We humans are going to have to let go of this tendency if we ever want to see peace on the earth, our Deity said. But such a shift would require our species to dramatically shift its highest priority.
“There is only one thing for which human beings seem willing to give up everything,” God said in this remarkable book. “They will give up love, peace, health, harmony, happiness, safety, security, and even their sanity for this one thing.”
Asked what they one thing was, God replied, “Being right. You are willing to give up everything you’ve ever worked for, everything you’ve ever wanted, everything you’ve ever created, in order to be ‘right’.”
Yet there is a way to get past all of the mixed up beliefs of humanity that make us believe that we are “right” about everything, we are told in this dialogue with Deity, and that is to transcend those beliefs.
“Transcending means to go beyond, to move past,” God said. “It does not mean to completely reject or totally destroy. You do not have to destroy a thing in order to move past it. You would not want to destroy your old belief system in any event, because there is too much of it that you will wish to retain. ‘Transcending’ does not mean always being ‘other than.’ It means always being ‘larger than.’ Your new, larger belief system will no doubt retain some of the old – that part of the old belief system that you experience as still serving you – and so it will be a combination of the new and the old, not a rejection of the old from top to bottom.”
The reason humans have hung so tenaciously to their old beliefs is that they do not want to dishonor those beliefs by rejecting them completely, out of hand, we are told here. We think that this is the choice we have: Reject the old or accept the old, totally. Yet that is not the only choice we have, God has made it clear. We can review the old and see what parts of the old no longer work. We can expand the old to make some parts of the old work better. We can add to the old to make some parts of our belief system new.
“Rejecting completely your present beliefs would be to discredit so much of what has been taught, so much of what has been understood, so much of what has been done – and so much of what has been good. It would make too much of the world feel ‘wrong.’ It would make ancestors ‘wrong.’ It would make entire scriptures ‘wrong.’ It would make present-day lives ‘wrong.’ People would have to admit that all of the spiritual aspects of the human experience have been a mistake, a misunderstanding. This is more than most people can acknowledge,” God explained.
Actually, She added, “it is more than they should acknowledge, because it is not true. In fact, you don’t have to declare that you were “wrong” about anything, because you weren’t. You simply didn’t have a complete understanding. You needed more information. Transcending current beliefs is not an outright rejection of them; it is an ‘adding to’ them.”
Humanity has learned a great deal about life and about our Deity, God concluded. “Now that you have more information that you can add to what you presently believe,” He said, “you can enlarge your beliefs – not completely reject them, enlarge them – and move on with your lives in a new way. A way that works.”
The question now is whether humanity will do that. That is, God said, up to us.
(This is the second in a series of observations on Happiness, and what causes it — or can cause it — in the experience of human beings.)
I am going to share with you now a device with immense power — a simple device that can transform almost any moment, almost miraculously, almost immediately, into a moment of happiness. The tool is Gratitude.
Gratitude is not merely an emotion, it is a decision.
So powerful is this decision that it becomes a definition and a declaration. It defines and declares your experience of Here and Now. And hence, your reality.
Gratitude can be a simple reaction, or it can be a magnificent creation. It is a simple reaction when your Mind is on Automatic. It is a magnificent creation when your Mind has merged with your Soul in making a combined choice about any Present Moment.
In every Moment that choice is always the same: to move into Reaction or Creation.
(You might have a little fun noticing that “reaction” and “creation” are very close to being the same word. Only the C and the R need to be reversed. When you C what you have always been meant to C, then you R what you always R—and the course of your life is reversed.)
While Gratitude may be one of the most powerful tools your Mind has ever been given, it may also be the most underutilized. This is no doubt because most people are not aware of the immense power of Gratitude to reverse a thought that is at the foundation of all suffering.
As earlier noted, the central cause of suffering is the idea that something is happening that should not be happening. Gratitude unleashes an energy that turns this idea on its head, announcing that just because something is unpleasant does not mean it is unbidden, unwelcome, or unwanted.
It should be understood that pain (both physical and emotional) can, in fact, be bidden, welcome, and wanted—for any one of a number of reasons that may serve the agenda of the Body (birthing pain, for instance, or a tooth extraction) or the Mind (the pain of the loss of a loved one, which you would choose and wish to experience…or the pain of realizing you have deeply hurt another, and that this is not Who You Really Are and Who You Want To Be).
Yet if the Mind thinks that a particular pain in “unwanted,” it will not abide it—and that is precisely what creates struggle in one’s life, and suffering.
Struggle is the result of the Mind rejecting what the Soul offers. It is the Mind deciding to go off in another direction, veering from the Path of the Soul. Suffering is the emotional product of that decision. Both struggle and suffering are creations of the Mind, which is where you reality is created.
What your Mind thinks about something is crucial in determining how you experience it—and Gratitude can cause you to change your Mind.
Yet Gratitude is not a tool with which to fool the Mind, it is a tool with which to open the Mind. It expands your normal, limited thinking to include a counter-intuitive truth: that even when something seems “bad” for you, it can actually be good for you.
Underneath this truth lies a deeper one: Nothing that ever happens is “bad” for you, or it wouldn’t be happening. Life is incapable of producing an event or condition that does not carry you to the next place in your evolution, and that is not designed for your next expression of Divinity. Since the expression of Divinity is the reason you are here, you can be sure that everything that is placed before you appears before you to serve this Divine Purpose. (In other words, your purpose.)
And so we say, Thank you, God. We give thanks for the opportunity to heal an old injury, to close an old wound, to alter an old pattern, to shift an old reality, to release an old story, to change an old idea, and to create a new experience of Self and Life. In short, the opportunity to Demonstrate Divinity — which is the reason you are here.
(In our next installment: Reliable Repetition – Another Tool Creating Happiness)
I appeared the other day on a globally broadcast panel discussion with Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith and Bishop Carlton Pearson and we were asked a series of extremely interesting questions. I thought it might be fun to share a couple of them:
- What is the secret of happiness?
- What is the meaning of life?
In answer to the first question I told our interviewer, “The secret of happiness is not to require it.”
My answer to the second question: “The meeting of life is the meaning we give it.”
Let’s take a look at the first of these responses here, and see if you agree.
I have learned in my dialogue with God that happiness is not something to be sought-after it is something that we are. It is our inherent nature. It is our deep identity. Is a word we have given to an energy that we feel in a certain way.
This energy is the fundamental energy of the universe. It is the primal force. It is the Essential Essence. It can be called by many names. Love is one of them. Happiness is another.
Because happiness is who we are, any effort to find it or to seek it is, essentially, on its surface a denial of our True Identity. By denying that identity, we push its manifestation further away from us.
I happen to wear glasses, and if you are a person who also wears glasses, I am sure that you and I have shared a common experience at least once in our lives. I am sure that at least once you and I have gone looking for our glasses while we were wearing them.
This is a classic example of ignoring what is true even as we are looking for what is true. It is an example of seeking that which we cannot find no matter how hard we try, because we are looking for something that we already have. We won’t find our glasses anywhere because we are looking right past them — indeed, right through them — in our effort to find them.
In the same way, we cannot possibly find happiness if we are looking outside of ourselves, because it is inside of ourselves that happiness resides ––– for the clear and simple reason that happiness is we are.
The best way to experience happiness, then, is to express it. To “express” means to push out, squeeze out, press out. It does not mean “to take in.” Happiness is not something that we gather, it’s something that we spread. And if we spread it wherever we go, we find ourselves experiencing it at a higher level than we might ever have thought possible.
Happiness is not something that comes to us, it’s something that comes through us. I know this sounds elementary, but I’m going to share it anyway. Happiness does not come from things. Proof of this can be found by simply observing the life of people who have acquired many things and are still unhappy.
As I said, I know that sounds simplistic and maybe even a little preachy, but it must be said nonetheless if we are to explore this topic. Because if we are to both learn and experience the secret of happiness, we must start at the beginning.
Happiness does not arise from something outside of us. It emerges from something inside of us — sometimes as our reaction to that which is outside of us, and sometimes as our creation of that which we would like to see outside of us.
Let me tell you about the highly New Age hot dog vendor on Coney Island. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He goes around saying to people, “I’m the New Age Hot Dog Vendor. Let me make you one with everything.”
People smile and say, “Okay, make me one with relish, lettuce, onions, pickles, mustard, and catsup.” He does, then hands it to them. Then he charges them a crazy amount, like $7.77, so that no one can hand him precisely what he wants. When they give him a $10 bill, or two 5’s, he thanks them, turns and wheels his cart away.
“Hey!” the people inevitable say, “where’s the change?”
“Change,” the vendor announces, “must come from within.”
So must happiness. When we imagine it to be coming from outside of us, it can disappear almost as fast as it arrives. When it originates inside of us, it remains with us much longer. Indeed, it can remain with us for a lifetime. Or certainly, for most of the moments of a lifetime.
How to experience the happiness that is naturally who we are, how to find the happiness that resides within, remains the key question for many, many people. We’ve already supplied the answer here. Give it away.
There is a second way as well.
Gratitude. And we’ll talk about that next. I’m going to explore this topic of happiness over the next several entries here. It is intriguing and even perplexing to many. I’ve been asked by more than a few people to really dive into it.
I’m happy to do so.