Saturday, August 6, 2016

4 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Are Seeking Happiness


For most of us, happiness continues to be illusive. Why is that?

Here are four questions to help you understand why.

The answers to these questions will help you overcome your blockages to happiness.



Why does thinking lead us to so much unhappiness?

Because…  In our thoughts, we are endlessly craving and never satisfied.

Besides, most of our thoughts are about the past or future. But the only time we can be happy is in the Present Moment.

The solution: Quiet the mind. Be still. Go within.


What is the alternative to excessive thinking?

Acceptance. Don’t judge. Don’t criticize. Just accept everybody and everything as being the way they’re supposed to be at this moment in time.


How can we let go of the power that the external world has over us?

You can't find happiness in the world around you, because the world is an ever-changing illusion. Because it is ever-changing, happiness in it is fleeting. That which brings you a sense of happiness today can be gone tomorrow.

Suffering exists because of our attachments to other people and the things of this world.

We fear that we might lose those external things, and when we do, it causes us enormous unhappiness.

Remember: you created the kind of world you see around you. Change what’s “in here” and the world “out there” will begin to change as a result. Why? Because you’ve changed your perceptions of the world.

Don’t be so attached to external things, people, events, or outcomes. Let go of your expectations.


What does it mean to “look within” or “go within”? How do we do this?

Instead of looking outward for guidance and confirmation from other people and your past experiences, focus your awareness within. During meditation, focus your awareness perhaps on the brow chakra or the heart. Focus on your breath. Let any thoughts that may arise during meditation pass through you without focusing on them.

And, when physically looking outward, simply watch and observe, without making mental commentary on what you see and without judging and criticizing. You are the witness to everything around you. You don’t have to be a participant in all of that drama.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

What You Can Learn from A Course in Miracles

A Course in Miracles has profoundly changed my perceptions about myself and the world I live in. I describe the impact that ACIM has had on me in a separate blog post: How A Course in Miracles Changed My Spiritual View of the World.

As always, you can go to a complete list of Spirit Quest blog posts by clicking here...

In the meantime, let me share with you some of the key teachings contained in the Course...


1.  What is a miracle? A miracle is not defined as walking on water or turning water into wine. These are acts of magic. A miracle actually means a correction of perception. A Course in Miracles seeks to change our perception of everything. When we change our perceptions, the world we see around us and our experiences in it begin to change.

2.  We think this physical world is real, but it is only an illusion. We created this illusion, and we "came into" it for the purpose of spiritual evolution. The challenges we experience in the illusion can accelerate our spiritual growth.

3.  The five physical senses make the physical world seem real. Fear convinces us of it.

4.  In fact, we are still in Heaven, dreaming that we are experiencing a life here in the physical world. The task before us is to awaken from this dream (as in a spiritual awakening).

5.  Just as we never really leave our beds when we are asleep and dreaming at night, so also have we never really left Heaven. At some point, we will awaken and realize we have been dreaming all along, just as we do when we awaken from our nighttime dreams each morning.

6.  We seem to be born into physical bodies in a physical world, but the truth is: we are not even here.

7.  What we think we see around us in the world, and what we experience throughout our lives, is just a projection of our own mind. We can change the world we seem to see around us and our experiences in life by changing our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations.

8.  We think we are physical bodies, and as such, we believe we are separate from each other.

9.  Our physical bodies are an illusion we created to try to separate ourselves from each other. Likewise, we created the physical universe to try to separate ourselves from God.

10.  The belief that we are separate from God and from each other is the cause of all suffering in the world.

11.  Time also is an illusion. Everything that seems to be happening now has, in fact, already occurred, and we are merely observing it, much like watching a movie that was produced months or even years ago. When watching a movie, we become immersed in it, and what happens in it seems “real” to us.

12.  We can choose the ego’s thought system (as we normally have done). Or we can choose the Holy Spirit’s thought system (as A Course in Miracles encourages us to do).

13.  The ego is the "separate me” that I think I am. The ego’s mantra is: “Seek and do not find (the truth).”

14.  The Holy Spirit is the Voice of God/or the teacher that dwells quietly within us. The Holy Spirit can teach us the truth about what we really are — that is, divine, eternal, invulnerable children of God. The Course refers to us collectively as the son of God. Jesus was not God's only son; we are all sons or children of God. God is Love, and so are we.

15.  The Course seeks to help us undo the ego’s stranglehold on us.

16.  Special relationships are totally different from holy (or divine) relationships. Special relationships typically are what we experience here in the physical world. In them, we expect others to satisfy our wants and needs. If they fail to do so, we can withhold our love from them. This is called "conditional love." We think others are responsible for our happiness. We believe we are victims of other people and life's circumstances. In truth, we are creating our own reality at all times.

17.  Forgiveness is a central teaching of the Course. As used in the Course, forgiveness does not mean saying "I sorry." Rather, it means: The things I thought others did to me in the past never really happened. Instead, everything that seems to have happened is just a projection of my own mind. Thus, I have never been the victim of anyone. Forgiveness is a process of undoing judgments we have made about others and the things we thought they did to us in the past. ❖



Questions


1.  Do you think physical reality is real? Or is it just a very convincing illusion?

2.  If, in fact, we are asleep dreaming that we are here in the physical world, why is it so hard for us to awaken from the dream?

3.  What do you think we really are? And why do you think we came into this physical world?


Sunday, February 2, 2014

You Don't Have to Suffer Anymore!

Have you suffered enough? I certainly have. Let’s find a way to end the suffering that continues to plague us.

For me, suffering refers to mental or emotional misery and distress, such as that caused by chronic depression. Pain, on the other hand, refers to physical discomfort or agony caused by illness or injury. But the terms pain and suffering are often used interchangeably, so my distinction between them may be artificial.

The Causes and Affects of Suffering

The sheer magnitude of human suffering throughout history boggles my mind, and to this day, it continues to ravage our experience here on Earth.

Religion has been one of the leading causes of suffering in the world and in our lives. I'm sure that's no surprise to you. Take Christianity, for example. For 2,000 years, Christians have been told that they should be willing to suffer in this lifetime just as Jesus did, and that their suffering will entitle them to eternal bliss in Heaven. Hundreds of millions of Christians have died excruciating deaths in the name of religion. Others have endured unbearable hardships and self-imposed trials such as penance and asceticism. Many have undergone redemptive suffering, believing it would lead to forgiveness of their sins. I grew up in an environment of Christian fanaticism, so I know first-hand how traumatic it can be and how much mental and emotional suffering it can cause.

In his teachings, the Buddha explained why suffering exists in the world and what we can do about it. He said that suffering originates within us. He said the greatest cause of suffering is our total ignorance of our divine nature and our belief that we are weak and limited physical beings. He said the only solution to suffering is a spiritual one.

My own experience tells me that suffering can impel us to overcome our habitual behaviors and addictions in life. It can ignite a spiritual awakening within us, followed by a lifetime of personal and spiritual transformation. It can prod us to remember what we really are and why we really came here. In other words, it can lead us to a spiritual approach to life. But it can do these things only when we finally get tired of suffering and decide to change our lives.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Suffering

I’ve given a lot of thought to how we can reduce our suffering in life or even eliminate it altogether. Let me share my conclusions with you...

We can gain freedom from suffering when we awaken to our own divinity and let go of the erroneous belief that this physical world and our physical bodies are real.

We need to reestablish conscious contact with God, because suffering originates from our belief that we are separate from God. Of course, when I use the term God, I do not mean the church-version of God.

At all times, we must remember that we are eternal spiritual beings.

We must understand that materialism will never bring us lasting happiness nor genuine relief from suffering.

We need to understand that suffering is not a result of evil or sin, despite what we were told in church, but rather the result of poor choices we have made in life.

We must live in the present moment. The past with its guilt and resentment will not bring us happiness nor will the future with its fear and anxiety.

We should stop taking all of that drama in our lives so seriously, especially the drama in our relationships and jobs. Life is not a soap opera. Most of the drama we experience in life is just a story we made up.

We should try to avoid people, places, and things that lower our spiritual vibration.

We should let go of negative emotions such as fear, anger, and resentment, which fuel our suffering.

We should stop judging and criticizing others, because it only serves to separate us from them. Our belief in separation from others is the leading cause of global strife and problems in personal relationships.

Likewise, we should stop judging and criticizing ourselves, because low self-esteem and self-loathing cause us enormous suffering and block our spiritual growth.

We should stop watching television news and violent movies, which only add to our discomfort and our false conviction that suffering in life is real and necessary.

We should focus only on what we want and not on what we don’t want, because we attract into our lives more of whatever we focus on. For example, we should focus on perfect health and not on sickness.

We should remember that our happiness depends on ourselves and not on other people. We are not, and never have been, the victim of other people, because we create our own life experience.

If we’re not happy with our current life experience, we need to change our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, because these are what create our life experience.

We should remember that we pre-planned certain challenges for our current lifetime before incarnating. We came to Earth to accelerate our spiritual evolution by experiencing these challenges.

A Call to Action

Most people continue to live in ignorance, fear, and greed. They neither believe in nor understand these spiritual solutions to suffering. Apparently, they are content to go on living — and suffering — as they always have done. But as a spiritual seeker, you understand these solutions. You know they are viable.

Like most people, I still struggle and suffer. But I know what I must do to eliminate suffering from my life, and I believe I am making progress. Suffering is neither inevitable nor necessary nor desirable. We can overcome it by using the kinds of spiritual techniques and approaches to life mentioned above. Doing these things will help us create Heaven-on-Earth. Let’s do it! ❖