Friday, December 13, 2013
Ask Yourself Whether You Are Happy? Then Notice That When You Do, You Cease To Be So ¾ The Laws Of Paradox At Work!
A long time ago, long before I ever considered writing these lines, I made an interesting discovery. At the time of making it, it was more of an observation than a discovery. It took all the intervening time for me to realize I had made a discovery, I suppose it was the slowest epiphany on record.
What I also discovered was that most people have been aware of this phenomenon since the dawn of time.
Yet, I think the word discovery is appropriate, because even though it was well known, I had never come across it described or theoretically explained in any of the psychological, sociological, philosophical or psychiatric literature I had studied over the years: which in my case primarily happens to be psychology.
So, directly or indirectly, or intentionally or unintentionally, I spent the intervening 20 or so years, nearly a quarter century, investigating this elusive phenomenon, through the facility of my practice of psychotherapy.
Here is the observation I had noticed a long time ago; happiness is not something that happens randomly. This thing has form and it follows rules and they seem to be:
· Happiness does not happen because of good luck or because the fickle finger of fate picks you out for some grand event. No one is special and conversely no one is non-special.
· Happiness is not something that can be purchased nor can it be controlled or for that matter caused to occur on command by some grand authority. Although many have tried.
· Happiness does not depend on the world about us, although conversely the world about us can affect some of the various outcomes of its occurrences.
· Happiness seems to be more an interpretation of the world both about us and within us, with all of this being taken in some sort of strange mix or recipe that is constantly changing and is difficult to replicate. The formula might not work the second time the way it did the first time.
· Happiness, in fact, seems to be a condition that we must be prepared for, that we must cultivate and nurture, and then be prepared, if necessary to defend, but not from a place of unity but rather from a place of deep privacy¾as an individual.
· The variations on the happiness formulas seem to be more effective with those people who have learned to work with inner experience(s). It seems that they will, to a certain degree, be able to determine the quality of their lives as it relates to having or not having happiness.
· The ability to determine the having or not having of the presence of happiness seems to be as close as any of us can come to causing happy to happen. It can be a conscious decision to be or not to be, pardon the pun, but not always.
· It also seems a given that we cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it. The very effort of trying to search for it seems to defeat our every effort to have or possess it. Happiness cannot be owned; it can only be experienced.
· Happiness seems to be the process of being fully involved with every detail of your life, subjectively not objectively.
· The key statement in describing the process of being involved in life seems to be as completely as possible, and completely as possible does not seem to depend on any opinion or definition of what is good or bad or how those cognitive markers of good or bad are held in the mind of the beholder. Just because you are prepared to fight to the death for your beliefs doesn’t mean they are true.
· Happiness seems to occur because of the intensity of the involvement with life and not in the outcomes that intensity seems to want to provide so that it could be easily seen and judged by others.
· Degree of intensity of the involvement necessary to induce happiness will vary from individual to individual as well as from situation-to-situation. Thus it follows that degrees of intensity i.e. very intense to mildly intense are not markers that can determine the outcome of creating happiness. It is just a necessary factor that varies from time to time.
· The Laws Of Paradox seems to affect the outcome of having some or not; for instance: don't aim for it because the Laws Of Paradox will tend to cause you to increase the size and shape of the target you have set for yourself and then at the same time cause you to miss with greater frequency. Something like Chinese handcuffs, the harder you try the more difficult it becomes.
· Happiness and success cannot be pursued for their own sake.
· Happiness and success, to be most effective must sneak up from behind and envelop us ... It is something that happens to us while we are busy doing something else … as the inadvertent, unintentional after-effect of our efforts to simply get on with the business of being ourselves and by doing whatever is next simply because it is there and needs to be done. Then this seems to need to be taken into consideration with the effort made by the individual to be willing to work in the shadow of his or her spiritual self and then deliberately attempting to work with the spiritual forces of the Greater Way of Things.
· Again paradox. The Art of Trying Not to Try.
· So how can we reach this elusive goal that cannot be attained by a direct route? My practice and practices of the past 20 or so years has convinced me that there is a way.
· It is a circuitous path of going nowhere the long way in search of someone who was not lost and there all along … You. And it can only begin with a willingness by the participant to want to make the journey.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
ON MAKING A LIFE WISH
Excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier; author of Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer; Longevity; Holistic Medicine; and Healthy People in Unhealthy Places. Dr. Pelletier's study is in longevity has taken him around the world in the pursuit of his studies.
Traditionally, calling something psychosomatic, saying it is in your head is dismissing it. As if something that's "all in the head" is not really there or anywhere at all.
However, more and more we're coming to see that all states of, health and illness are in some way psychosomatic. Not in the sense that they're imaginary, either, but in the sense they all involve mental and physical factors.
How can the mind make someone ill?
.....Among those factors nutrition, exercise, stress, genetic predisposition, psychosocial factors, purely medical factors like injury or infection. The question is, do some of those become disproportionate influences that result in illness, or do they all maintain an optimal balance which results in health?
What I believe happens is that you begin with certain level of stress which most of us are under all the time. Long-term, unabated stress. Then along comes a "life stress event". You suddenly get an accumulation of stress that precipitates the original condition into real illness. For example, you might have a family history of hypertension and you're under a constant level of stress at your job. So your blood pressure is slightly elevated. Suddenly, one or more stressful life events take place and your blood pressure might zoom up to an alarming high point, resulting in dizziness, headaches or worse.
Then, you can have a certain type of personality or psychological makeup that predisposes you to develop a specific kind of disorder. Again, it is not the cause, but it is an influence. One of many. And in order to treat a person, we've got to unravel all the influences and go back and untangle the whole skein.
Let's talk about programming yourself for success, for health.
There is no specific recipe. There are some people who can drink, smoke, carry on, eat bad food, live in the worst possible toxic environment - and live to 100. And there are people who stringently adhere to every single thing I am about to talk about - and die at 30 of ill health.
If I had to choose the single most important factor, the one major predictor of longevity and health, it would have to be the pyscho-social environment I create for myself, perhaps, because it so deeply involves the consciousness of the individual. It is important to stay involved and curious about life, your own life, and the life around you. You have to feel fulfilled, that your life has meaning, that it's important for you to be alive. You need a life wish.
SO WHAT IS YOUR LIFE WISH??????
Friday, December 6, 2013
I’ve really traveled quite a piece.
I'm now doing whatever needs to be done in the fashion it seems to need doing.
It is my belief now, that as I follow my spiritual practices that all this being done stuff is being done in conjunction with my Higher Power’s will for me.
I have come to learn that I have always been in the perfectly right place for me to be, even in the face of what sometimes appears to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary, at least in my mind anyway.
It warms my heart to have real friends, people who actually enjoy me as much I enjoy them.
My world is now a wonderful place. The grass is still green as it always was and the sun still rises in the east as it always has, but I see things so differently now.
Imagine that, knowing I am in exactly the right place at exactly the right time doing exactly the right thing. Now that is confidence isn’t it?
As I come upon a mystical stream, I notice someone struggling with a metaphorical backpack. I wonder what is next in line for me today. I sit down beside him and ask:
“Are you looking for someone?
How Can I Help?”
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
So as I begin to move into the many tomorrows of the rest of my life, I notice that I have come out of a dream-like state, one that I had been in for most of my life. Odd, being out here in the real world; I notice that I look forward to the day ahead of me. Imagine that, looking forward to what is next.
Strange thoughts for a person like me.
So I tidy myself up just a little and turn my focus inward to my Higher Power; I sort of combine prayer, conversation and meditation.
I just take the time to notice and acknowledge that my God is now a part of my life and that I am part of Its Expression of the universe. So as I acknowledge my place in God’s creation, I take the time to ask any questions about my life that I feel I need guidance on. I toss these thoughts out into the ring and just leave them for God to deal with in Its own good time. It is sort of like a spiritual morning shower, it refreshing.
I close my eyes and turn my thoughts to My Creator.
Acknowledging the sacredness of all things and of all people, I ask simple things like:
· What would you have me do today?
· Or, how can I be one of your instruments today?
· Place before me what you would have me do and with your strength, hope and wisdom I will give it a whirl.
1. Have Empathy For The Source Of Your Own Pain. Who, What, Where, When and Why.
2. Rational Thought Won't Work. My rationalization is biased by my experience. My Experience influences my best thinking, and my rational thinking is pre determined by the aftermath of my experience. So what makes sense to me might not be either sensible or reasonable, the problem is, it makes sense to me ... and there are times when I am prepared to fight to the death for it.
3. There Is Something At Work Here That Is Beyond Me And My Self Centeredness. A Force far greater than me ... Can you imagine that. Imagine something you could not possibly imagine.
4. Be Prepared To Re Examine Your Motives And Your Reasons As Well As Your Morals For Doing What You Do.
5. Know this: In Order To Do Your Journey You Will Have To Confront Evil.
6. Never Say Never. Occam’s Razor underscores this sentiment ... “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate” … Principle of Parsimony.
7. You Can't Change Human Nature. The only thing you can change is Your Mind About Human Nature.
8. Human Nature Is The Curriculum Of Life. It Is What You Do With It That Matters.
With time spent on the path there will come a time when you can return to the starting gate and see it for the first time as it really is . . . TRULY.
“With Eyes Unclouded By Longing.”
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My Journey continues: I go into a curio shop and browse. In there is an old guy that looks like he has many years of practice at besting his customers. I’m ready for my old foe.
My browsing pays off. There hidden at the back of the shop is an old Group Of Seven painting being sold for the value of the frame only, $25 bucks. It is worth thousands.
Imagine my good fortune. How lucky can I be all in one day! I thank God for his special gift.
I purchase it and make a beeline for the door and run. I’m so proud of me for being so shrewd and wise and besting the old boy at his game. Then I sense this thing beside me again. Neither male nor female, just a Presence.
I sense It there, very profound in Its silence, and I begin to recognize the truth of what I have just done. I feel ashamed. It is healthy shame.
So back to the “curio” shop I go. I fess up. I tell the old fellow what a find I made hidden at the back of his shop. I return the painting to him. I see his eyes light up with gratitude and tears. He says to me that he has had to work all these years, long past a time when most would retire, because his grandson needed an education. He was the only one who could possibly provide that education. Now he can both retire and give his grandchild the education he has always wanted.
For the first time in my life I am proud of my actions; actually proud of what I have done for this old man and for myself. We shake hands in true friendship.
Experience Has Taught Me
That when I trust my guidance,
It will tell me what to do.
Guidance That Actually Works!
Have you ever won but lost yourself in the process?
Have you ever had the fortune to turn a situation around where it appeared that you had seemingly lost but really won in the long run?
Thursday, November 14, 2013
All my life a circle,
The moon rolls through the nighttime,
Til the day break comes around,
All my life’s a circle but I can’t tell you why,
Seasons spinning round again the years keep rollin by ...,
It seems like I’ve been here before,
I can’t remember when,
And I got this funny feeling,
That we’d be together again,
There’s no straight lines make up my life,
And all the roads have bends.
There’s no clear cut beginnings,
And so far no Dead Ends.
I found you a thousand times,
I guess you’ve done the same,
But then we lose each other,
It’s just like a children’s game,
As I find you here again,
The thought runs through my mind,
Our Love is like a circle
That goes round one more time.
All my life a circle,
The moon rolls through the nighttime,
Til the day break comes around,
All my life’s a circle but I can’t tell you why,
Seasons spinning round again the years keep rollin’ by ...,
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Exhausted, I sit here pondering, what should I do next? Sitting beside me is all my mess. Do I attempt to tidy it up? Do I put things back the way it was? Will that really work any longer? What I now know is; I just have to get on with … gett’n on down the road.
As I do, I notice my step is lighter. Not totally lightened by a long shot, but lighter then it was. Better stop and meditate on what I just did? What it means to me? And what is next?
I see others on the path and they don’t have any baggage at all. They actually seem full of life and happiness. I begin to wish my If Only Wish; if only my burdens were gone too, then I could be just like them. As I begin my journey into self-pity I hear the Voice again and it says to me "So you think you wish your weight should be lifted from you, do you? I respond out loud, “Yes!” The Voice for certainty says, “Look at yourself, look at how you hold on to your mess … you do so as if it were gold … something to be treasured." There I was caught in the act of being my old, scared self. Hanging on for dear life to what I imagined I thought I was.
I now know, that if I am to move-on in my recovery, I have to let go of “My Stuff, My Hurt, My Shame and My Pain.” I notice, perhaps for the first time, that I hold this mess of mine with a death grip.
The Inner Voice of Sanity tells me that no two people do this releasing thing in the same fashion. Some let go all at once and others do it a bit at a time. And some do it slowly and laboriously, sometimes stretched over entire lifetimes. And of course, some never do it. It is all up to me, to get on with my business of me finding me. “If I can imagine,” this voice tells me, “that is the first real action I can take in having something called different”.
I visualize myself letting go of all the trash. The stuff I carry to identify me to me. As I take the risk to do this act of release I feel filled with life and love. I am relaxed. I am ready.
Experience has Taught Me That
As I Release My Past In The Present In Hopes Of Finding My Future
That Is The Promise
Me ... Finding My Future
Now Is The Only Time I Have To Experiment
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Now the complicated Stuff:
“However,” the Voice continues, “most often the kinds of pains you encounter in therapeutic attention are not indications of physical problems. They are the painful, physical manifestations of our emotional, psychological, and spiritual holdings and contractions. Call these pains “Our Muscular Armor”; they are areas of your body that you have tightened over and over in painful situations as a way to protect yourself from life's inevitable difficulties. As you sit still and notice, your shoulders, your back, your jaw, or your neck may hurt.
Accumulated knots in the fabric of our body, previously undetected, begin to reveal themselves as you begin to open to the process. This is also true in meditation as well. As you become conscious of the pain you have held, you may also notice feelings, memories, or images connected specifically to each area of tension.”
“As you gradually include in your awareness all that you have previously shut out and neglected, the oddity of the situation is your mind, body and soul heals. Learning to work with this opening is part of the Art Of Recovery.”
Spiritual Principles for Recovery
Initially, you have to focus on honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, humility, and acceptance.
The practice of the Principle Of Honesty starts with admitting the truth about your life and circumstances and that continues with the practice of honesty on a daily, moment to moment, basis.
q When we say, "I'm in recovery" it may be the first truly honest thing we've said in a long, long time.
q We begin to be able to be honest with ourselves, and consequently with other people eventually.
q Change and recovery doesn’t happen overnight.
q If I've been thinking about acting out on my stuff, I need to ask myself, “Have I shared it with my sponsor, my therapist or my group, have I told anyone else or Am I Still Keeping Secrets?”
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Well, I am up walking again.
I’m heading off in the direction of the rest of my life.
The sun is shining, the grass is green and the flowers smell wonderful.
I’m happy with myself and I can actually say that I feel carefree, unencumbered.
Now, I know that I have not finished with my business of making amends, but I have made a darned good start.
It will end when it does.
I know that now.
I notice something else also.
People enjoy being with me.
Some smile at me and some twinkle a hello with their eyes.
I am somebody and others actually acknowledge that as they pass by.
Simply being here in the first place on a wonderful day becomes very fulfilling.
Finally I belong.
I have noticed that we all get off track at times in our recovery processes and routines. Do you have an example of how you got yourself off track this week and what you did to regain your balance?
So, as I sit here and ponder my journey thus far, something that James Joyce wrote comes to mind, “Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.”
That leads me to think just how often I have been beside myself with anger, frustration or disappointment. As I ponder this thought of “being beside myself” I find myself turning inwards. Then I notice “That Presence” there with me, as I notice it there with me I hear in my mind That Voice, neither male nor female, that directs me through a simple few thoughts.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Finally, things seem to be coming to completion.
I’ve got my cataloguing done, I've made my lists and I have become willing to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed.
“I’m ready!” I shout from beside the mystical stream. “I’m ready.”
I’m also, very much in a hurry. Understatement!
“Let’s just get this thing done so I can get on with the rest of my life,” I say to myself under my breath.
“Now, before anything else happens, I’ll just start to get in touch with some of those lost souls I may have trudged upon and say I’m sorry. I’ll knock off a few names tonight and then a few tomorrow and it will be done in nothing flat. Right!”
I feel a presence with me now. Neither male nor female: that Voice just seems to be here filling some unseen space and it’s other quality at this moment is that it is silent.
But I can feel it.
My newfound friend and guide asks me where I’m going. I tell him that I am off just to get a few names ticked off the list and done before nightfall, and he says, “Slow down. This is not what you may think it is. This is not wham bam thank you and I’m sorry ma’am.”
“This is a process of setting things to right. So, sorry does not really enter into it unless it is something that is really necessary. Remember, every case is different. Sometimes you can't do anything at all.”
Experience Has Taught Me
To notice and ponder,
To sometimes do this in the midst
Of all the urgency of my “terrible dailyness”
Then ask myself:
What old behaviours and ways have I fallen back into that keep me stuck in the rut I am trying so desperately to leave?
Experience Has Taught Me
Next is a worthwhile concept.
Actually knowing what needs to be done next.
I can allow the healing of my relationships if I want.
I have the power within me.
I am connected now.
It is with me.
I am part of it.