All Those Trees are Hiding the Forest!

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   It is said that the best place to hide something is right in front of whoever shouldn’t find it.  How often have you searched and searched for something and, finally, discover it at the end of your nose, so to speak.  The experience is often regarded as a DUH! moment.
   As we approach a new year, 2014, and our beloved Earth passes our starting line for another trip around old Sol, many of us search for that special something, that magical ingredient, or lottery number, that will bring more joy.  Some declare intentions by means of Resolutions – a resolve for some change in behavior that might result in an improved life.
   Let’s take a look at some ways to have a fulfilling and enjoyable 2014.
   First, the trinity:  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  So well phrased, and in working order.  Life is – you’ve already got that.  Liberty – got that, although liberty can involve surrendering or trading freedom for some other presumed gain.  Think giving up your freedom of movement and privacy to get on an airplane – supposedly made safer.  For most, it is the Pursuit of Happiness that gets action.
   So how does one pursue happiness?  This is the important second step – how is your happiness defined?  Do you determine what is best for you, or do you defer to what someone, or something else, decides is best for you?  This is important.  It does not matter how much energy, treasure, and effort you put into meeting someone else’s idea of what is good for you, you will not be happy.  You will be confused and likely irritated (no good feeling payoff for all of your sacrifice.)  There is only one person who knows what is best for you, and that is you.  This is a simple aspect of life that may take an entire lifetime to realize.  The frustration comes from realizing near the end of a lifetime that the knowledge was always present – the firmness of a two-year old declaring “you ain’t the boss of me!” or some similar declaration of independence.
   A greatly misunderstood belief is that it is wrong (bad!) to be selfish, to think of yourself, when you ought to be thinking of others and making sure you give them much of your stuff.  That’s a thinking pattern born of materialism.  Materialism is based on a zero-sum formula – anything that you have means someone else will have less.  It is false, but widely held and thus kept in momentum.  Have you ever met a materialist who was actually happy?  I haven’t, not really.
   An extension of materialism is finding something external, outside of self, that influences or causes some physical or other change.  This thinking does not, and cannot, recognize the authority of the individual – the mind.  Not the brain, the brain is an organ designed to process a multitude of energy frequencies into sensory applications.  The brain is a tool for the mind.  And, mind is safely regarded as consciousness.  Consciousness is not confined or limited, since it is not “material.”  Thus, consciousness can include so much more than a physical, material, experience.  Once that’s recognized, then the pursuit of happiness really gets going!
   Or not.  It is true that “those who get it, get it.  Those who don’t get it, can’t get it.”  For example, there are those who decry “wishful thinking” as silly, and getting in the way of the work necessary to get something.  In their view, that is correct.  Wishful thinking is not a substitute for the hard work necessary to achieve something.  What these people call “wishful thinking” is the best description they can come up with for others who give their focused  attention to what they wish for and not on things undesired.  A huge difference.
   The pursuit of happiness is possible when the person has a good idea of what he/she desires.  Then, it’s a matter of keeping focused on that desire and not wasting thought, time, energy, on things that are unwanted or undesired.  It’s not complicated.  And, it works.
   But even when it works, it may not be recognized.  The more materialistic a person, the more he/she fails to see the forest because of all those trees in the way.
   I was reminded of this the other day while reading the January/February 2014 issue of Discover Magazine, one of my favorite reads.  In the issue, writer Ed Yong interviews psychologist Brian Nosek about Nosek’s efforts to systematize reproducibility of psychological studies.  A very worthy goal.  Let me quote Nosek’s answer to Yong’s opening question:  “When did you first become aware of the problem of reproducibility?”
            When I was an undergrad, I read a paper that evaluated claims about subliminal mood      tapes, which supposedly improved your memory if you played then while you slept.  When  people tried to replicate these claims, they found that only the subject’s expectations mattered:  If you thought the tape increased your memory, your memory was better.  This was my first insight that not all scientific claims are valid or reproducible.
   There was no viable way to “prove” that the memory tapes were the factor that improved memory.  Okay.  But, what was clearly evident? …only the subject’s expectations  mattered:  If you thought the tape increased your memory, your memory was better.  To me, at least, this was the component that begged for further study rather than considered a corrupting factor.  Alas, an “expectation” is considered an internal thing, a conditioned response of the brain, and not a real factor, such as the tapes.  There’s the forest,  unseen due to belief trees.  Ergo, those that get it, get it.  Those that don’t, can’t.  It’s a matter of belief.  Which is a matter of thought.  Which is a matter of thinking.  Which is the activity of the mind.  Which is the nature of consciousness.  And so on…
   This line of thought is where materialists get headaches and often become tempermental.  Consciousness is non-physical and, try as hard as they might, it simple won’t fly as an effect of brain chemistry.  Yet, if you expect to find Consciousness as a product of brain activity, then you will find it.  Thus someone who rejects Consciousness as anything outside of chemical interactions is satisfied.  Expectation is neutral – it reveals to the person whatever he/she desires or intends.  This is what is meant by “those that don’t get it, can’t get it.”
   What do you expect for 2014?  Not a superficial thought or parroting the wishes of others, but on a gut-level (the power realm) what do you expect for yourself during this next trip around the sun?  The knack is to align desires with expectation (a.k.a. faith) and that’s where Consciousness comes in.  One way to do that is becoming more aware of the “thought behind the thought.”  The thought “behind” is usually the expectation.  Such as:  “I will be healthy, happy and prosperous this new year” but growling behind that desire may be the expectation “but it really won’t happen.”
   Why not? you may ask.  A mental listing of reasons why it is unlikely that you would be healthy, happy, and prosperous unfold.  Attention to these factors doom the desire.  It really is a matter of attention.  One exercise is to mentally add a comma at the end of any statement, then fill in with what is viscerally expected.  That awareness provides the moment for change.  Replace the negative thought behind the thought by reaffirming the genuine desire and intent.  It takes practice (you’re supplanting a habit) but it can be done.
   “This year I’m going to lose fifteen pounds” COMMA , “And it will be fun!”  Affirm what a delight the intent will be rather than give attention to the struggle, past failure, etc.  “I’m going to enjoy my job more this year” COMMA , “And that will be fun!”  I mean, isn’t anything you want and desire fun?  If it’s not fun, then do you really want it?  Or, do you trick yourself into “wanting it” to please someone else?  This is about you, not them.
   A mental check for other sabotaging “thoughts behind the thought” are motivations from ought to, should, must, and got to.  Anytime and everytime you have the thought that you must do something, or should do something, or that you ought to do something then you are resisting yourself.  Now, if the whatever it is that you “should” do is truly something you desire, then use your consciousness and replace the word “should” with “It is fun to…”  All the difference in the world.
   Expectations are accompanied by feelings.  The nature of the feeling is an accurate indication of the expectation.  If the expectation feels good – then you’re aligned for fun.  If the expectation feels bad – despite the “good” desire, then you know that you don’t really expect the desire to manifest but something else, undesired, will come into your experience.  This is another opportunity to use the COMMA and substitute the expectation with “and it will be fun”.  Or, change the “desire” if it really isn’t what you want, but instead something you feel obligated to want – like the end of poverty, or world illness, or unhappy people.
   The best way to truly help anyone is to be healthy, happy, and prosperous yourself all the while having fun!  Enough exposure to you in that state is the only experience that may, finally, help them look beyond the tree in front of them, and view the grandeur of the forest.
   Happy New Year!

The Pursuit of Happiness

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As is said, it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s the fun (and important.)  Which is good – since each of us is on a journey, like it or not.  Many people do not like their journey.  Mischief ensues when they get the formula, the equation, for happiness, backwards.

It’s always useful to define the subject before discussion.  So, what is happiness?

Feeling, showing, or expression JOY.  We recognize JOY as the highest positive emotion in the emotional scale humans experience.  So, we can speak of happiness as a synonym for Joy.

Is Happiness the emotion felt when a person sees someone else experiencing misery?  Of course not.  However, there are some people who are so unhappy, so miserable, that their definition of “happiness” is but another degree of misery.

There’s the old joke:  A Russian, an Englishman and a Frenchman were walking along a county road one day when they spied a lamp in the ditch.  The Frenchman retrieved it and cleaned it up.  Poof! The Genie appeared.  Grateful for her liberation she offered all one wish.  The Frenchman said “Genie, I wish to be a famous movie star with beautiful women all around me.”  POOF!  He was a famous movie star.

The Englishman thought:  “Genie – I wish to be a Lord over a grand estate with enormous revenues and a loving family.”  POOF!  He was now a wealthy Peer.

The Russian thought deeply about his situation.  “Genie – my neighbor has a new car and I do not.  Wreck my neighbors car!”  POOF!  His neighbor’s car was destroyed.

Which of the three experienced Happiness?

The Russian may have experienced a curious relief that his neighbor was now as miserable as he was, but is that happiness?  Is that Joy?

That is getting the formula, the equation, for happiness backwards.

Emmet Fox summed it up:  People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.

In the joke the Frenchman changed himself  in order to have more joy; the same with the Englishman.  The Russian wanted change in his neighbor’s status – an outer condition – to share the misery.  Somehow, he imagined, his neighbor’s increased misery would lessen his own.

It is the essence of materialism that the environment – which means outer conditions. people around you, the “time” you live in, and such – is the primary influence, or cause, of your happiness or misery.  Therefore, it is the environment (other people, situations, circumstances) that must change before you are able to experience relief and get on the journey to happiness.  Much of history is the account of this effort.  Too many lives, sadly, are stories of the effort.

Materialism, as a formula, is flawed as a personal approach for joyful living.  It simply does not work; it does not produce the desire result.  Never has.  Never will.  Why?  The materialism formula is based on controlling other people, events, situations, and circumstances.  That’s way too many moving parts to succeed. And, it’s impossible.

Why, you could go insane trying to corral all those people and situations into something you could live with.  Come to think of it, isn’t that a definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result?  Why is this?  Because you cannot think for another person!  You might bully, bribe or cajole them into temporarily acting in a way you want, but you have to keep at it.  The instant you let up, they act like, well, they act like themselves.

No one can think your thoughts.  You can, however, surrender your judgment to another’s thinking (the bully, bribe, cajole)  – which may or may not end well for you.  Your thoughts, your thinking, ARE you.  The only force, authority, power, energy (use your favorite descriptor) that can re-direct your thinking is you.  Period.  End of formula.  At the end of the day, your manner of thinking (a.k.a. your beliefs) determines how you experience your life on this marvelous planet.

There is remarkable resistance in many people to grasp that they hold the key to their personal comfort and delight.  Much of this resistance is learned behavior, pounded in from day one (if not before).  Indeed, for the infant, his/her survival and well-being is dependent on what others (mother especially) do.  Childhood is a learning experience of family and social structures and “norms” that define approved behavior and behavior that is not approved (often labeled selfish.)  Throw in contemporary technology and exposure to a theme of “you’re not important” and approval by others becomes a measure of success.

At some point many folks mentally step-back and assess their situation.  Many times it is a variant of 1) Spending money I don’t have, to 2) buy things I don’t want, to 3) Impress people I don’t like.

The aha moment for some is when they realize that they’ve been working very hard for other people, and very little for themselves.  Fully institutionalized it’s called slavery, and it’s still practiced these days.  Once a sense of freedom is grasped – freedom to think for oneself and hence to determine what is best for oneself – then begins the pursuit of happiness.  There is a sequence:  Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness.  It’s a powerful formula that works and has been proven over and over.  And fought, over and over.

Entrenched materialism is opposed to individual freedom, since control is the soul of materialism.  Individuals, freely thinking, are difficult to control.  The history of Mankind is the record of this struggle of thinking.

This is not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad.  Such definitions are relative.  They are the same thing, measured by degrees.  Consider prohibiting by law a person’s possession of a 32 ounce soft drink.  Is this good?  Bad?  Right?  Wrong?  For the person desiring a big, cold drink, it’s clearly a bad law and definitely wrong in that it prohibits freedom of choice.  From a materialists perspective limiting the “right” of a person to indulge in what is decreed an illegal act is both good and right.  What kind of environment is likely to result in a greater sense of happiness?

The Law of Attraction is universal.  That which is like unto itself is attracted.  This applies to things great and small, upon every degree of energy from dispersed to condensed, and very much to thoughts and their creative process – thinking.

You know this.  There are places where you simply have no interest in going – or when near you get an intuition or hunch, that you shouldn’t be there.  And visa versa.  That doesn’t mean that other people aren’t going there – they are comfortable in such circumstances.  Comfort doesn’t mean happy, just familiar and of similar frequency.

Some people are very comfortable in their misery and are very resistant to alternatives.  They aren’t happy, but they are unable or unwilling to begin changing their thinking in order to introduce in their experience an improved feeling.  The resistance is the manifestation of a belief that their wellbeing is dependent on circumstances, environment, other people’s behaviors, etc. – materialism.  As long as that belief is active, then their experience IS dependent on external forces.  Like attracts like.  Unfettered.  Belief in powerlessness results in lack of power – that’s the way it works!  “I don’t believe in the law of attraction,” one may state.  And the Law of Attraction will provide more evidence to that person that there is no law of attraction!

This is why changing thinking can be difficult.  It’s a simple truth and process, but inertia, habit, and continual reinforcement of materialism weighs heavy.  It can be subtle, however.

Years ago I met up with a high school pal living in another state.  He was quite cheerful, as usual, and enjoying his life, wife, dog, and job (yes, in that order.)  I inquired how he managed to remain so cheerful and he replied “I don’t watch the news, and don’t get involved in other people’s problems.”  At the time I considered that to be selfish.  (See, subtle!)  Why was he avoiding his civic responsibility to keep up with the news and doing his part of make life better for others?  He explained, in effect, that news (by this he meant newspapers and television – it was some time ago) was by design negative and depressing.  Watching/reading about what’s wrong in the world, society, etc., made him feel bad.  How could he be of any service to another (he was a social worker) if he felt miserable?

He had a point.  It took a couple of years for his position to sink in – if I’m unhappy, how can I be of any assistance to another?  I intellectually grasped the Law of Attraction but had yet to have it viscerally understood.  The more I considered my friend’s decision, the more I understood its benefit.  And the more sensitive I became to “news,” complaining, blaming and whining.  Those frequencies on the scale of human feeling were a bit more distant and thus more discordant.  The result was that unhappy people tended to recede in my experience and what I’d describe as more comfortable people showed up (or I engaged in activities that brought me near them.)  That’s when Emmet Fox’s statement proved to be a formula, an equation.

Finding your point of attraction, the usual manner of thinking, is a good exercise.  But, regardless, simply changing the focus of a thought will produce relief.

So, let us look closer at this universal constant – the Law of Attraction.

It is best described as the universal manager.  It is the operation of all that is that allows, well, all that IS.  It is not a matter of belief – it IS.  Of course, as mentioned a moment ago, if you do not believe there is a Law of Attraction it will see to it that similar thoughts/experiences come to you that support your belief that there is no Law of Attraction.

We are energy Beings.  At present conscious in a human form.  Energy vibrates and the frequency of the vibration is what attracts.  A fair analogy is broadcast television and radio.  The music or program is issued at a certain frequency of vibration.  That frequency will not interfere with other energies.  There are hundreds of radio signals, television, cell phone, and all manner of radiation zipping through here at this moment.  They don’t bother us nor we them because of the difference in frequency.  But, with technology (machines) we can tune a radio to the specific frequency of the program we want, and, voila!  We can hear it.  In a sense we have “tuned in” to its frequency and thus its energy and offerings.

Consider then our daily experience as a radio.  We are tuned into a certain energy frequency with the beliefs that we hold.  A belief is a thought, an idea, held in mind over and over until it is automatic and becomes a default state of mind.  This is often called our “disposition.”It is our state of mind that seeks, and is sought, by similar thought energy.  This is the origin of “birds of a feather flock together.”  So, in this cosmic sense, we influence what we experience by our primary thinking.

“Well, George,” I hear, “I’m not pleased with my situation so what about that?  I wouldn’t wish to be unhappy!”

Of course not.  Don’t forget our Russian friend who could only interpret his “happiness” in terms of misery for his neighbor.  His thinking, thus his dominant vibration, was misery.  And that’s what he continued to experience.

Dis-satisfaction indicates that you are ready to move your thinking up a notch (octave) in frequency.  This is totally normal and natural.  In Creation nothing is static, everything is in constant motion and motion is movement towards a higher frequency.  So, to be aware that your situation isn’t all that you’d like is a good thing!  It means that you are also AWARE that your Being is ready to increase your Life experience by raising your thinking, or consciousness as often called.

When you raise your thinking you access a greater vista.  If your current experience is bumping around a mess of trees (in a forest you can’t see) then by literally raising your consciousness you become aware of the forest and – most exciting – the horizon.  Your interests will quickly move beyond a bunch of trees and into a broader, more exciting, landscape.

Unhappiness is the result of having that discomfort with a circumstance but not knowing what to do about it.  Doing the same old things – and thinking in the same old manner – will only recreate the same-old-same-old – that’s the Law!  An improvement – the pursuit of Happiness – is all about changing thinking.  Attracting a higher frequency of experience.