Saturday, December 30, 2006

Follow Your Dreams

Sis Aianne, this essay is for you.

To achieve happiness and fulfill our true potential in life, we need to have a clear vision of our desires, something to aim for – a target or goal. Not the goal of ‘being happy’ or ‘fulfilled’ but goals purely to give shape and purpose to our lives. Having a purpose is a real requirement for a happy life. We will find that once we have a goal to aim for, it will transform the way we feel and think. With a goal, we immediately feel more in control of our lives and our personal power is maximized.

However, it is not the achievement of the goal alone that brings deep happiness; happiness comes from each step on the journey we take towards the achievement of our goals. This is because happiness is always in the here and now, in the present moment, right on the very path we are currently taking. So, even as we are working on our goal we will feel that inner sense of satisfaction and pleasure that is happiness.

The achievement of our goal will lead us onwards, giving us encouragement to expand our horizons yet further, setting other or more ambitious goals. One of the secrets of full and happy life is firstly determine what we want and secondly, with this as a goal, to act upon it to make the goal our reality.

How do we define our goals? The way to define our goals is through asking questions of ourselves. In fact, the quality of our whole life is largely defined by the type of questions we ask ourselves because the type of questions we ask will determine the answers we receive. Eventually we may have goals in place for every area of our lives, from our career, our health, our relationships, personal and spiritual development but to start with, it is best if we concentrate on one particular goal, something we really want: a main goal.

To discover this first goal we are going to contact our inner wisdom, which always speaks the truth and knows what is in our best interests. Our inner wisdom will allow us to clarify our desires and choose that which make us at peace and bring us happiness. In the general hurry and flurry of daily life it is easy to neglect our inner wisdom but, despite our preoccupation with our busy life, our inner wisdom is still there within us, just waiting for us to quieten and listen to its enlightened voice. In answer to our question, this voice may reply to us in actual words or pictures in our head, sounds or subtle sensations of some kind from our body, flashes of intuition, or even just a simple ‘knowing’. Nurture our ability to listen to ourselves, as contact to our inner wisdom is our greatest source of power and strength.

Going through the process of searching for and working towards our goals requires a great input of energy, as does any change. We may find the whole process a real challenge. This is because we are currently living within our comfort zone and moving outside of that zone can be distinctly uncomfortable for a while. Changing something means taking risks to some degree or other. Not doing anything, but accepting the status quo, means we stay in our comfort zone. We could regard the comfort zone rather like a bubble surrounding us. Inside the bubble everything is known like the activities we normally do.

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To move out of our comfort zone bubble we face risks and challenges – we think we might make mistakes, be let down, be emotionally upset, get tired, lose money or feel ‘not good enough’ in some way. Inside the comforting enclosed world of ‘staying the same’ we avoid those fears. Although living inside the bubble we are cushioned from some fear and mishaps, we are totally limiting and restricting ourselves and it actually stops us from achieving the things we want – and we will find that fear and mishaps have a nasty habit of sneaking in anyway. The comfort zone has the capacity to contract so much that we barely dare step outside; it also has the potential to expand infinitely.

By pushing against the walls of our comfort bubble and bringing new and challenging elements into our lives, our comfort zone expands. When we push against the walls of our bubble often enough any new activity soon becomes easy, the apprehension evaporates and our bubble grows. The confidence generated by our success also increases and spreads to support us in other new areas of endeavor. The more we push, the bigger our comfort zone becomes, our world increases and we become more outgoing and confident as we push through our fears and doubts. Of course every one of us needs the basic security of a comfort zone but to do things we really want to do and to release ourselves from situations we don’t want, we need to push the walls of the bubble to reach the bigger, exciting and fulfilling world, which is even more comfortable and enjoyable.

The one thing we can be sure of is that our fears evaporate as we face them. Next time we feel the tingle of fear, apprehension or doubt, feel it, ignore it and then do what we want to do and watch how the tingle disappears and see how our bubble of familiarity, comfort, confidence and security expands.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fill Your Life With Love

To my Aya.

The ideal way of life begins and ends with just one very simple factor – loving. Being loving and compassionate towards others and benefiting from the return of those feelings occur naturally to those who are firstly loving and compassionate towards themselves. If we nurture and cherish a loving, understanding attitude towards ourselves the radiance we create spreads outwards to encompass all who come within our orbit. Having a loving attitude towards ourselves is essential for giving out truly loving and compassionate vibrations to others and for enjoying those feelings in return.

A loving attitude towards ourselves is not the self-love that is full of over-weaning pride, selfishness or self-importance. It is a love of understanding, forgiveness, approval and kindliness towards ourselves. It is caring for our health with nutritious food, sufficient rest (which I don’t have) and adequate exercise and fresh air. It means not criticizing others or ourselves and accepting that we are fine just as we are but can make positive changes if we wish. It means not being resentful or blaming but being patient and kind to ourselves when things do not go quite as we had planned. It means taking time to savour the pleasures of our successes, no matter how small. Self-love is not pride or vanity, it is enriching and cherishing. It means keeping our thoughts directed towards the positive, not either dwelling in the past or future with ‘if only…’ type of thoughts and wishes, but living in the present moment, truly aware, truly alive.

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Love itself is a feeling, but to be loving needs action. If what we do is done lovingly it will be for the greater good and will produce a loving, life-enhancing and enriching feeling within us. Us an adult, our real purpose in life is to give. Giving is loving and true giving, as with loving, is without expectation. Giving with the heart is a joyful experience where we do not expect anything in return, not even gratitude. It is unconditional. The more we give, the more we receive, both from others and from the feelings flowing inside ourselves. Giving and receiving are like two sides of the same coin.

Loving, giving and receiving are part of a cycle. Keep the cycle going by loving and giving more and more and more. Giving is always in the present moment, so give as often as we can. We do not have to bestow all our possessions, although a few do so in an extreme gesture of giving and simplicity. But we, no doubt need to continue to work, earn our living and contribute to our family life.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


This essay is dedicated to the life of my life, Aya.

To live in happiness and at peace with ourselves and to live to our full potential is our very purpose in life. Most of us live our days unaware that we already have within us all we need to transform our lives. Whatever age we are, whatever our present position in life, we can still find a little time and space to devote to ourselves and discover how to achieve happiness in our lives.

Many people are waiting for happiness, waiting for it to arrive at some point in the future when they think they will surely find happiness. However, happiness is not something that is to be waited for. Happiness is found here and now, in the present time, as we are right now. Yes, even with current challenges and with any testing situations in which we find ourselves, it is possible to find happiness deep within ourselves.

With our decision to be happy, we have taken the first step on a new golden path through life. Because the world is a mirror to our minds, happiness will gradually be reflected back to us more and more. When we decide to be happy we will see the world in a new joyful way. We will discover unknown delights and treasures that we previously hidden from us. We will find people respond to us in a different, more loving, positive, and cooperative way, and situations that once seemed difficult now can be seen as being an opportunity or a new chance for us. It is true to say that what we give out is reflected back in abundance.

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To feel happy and fulfilled basically we need to feel good about ourselves and to accept ourselves as the person that we are including whatever aspects of our personality we may, at this moment, perceive as being undesirable. A happy life is a balanced life, lively and vital, rich in experience, with time spent cherishing every area of our lives, consciously focusing our attention on the joyful aspects within our world, where we treat ourselves and others kindly and with compassion.

A happy life is one where our actions and thoughts stem from the deep wisdom of our inner self. We all have this natural inner sense of goodness and knowledge, this inner Wisdom (thanks Aya for differentiating to me the difference between knowledge and wisdom). When our life is guided by this inner power we will always chose paths, which are supporting and nourishing, paths that lead irrevocably to joy and happiness. We are the one with the power, even if we have never or rarely realized this. Our inner wisdom will support us in any changes we wish to make, allowing us to dissolve blockages that may be hindering us. We can tap into our extraordinary inner powers to create a balanced and rounded life with the emotions we want to feel, the health we want to enjoy and the happiness and successes we deserve.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Creating Connections

This essay is dedicated to the love of my life, Aya.

Through the power of love and imagination, we turn ordinary moments into human moments. I have defined human moments as those moments when we feel closely connected to someone or something outside of ourselves (God, family, friends), and in the presence of something that matters, which we call meaning.

Anything that blocks love or imagination blocks human moments. That block can be simple, like being in too much of a hurry; or can be complex, like having been badly hurt by a certain group of people. Resentment can then rein us in and prevent us from reaching out. Habit can also block human moments as we get used to seeing the world in a certain way, and we do not open ourselves up to a new view.

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As much as we crave close connections and the human moments they create, we also fear them. We fear anything new, we fear getting close to others and we fear opening ourselves up. As much as we want to, we also do not want to. So, we choose to hold back. The obstacle to love, in this case, is our own choice. This is perhaps the greatest obstacle of all: a person’s choice to hold back.

Having said that, this paragraph will contain one of my principles in life. If you find that you are holding back more than you wish you would, if you find that fears takes over when you try to connect, then you might do is pick a safe situation – like a conversation with God/family/friend – and talk about fears. Once you address your hesitation as a problem, and once you start to talk about it in confidence with trusted others, then the problem will start to shrink away. You will start to come up with strategies and solutions. Furthermore, just the fact that you are having a close conversation with another person will begin to give you more confidence – confidence that you can use to widen your circle of connectedness.