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Authentic Happiness - Part II

From: Janardhan
Sent on: Friday, May 24, 2013 9:27 AM

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Greetings from Dallas, Texas!
I am here to lead a youth forum and be part of a panel discussion at the TANA conference.

A couple of days ago, I was pondering on the significance of meditation through the history of man. The need to cultivate 'peace of mind' could not have been as important when we didn't have 60 hour work weeks, prolonged further by traffic jams, capitalism that has captivated us to keep consuming and an unrelenting barrage of information no matter which way you turn. Life had to be naturally peaceful when we retired shortly after dark, without stimulation from electricity or electronics and rest was to the order of a full nine hours. With the current rates of stress-induced health disorders, alarming growth in psychotic drug dependence, ever increasing need for "productivity" and dwindling family support, a mindfulness practice is not a luxury any more, but a necessity to preserve the body and soul. What is your experience on this?

Continuing from last week, below are some of the beliefs that keep us from authentic happiness!

With love,

The Natural State of Happiness

There is an idea, some call it an insight, others call it obvious, that says that consciousness (the self) starts out like water - pure and natural, free of all toxins or any form of pollution.  It's only over time, after water arrives on the earth from the clouds up above, that it starts to absorb and be polluted by a variety of toxins.  As a result it loses its purity, it's naturalness. It's original state is compromised.  We are now very aware of all the toxins that our water contains and many people spend much money on purification systems so that their physical health will not be compromised.  They try to extract the seven toxins which, by many accounts, are now found in our tap water - fluoride, chlorine, radioactive substances, pharmaceuticals, chromium, heavy metals and arsenic - but there are probably more!

Could it be a similar process with what we call happiness?  Could happiness be an original, pure and natural state of ...consciousness?   Could it be that our consciousness has been polluted and compromised by a variety of toxins?  Each one of us cannot know the answer to these questions until we check into the laboratory of our consciousness, our self, make our own investigations and see for ourselves.  Articles and books, seminars and retreats may 'help us', meditation and contemplation practices may assist us to look in the right direction, to recognize whether it's true or not.  But it's only when we can 'see' and 'realize' for our self what is sabotaging our 'natural happiness', our pure happy state, that we can clean out the toxins and set our self free.
One of the primary aims of effective coaching is to help the coachee to ask themselves the right questions so they may enhance their self awareness and cultivate the 'insightful realizations' of what is getting in the way of their happiness. So let's test the 'happiness is natural' theory and see if we can find the right questions which, when used self reflectively, may help us to recognize the toxins within our consciousness that are polluting and poisoning our natural state of happiness.

While the water that comes out of our tap 'seems' to be pure we are, at the same time, aware that it's not.  Similarly with our state of happiness.  What 'seems' to be feelings of happiness usually aren't our true and natural state of happiness.  Some of the signs that the happiness that we believe we are feeling is not authentic happiness is that our feelings are usually dependent on something or someone 'out there', there is no consistency as what we believe is happiness comes and goes, it rises and falls in intensity, it is not energizing but, over time, it is draining.

If you watch out for these symptoms its means something toxic has polluted your consciousness.  These toxins are known as 'beliefs'.  It is a variety of 'toxic beliefs' that underlie the habit of creating 'false happiness'.  There are seven toxic beliefs that have established themselves within our consciousness.  These are popular toxins that we all tend to have absorbed, mostly when we were young.  Here are the first three of those beliefs. See if you recognize them within your self.

Toxic Belief No 1 - Acquisition makes me happy!

We believe that if we acquire certain objects, certain 'partners', then we will find happiness.  However most people who have acquired more than they need will usually confirm that acquisition only brings a temporary happiness at best, and a false sense of security at worst.  It also brings an increased responsibility in the form of more things to think about, which for many means 'worry about'!  And if we are not careful we easily use our acquisitions to create a false self image as we try to impress others.  We confuse our wealth with our worth! However it can be an addictive way to try to be happy because there is always that initial thrill of a new acquisition.  But it always wears off.  So the toxic belief that acquisition brings happiness requires elimination, otherwise we may just become addicted to accumulation!

The coaching questions for self reflection: What do you want that you believe will make you happy?  Make a list.  Then ask your self are you sure these things will bring authentic happiness?

Toxic Belief Number 2 - Achievement makes me happy

This is the belief that has us continuously setting goals then using our time and energy in striving and struggling towards their achievement.  No bad thing, some would say.  It is important to have a focus for your energy, others would say.  However, when we believe achievement brings happiness and we focus time and energy on achieving we tend to do two things that will ensure our unhappiness.  We tend to delay our happiness until the goal is achieved.  We will likely create a fear along the way known as the worry that we may not make it.  Sometimes a more subtle belief kicks in that says you have to deserve to be happy.  You have to work hard to be happy, you have to earn your happiness, therefore achieve your happiness, which is often referred to as the Scottish Protestant work ethic! 

The coaching questions for self reflection: What are you aiming to achieve that you believe will make you happy?  Make a list.  Then ask your self are you sure these achievements will make you happy?

Toxic Belief No 3 - Excitement equals happiness

This belief tends to be learned when we are very young.  Parents simply pass on the illusion that excitement is happiness when they take us to our first circus or match.  They become excited and call it happiness so we believe them.  They know not what they teach!  Excitement is what happens when the water in the kettle boils.  The molecules are excited, they are agitated.  But happiness for a human being is not agitation.  Happiness is, as we saw earlier, a state of contentment with a natural flow of joy from our heart into the world. 

The coaching questions for self reflection:  What do you use to excite yourself believing that it makes you happy?  Make a list.  Then ask your self are you sure these excitements are real happiness?

Rest of restoring authentic happiness next week.

©  Mike George 2013

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