Category: Spirituality

Five Fundamental Spiritual Truths

Five Fundamental Spiritual Truths

There are many spiritual truths and they are found in most religions and spiritual traditions, although not necessary in ways that are obvious to the seekers of truth. I have found these five spiritual truths to be fundamental to the mastery of life. Know these five fundamental spiritual truths well and internalize them into your life and you will be able to find peace, happiness, good health and abundance.

These are the five fundamental spiritual truths:

1. This is a SPIRITUAL universe

This universe we live in is not purely a material universe. There is a spiritual aspect to it. In fact, we ignore this spiritual aspect of the universe at our own peril because this spiritual aspect of the universe is the source of all things. Learning about it, befriending it and knowing how to make use of it can dramatically change our lives.

“Something there is without form, yet complete
Born before Heaven and Earth
I know not what it is called
For lack of a name, I called it Tao”
— Tao De Ching

The ancient sages knew about this spiritual power. That is why many have searched for it. However, most people searched for it in the wrong place. This Tao is not something that can be perceived with our five physical sense organs. We cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch it. The only way we can perceive it is with our mind.

The Sanskrit word “Akasha” refers to a primary element that is not perceivable by our five physical senses. It is believed to be the source of the four great elements of earth, water, air and fire. Many English words have been used as a translation of this word “akasha”. Words like ether, spirit, space and sky have been used to described this formless, limitless, eternal and inexhaustible source of all things.

For a long time, scientists have disregarded the existence of this “Spirit”. Perhaps this is because it is intangible and cannot be detected by any of their instruments. Or perhaps using the term “spirit” was unfortunate as it seems to imply something not totally scientific and real enough for them to seriously study.

However, through quantum physics, we now know that there is “something” out there that we cannot perceive with our physical senses, yet is very real. The physicist David Bohm postulated about its existence with his theory of an unseen Implicate Order that unfolds and manifests itself as the visible Explicate Order of the universe. As researches in quantum physics progressed, we soon discover the existence of an amazing invisible world apart from our visible material world – a world of pure potential and energy.

It seems there is an invisible field after all, and one that is everywhere in the universe. In fact, everything in this universe is submerged in this field, including us. It is inside us and outside us, in the air and in solids, and everywhere you can think of. This field has unlimited potentiality and is the source of everything in the universe. If you are interested to know more about this field, I recommend that you read Lynne McTaggart’s “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe”, Gregg Braden’s “The Divine Matrix” and “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot.

For now, all you need to know about this field is that it has unlimited potentials and is the spring of all life, and that it is malleable by our mind.

2. Mind is the CREATIVE force in the universe

The field is impersonal and inert until it is worked upon by the mind. This field of potentialities can be molded and sculpted by the mind. It is accessible to everyone. In fact, all of us are already doing it, albeit unconsciously, mostly to our disadvantage. However, we can learn to do this deliberately, consciously and purposefully to achieve all our desires. We only need to learn the how-to and put it into practice.

In quantum physics, we know that the wave form (the intangible, invisible form with unlimited potentialities) collapses into a single particle form (tangible, manifested form) when it is observed or acted upon by the mind (consciousness, observer). What this means is that creation from formless to form requires the presence of the mind. In other words, our mind is what molds, sculpts and creates our reality. You can learn more about this in Fred Alan Wolf’s book entitled “Mind into Matter: A New Alchemy of Science and Spirit” and Amit Goswami’s “The Self Aware Universe”. Both these authors are physicists.

Let us first understand a little bit more about the mind. We can find much more information about the mind in the Buddhist sutras than any other sources available to us today. For example, in Chapter V of the Lankavatara Sutra of the Buddhist Mahayana tradition, there is a good description of the various aspects of the mind – the Universal Mind, the Intuitive Mind and the Personal Mind.

UNIVERSAL MIND

Firstly, there is the Universal Mind which has been called many names. Some call it the One. Others call it God, the Mind of God, Supreme Godhead, Great Spirit, Tao. It is important to realize that fixation on names only leads to more confusion. So we should not regard the names as important. What is important is to know its nature, its true essence.

Here are some of the qualities of the Universal Mind.

  1. The Universal Mind is Impersonal. The universal mind is an undifferentiated mind. It is therefore impersonal. Since it is impersonal, it does not take sides. There is no bias, no prejudices. It embraces everything into its fold.
  2. The Universal Mind is Creative. In fact, it is the only creative force in the universe. When you think about it, nothing is created without the mind. Creation begins with a non-tangible thought before it becomes a tangible reality.
  3. The Universal Mind is the Repository of all Things. The universal mind serves as the repository of all thoughts, all experiences, all things. Thus this is also the source of all information, knowledge and wisdom.

INTUITIVE MIND

The intuitive mind is the bridge between the impersonal universal mind and the personal mind. It dips into the impersonal universal mind for all its information, knowledge and wisdom.

Thus whatever information or knowledge that flows through the intuitive mind to the personal mind is what we called intuition, and has the characteristics of inclusiveness (embraces all) and wisdom. This information, if not filtered or altered by the personal mind, is always accurate and is for the higher good of all.

Often, however, such high quality, untainted information is unfortunately filtered and distorted by the personal mind out of the false sense of superiority, insecurity and fear.

The intuitive mind is also sometimes called the Higher Self.

PERSONAL MIND

The personal mind is a fully differentiated mind. It has a sense of self. It has a sense of separation. It has a sense of uniqueness and individuation. This separation from the whole universal mind and the individuation into a unique self opens up a whole new world of infinite possibilities and potential experiences, but it comes at a price – a trade off – for the separation also brings about a sense of incompleteness, a sense of lack, a sense of insecurity and thus fear is born.

The personal mind has:

  1. A Sense of Self – which gives it uniqueness, individuation, self-centeredness nature
  2. A Sense of Separation – which gives it a sense of incompleteness, lack, insecurity and fear

Paradoxically, it is this sense of separation that gives it the drive, desire and motivation to constantly seek wholeness, completeness and oneness with God (or whatever name you gave it). It is what drives us to strive higher, be better, and seek greatness and self actualization.

On the other hand, because it is self-centered, it has difficulty seeing the “big picture” of the wholeness of life. It also has a false sense of vulnerability and therefore the need for self preservation.

In the Western tradition, we often refer to the mind in terms of the conscious mind, subconscious mind and the unconscious mind. This way of looking at the mind is describing the mind according to the level or degree of awareness of the mental processes going on in our mind. Thus, our everyday thinking mind which we are aware of is the conscious mind while those thinking processes that are under our conscious awareness is grouped under the unconscious mind. The subconscious mind refers to an area of the mind that is just marginally below our conscious awareness but that we can consciously become aware of with some concentration and effort.

3. YOU are the center of YOUR universe

This third spiritual truth has been misinterpreted and distorted before. It does not say that you are the center of THE universe (which only makes our ego bigger), nor does it say that the EARTH is the center of the universe (which probably led to the medieval belief that the earth is the center of the solar system).

What it does say is that YOU are the center of YOUR universe.

What this means is that you are the creator of your own world – your own reality – and I am the creator of mine. Without exception, every one of us lives in a world of our own design. We are the creator of our own universe and we create it through the only creative force available to us – our mind. This is the message that all those gurus teaching the Law of Attraction is trying to tell us.

There is another aspect to this creating reality business – one which is not often touched upon by the Law of Attraction gurus but is found in the teachings of the Buddha. This aspect is about how we experience reality. There is a deep spiritual truth to be realized and that is that all things are empty of any intrinsic value except the value we give to them.

For example, you and I may find a piece of diamond to be of great value and we may therefore invest a lot of energy into acquiring or owning it but a diamond given to an obscure aborigine in the deep jungle of Amazon may simply be thrown away because he does not see the value or utility of the same piece of diamond.

The values we assigned to people, things and ideas obstruct our ability to see things as they really are. These values are rooted in our beliefs and they colored our experiences. By changing our thoughts and beliefs about people, things and ideas, we are able to change the experiences in our lives.

It is important that we realize these two aspects of reality creation because not realizing these truths leaves us a victim of fate while knowing them can make us master of our own destiny. Both require that we take full responsibility for all our creations and experiences. This decision – of taking 100% responsibility – once made and acted upon, empowers us and put us on the right footing or mindset towards a positive transformation of our lives.

4. As WITHIN So Without

This phrase is borrowed from the Law of Correspondence in the book “The Kybalion” – a book about the seven spiritual laws. The Law of Correspondence is the second of seven spiritual laws (or sometimes called principles). Its complete phrase is “As above, so below. As within, so without”

This spiritual truth reveals to us how we create our reality with our mind.

We create our reality through our thoughts. Thoughts are real. They are the wave forms (intangible, invisible form) that are instantly manifested in the formless, and given enough focus, attention or energy, attract, magnetize or gather mass, thus manifesting into particle forms or our perceived formed reality.

Thus, what we experience or perceive as reality outwardly now is the fully manifested form of our own creation, seeded through our thoughts in the past. In other words, we can say that our outer experience is a mirror reflection of the inner content of our mind, thus the saying, “As within, so without”.

There is a story about this in the Buddhist teachings. When asked about reality, the Buddha replied that the common worldlings perceive the reflection of the moon in a lake as reality, not being aware of the real moon in the sky.

A modern analogy of this is the computer and the projector. The projector projects an image from the computer onto the wall. In this analogy, we perceive the image on the wall as reality, not realizing that the way to change the image on the wall is not to manipulate the image on the wall. Instead, we need to change the content in the computer in order to reflect any change in the image on the wall. Another way of interpreting this analogy is that the image itself is an illusion – an error in perception – and in order to see through this illusion, we need to train ourselves to see things as they really are (that is, they are empty by nature).

This is exactly what we need to do to transform our lives. To change our lives, we need to change the content of our mind. We need also to change the way we think. We need to choose consciously what we focus on. In doing so, we alter the state of our mind. As our inner world changes, so too our outer world changes to reflect accordingly the content of our inner world.

5. Whatever you FOCUS on grows

You are fully responsible for your life because you have the ability and free will to choose what to focus on and whatever you focus on grows and expands. Even if you are ignorant of this truth, it does not change the fact that you are the creator of your own reality. Knowing this truth, however, empowers you.

The mind works on the basis of “like attracts like”. Positive thoughts attract positive experiences. Negative thoughts attract negative experiences. When you focus on something, you energize it or you increase its ability to attract similar vibrations. Another way to put it is that you increase its ability to magnetize its vibrational match or equivalent.

This brings to mind a story about an old man and his son. The old man was dying and before he died, he wanted to impart a valuable life lesson to his son. So he requested for his son to come to his death bed and he said to him, “Son, there are two tigers in my heart. One is called love and the other is called fear. They are constantly fighting each other.””Which one will win, father?” asked the son, and he replied, “The one I feed.”

For us, it is important to remember that whenever we focus on something, we are feeding it with energy, making it stronger and more able to attract similar thoughts to itself.

Perspective – How you view the world matters

Perspective – How you view the world matters

Throughout the ages, philosophers and spiritual seekers have been seeking and debating on the nature of the world and of life itself. Why is this important to them? It is important because how you view the world matters. Your world view and your personal understanding about life and how it works determine how you think, speak and act.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your concept and understanding of how the world works is the foundation of all your subsequent beliefs and behaviors.

Thus, having an accurate world view is fundamental to living a successful and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, not many people have taken time to understand and investigate their own world view.

Do you know what your world view is?

SPIRITUALITY OR MATERIALITY?

There are two world views that are fundamentally opposing in nature. One is a spiritual world view and the other is a materialistic world view. Which do you hold to be true?

Do you see yourself…

  • as a spiritual being inhabiting a physical body, or
  • as a physical being with a spiritual inclination?

Do you see this world as a benevolent universe or a hostile one?

How you view the world can fundamentally change the way you experience your life. This is because your experience is determined by how you perceive the event. Your perception, in turn, is determined by which perspective you perceive from.

If you see it from a spiritual perspective, you get one type of experience. If you see it from a materialistic perspective, you get a different experience. Moving from a materialistic to a spiritual perspective is effectively a powerful and life changing paradigm shift.

Thus, it is essential that you get this right from the beginning.

We invite you to join us in exploring the nature of life as you embark on the exciting adventure of self discovery. Sign up now for our newsletter and let the journey begins.

Live a Principle-centered Life

Live a Principle-centered Life

An accurate world view is the first prerequisite for living a successful and fulfilling life. This is because your world view becomes the foundation on which all your other beliefs about the world and life are built upon.

From your world view, you formulate – consciously or unconsciously – certain guiding principles of life that you will live by. When your world view is right, then your guiding life principles will churn out the desired outcomes for you. On the contrary, when your world view is wrong, you would have set yourself up for failure.

Have you ever examine your own life principles? What guides and motivates you in your goals and choices? Are you guided by truth, unconditional love and justice, or are you running on ignorance and fear?

From the spiritual perspective, the most important principle to live by is to live in accordance with the universal laws. When you live your life in congruence with these laws, you allow your life to unfold gracefully without resistance.

The Book of Personal Transformation contains some of the fundamental principles and qualities that are required to kick-start your own personal transformation.

How the Universe work: Absolute and Relative Realities

How the Universe work: Absolute and Relative Realities

This perpetually changing universe that we live in was born out of something that is unchanging.

This “something” that is unchanging – permanently the same – is named the Absolute Reality (ultimate reality, absolute or ultimate truth). Our ever-changing universe, on the other hand, is named Relative Reality (apparent reality, relative or apparent truths).

Both science and religions have been attempting to describe these two contrasting realities. When each describes these realities using their own words, labels and terminologies, it can become extremely confusing for the spiritual seeker. Sometimes, same words used may carry different meanings, while at other times, different words used may refer to the same thing.

One way to go around this confusing state of affair is to look at the meaning, qualities or nature of the thing that the words are trying to convey.

Another way is to read all these different descriptions of realities and compare and contrast them to see how they all can fall into place, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with all their pieces in their proper places.

Here are some of the resources to help you come to your own conclusions about how the universe works.

  1. The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science, by Thomas Troward (using scientific terminologies)
  2. The Impersonal Life, by Joseph Benner (using Christian terminologies)
  3. The Tao de Ching (Eastern mystic)
  4. Lankavatara Sutra (Mahayana Buddhism)
  5. Kybalion (Western occult or hidden knowledge)

After reading all of the above, this is how I have come to understand how the world works. This is how I have come to see realities.

Is Spirituality Real?

Is Spirituality Real?

Before we can answer this question – “Is spirituality real?” – we need to first define what we mean by spirituality. In this article, I use the word “spirit” to mean that which is intangible, immaterial, not perceivable by the five physical senses of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. However, this is not to say that the spirit cannot see, hear or touch, or sense anything. What it really means is that the spirit sees, hears and senses without the need of any of these five physical organs. Our spirituality would, therefore, be our experiences in spirit.

Therefore, for spirituality to be real or true, the existence of spirit must be independent of our physical body. In other words, spirit must be able to continue to exist even after physical death. Is there any evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case?

 

Bear in mind that the current scientific belief is that our consciousness is the by-product of biochemical processes in our brain or body. Based on this thinking, there is no possibility of existence after the body dies. However, I should remind you that this is a rather recent belief. There is no evidence to suggest that this belief is factual or true. It simply is a belief.

In fact, for thousands of years, people of all different cultures have believed in the existence of spirit, in afterlife and in spirituality. Were they wrong in their beliefs?

Some scientific studies on near death experiences (NDEs) and past lives, as well as out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and psychic phenomena (psi) may offer us some clues. Scientists at the Department of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) in University of Virginia have been studying such phenomena for more than 50 years.

Below are two videos of some of these scientists sharing their work with the public.

 


Near Death Experience (NDE)

And if you are interested in near death experience, this personal account by a neurosurgeon might be of interest to you (below):

Here is another personal account of NDE by Anita Moorjani. She is the author of the book entitled “Dying to be me!”

 

Nearing Death Awareness (NDA)

Nearing death awareness (NDA) is a term used to describe a dying person’s awareness of impending death. This may include things such as seeing and talking to “someone” who has passed away, talking about undertaking a journey or trip, a knowledge that one is going to die, and other similarly inexplicable phenomena.

Meditation-related Spiritual Experiences

Experienced and expert meditators have also described spiritual experiences that are similar to those described above, such as out-of-body experiences (OBEs), levitation and spiritual healing.

Overcoming the fear of aging

Overcoming the fear of aging

Aging, like sickness and death, is part and parcel of life. Everyone who is born must eventually age and die. This is the natural cycle of life. However, not everyone ages in the same way. Some age gracefully. Others age with fear.

Fear is Optional

If you are fearful of aging, you should know that this fear is not inevitable. It is there only because of your own past experiences, your own beliefs and your own attitude towards it. In the end, it is a matter of choice. Aging is inevitable but fear of aging is not. Aging of this body is a physical phenomenon. That is why it is inevitable. Fear, on the other hand, is a mental phenomenon. It is optional.

Identify Your Fears

If you are fearful of aging, you should try to be more specific and identify what it is that you are really fearful of. Generally, those who fear aging are actually fearful of sickness and death. Those who believe that they can age with a healthy and functioning body have little fear of aging. Those who think of the possibility of sickness and death as they age become fearful.

Having identify our specific fears, it then becomes possible to do something about it.

Fear of Sickness

If it is sickness, then we can start to live a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start a habit of living healthily. If you smoke, stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, and especially if you drink heavily, then tone it down. Drink less. Scientific studies have actually shown that a small amount of alcohol is good for your physical health but too much is harmful. Sleep early and wake up early. Sleep well. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Practice yoga or tai chi. Learn to meditate. All these improve the quality of your life, making you healthier mentally, emotionally and physically.

Fear of Death

If your fear is death, then once again you have to be specific. Is it the process of dying that you are afraid of, or is it death itself? If it is the process of dying, then the real fear for most people is actually the fear of a painful dying process. If that is the case, we have good news for you. Science and medicine today have reached a point where we can almost always minimise pain in the dying process. In most cases, we can even totally eradicate pain. However, even without medicine, pain can still be managed well. Physical pain may be inevitable but mental suffering is optional.

The question then is how do we free ourselves from mental suffering in the presence of physical pain? The answer to that is a strong mind. We can train our mind to be strong and resilient. It is a skill, and like all skills, it takes practice. The most common and popular mind training is meditation. So, learn to meditate, and learn it well. Gain mastery over your own mind. Then you will have little to be fearful of.

Fear of the Unknown

Lastly, if it is death itself that you are afraid of, then it is most likely because death is a big unknown. What happens to us after death? This is a spiritual question, and you will need a spiritual answer. It all comes down to your belief system. So, when you talk about death, and especially when you want a solution to this type of fear about death, then you must re-visit your spirituality, and the very nature of who you are.

Are you simply this body or are you more than just this physical body? When you die, is there a part of you that continues on? This is your quest. It is a journey that none can take for you. Only you can do this for yourself.

How to Love Genuinely

How to Love Genuinely

This short video is a description of genuine love, as opposed to a love full of attachments and self-focused. Genuine love focuses on the other person’s needs and happiness while “selfish” love focuses on one’s own needs and happiness. Genuine love finds fulfillment from within oneself while selfish love tries to find fulfillment from someone else.

Thus, genuine love is totally from within and not subjected to what is outside of oneself. It is therefore more within our own domain and not dependent on another for its source of happiness and contentment. Selfish love, on the other hand, being dependent on someone else to provide our happiness, is inherently more unstable, unpredictable, out of our own control and subject to the whims and fancies of an external source. In this way, self love sets oneself up for failure and disappointment.

What is Spirituality?

What is Spirituality?

The ultimate goal of the quest for spirituality is to know and experience the ultimate truth, and to return to that original state. But, what is ultimate truth, and what is relative truth, and why are they important?

 

ULTIMATE TRUTH

All spiritual traditions generally agree that there is an ultimate truth or reality that is unconditioned and unchanging, that is beyond time and space. It is indescribable using any languages or symbols. It cannot be known simply through logical inference, but it can be known and experienced through a purified mind.

 

RELATIVE TRUTH

Relative truth or relative reality is the universe we live in and experience. This material world is said to be emanated or unfolded out of the ultimate truth, but this is not to say that the ultimate truth is one thing and the material world is another thing. It is more accurate to say that the material world is within the ultimate truth, although even this description is probably not satisfactory.

Some people have described the material world as a holographic projection out of the ultimate truth. In Hinduism, for example, the material world is called “maya”. It is regarded as illusory and is merely a projection of our mind.

We could easily do a thought experiment with regard to this illusory nature. For example, we can ask ourselves – “Does the world exist if we are not aware of it?”

 

MIND AND MATTER

Through our own observations, we can know that this material world is made up of two things. The first is matter. Matter is perceivable to us via our five physical senses of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. The other is mind or consciousness. Mind, unlike matter, cannot be perceived by the five physical sense organs. It can be perceived only by the mind itself. That is why mind is considered to be our sixth sense.

 

MIND, SPIRIT, GOD – DIFFICULT TO DESCRIBE

Now we have arrived at a crossroad. How do we measure or quantify or define something that we cannot perceive physically? Where are the boundaries? Where does it begin and where does it end? What is its nature or essence? What are its qualities and attributes? Can we even describe it accurately with the languages that we have?

This is where confusions abound in discussion about spirituality and religions. The same term used, such as the word God, can mean differently for different people coming from different backgrounds and religions. On the other hand, something that is the same is often described differently by different people, as perceived from different perspectives. This is made worse if we see only the parts instead of the whole, as in the story of the blind men and the elephant.

Thus, words like mind, spirit, god and several others may simultaneously mean the same thing at times, and at other times hold subtle but important differences.

Without recognising the limitations of words and languages, our discussions on spirituality or religions can and will very often lead to confusions and confrontations.

Yet we know that if there is an ultimate truth that is unchanging and unconditioned, all our collective experiences of this must somehow be the same, albeit seen and understood from our personal perspective, which is coloured by our upbringing, culture and beliefs.

So, the way to avoid or minimise such confusion is to first define the words we use, and make sure that everyone is using the same words with the same definitions. Here is how I would define some of these words:

  • Mind is defined as that which perceives, cognises, thinks and is aware of. This would include both the cognitive and affective aspects as well as consciousness. Mind is also creative.
  • Spirit is defined as the fabric, base or foundation on which the mind acts upon. Thus, mind can be said to be contained within spirit.
  • God is defined as a natural impersonal creative force of the universe. The process of creation is subjected to natural laws.

You will notice that the above definition of God does not fit the God of the Old Testament, which is personal and even vengeful at times. Also, because both mind and God are creative, the two words are sometimes interchangeable, depending on the context in which they are used. In addition, since spirit is defined as the base or foundation from which creation emerges from (or emanate from or spring forth), and God is often regarded in the same way, spirit and God are also often used interchangeably.

So, even with the above definition, there is still room for confusion to occur.

 

TWO LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE

So we have the unconditioned, unchanging ultimate truth or ultimate reality, from which springs forth the material universe, the relative truth or relative reality existence where sentient beings get to experience life as we know it. Sentient beings can experience life from two different levels or perspectives.

  1. A Dualistic Personal Experience

A sentient being is conscious and aware of itself relative to its surrounding. It sees itself as separate from its surrounding. It perceives a “I” and a “other-than I”. It is a dualistic view of existence. This dualistic way of experiencing life is what we know and are used to.

In order to do this, we need to label or name things. We need to discern or compare, perceive differences and make judgments. Thus we see big and small, tall and short, and we sense hot and cold. This is how we make sense of the world we live in.

We experience all these contrasts from a personal perspective or view.

  1. An All-Inclusive Impersonal Experience

There is, however, another way to experience life – a way described by certain accomplished saints and meditators. Ancient sages from all traditions have told us of this higher perspective of experiencing life. It is an experience that is all embracing, all inclusive and free from thoughts, personal biases and prejudices. It is experienced from beyond the perspective of the self. It is an impersonal experience.

This experience is described in superlative terms and is regarded as a higher and more superior experience than our normal dualistic experience. Words such as unconditional love, great compassion, blissful joy and peace are often used to describe this supra-mundane spiritual experience.

It is also described as an inner and inherent essence or quality of our purified mind or spirituality, and is not affected or corrupted by anything outside of this mind.

This elusive and blissful state is what motivates and drives worldly beings in search of their spirituality. This is a state that is free and independent from any physical reality, and is achievable through a purified mind attained via meditation.

This state is called spiritual happiness, contrasting it with the more transient and illusory worldly happiness that is dependent on pleasing our physical senses, and is described not just in the Taoist, Buddhist or Hindu traditions but also in the Christian gnostic, Jewish Kaballah and Muslim sufi traditions.

Considered an even higher happiness than spiritual happiness is the total release from existence as we know it, culminating in a total union with the ultimate truth or reality with no possibility of coming back in any form.

 

Happiness is a state of mind

Happiness is a state of mind

Your happiness is not dependent on external things. If it were, it would not be possible to find lasting happiness.

Your happiness is dependent only on the state of your mind. Knowing this gives you the power to determine your own happiness.

The good news is that it means that you have a choice to be happy or not. The bad news is that you can only have this choice when you are totally aware of this fact that your happiness is entirely in your hands. This fact is unfortunately not as obvious as we would like it to be. In fact, most people cannot see this truth. For them, their mind has been so conditioned to think of getting happiness from people and things outside of themselves that to be told that they are the real source of their own happiness is quite simply unbelievable.

Yet, this is the truth. Your happiness is indeed in your hands. To be more precise, your happiness is in your mind.

You do not have to believe me. Instead, you can do an experiment on your own life. Choose to be happy, just for a day. Make it today. Make it this moment. Consciously choose to be happy, and see how your attitude and state of mind change to reflect that choice. Is your mind lighter? Less tense? Less tightly wound up? Less rigid? More open? More liberated? Simply by choosing happiness, you can immediately feel the lightness of your being.

However, if you have been conditioning your mind to be tight, unhappy and fearful all these while, do not expect that it will be easy to simply switch to be happy. It takes persistent effort. Old habits die hard. They keep coming back because they feel familiar. Therefore, to replace an old habit with a new one, you need to be aware as often as you can. Stay alert to your state of mind. Keep reminding yourself to choose happiness. Gradually train your mind to be happy, to relax and to lighten up. Be aware of how you feel when your mind is in this new state. Do you feel better? Happier? Lighter? It is important to experience this new state, and be aware of it. It is very rewarding, and it will continue to motivate you to be alert and aware of your state of mind.

So, how do you make your mind happy all the time?

You simply have to keep doing this – be aware of your mental state, and make a conscious choice to be happy – every day, every moment. Make it a new habit of yours to constantly check on your mind state whenever you remember – when you wake up in the morning, when you shower, when you eat, when you take a break, when you are about to go to sleep. You can do it anytime, any place. When it has become habitual, then you will be able to be happy everyday.

Remember, happiness is a state of mind.

The Power of Positive Emotions

The Power of Positive Emotions

In the past, most people – including scientists – believe that our physical world shapes our brain and the way we think and feel. However, over the past 20 years or so, more and more scientific researches and studies have consistently showed that it is our mind that truly shapes our physical world.

Today, we know that how we think and feel affect our body biochemical changes, creating a cascade of chained reactions that begins with our thoughts and ends with real physical changes in our body, communicated and transmitted via our brain chemistry, hormones and neurotransmitters. When we think positively, we initiate positive changes to the body that strengthens our immune system, improve our blood pressure readings and reduces risks of a cardiac event. We even know now that physical neuronal changes occur in our brain. We literally rearrange our brain networks and connections through a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. You can refer to Candace Pert’s book entitled Molecules of Emotion for scientific data supporting the above.

Equally exciting are results of studies done by Barbara Fredrickson on the effects of positive emotions such as love, joy, inspiration and pride. She found that positive emotions improve our life at all levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. People who are optimistic tend to broaden their outlook, increase creativity in dealing with challenges and are more resilient in facing setbacks. They are more likely to be healthier, happier and more contented.

Martin Seligman, who is considered a pioneer in positive psychology, said that those people who are happiest are those who use their signature strengths, such as humanity, temperance and persistence, and virtues for something much larger than they are. He combines the individual approach that emphasizes self care and nurture with the altruistic approach that demands sacrifice for the greater good.

Most interesting of all is the realization that while some people are generally born optimistic, being happy is a skill that everyone can learn. There are already many studies and social experiments that showed that positive emotions and attitudes can be consciously cultivated, practiced and mastered.

Now isn’t that a happy thought!

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