Meditation and HeartMath - Awakening Alchemy

Meditation, in its most basic form, has been around for eons. In fact, man, has always, even during his most instinctual struggle for survival, found the time to sit, to question, and to ponder on his innermost thoughts and at its core that is exactly what meditation entails – to focus inward.

Meditation - Awakening Alchemy Some of the earliest recorded meditation practices come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism and date to around 1500BCE. Meditation, in all its various forms and practices has become an integral part of many philosophies, religions and ways-of-life, over the millennia. One could argue that the purpose of meditation, as defined by many of these early practitioners, is the concept of “following the path to enlightenment” and “self-realization”. This is certainly the case in the Hindu and Buddhist practices, which we have covered in earlier blogs. Even Christianity, in the Psalms, instructs us to; “be still and know that I am God.” Being still and focusing inwards is and continues to be a vital ingredient of a happy and heart-filled life.

Concentric Circles - Awakening Alchemy In today’s frantic-paced world, however, meditation has been seen and used much more as a way of cutting ourselves off from the hectic daily happenings and simply allowing ourselves to find peace and contentment. Some of today’s practitioners, it seems, are more interested in meditation to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, whilst simultaneously boosting peace, well-being, perception, self-worth and general relaxation. Today, I want to focus particularly on meditation from the perspective of “New Thought” teaching, where it does play a vital role in establishing a degree of control over our thoughts, emotions, and ultimately, our actions.

Within the New Thought philosophy the concept of meditation is extremely important.

Five Excellent Reasons to Meditate:

  1. Meditation assists us to live in the present: Many people flitter through their days in an almost catatonic state, unaware of much that is happening around them. They miss all the amazing beauty that surrounds them as they wander along, their noses buried in their electronic devices or inside their own minds, regretting their past actions or worrying about the future circumstances. We need to be aware of what is happening around us, now, today and meditation is a wonderful key to unlock that awakening in our minds.
  2. Our minds are always working at 100 miles an hour: Our minds are like a never-ending chatterbox, filled with thoughts and mindless noise. This endless chatter ultimately brings us boredom, frustration, and dissatisfaction. Meditation allows us to take control of our minds, to focus inwardly and to experience the wonderful peace and serenity of the silence and stillness within.Symmetry and balance - Awakening Alchemy
  3. When the mind is under control – amazing things begin to happen: If we can train our mind, through meditation, to be conscious of just one thing, for example our breathing, incredible things begin to happen – the mind becomes malleable, we begin to control our thoughts and the mindless chatter grinds to a halt- [albeit not necessarily for long periods but equally that’s fine.] A new, powerful, and mindful awareness will become part of our day-to-day activities. A peaceful mind is one of the key elements to achieving the happy and heart-felt life I spoke of earlier.
  4. When we have control of our mind, we can then control our emotions and feelings: this is an enormous benefit. Most people have no control over their emotions and feelings – they react to circumstances only. By controlling your emotions and feelings, you can CREATE your own circumstances. Remember, always, that YOU are NOT your mind and YOU are NOT your thoughts. Your mind, your thoughts, and your emotions are merely tools for you to use to create your own reality – not the other way around.
  5. Science has proven that meditation impacts our consciousness in a measurable way: Consciousness Research is still in its infancy and will doubtless provide us with illuminating discoveries in the future but already the study of theta and delta brainwaves has shown the incredible impact meditation can have on our creativity, our memory and even our dreams. The future is exciting.

How Do I Start With Meditation?

There are many misconceptions about meditation. No, you don’t need to get yourself into your yoga pants, bend yourself into the “lotus” position and chant “Ohm…Ohm…Ohm…” endlessly. Once you make the leap into meditation, I have no doubt you will want to know more and want to experience more – and that’s great, but initially you can begin to meditate incredibly simply and even within the confines of your own bed if that’s what you want. Here’s what I would suggest to get yourself started down this amazing and fulfilling road.

  1. Set your alarm clock, so that you wake up 10, 20, 30 minutes earlier than normal (the time depends on you – you will probably extend it once you start to realize the immense benefits).
  2. When you first wake up in the morning, don’t crawl groggily out of bed, check your phone and then stumble to the kitchen to prepare your first coffee of the day.
  3. Instead, sit up in bed, or find a comfortable, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed (especially if you have a partner beside you). It is important that the temperature is comfortable for you – too hot, or too cold, will potentially distract you. Take a deep breath - Awakening Alchemy
  4. There are as many meditation techniques as there are practitioners, so just do whatever feels comfortable for you. For a beginner, I’d suggest focusing on your breathing. Listen to it going in and out of your lungs, feel the oxygen, from your breath, flowing through your bloodstream, from your brain to the very tips of your toes, and then returning to be re-oxygenated, again, in your lungs. Just spend ten minutes focusing on your breathing. There are also many apps. available that can help you to meditate, or conversely you may want to try repeating a mantra. Remember, there is no right or wrong way, it is whatever works best for you, so do experiment.
  5. There’s a reason it is called “practicing” meditation. It can feel uncomfortable or difficult initially, perhaps even unsuccessful, but DON’T give up, keep trying until you find what works for you. Consistency is the key – before long, missing a meditation session will seem like your day is not right, that something is missing.

There are oodles of information on meditation on the web but if you want some good, solid, information on meditation, you can find it here on my own website, resources page: https://www.moneymagnet.global/resources/

HeartMath – A World First:

Heart Math - Awakening Alchemy

 

“Dare to connect with your heart. You will be lifting not only yourself and those you love and care about, but also the world in which you live.”

Doc Childre, HeartMath Founder

 

Before I finish today, I just want to let you know about a world-first experiment by HeartMath on raising global consciousness and peace though meditation. It is taking place on May 11th and 12th 2019.

World First! Join the experiment and create collective coherence for Peace!

The HeartMath Institute has launched a new Global Coherence app! For the first time it is possible to measure both your individual coherence and the collective coherence of a group of people practicing at the same time – either together, in the same location, or individually, anywhere in the world!

And to launch the Global Coherence app, we’re inviting you to take part in an amazing world-first experiment. We want to measure the collective coherence of hundreds, if not thousands of people across the world participating in MOMM – Moments of Mass Mindfulness.

Peace - Awakening Alchemy We’d love you to join in the meditations while using your Inner Balance with the Global Coherence app. There are two opportunities to take part:

MOMM UK: Saturday 11th May 12:00-13:00 BST (11:00-12:00 UCT)

MOMM Global: Sunday 12th May 15:00-16:00 BST (14:00-15:00 UCT)

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Download the new Global Coherence app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play.
  2. Create an account and connect your Inner Balance.Join the special MOMM group – the access code is BlueWind81
  3. At the start of the meditations on the 11th and 12th May 2019, open the app, connect to the MOMM group, turn on your Inner Balance and take part in the meditation and exciting experiment.
  4. Here’s a simple and handy “how to” video: https://www.mommworld.org/appdownload

To find out more about MOMM visit: https://www.mommworld.org

We hope you’ll join us in this unique opportunity to play an active role in raising global consciousness. And to measure our collective coherence too!

Here’s some more information about how you can get involved in MOMM:

  1. Participate individually in one or both of the UK and Global meditations from wherever you will be at the time. We want you in the masses and we want you to use your Inner Balance with the new Global Coherence app while you meditate so that you can play an active part in our world-first experiment to measure collective coherence!
  2. You could organise your own MOMM. This could be a small group of friends or family in your living room or outdoors. Please register your MOMM (even if it is a private event) here: https://www.mommworld.org/events
  3. Attend one of the many public events happening across the UK (11th May) and Globally (12th May). Check out the list of events here: https://www.mommworld.org/events

At the weekend:

Lotus meditation - Awakening Alchemy As stated, there are two meditation events. The UK event is Saturday at 12pm British Summer Time. The Global event is Sunday at 3pm BST. Both last up to one hour.

We would love you to join BOTH, but if you can only join one then that’s just fine. The Global one is the most important for the experiment. And if you can’t commit to the full hour, don’t worry – any time you can commit will be wonderful.

Here’s some simple instructions:

  1. Join the meditation at the start time.
  2. Keep your phone/tablet turned on/connected to the mobile network/wi-fi but turn off your ringer and vibrate alert so that you do not get disturbed.
  3. As you join; open the GC app; turn on/connect your Inner Balance if you have one; tap on the MOMM group; join the session.
  4. Enjoy a Heart Focused meditation radiating peace, care and compassion to all peoples.
  5. Continue for up to one hour – but if you don’t have an hour to spare then whatever you can manage will have a positive impact.
  6. Don’t concern yourself if you find it a little hard to connect to the feelings. Focus on your heart/chest and keep breathing coherently (balanced, slowly, deeply but comfortably) and know that your intention towards peace, care and compassion, with or without the feeling, is important.

So, there we have it, a brief overview of meditation and its benefits. I do hope you’ll give it a try and I especially hope that you’ll check out the HeartMath experiment and let’s all make a world of difference in the furtherance of global peace – together we are powerful!

Having recently been on the Extinction Revolution protests in London with my lovely daughters – we did all make a difference – the UK government have declared that Climate Change is an Emergency and have appointed a Committee to reduce emissions to zero! Yi-Ha! Here, HeartMath are experimenting in a mass raising of global consciousness and peace through meditation – It’s Awesome! Please feel free to share it with as many people as you can.

LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE – TOGETHER!


If you enjoyed this Blog and would like to hear more spiritual and metaphysical issues plus lots more besides, please do join our website and you will receive a notice whenever a new blog is posted. You can join here:

If you would like to check out some of our previous blogs, please feel free. Here are the last five blogs we have published:

Reincarnation: New Thought Movement: 

Reincarnation: Is It For Real?: 

Love Is A Beautiful Song: 

Seven Concepts of Unity: 

A Philosophical Colossus – Gautama Buddha


You may also like to check out my murder/mystery, “whodunit” novel, Spirit of Prophecy, which fictionalizes many of the concepts discussed in these blogs in a thrilling tale of murder, intrigue and romance set against the backdrop of the 3-Day-Event, horse community. You can find a link to this wonderful novel, here:

 

Spirit of Prophecy by Jill Hughes - Audio Book - Read by Matt Addis Audio book winner

Till Next Time: Peace and Light

Reincarnation new thoughts movement Awakening Alchemy

Continuing on from our discussion about reincarnation in my previous blog, today I want to focus on an area of reincarnation you may not have considered before. This third area I want to touch on in this discussion may surprise some people, but it probably shouldn’t. Reincarnation is also a key precept in what is commonly known today as “new thought” philosophies, perhaps best encapsulated by the work of Rhonda Byrne and her “Law of Attraction” books, movies etc.

Thought and reincarnation - Awakening AlchemyThe new thought (sometimes known as higher thought) movement first came to prominence in the middle of the 19th Century with the teachings of mesmerist and healer Phineas Quimby. Quimby believed that illness originated in the mind as a consequence of erroneous beliefs, and that a mind, open to God’s wisdom, could overcome any illness. By the middle of the 19th Century, Quimby’s metaphysical healing beliefs were beginning to mix with the mental science of Warren Felt Evans and the Christian science of Mary Baker Eddy. By the end of the Century a series of essays on Your Forces and How to Use Them by Prentice Mulford, a book by William Walker Atkinson, titled Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World, along with Bruce MacLelland’s book Prosperity Through Thought Force, all served to crystalize what we now think of as the Law of Attraction – “You are what you think; not what you think you are”.

Reincarnation and Law of Attraction

But – I hear you say, what does the Law of Attraction have to say about reincarnation? How does it apply?

Law of Attraction and Reincarnation - Awakening AlchemySimply this; if, as I believe, we are spiritual beings merely embarking on a human journey, then we must assume we were something before we became human and we will be something after we are human. We understand from the First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only change its form. New thought teachings tell us we are exactly that – energy! We can neither be created nor destroyed but can only change our form. It follows, therefore, that we must have existed before we became human and we will exist after we are human – we are eternal beings. Indeed, it seems to me that there are many, many, different kinds of beings, which exist on numerous different dimensions such as– Spirit, Divine Beings of Light, Extraterrestrial, Galactic, Angelic, Power Animals, Creator and Guardian Light Beings. In some dimensions both lighter and darker beings exist, just like here on Earth – as above, so below. So it is. Blessed be. In the higher vibrational realms or dimensions there are levels, a little like school grades it seems…life, the universe, and everything, eh? I don’t claim to be an expert about the “out there or the other side,” but I do subscribe to the concepts of Star-seeds, Indigos, Crystals and Lightworkers, as I discuss in the About the Book and Authors Notes section in my novel Spirit of Prophecy, which also [much to my surprise as I was never until recently a UFO sort] features a pop-in arrival of ET’s.

Soul and reincarnation - Awakening Alchemy“We are stardust, we are golden, we are one- billion- year old carbon.”

— Joni Mitchell

 

 

Whacky – or watch this space? For a more scientific exploration of life, potentially seeded from outer space, check out my interview with Brig Klyce, about Panspermia and Cosmetic Ancestry on my Media page.

Look up at the stars - Stephen Hawking

 

“Remember to look up at the stars not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.”

— Stephen Hawking

 

 

What were we before, where do you originate from – ah there’s the sixty-four-million- dollar question? The good news is you can gain more insight with an Akashic Record reading, if that appeals to you [for recommendations about this please get in touch.] Reincarnation - Awaking Alchemy If we follow the Law of Attraction, we are committed to try and live our lives in “the present”. We are encouraged not to dwell on the past or to worry about the future – the past cannot be changed [although its negative limitations can be carried forwards but they can be cleared/released] and the future will be shaped by what we intend, believe and do today. There is a particularly compelling paragraph in one of Rhonda Byrne’s books where she posits the thought that our departed loved ones are still actually with us, but we cannot always see or hear from them because they are all on the “level of love”. That idea appeals immensely to me.

Karma, Reincarnation and Akashic Records

For those interested in exploring karma and reincarnation, perhaps consider discovering more about the Akashic Records – a great library oracle of accessible soul wisdom, and in reliable experienced hands an excellent method for clearing limiting karma and getting on track with our life purpose/dharma. Past Lives - Awakening AlchemyKarma is a layered process: ancestral, past life, familial [our cells/DNA store memories which we may or may not be aware of], inner child, and present day. Karma from a past life can have a ripple effect causing wrinkles and reverberations throughout time and dimensions. This is another theme raised in my metaphysical/visionary crime novel Spirit of Prophecy and also why Akashic Record access is potentially advantageous, since clearing negative karma in say C12th could have a cascade affect on clearing the consequential limiting beliefs that are still showing up today!

 

So, there we have it – two blogs with a brief look at reincarnation. I hope you enjoyed us scratching the surface of this fascinating subject, and I would definitely encourage you to do some research and reading if it has piqued your interest to know more. Alternatively feel free to contact me through the website with your questions or leave comments on this blog.

Peace and tranquil - Awakening Alchemy

In our next blog we will look at something that we all need more of, in this frantic, fast-paced world but far too often ignore or put off – meditation. What does it achieve and why should we do it? Be sure to catch that blog.

 

 

 

 


If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to read more, just sign up on our website and you will be sent notification each time a new blog is published. I welcome all feedback and look forward to hearing from you. You can sign up for the website here: http://bit.ly/2xE2Bda

You may also want to check out some of my previous blogs. The last four are available here:

Reincarnation: Is It For Real? 

Love Is A Beautiful Song: 

Seven Concepts of Unity:

A Philosophical Colossus  – Gautama Buddha:

Please do also visit my Book page where you can discover my paranormal, psychic detective story, Spirit of Prophecy which presents many of the concepts I cover in my blogs in a fantastic “whodunit” murder/mystery. Just click on the photo underneath and you’re there:

Spirit of Prophecy by J.J Hughes - Book Launch

 

 

Reincarnation is it real - Awakening Alchemy

As promised the universe and I have finally caught up. Today we will look at one of the core elements of the Buddhist teachings, that of rebirth or reincarnation. Rather than limiting ourselves to just the Buddhist philosophy, I want to expand that idea to look at two other forms of “rebirth” belief, along with the Buddhist belief. I will cover Buddhist and Hindu belief today and in my next blog, a reincarnation thought that may surprise you.

Of the four largest religions; Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, two of them, Hinduism and Buddhism, embrace and teach the precepts of rebirth or reincarnation as core values to their faith.

Buddhism’s views on Reincarnation

Buddhism and Reincarnation - Awakening AlchemyThe teachings of Buddha in this area focus specifically on the actions a person takes in their lifetime, leading directly to what type of new existence they will reincarnate into after death. Reincarnation, in Buddhist lore is an endless cycle known as “samsara”. This cycle of death and rebirth is considered to be “dukkha” (unsatisfactory and painful). This endless death and rebirth can only be halted by the attainment of liberation or “enlightenment” which can be achieved by reaching insight and the extinguishing of personal desires. The idea of rebirth is foundational to Buddhist thought, along with karma, nirvana, and moksha (freedom from ignorance).

It is reported that Buddha, himself, on attaining enlightenment after those forty-nine days of meditation under the fig [pipal] tree, was then able to recall all his previous lives. He is said to have remembered not just a few past lives, but literally a vast number that stretched back some ninety-one eons (one eon being the equivalent of the lifespan of a solar system).

Dalai Lama and Reincarnation - Awakening AlchemyKarma and Reincarnation

Traditional Buddhist teaching speaks of six possible realms of rebirth (also known as reincarnation or metempsychosis). These six realms (The Gati) include three good realms; Deva (heavenly), Asura (demigod), and Manusya (human). There are also three lower realms Tiryak (animals), Preta (ghosts), and Naraka (hellish). Where you end up after rebirth is totally dependent on one thing – KARMA. Your actions, thoughts and deeds in this and previous lives will determine what realm you will be reborn into in the next life. Good Karma will get you into the three good realms – bad karma, not so great; this theory says you will be heading for the lower realms.

Animal Reincarnation - Awakening AlchemyAt this stage, I will say that personally I don’t fully agree with the six realms described above, nor the endless suffering concept of “samsara.” Based on my personal experience with animals reincarnating – the story of my show jumper Redbrook returning some years later as Hooray Henry, is fictionalized in my novel Spirit of Prophecy. These two horses had a contract with me to reincarnate in order to allow me to get the ending right the second time around. Animals have souls, and moreover as I intuit it, they form part of our soul group connections and come back offering love to assist us here on Earth [the 3rd physical dimension] and to support us and help us or teach us something we really need to learn.

“A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me.” 

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Dogs for instance are a great gift to humanity and examples of what love really is all about. It does not resonate with me that animals – fully sentient beings after all – who feel fear, pain, but who are all too often abused, abandoned, [eaten!], yet still they show up, forgive the suffering inflicted on them, and express love and joy [in the main] : that they are supposedly a ‘lower’ species. Small Animal Reincarnation - Awakening AlchemyPeople who abuse those smaller and more helpless [animals] or the innocent [children] have plenty of seriously heavy karma to shift – deservedly, and so it is! Equally, I don’t imagine that simply turning a blind eye and choosing to ignore rather than acting to stop/prevent/report/expose such abuse, will go entirely un-noticed. Maybe next time around those adopting passive “whatever,” not-my-problem strategies, will get to experience abuse themselves plus what it feels like when no-one responds to their sobs, let-alone steps up to help or support them? Living in the now, and being positive also requires paying attention, and the intention to stay in alignment with your divine souls’ integrity, and willingness to empathize and walk in another person’s shoes, surely?

A central Buddhist message on reincarnation, resonant here, is the justification for following the precepts of good karma. They take a totally pragmatic approach known as the “wager argument”:

1. We wager that karma is true and good moral actions in this life will get us a happier rebirth:

  • If it is true – we will have a happy life in the next life.
  • If it is not true – we are praised by the world, in this life, for our upright and moral actions.

2. We wager that karma is not true and how we live today makes no difference at all to anything in the next life:

  • If karma is true – we are unhappy in the next life.
  • If karma is not true – we are condemned by people for our actions in this life.

Based on this reckoning it is easy to see why people might choose to believe in Karma and many Buddhist principles in general. If we lead a moral and upright life, we either reap our rewards in this life or the next – that, in my view is what is called a “win-win” situation.

Hinduism and Reincarnation

Next, I want to touch briefly on the role reincarnation plays in Hindu thought and teaching, bearing in mind that both Buddhism and Hinduism grew out of the ancient Vedic principles.Hinduism and Reincarnation - Awakening Alchemy

The basic precept that differentiates reincarnation in Hinduism, as opposed to Buddhism, is the idea of the soul. In Hinduism, the body dies, but the soul does not. In this respect I land more in the Hindu camp, I guess, as Buddhism does not explicitly recognize a soul as existing separately from the human being. The concept of Karma, however, is just as important in Hindu belief as it is in Buddhist. Good intent and actions lead to a good future whereas bad intent and actions lead to a less auspicious future.

Hinduism - Awakening AlchemyIn the afterlife the soul is believed to be reborn (based on your Karma) into one of three realms: Heaven, Hell, or Earth (as either a human or an animal). It is important to note that wherever you are reborn, it is only temporary. Gods also die again, once their stored karma has been used up. The same is true for those sent to Hell. Everyone gets another chance, back on Earth, to do it all again, in an endless cycle. Like Buddhism, this cycle can only be broken after one embarks on a spiritual journey, gains deep self-knowledge and thereby gains moksha (liberation, freedom, release), believed to be a state of “utter bliss”. In Hindu tradition, this state of utter bliss is identical to what is known as Brahman. Brahman is described as, the “pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth, which never changes and yet is the cause of all changes. It is a metaphysical concept that is seen as the single binding unity of all diversity that exists in the Universe.” Perhaps the best definition I’ve read of Brahman is that it is the unchanging reality that existed before the creation of the Universe, exists today and will still exist long after the Universe has disappeared.

Rebirth and Reincarnation - Awakening Alchemy Although different Hindu and Buddhist sects exist that teach differing ways of approaching rebirth and of how to achieve enlightenment, it is easy to see that both religions approach the topic in very similar ways and that the inviolable principles of karma, reincarnation and enlightenment run through every school of thought. There are, of course, other religions, offshoots and philosophies that embrace the idea of reincarnation, including, but not limited to; Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Yoruba, Native American Tribes, and even to a limited extent in some Christian denominations.

So, there we have it – a brief look at the Buddhist and Hindu views of reincarnation. In my next blog I will introduce you to another view of reincarnation – one that may surprise you a little. Make sure not to miss that one.

I hope you enjoyed us scratching the surface of this fascinating subject, and I would definitely encourage you to do some research and reading if it has piqued your interest to know more. Alternatively feel free to contact me through the website with your questions or leave comments on this blog.

 


If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to read more, just sign up on our website and you will be sent notification each time a new blog is published. I welcome all feedback and look forward to hearing from you. You can sign up here:

Feel free also to check out our previous blogs. The last four are listed here for you:

Love Is A Beautiful Song:

Seven Concepts of Unity: 

A Philosophical Colossus: Gautama Buddha:

Happiness Revisited: 

Please do also visit my Book page where you can discover my paranormal, psychic detective story, Spirit of Prophecy which presents many of the concepts I cover in my blogs in a fantastic “whodunit” murder/mystery. Just click on the photo underneath and you’re there:


Spirit of Prophecy Book by Jill Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

Unconditional Love - Awakening Alchemy

Today we will talk about the most important word in the English language – LOVE!

Throughout time love has been the most talked about, written about, music inspiring and misunderstood word. When we talk about love we are speaking of so much more than the common perception of love for your partner, your family or your favourite things. Love is an all-pervasive dynamic that impacts on everything we do, think and say, every single day.

Unconditional Love and happiness in life - Awakening Alchemy Blog There is a reason why love has always been at the centre of all great religions and faiths. Simply put, love is the ultimate power in the Universe. Everything good, joyful and wonderful in this world, and in our lives, is brought about by love. Everything negative, sad and destructive in the world and in our lives, is brought about simply; by a lack of love, lack of compassion and compounded by fear. The key to success and happiness is to “FALL IN LOVE WITH LIFE”. Yes, love is an emotion, and probably the most powerful of all emotions, but it is so much more than that – it is a force, a power that drives our very existence. If it were not for love, we would not even exist. It was the poet Robert Browning who said; “Take away love and our earth is a tomb”. If the force of love were to disappear from the earth tomorrow, humanity would dwindle and eventually die out.

If it was not for love…

Everything we as human beings take for granted today was originally thought of, designed and created by people who loved what they were doing. If it were not for the Wright brothers’ love of the idea of flight, we would not have discovered how to take off, fly and soar. If it were not for people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who had a burning love and passion to create the personal computer, we would not have the wonderful variety of technological gadgets that allow us to communicate and save us time and effort every day. That said I’m way more pro, face-to-face communication that I am about sending emoticon messages! Without exception, everyone who has achieved great success in life has achieved it through love or passion. By doing what they love, what they believe in and what drives them to get up every morning, they have harnessed the power of love to achieve greatness and success.

Happiness in life and achieve your goals - Awakening Alchemy Blog What allows these exceptional achievers to reach the heights that they reach is exactly the same thing that resides in each and every one of us. We are complete – there is nothing missing in us or in our makeup. We all have, inside of us, the tools and abilities to achieve anything we desire and indeed to share our gifts and be of service and assistance to others. The key to success is in understanding and harnessing the greatest power in the Universe – Love!

If, as we have discussed previously, our ultimate goal in life is merely the simple one of being happy, then love plays a vital role in achieving that happiness. None of us actually wants to do the things we do not love – that would be silly, yet there are tasks of course that cannot be avoided, escaped or delegated – let’s just keep these things proportionate though. We all want to spend our lives doing what sets our hearts on fire. We all want to wake every morning bursting to get out of bed and start our day, filled with enthusiasm and excitement for the challenges and rewards that the new day holds. For most of us though this seems just a pipe-dream. We feel locked into lives that we cannot change; we feel we have responsibilities that we just cannot shirk; and we are deathly afraid to take a chance on something new – to take a chance on life.

I can think of nothing sadder, in life, than to be sitting back at the end of our days looking back over our journey and saying; “if only”. The late Dr Wayne W. Dyer said:

“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say; what if my whole life has been wrong?” 

We owe it to ourselves to not allow that to happen. YOU deserve the very best – I know I keep repeating this, but that’s because it’s important. YOU really are the best. Nobody that has ever lived or will ever live has your unique mix of talents, skills, personality, looks and viewpoint. YOU ARE AWESOME! Once you accept and understand just how incredible you, individually, are as a person, you are well on the way to achieving the happiness we all seek.

Fall in love with life - Awakening Alchemy Blog I’m guessing here that there are some people reading this who are thinking; “Hmmm, you’re very good at throwing clichés around, but how exactly am I supposed to ‘fall in love with life’?” Well, that’s what I’m here for; to give practical, simple steps to achieve our ultimate goal of being happy. So, how do you “fall in love with life”? You fall in love with life in the same way you fall in love with another; initially you adore everything about them, you see only good things in that person, then over time you notice the negative things in that person; you may openly point these things out and air things if they are too serious to ignore, but in the main you focus on the positives.

To apply these to your daily life, here are some simple tips on how to approach life from a pro-love perspective, and to “fall in love with life”.

  • When you wake up every morning don’t get out of bed and start your day immediately. Spend just a few minutes being grateful for all the wonderful things in your life, including the fact that you have yet another day to enjoy in this life and all the wonderful things coming your way that are just around the corner.
  • Be optimistic about everything. I often tell the story of the two men who get up in the morning and throw open their windows. One man says; “Good morning God!” whereas the second man says; “Good God! It’s morning!” Be that first man! So often we look at situations and events from a pessimistic outlook. Embrace the positive – we live in a world of duality; in every negative situation or event there is always something positive to be found, if you look for it.
  • Stop wandering around in a state of oblivious unconsciousness. Most of us are totally unaware of our surroundings and the beauty in them. We wander around, either wrapped up inside our own heads planning this or that, or worse still nose down peering at some device or other. Look around you – “smell the flowers!” Even in the most concrete of urban jungles there are beautiful things to be seen. Look for them – put away the electronic devices and see the beauty in nature, in architecture, and in the people that are all around you. Check out The Oracle Walk on my ‘’Inner Voice’’ page:
  • Wherever you go and whatever you do, be constantly on the lookout for things you love, things that lift your mood and make you smile. Say to yourself as you walk along, or drive along; “I love the shape of that building; I love the smell of those flowers; I love the colour of that woman’s hair; oh, I absolutely love that handbag, those shoes, that car, those mountains, that mall etc. etc…”
  • Make a list of the things you love: I’ve mentioned before the power of actually writing (or typing) things down. There is a direct correlation between writing something down and the likelihood of it sticking in your subconscious, so make a list of everything you absolutely love. You’ll be surprised just how long it can be!
  • Love and optimism - Awakening Alchemy Blog Don’t criticize, judge or gossip about others. That is not giving love! There is so much to love about everyone we meet; if we look always for the positive in people. We don’t know their stories and we can only change one person – ourselves; so, “live and let live!”
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. Be kind and generous – give sincere praise, and thanks = OFTEN. We become the sum of the people and attitudes of the people we are closest to. If we surround ourselves with negative people who constantly criticize and complain; we will find ourselves constantly criticizing and complaining. Raise your game, send thank you notes, messages of support and praise – kind words, thoughtful deeds can and do make such a difference to the quality of someone’s life.

There is so much in this world to love and the more we love, the more goodness and joy will come into our lives. It is important to note that this isn’t just about being more positive and optimistic in life. Yes, that in itself is indeed a great attitude to have and should be the aim, but it is what results from this love and positivity that is actually so incredible.

Law of Attraction’s Role

The Law of Attraction clearly states that what we give; we shall receive. If we give love, optimism and positivity out to the world, then the events, circumstance and people that come into our lives will, by definition, be, loving, positive, and successful. Similarly, if we give out despair, sadness, pessimism and negativity into the world, then the events, circumstance and people that come into our lives will be hurtful, negative, and will drag us down. It becomes a perpetuating spiral – a race to the bottom – or an uplifting state of joy. Think of it as a mirror reflecting back at you. Which do you prefer?

I’d like to finish today with an incredible thought for the future: If everything negative in this world is brought about by a lack of love, ponder for a few moments the immense power of individuals who actually choose to love. If we all agree that the world needs more love, then what are we waiting for? Let us all make the change and “fall in love with life”. If enough of us do so we can actually tip the world from negativity into positivity; then just watch the wonders that will occur when that happens.

Love for our planet, and beyond - Awakening AlchemyWe live on a gorgeous, beautiful, planet with plentiful [but not unlimited] resources. Does an apple tree decide who is worthy of getting to eat its apples? No of course not. When we, as a human race, fully embrace the concept of loving each other, embracing and celebrating our differences rather than fearing or hating them – we will have shifted the Earth, [Gaia] into vibrating at a higher and way more harmonious level. Lower emotions like fear, hatred, judgement, revenge and lack of compassion/empathy make the shadows darker, the light deserves our focus and joyous intentions. Be part of the movement to change and upgrade our world, by changing yourself. You can, do and will make a difference.

 


If you enjoyed this blog and would like to read more of these uplifting blogs, please do join my website and you will be advised every time a new blog is posted. You can join here: http://bit.ly/2xE2Bda

If you would like to check out the last few blogs, you can find them here:

Seven Concepts of Unity:

A Philosophical Colossus – Gautama Buddha: 

Happiness Revisited:

Celebrating International Women’s History Month:

 

You may also wish to take a look at my psychic detective novel: Spirit of Prophecy, which captures many of the themes I discuss in my blogs in a classic “whodunit” mystery based around the sport of 3-Day-Eventing. Just click on the photo beneath and you’ll be there:

 

Now, if you have been paying attention, you will be expecting a blog about reincarnation, right about now. Sometimes the Universe throws us a “curve ball” and that has happened this week. Reincarnation is coming, when it sees fit, but for today please settle back and consider this minor question – what do YOU believe in?

As human beings, we have always had this innate need to believe that we are more than just a flesh and blood accident – that we are something meaningful in this Universe of ours and that we do indeed have some unique gifts to express, and purpose to fulfil. That desire to believe in something greater than ourselves; to find something tangible on which to hang our existence is totally understandable. Nobody wants to feel that their life has no meaning – no purpose.

Over the millennium, men and women have looked to the heavens for purpose and meaning in life and from the moment the earliest hominids stood up and walked, humanity has been obsessed in creating its various stories about its existence, its meaning, and its purpose. Religion, Faith, Belief; whatever it is you wish to call it, is a concept expressed through Creation myths throughout the ages.

Karl Marx once famously wrote; “Religion… it is the opium of the people.” Many would take this to suggest that religion is a prop for the weak-minded; that it provides people with an artificial, illusory happiness and thus removes those, who believe, from the need to participate in creating a better society. I would disagree with those that propound this argument that religion is nothing more than an emotional crutch for feeble-minded people. Religion, it seems to me, is the natural outpouring of humanity’s need to explain the clear existence of a “God” or a “Creator” of our Universe and to feel connected.

That religion has been used throughout history and sadly still is today, to justify barbaric and inhumane acts against our fellow travelers on this planet, does not in of itself make religion a bad thing. I believe that religion, of whatever flavor, actually teaches us vitally important doctrines to live by. It seems to me that many, if not all of the mainstream religions actually have very similar core beliefs, that are both beneficial and advantageous to the individual and society as a whole. If we ignore the distortion of religious doctrine to justify the actions of misguided and negative people, then we can find some truths about life that are common across all the varying flavors and colors of religious philosophy.

In fact, according to recent research all societies play by the rules: 7 to be precise.

All societies are held together by seven universal moral rules, researchers at the University of Oxford have recently concluded. Although many Western cultures are moving towards more liberal less hierarchical organizations, the basic values of charity and fraternity are the cornerstones of successful societies. [We touched upon this is an earlier blog about HAPPINESS and why Scandinavian countries top the ranking tables.] The huge study of 60 cultures around the world found that all communities operated under seven basic moral codes. Universal rules are: 1) help your family 2) help your group 3) return favors 4) be brave 5) defer to superiors 6) divide resources fairly and 7) respect the property of others. Ideas encompassed within the code, include caring for frail relatives, passing on property to offspring, going to war if needed, and respecting elders. These traits held true for every kind of community, from traditional hunter-gatherers, to advanced Western civilizations and work in order to uphold civilized society and foster social cooperation. Everyone, everywhere shares common moral codes, according to Dr Oliver Scott Curry, the lead author and senior researcher at the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford.

These rules appear to be universal across cultures because people face the same social problems. The study published in Current Anthropology, is the largest most comprehensive and widespread survey of morals conducted and aimed to find out if different societies have different versions of morality. The team analysed ethnographic accounts from more than 600 sources, in 60 societies. They found that the seven rules were considered morally good in all societies and, despite appearing like Western Christian principles, they were in fact observed across all continents, religions and politics. However, some communities valued certain rules more highly than others: for example – the Maasai of Kenya, the uncompromising ideal of supreme warrior-hood involves commitment to self-sacrifice and a supreme display of courageous loyalty. Meanwhile, the Bemba in Zambia exhibit deep sense of respect for elders’ authority, and among the Tarahumara of Mexico respect for the property of others is key.

In Summary:

  1. Help your family, be a loving and protective parent. Pass on property.
  2. Help your group, join communal activities. Promote unity and solidarity.
  3. Return favors, repay a debt and fulfil a contract.
  4. Be brave put yourself at risk for others.
  5. Defer to superiors. Be deferential, respectful, loyal, and obedient.
  6. Divide resources, share the spoils, and be willing to compromise.
  7. Respect other’s property, no stealing, trespassing or vandalism.

Moreover most, if not all mainstream religions actually promote and encourage, “The Golden Rule”; “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.” If we respect and value each other, with the same respect and value we should be giving ourselves, then incredible things would happen. The problem, as I see it, is that far too often we not only disrespect and belittle our fellow human beings; we don’t even value and respect ourselves. Once we learn to love ourselves and accept our own wonderful uniqueness and inherent beauty we can then respect and value everyone else’s. The key to implementing the “Golden Rule” is to first and foremost “Love yourself as you are, in all your unique glory.”

Further most, if not all mainstream religions promote and encourage the protection and preservation of our glorious and beautiful planet Earth; its creatures and its environment. We are mere custodians of this planet and yet we continue to pillage and plunder the resources, at immense cost to our environment and more importantly those who will come after us; our children, our grandchildren and the generations yet to be born. We are placed here as stewards of this planet and we need to rally to the call for pro-conservation change.

Perhaps the most important tenet of most, if not all mainstream religions is the overarching belief in the redemptive power of “LOVE”. Love is the key to success as individuals and success as a society. When we approach the world, each other, and ourselves with the motivation of love, amazing things begin to happen in all of our lives. Love is the most powerful force in the Universe; everything bad in the world results from “fear, a constricted heart, and ultimately a lack of love” and if we can tip the balance of the world into love, we can see great change.

I want to introduce you to the word “Omnism”, if you haven’t yet come across it. If you look that up in an online dictionary the definition is given as: “The belief in all religions”. I chose this word because although it doesn’t quite express what I truly believe, it comes as close as anything I can think of. As individuals I believe we create our own reality; and religion, (in whatever form that may take). Whatever you may believe is your reality – your belief, I respect and will always champion your right to believe whatever you choose to believe; whatever reality you choose to create for yourself. It is only when people try to force their beliefs on other people that I would feel compelled to take a stand.

Beliefs change over time; that’s important to understand. What we believed as a child is clearly different to what we believe as an adult. We are programmed, conditioned creatures and until we can break that programming and begin to think for ourselves, our beliefs are those imparted by our parents, our families, our friends, our teachers, and society as a whole.

I can sum up my own personal beliefs (as they are today) in a few succinct paragraphs:

I believe in a power greater than me: Call it God, the Universe, the Creator, The Great Spirit, Yahweh, Allah. Whatever your construct of this higher power is called, one thing I am certain of is that there is a greater power than us.

I believe we are an integral part of our Universe; that we, like everything else in the Universe are created solely from energy, and as such we have no beginning and we have no end – we just always are. Energy cannot be destroyed; it can only be converted into something else. We are immortal spirits experiencing a human journey. I can’t tell you for certain what happens when our physical bodies die, but I do know that we will go on and I look forward to that discovery one day.

I believe in the power of ME and in the power of YOU – The power of the INDIVIDUAL. I believe that the world around us is created by each and every one of us. Our reality is what we create it to be. The power has always been ours – we either surrendered it to others or we never even knew we had it. It’s time to reclaim it! We can save the planet one habit at a time.

I believe in the power of love. This is not just the “romantic” notion of love, it is so much more. This is the love that is the all-powerful, all-pervasive love that drives the Universe. We must love life and embrace it in all its joys and its sorrows. The power of love has the ability to change everything for the better and once we discover that, then our lives will change forever.

I believe my purpose in life is – “To be heart centered, open and to be happy.” Life is a journey and we are all entitled to have wonderful lives, full of happiness and joy, if we chose to. To find that happiness we first need to discover what it is that gives us joy. For me, it is my writing, among other things. If what I write entertains, assists or informs and connects with others, then I have utilized my unique talent for the good.

Finally, I believe that every day should be utilized to LEARN something new about ourselves, our family, our friends and our world. We are on a journey of discovery and the day that we think we know it all, or that we know all we need to know, is the day we have given up and shut down; spiritually, emotionally and probably even physically.

If you would like to check up on some of our earlier bogs, you can find the last five here:

A Philosophical Colossus – Gautama Buddha

Happiness Revisited – Part 3

Celebrating Women’s History Month 

Happiness: That Elusive Dream – Part 2

Happiness: That Elusive Dream – Part 1

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to read more, just sign up on our website and you will be sent notification each time a new blog is published. I welcome all feedback and look forward to hearing from you. You can sign up for the website here: http://bit.ly/2xE2Bda

Do pop on over to my Books By JJ Hughes page on this website and take a look at my novel, Spirit of Prophecy which incorporates many of the concepts I talk about on my blogs, along with a thrilling “whodunit” mystery. Just click on the photo below and you’re there:

 

 

 

 

This post is not promoting any one particular religion, or religion as such, as I prefer to leave it to your own interpretation of WHO or WHAT constitues a PRIME CREATOR, or if you choose to disagree completely. That’s a highly personal choice and suffice to say that anyone or any system that demands your blind loyalty and/or obedience  and allegiance is not aligned with the fundamental concept that we are all sovereign beings on our own sacred paths, regardless if we choose to believe in a GOD/HIGHER POWER/PRIME CREATOR or NOT.

Five hundred years before Jesus Christ first dipped his toes into the Sea of Galilee and a full two and a half thousand years before Rhonda Byrne brought us all the precepts of “The Secret”, as delivered to us through the internet, a book and film, one man strode this earth, like a colossus, spreading his message of love, understanding and inner strength. That man was Gautama Buddha – the founder of Buddhism and one of the first of the great philosophers and leaders of world thought. Over this and the next three blogs I will introduce you to the simple philosophies of this profoundly wise man and demonstrate the impact he has had on our modern-day world with many of his ancient precepts which are now taking deeper root in our consciousness. In future blogs I will look at some specific precepts of Buddhism, not as a religion, but as a way of living and interacting with the Universe. Buddhism, like Hinduism, which was beginning to emerge at the same time, both have their roots in Vedic principles.

Today, however, I want to concentrate on the man himself – Gautama Buddha (born Sidharrtha Gautama). There is plenty of argument about when Buddha was born and when he died but there is little argument about the difference he made in the society of the time. Born sometime between 583 and 480 BCE, Buddha is said to have died somewhere between 483 and 400 BCE at age 80, but his legacy stretches across the centuries to this very day. He was born in Lumbini, of the Shakya Republic in what is now modern-day Nepal, into a wealthy influential family but as he grew up he became especially upset at the extent of suffering in the world, so he renounced his privileged life. Buddha [which means Enlightened One] became a monk, a mendicant (a beggar), a sage, and whilst sitting in contemplation under a fig tree – (the Bodhi Tree of Awakening) he had insights that became the basis of his philosophies, teachings and religious/spiritual leadership

His main impact on the society of the time was to teach that there was a “middle way” between typical sensual self-indulgence and severe self-discipline and denial, which was the common belief amongst the people of the region. The basic concept Buddha brought to the world was the idea that the purpose of life was to seek “ultimate enlightenment” as described in Buddha’s discourse – “The Noble Eightfold Path”. There are many tales of Buddha’s life. How many of them are true or not is perhaps moot; what matters most are the teachings and the philosophies he has left behind. One particularly famous event occurred, it is told; of Buddha seating himself under a “pipal [old sacred fig]” tree, in Bodh Gaya, India. He vowed to never arise from that tree until he had found the “truth”. His companions decided Buddha had just given up and left him to it. After forty-nine days of meditation, at the age of thirty-five, he was said to have attained “enlightenment” at which point he became “The Buddha” or the “Awakened One”. It is said, at that time, that Buddha completely understood and had insight into the “Four Noble Truths” and thereby achieving freedom from the endless cycle of rebirth, suffering and dying again, which is a key concept in Hinduism. He would later develop this idea into training the mind (meditation or “dhyana”) as required to take a person to nirvana. Nirvana is characterised as the process of extinguishing the fires of desire, hatred, and ignorance that keep the cycle of suffering and rebirth going. Once Nirvana has been reached it is said a person has lost all personal identity and no boundaries remain to the mind. In this state the person is said to possess the “Ten Characteristics” belonging to every Buddha. As I said earlier, I will be delving much more into the actual study and beliefs of Buddhism in the next blogs, suffice it to say that Gautama Buddha and his Buddhism; like Jesus Christ and Christianity, and Muhammad and Islam, has stood the test of time. After two-and-a-half millennium have passed there are said to be almost five-hundred million practising Buddhists in the world, the bulk of them in Asia. That makes it the world’s fourth largest religion behind Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

Meanwhile, it is deeply sad to witness, some of the ways in which humanity has perverted their pure thoughts, and ideals for life, to their own means. Buddha’s teachings of peace, love, respect and self-introspection, one day came to be totally ignored, by some of his followers, intent on racial or cultural genocide. The same points can be made about the other religions also. It is deeply disappointing that a religion which greatest precept is; “love thy neighbour as thyself,” should use their beliefs to subjugate, dominate, or completely eliminate whole other classes of humanity. We are surely reaching a stage on this beautiful planet where religious tolerance needs to flourish, and we focus on our commonality, community and connectedness rather than our divisions/barriers and illusions of separateness.  

Before I go today, I want to share some of Buddha’s insights that have made a direct impact on my life. Like Einstein, Buddha is one of those historical figures who are attributed with many more “quotes” than they probably ever made in their lifetime. That aside, however, these ten quotes that I share here are, in my opinion, guidelines for life and for achieving personal fulfilment, whether or not, you follow the full precepts of the Buddha’s teachings. I’ve always said; “if just a large enough proportion of humanity followed these precepts, what a wonderful world we would live in.”

  1. You will not be punished for your anger – you will be punished by your anger.
  2. He has the most, who is most content with the least.
  3. Every day is a new day! No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.
  4. No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
  5. Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
  6. Pain is certain –suffering is optional.
  7. The only real failure in life is to not be true to the best one knows.
  8. Give, even if you only have a little.
  9. Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.
  10. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

 Gautama Buddha

That last quote is one that took me, personally, a while to come to grips with but when I finally realised, I had to let go of my anger, what an enormous difference it made in my life. When we let go, we create space for something new and better to arrive!

As you may have guessed, I’m a big fan of “The Buddha” and that this has just brushed the surface of his teachings. Over the next few weeks we will delve a little more deeply into three aspects of Buddhism that particularly fascinate me:

  1. The Cycle of Rebirth (Reincarnation):  
  2. Samadhi / Dyhana (Meditation), and;
  3. Sila – Buddhist Ethics (Ways of Living)

Be sure to catch these next three blogs. You can sign up here to ensure you never miss a single one of our blogs, and of course if it all gets a bit yawn inducing, you can always switch us off!

Even if Buddhism doesn’t appeal to you, personally, as a religion, I reckon you’ll find something of interest to your everyday life in these up coming articles.

You may wish to catch up on some of our earlier blogs, hop-on here:

Happiness  – That Elusive Dream: Part 3

Celebrating International Women’s History Month

Happiness – That Elusive Dream: Part 2

Happiness – That Elusive Dream: Part 1

Please, also, do feel free to check out my fictional “whodunit”, paranormal novel, Spirit of Prophecy. Many of the concepts discussed in these blogs are presented in a fictional setting in Spirit of Prophecy. Just click on the photo below to find out more.

With two of my recent blogs focused on the idea of happiness and ways to achieve this desirable state, which is a continuous work in progress of course. March 20th, last month, came into focus as it was marked as being “World Happiness Day,” so that got me thinking that it would be good to dig a bit deeper with this topic.

The possibility of lasting happiness has been researched by experimental psychologist Sonia Lyubomirsky. She found that happiness, through materialism, wears off like the new car smell, that soon gets stale. Plus, as soon as you drive that new car out of the show room its value depreciates too! The short- term excitement associated with getting a new car, is a good analogy. Studies of twins and adoptees have shown that about 50% of each person’s happiness is determined from birth, this is called your genetic setpoint and this alone makes the happiness glass look half empty, because any upward swing in happiness seems doomed to fall back to your baseline setpoint. So, if you think of this as a pie: half the pie is the genetic setpoint, the smallest slice of the pie, 10% is circumstances and the remaining 40% – what is that? Well, that’s the stuff that we can control and crucially – change: our thoughts, beliefs, and outlook.

We think that more success, more money, more friends: accumulation and acquisition will lead to more happiness but once we have a lotto win, we won’t always be satisfied, in fact often we simply want it again and again, we want more. Happiness is the result of electrical chemicals and their reactions which help us determine what is good versus what is bad, these electrochemical reactions happen in the brain and then we are wired, so, when we feel happy, we want to repeat the sensation. But a happiness-hit is not everlasting, it’s a continuous pursuit and we have to practise it regularly until it becomes a new habit and more automatic.

Here are some ways to spread happiness:

  1. Say hi to your neighbours, offer to help an elderly person who lives nearby.
  2. Avoid gossiping, give people the benefit of the doubt instead of judging them harshly.
  3. Create a compassion habit and do one kind act today. Pay people authentic and genuine compliments – try to make your compliments specific so they connect better.
  4. Listen well, focus on hearing what people say rather than offering solutions. For more ideas about “listening” go to my website www.moneymagnet.global/listening
  5. Cultivate good manners, open doors, say thank you. Acknowledge other people, be grateful. Smile!

We all want to feel content and we spend a large part of our lives in pursuit of happiness. We look for work that fulfils us, partners we cherish, families that support and nurture us, and friends that make us laugh. Or do we? Perhaps surprisingly, our lifestyles and our actions often suggest that we do not strive for happiness above all but instead sacrifice feeling happy for other goals such as making money, gaining social status and avoiding negatives, such as discomfort or boredom. Today in the developed world at least, there is more potential for individual happiness than ever before. We have more freedom, more money and greater opportunities than our predecessors could even have dreamt of, so in theory we should be happier but for many of us it doesn’t feel like that. The fact is that modern-day living is stressful, we are increasingly connected by technology and yet disconnected from nature. [Check out my website page on “Inner Voice: No 8 – Connect with Nature.” for more on this topic.] Our friendships are becoming more widely stretched and more superficial as we chat online but not in person. Workplaces are increasingly controlled by multinational corporations making it more difficult to see the direct results, and the benefits of our labour in the way that our ancestors did. This has all led to a general sense of disconnection and sadly a decline in our mental health. Apparently more than three quarters of visits to the doctor now seem to be stress related in one way or another.

Happiness A, B, C.

We cannot exert control over all of our life circumstances, but psychologists believe that making small changes to our daily lives, our outlook and attitude can have a significant effect on our emotional well-being. Remember that 40% element that involves our daily activities and other factors that are under our control. So, you can manage that 40% and increase your happiness quota: here are some 10 happier habits you might like to play with:

  1. Surround yourself with other happy people.
  2. Prioritise activities that make you feel good – block out some time in your diary.
  3. Take responsibility for your own happiness and don’t blame others when things go wrong.
  4. Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly.
  5. Forgive yourself when you slip up. Think self-love and self-compassion.
  6. Take pleasure in the small, simple things.
  7. Don’t compare yourself to other people but welcome the success of others.
  8. Get out into nature regularly.
  9. Be resilient when setbacks hit. Cry – get it out – then get back on track.
  10. Give to others through kindness, compliments and donations.
  11. Connect with some of the activities that you used to enjoy as a child.

Look at a picture of yourself as child and ask, “Okay, let’s do something silly and fun, what do you have in mind?’’

That might be something like colouring or getting creative, having a water fight with friends. Tuning in and dancing to some rousing upbeat music. On a warm evening go outside lie on a blanket and gaze up at the stars. In summer-time buy yourself an ice cream, go feed the ducks on the pond. Bounce on a trampoline – have some tickle time – remember being tickled with a feather as a child – that light playful touch can trigger laughter. Go for skipping through some fields, whist blowing bubbles. Play hide and seek or hop-scotch. Experience awe when viewing some breath-taking spectacle, this gives us an instant lift and shifts your mental perspective: look at a picture of the Northern lights or a picture of dolphins leaping joyously out of the sea. Look for the silver lining in every cloud the sky.

Initial results with positive ‘Be Happy” interventions have been promising but sustaining them is tough, so instilling habits is ideal. Another key is the fit or how well the exercise or practice matches the person because if it feels contrived and you’re forcing it against your grain you’ll be less likely to do it anyway. However, the biggest factor may be getting over the idea that happiness is fixed and realising instead that sustained effort can boost it. One of the things that repeatedly came up in  studies was that it’s not necessarily money that makes you happier, in fact in studies of rich people the levels of happiness were not greater, in fact when psychologists study what makes people happy they find that being kind to others makes people happier and people only need moments of compassion to build upon because there is the positive feedback loop: when you do a kind deed you become happier which makes it more likely that you’ll do another kind act like help your neighbour carry in their groceries or take your mum out for lunch. The central idea now is that practising compassion to be happy replaces the old material and accomplishment driven concept of getting more is better. The old energy and way of doing things was to strive for money and acquire things and take practical steps to get there, to obtain this or that – an endless shopping list, perhaps? Now times are shifting, and we’re about to become less materialistic and more aware of sustainability, giving something back rather than just taking.

Another reason for revisiting happiness is that it is a desirable state, since it raises our vibration, and everything is energy after all. Philosophers, since the very dawn of time have sought the answer to that most fundamental of questions – Why are we here? The answers their deep thinking and varied hypotheses have come up with are as disparate as we, as individuals, are. Having read and studied many of these philosopher’s arguments, it has always seemed to me that there are some over-arching themes – we, as individuals, are meant overall to be happy. If we accept, as I do, that we are spiritual beings merely undertaking this human journey, then we intuitively know that this life is not the be-all and end-all of existence. This human experience is just one small journey on our spiritual travels.

At the onset I mentioned World Happiness Day, which was started in 2011 by philanthropist, activist, statesman and prominent United Nations special adviser Jayme Illien to inspire, mobilise and advance the cause of the “global happiness movement”. In 2011 the United Nations agreed to declare March 20th, each year as a special day designated to mark the importance of happiness to humanity. For this reason, alone, it should signify to us that happiness is a state that is beneficial to embrace, celebrate and ultimately to be sought by every human being.

We are meant to be happy! And yet, so few of us actually are. Just as a matter of interest, I decided to look at the happiness register that categorises countries each year by their level of happiness, just to see if there was a common thread that could tell us why some societies are intrinsically happier than others. The latest happiness register lists the top ten happiest countries in the world in 2018. They are as follows:

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Denmark
  4. Iceland
  5. Switzerland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. New Zealand
  9. Sweden
  10. Australia

It’s a fascinating list, isn’t it? The first thing, obviously, that jumps out at us is that the top four countries in the world when it comes to happiness, are all Nordic countries, in Scandinavia and with Sweden coming in at number nine, you could conclude that Scandinavia has got to be the place to live if you want to be happy. In fact, it seems that the US is in a period of happiness slippage as America is dropping down the league rankings. I have no doubt there are a hundred and one reasons why these tough, Nordic peoples appear to be the happiest human beings on the planet but with their long, cold, winters and their brief but beautiful summers, one thought does resonate with me. Given the nature of their location, and climate, they, as a people, have by necessity come to rely on themselves and their immediate families for their joy and their happiness. In the Scandi countries they have deep respect for family time, they work productively yet have famously generous paternity leave – fully-paid 9 months off for mothers and 3 months for fathers – compare that with 12 weeks unpaid leave in the US. Plus, they believe that it’s important to take holidays and they use their 25 days off – whereas in the US the average 16 days often get banked and lost. Also, in contrast are the attitudes to health and well-being. Scandinavians to an extent are obsessed with being outdoors and have some incredible scenery on the doorstep, the saying goes there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. The Swedes for instance have a mantra of moderation: LAGOM (Just the right amount), whereas the US is more geared towards extremes than the concept of balance which is central to many Scandinavians.

You could certainly argue, looking at the top ten countries on the list, that wealth and prosperity plays a big part in this happiness – but if that was the case, why isn’t the United States or even the oil-rich Gulf States on the top of that list. The US actually ranks at No. 18, and Saudi Arabia comes in at No. 33. Wealth also doesn’t explain why a relatively poor country like Costa Rica came in at 13th on the list or Mexico and Chile at 24th and 25th respectively. Certainly, the top ten countries on the list are all western, progressive, liberal democracies, which may go some way to telling us that this is the political flavour under which happiness can flourish well. They, in the main, have very generous social programs, and employment is very pro-family.

Arguably, it may have a lot to do with these “Happy Nations” having a high genetic set point, plus how they manage the stuff they can control. They have excellent education, healthcare systems, high average income levels, but they also take personal responsibility for staying in good shape, pulling their weight in society and being appreciative. The Danes have a concept of social bonding and belonging which they call HYGGE (Coziness and comfortable conviviality).

In other words, they CHOOSE to be happy. Or perhaps happiness is a by-product of their contribution to building and maintaining a well-functioning society.

Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as Commonwealth colonies, have always had a reputation for “punching above their weight” in world affairs. I think the same isolationism experienced by the Scandinavians and the need to prove themselves on the world stage, especially to their ex-colonial masters be it in global conflict, in sport, or in technological innovation, is what has propelled these countries both to be self-sufficient and innately happy, as a people. The Netherlands, of course, is a country born of the sea. The Dutch people have had to struggle for survival from the relentless encroachment of their land, by the sea (which is only being exacerbated by climate change) as well as aggression from neighbours. Again, this collective self-sufficiency shines through, whilst relying on themselves but having a sense of community and cohesion at the same time, the “Happy Nations” are plugging into the bio-feedback loop.

If the Americans really want to live the American Dream, they could move to Denmark perhaps?

Just for a moment, stop and imagine (as John Lennon would have said) a world where every individual woke up in the morning and made a conscious decision to be happy, that day. What a change that would make on the global stage. It’s not that difficult to do and I’ve given you some practical ideas on how to achieve that here and in the previous two articles. So, my final advice to you today – you guessed it:

CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY – today, tomorrow and every day from now on.

Make your happiness-fix your new must-have habit. Have fun!

If you would like to check out the previous two blogs on Happiness, or some of our other blogs, they can be found here:

HAPPINESS: Part 1:

HAPPINESS: Part 2:

PRECOGNITION: Part 1:

PRECOGNITION: Part2: 

Be sure to check out my novel, Spirit of Prophecy, which delves into many of the topics mentioned in my blogs, through a fictionalized “whodunit” mystery featuring, horses, magic, psychics, karma and even a touch of wicca. It’s incredibly exciting and you can read all about it here: SPIRIT OF PROHECY:

 

 

March, this year is celebrated as “International Women’s History Month” so here’s a post celebrating some of the great woman of this world’s women, in total; two from history, two from the present, and two+ fictional characters from the future.

THE PAST:

Anjezē Gonxhe Bojaxhiu:

The first woman that gets my admiration and accolades is Anjezē Gonxhe Bojaxhiu better known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta or Mother Teresa. Born in Uskup, Kosovo in August 1910, Mother Teresa died on September 5th 1997, aged 87, in Calcutta (Kolkata), India where she made her mark on the world stage and was widely venerated. A consecrated Catholic nun, Mother Teresa dedicated her life to caring for the poor, the indigent and the dying of the Calcutta slums. Founding ‘’The Missionaries of Charity’’, that now has over 4,500 nuns as adherents and operates in some 130 countries; the Order is dedicated to managing homes for those dying of HIV/AIDS, Leprosy and Tuberculosis. The Order also run soup kitchens, pharmaceutical dispensaries, mobile medical clinics, children and family counselling programs, as well as orphanages and schools.

Like all her Order’s members, Mother Teresa took a vow of chastity, poverty, obedience and whole-hearted free service to the poorest of the poor. Despite being the recipient of many accolades and awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize and Canonization by the Catholic Church, Mother Teresa was a divisive figure in both life and death. To rise to such prominence and indeed power in such a patriarchal organization as the Catholic Church required great fortitude, courage, persistence and sheer-bloody-mindedness, which Mother Teresa was said to have had plenty of. Although being greatly admired by all, for her charitable works, she was both praised and criticized for her steadfast opposition to abortion. The poor conditions of some of her houses for the dying were often the butt of many of the criticisms levelled at this amazing woman.

I think, in an incredible life of 87 years, most of it spent living in the most appalling of conditions, alongside the rejects of India’s society, much as her spiritual leader, Jesus Christ had commanded, Mother (or Saint) Teresa epitomizes the strength of character and resolve that is so admirable in women who commit their lives to helping others. She was known to be a pragmatist and had little time for overarching and controlling bureaucracy – and was committed first and above all to those whose needs outweighed her own. She has left a legacy of love, compassion and understanding that we would all be wise to learn from. She wasn’t a woman to self-promote and she did not speak publicly often but when she did, she inspired people in general and women in particular. I’ll leave her today, with one of her most memorable quotes, in my mind: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving, happier.” Mother Teresa.

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi:

I believe Indira Gandhi deserves her place in women’s history for the amazing feat of leading the world’s most populous democracy for a ten- year period, from 1966 through to 1977 and then again, from January 1980, until her assassination in October 1984. She stands alone as the first and only female Prime Minister of India and the second longest-serving Prime Minister, after her father, Jarwaharlal Nehru.

If two things described Ghandi’s influence on the massive country called India, it could be political inflexibility and her centralisation of power within the country. She was known to be tough and uncompromising as a leader and went to war with Pakistan, supporting the war of Independence by East Pakistan, which was duly won and saw the creation of Bangladesh. This desire to build up the country’s military and influence in the region saw India become the most significant political player in the South Asia region. Despite her successes, she is roundly criticised for her response to public calls for certain regions to break away from India, especially in the north of the country. She instituted a state of Emergency from 1975 to 1977, suspending basic civil liberties and censoring the press. It is now accepted that widespread human rights violations and atrocities occurred during this state of emergency. After winning office again in 1980 in free and fair elections, Ghandi was assassinated by her own bodyguards and Sikh nationalists. This followed a military operation, codenamed “Blue Star” that saw the military, storm the revered Golden Temple of Amritsar to remove the militant Sikh religious leader and his followers. She was succeeded as Prime Minister by her son, Rajiv Ghandi.

Despite the turmoil and troubled times over which Indira Gandhi ruled it is worth noting that her beloved India still came out of the twentieth century, intact, a world power, and still the world’s most populous, functioning democracy and for that alone, she deserves our plaudits and our respect, as not only an outstanding woman but also as an outstanding leader. In 1999 Indira Gandhi was chosen as “Woman of the Millennium: in an online poll run by the BBC.

I’ll leave Indira Ghandi with a quote that I believe summarises her political life. My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.” Indira Ghandi.

THE PRESENT:

Theresa Mary May:

Few could argue that this woman has not had a major influence on the future of the United Kingdom, as she has attempted to negotiate BREXIT. World focus and indeed, often ridicule has shone on her. Theresa May has stood tall and proud during these difficult times, refusing to kowtow to scathing attacks on her leadership from the opposition and indeed, it seems, at times, from all sides. She has steadfastly stuck to her belief that her role was to carry out the express wishes of the British people in the referendum and leave the EU with the best deal she could negotiate. You can argue over her negotiating strategy, you can argue over her management and leadership of her party, and of parliament but nobody can argue or deny this woman has stuck to her beliefs and her determination to carry out the wishes of her people.

What an amazing example of determination, resilience and sense of duty she has shown, as she stepped up and took the baton, in what has proven to be an arduous, long and difficult marathon. Her party, the Conservative party [broadly similar to the Republican Party in the US] has historically been split over the IN – OUT European Union issue. Theresa has a minority government so her hands are tied somewhat, whilst she has had to try to balance the opposing fractions and not only the opposing views of her own party but the entire Houses of Parliament [who are in the majority, Remainers (want Britain to stay in the EU) ] and yet deliver the democratic will of the people who voted to Leave.

For her most seemly conduct and endless patience through-out this epic struggle, the outcomes, twists and turns – of which have been described as a constitutional crisis no less, she deserves our utmost respect, admiration and support amidst the noise of personal attacks and vitriol currently circulated against her. She has held fast against all the odds

March 29th 2019 was a historic – [some would say hysterical, given the current state of political play] day in the UK, as this was the day which the UK Parliament agreed by unanimously passing Article 50, that the United Kingdom was due to leave the European Union. This was decided under a process where UK voters had a referendum two years prior to determine whether to Leave [Brexit] or Remain [Stay in as Before] in the European Union, which is a unified co-joining of some 28 countries, under the umbrella of a single trading market, freedom of movement of people and an over-arching legal system [the European Court of Justice] to oversee and harmonise laws/regulations/rights.  Rather surprisingly, for some, [not me, as my prophetic instinct and strategic/visionary skills fully kicked in here] after David Cameron called the Referendum, the Leave vote won and the next day David Cameron [Call-me-Dave] an arch-Remainer and several of his key cabinet ministers quit. This left the new leader of the Conservative party, and the new Prime Minister – Theresa May, to take up the poisoned chalice and run with it. To date she has almost been run into the ground. So, regardless of the outcome, IN – OUT or still Shaking-it-All-About, in this Brexit business my heart goes out to Theresa May, who has above all done her very best for her country. Thank you!

May history be kind and may many more females achieve amazing things for us all. Theresa has insulin-dependent diabetes, yet she has shown incredible energy and such a determined spirit that she deserves a huge round of applause. At any rate, I feel she may well yet have the last laugh…

Sigourney Weaver:

Perhaps no actress more accurately portrayed the role of the tough, independent, and fearless woman, as Sigourney Weaver did, in the Alien franchise, where she played the character of Ellen Ripley. Although Weaver has appeared in over 60 movies, numerous television shows and stage shows, to a generation of young women growing up in the 1980’s it will be as Ellen Ripley, a woman who showed these young ladies just what women were capable of, that she will be most loved, remembered and revered for.

Weaver has had a multitude of nominations and awards heaped on her, including; three Academy Award nominations; three BAFTA Award nominations, including one win, for The Ice Storm; one Critics Choice Award nomination; seven Golden Globe nominations, including two wins, for Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girls; three Emmy Award nominations; three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations; and one Tony Award Nominations. It is not, perhaps for these recognitions of her significant body of work that we should celebrate Sigourney Weaver but perhaps much more so for her longevity in an industry where women are routinely tossed aside when they reach their mid-thirties. Indeed, at age sixty-nine Weaver can still truly be called a leading lady in Hollywood. She has rarely been without work in her entire career and is currently filming or preparing for the long-awaited sequels to Avatar; Avatar 2 and 3.

As a working woman in Hollywood, Weaver has been one of those rare breeds who have been able to keep a celebrity marriage alive and going despite the intense pressures of the industry. Married to stage director, Jim Simpson, since October 1st 1984, the pair have one daughter, Charlotte Simpson. Outside of the movie industry Weaver is probably best known for her work supporting the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund. After making the movie, Gorillas in the Mist which celebrated Fossey’s life’s work, Weaver became involved with the fund, as a fervent environmentalist and is now the fund’s Honorary Chairperson.

She has also used her celebrity to further her belief in other environmental causes. In 2006, at the start of a United Nations General Assembly, she called a news conference to outline the widespread threat to ocean habitats posed by deep-sea trawling. In addition to this she has hosted the annual Gala of the Trickle-Up Program that focuses on those in extreme poverty, mainly women and disabled persons.

In the tough, image-focused industry Sigourney Weaver stands out, as a shining light to us all of what is possible when you have grit and a determination to succeed, without having to surrender your basic principles and humanity on the throne of populism. I salute her as an example to women everywhere.

THE FUTURE:

I recently watched the Imax 3D version of Captain Marvel co-directed by Anna Boden, which was released on International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March 2019, during Woman’s History month which we are celebrating here. This is a great movie which doesn’t rely on romance, but demonstrates diversity of career and race with strong, smart and bold female characters that we get behind. Talk about girl power!

On that note I’d like to introduce my two women of the future – who are fictional characters from my “whodunit” mystery novel, Spirit of Prophecy which is set in 2021. They are Juliet Jermaine and Detective Sergeant Rosetta Barrett.

Juliet Jermaine:

Juliet Jermaine, it seems, has it all; a beautiful, young, wealthy American woman, living her dream, in the rural English heartland. Juliet has a dashingly handsome fiancée/business partner in Matt Lebaine and is the current Olympic 3-Day-Event champion, with her world-beating horse, Gothic. She is laser-focused on defending her crown at the next Olympics, but it all begins to unravel one typically frosty English morning when Juliet and her teenage stable-hand are out hacking in the country lanes around their stable. What initially appears to be a random road-rage incident has catastrophic consequences. Juliet’s life is flipped upside down in an instant, and how will she cope with the tragedy?

What readers and reviewers particularly like about this character is she is a fiercely determined young lady who knows what she wants from life and is prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve her goals. She is loyal and trusting, but recoils from blow after blow as she subsequently discovers that her trust has been profoundly betrayed. Her loyalties will also be tested when it becomes apparent that in order to pursue her Olympic dream, with her beloved Gothic now gone, she is going to have to hurt and betray a very dear friend in the equestrian community to gain a horse of Olympic stature. Juliet is now in a battle of conscience that must see her decide what her most important priorities are; her success or her values.

To me, Juliet epitomizes the struggle many women daily, perhaps not over life and death issues, as she must, but over choices between good and bad, morality and immorality. As women, we want to succeed, especially in this man’s world we have inherited, but is success to be had at all costs, flinging away those qualities of care, understanding and concern for others? Should we give up those special qualities we possess to compete on an equal footing with the men? Juliet’s sport is one of the very few that allow men and women to compete equally on the international stage, so in that respect Juliet is already at the forefront of women’s equity. She has to make that ultimate decision as to what is more important to her; love and justice or winning? Life is a compromise between competing values and Juliet, like all of us, must make those decisions on her own. That’s why, for me, Juliet deserves her place as a role model for all aspiring young women, in whatever endeavor they undertake. For Carol, Captain Marvel, there’s a movement: #captainmarvelchallenge to encourage young girls to go and see this first female led superhero movie.

 

Detective Sergeant Rosetta Barrett:       

What readers truly love about this character is her complexity and the many faceted roles she must play as first a women detective but also as a psychic detective and a member of an elite inter-governmental body that is charged with handling all things otherworldly, including; psychics, telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, witchcraft, aliens, and even time-travel. Rosetta has become deeply involved with EPIS (Elite Paranormal Intelligence Services) in order to “right” historical “wrongs” that now result in murderous karma travelling through the generations to wreak havoc in today’s world. This she does through the facility of Time Travel (Using the T-Portal).

For Rosetta her “gift” of psychic ability has not always seemed like such a gift. It has cost her a marriage to an influential Diplomat, has estranged her from her two children, and opened her up to ridicule from her police colleagues and even her friends. Despite all the pain and angst in her personal life, Rosetta realizes her gift is what makes her able to save lives and to prevent tragedy. She is prepared to put her needs beneath those of the general good and that alone makes her stand out as a great female role-model.

When Rosetta gets some inkling of the tragedy that is about to strike Juliet and her horse, she tries desperately to contact her to abort the planned ride that morning, but is unable to reach her, in part due to the intransigence of AI (Artificial Intelligence) supposedly designed to help humanity, rather than hinder them. Ha-ha! With a road-rage murder on her detective’s plate, Rosetta must work fast to establish a possible link to murderous karma from the past that is playing out today. She and Juliet must find a way to get to the bottom of these crimes without exposing her gifts to the ever-present media.

When Rosetta’s ex-husband becomes a suspect and her son is caught up in the investigation too, by a combination of coincidence and bad luck, Rosetta must make some tough judgement calls about loyalty to her job or to her family. Rosetta is lonely and wants someone to share her life with; someone who understands the stress her gift puts on her. Could she find the love she so craves in the arms of her sweet and understanding boss, Rav Patel, or perhaps the roguishly handsome and ever-charming Irish Traveler, Tommy Rafferty might be the answer?

Detective Sergeant Rosetta Barrett represents the dilemma many working woman experience as they are so often forced to choose between loyalty to their career and their needs versus the needs of their families and loved ones. With the added dimension of her psychic abilities, Rosetta’s courage and determination to do what is right has a message for us all and so I salute her in this International Women’s History Month. She, like all of the women mentioned here are inspirational in their display of strength, perseverance and above all hope.

Whether you agree with my choices or not, is not important, what is important is that we, as women, celebrate, lift-up and encourage each and every one of us to achieve the very best we can be and reach our potential, not only as women, but as human beings.

Be sure to keep reading our blogs, to subscribe if you haven’t already, sign up here

KEEP CELEBRATING WOMEN – ALL YEAR LONG!

Be sure to check out some of our earlier blogs, which you can find here:

Happiness: That Elusive Dream – Part 2 

Happiness: That Elusive Dream – Part 1 

Precognition – Real? You Be The Judge Part 2

Precognition – Real? You Be The Judge Part 1 

Also, please do pop on over to another part of my website and take a look at Spirit of Prophecy. I’m sure you’ll love it. Just click on the photo below and you’re there:


 

In our last blog, I introduced you to the notion of happiness and told you it was a choice, so today I’d like to tell you how exactly you can make that choice and make it stick.

First of all start thinking about being happy – what is it that makes you happy? It’s different for everyone, so what works for me to bring me to my “happy place”, won’t necessarily work for you. That’s one of the beauties of our uniqueness; we all have our different perspectives on life and “Viva la différence!” It might be something as simple as sitting in the garden reading a good book, or walking on the beach in the moonlight with your partner, or skydiving or just about anything that puts you at peace; that puts you in that land where nothing can hurt you or upset you. As I intimated, I like to call that “my happy place”. For me personally, it is actually sitting on a beach listening to the sound of the waves lapping against the shore.

This “happy place” is incredibly important, because it is where you need to go when circumstances threaten to overwhelm you and send you spiralling down into the abyss of pity, sadness or misery. Whenever I feel stressed, upset, or about to lose my cool with someone, I mentally walk away – if possible I close my eyes and transport myself to “my happy place”. I swear that a couple of minutes visualizing the scene that never fails to fill me with peace and happiness is almost always enough to avoid the looming confrontation, or the silly arguments that start inside my head. Rather than get upset, I CHOOSE to turn away and refresh myself with happiness. It works… and the great thing is you can build up a bank of these happy experiences that you can call on at any time. You’re only limited by your imagination.         

The second piece of practical advice I can give you on happiness is to stop trying to change the world, or others, all by yourself. Once we accept and fully understand that there is only one person in the world that we have any real control over – OURSELVES – then we can stop allowing other people’s dramas and the sorry state of our society to destroy our happiness. I’ve mentioned in the past that I am a great believer in the “butterfly effect”. In other words what we do to change ourselves individually can collectively, change the world.

It’s a really simple philosophy – if I can’t actually change it myself, I won’t let it influence my mood. If I can change it, then I’ll do something about it. What springs to mind immediately as I write this is the prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr and adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. It really is the smartest piece of advice you could ever take on board to lead a happy life:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,”

“The courage to change the things I can,”

“And the wisdom to know the difference.”

A very simple rule to live by and one that will grant you peace of mind.

We live in a world of duality. Sadly there is great suffering, pain, torment and sadness on our planet, but equally there is intense joy, happiness, love and beauty all around us. Individually we may feel powerless to change the terrible situations of our fellow human beings, but collectively through our thoughts, words and actions, anything is possible.

Embrace the “can do”, reject the “too hard” and your spirit will soar to the heavens, dragging everyone else, kicking and screaming, along behind you. Be the one that people look at, marvel and say; “Wow, doesn’t he/she have it all! What a together person.”

You really can be that person, you know. All you have to do is to learn to love yourself unconditionally and realize that you are a unique, talented individual whose contribution to this world is valid and valuable. You have everything inside of you that you need to be an awesome, fulfilled and most of all happy human being.       

My next tip is related to the previous one: Surround yourself with people that will uplift you, support you and fill you with pleasure. We all know how hard it is to be positive and happy when we are with someone who grumbles, moans and complains about everything. Very soon we find ourselves dragged down to their level, agreeing with them and sympathizing with their plight. This is a sure way to sabotage your happiness, so beware of such friends or family members. Similarly it is hard to be down, sad and miserable when our friends are full of joy, bubbly and expressive. We get dragged along with them on their exciting journey. I’ve said before; we, as individuals, emotionally are the average of our five closest friends; so chose those five closest friends wisely.

Now, I’m not suggesting you jettison all your dear friends or relatives just because they can be a bit grumpy at times but try and deal with their moods and attitudes differently. When they complain about something, look for the positive in that situation (there always is one – even if it might be hard to find sometimes) and point that out to them. If they need advice – then sure, advise them; if they need a shoulder to cry on – by all means provide that shoulder (that’s what friends do); if they just need to talk, to get their problems off their chest – then absolutely just listen to them. BUT here is what NOT to do; do not take their problems, concerns and anger onto your shoulders. They are not your problems; you don’t have to allow yourself to become emotionally involved in your friend’s issues. You do what you need to do and then move on. Do not dwell on their problems and do not buy into their sadness and their pain. The absolute best thing you can do in that situation is to offer positive solutions – solutions just like these that work for you.    

The final actual tip I want to give you today is a simple and easy step that I use and that takes so little time to implement and yet is so incredibly powerful to set you up for your day ahead.

When you wake up in the morning; don’t immediately jump out of bed, put on the coffee, prepare your things for work or school, or begin planning your day and imagining the difficult things you need to prepare for. When you wake up in the morning – don’t do anything! Just lie there in bed, with your eyes closed, if need be, to stop your partner from kicking you out of bed and telling you to get the coffee brewing. Just lie there and for five, ten, or even fifteen minutes just picture your day the exact way you want it to go. Visualize that important meeting you have with a client. See the client shake hands and accept the deal; picture your teacher congratulating you on that great paper you submitted; see the table where you will sit and enjoy your lunch and coffee during your break; imagine the joy on your kid’s faces when you walk into the house that evening. It doesn’t matter what the day ahead holds for you – even if it is just a routine day, picture the little things; your co-worker complimenting you on your outfit; getting a good parking spot; finishing those letters you’ve been putting off.

The whole point of this exercise is to “create” the day you desire for yourself – the day that will make you happy, content and at peace with everyone. In the last couple of minutes before you do leap into action; just visit your “happy place”, revel in the memories of the moment. By the time you are ready to jump into the shower and begin this day, your mind will already be in the place it needs to be for this day to be successful, happy and purposeful. Do it every day and then every day your creations will occur. It’s that simple.   

I want to finish today with one final thought: You don’t need any other person’s validation to be happy. Nothing anyone can say or think about you should ever make you either happy or unhappy. We are the architects of our own lives – not other people. Stop letting other people’s opinions, words or actions rob you of your happiness! You are you and you stand alone, complete, and unique in yourself. You can be happy regardless of what others think of you. I want to give you a really good example of what I mean here. This blog that I lovingly compile every week is a perfect example. I have no idea how many people actually read it (I do know how many people visit my site, but I don’t know exactly what they read). Now that should upset and worry me, under conventional thinking. I mean, what is the point of writing and sweating my thoughts onto paper, if nobody actually cares enough to want to read them.

BUT truly it doesn’t matter to me. I write this blog first and foremost because it is my passion – it’s what makes me happy – It is one of my happy places that I love to visit. I don’t need the validation of others to make this exercise worthwhile for me. Of course, I’m human and I love it when someone takes the time to tell me that I touched them, or I made a difference (and a couple have, which is amazing) but the bottom line is, if the only person that ever read this was me, I’d still be happy. I want to make a difference in my own small way; but my worth and my happiness is not dependent on the validation of other people, or their opinions of what I do. 

Why? 

BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY! GIVE IT A TRY – IT’S AWESOME!  

Be sure to check out my best-selling novel, Spirit of Prophecy, which is an exciting “whodunit” mystery woven around many of the themes I’ve been covering in these blogs. You can find, Spirit of Prophecy, here: http://bit.ly/2LeRJ84

 

You may wish to check out some of our previous blogs, which can be accessed here:

Happiness – That Elusive Dream (Part 1) 

Precognition – Real? You Be The Judge (Part 2)

Precognition – Real? You Be The Judge (Part 1)

Attitude Upgrade (Part 2)

Attitude Upgrade (Part 1)

 

 

Happy days! And welcome to this week’s blog, where we look at what I would say is an indispensible pillar to a successful, purpose-filled, and most importantly of all – A HAPPY LIFE!

Happiness is such an ethereal word – hard to capture, hard to define and perhaps even harder to practice on a daily basis. I mean to say, how many times have you gotten out of bed in the morning dreading what the day had in store for you? Not at all surprisingly, on those particular days, guess what? The day presented you with all the misgivings that you thought it would. Probably, without even realizing it, you created your own self-fulfilling prophecy – that’s awesome! Why is it awesome to have a shitty day? Well, simply put, if you can create for yourself the exact same shitty day that you thought lay in store for you – well newsflash people – you can turn that around one hundred and eighty degrees and create for yourself, the perfect, happy day.

Now before you start jumping up and down and thinking this woman must be in some sort of drug-heightened nirvana to suggest that happiness is that simple; let me assure you that the only thing I am high on is – LIFE! Anyone and yes, I do mean YOU can embrace happiness if you really want to. 

Absolutely the very first thing we need to get clear in our minds is that happiness IS actually a choice. It is a personal choice that we can make every single day. We weren’t born with a permanent scowl on our faces – we just made the choice to view the world from that perspective.

I’m certain we can all come up with oodles of justifications why we should be unhappy;

  • “Our job sucks”,
  • “Our spouse doesn’t understand us”,
  • “I never have enough money”,
  • “My kids are a pain”, and so on and so on; ad infinitum.

But… what, on our beautiful green earth, is the benefit to us and to everyone around us from choosing to be unhappy? It is the most pointless of decisions that we can make, and yet regularly do make. Many of us continue on, blissfully, every day, making this incredibly odd decision to not be happy.

“That’s just insanity!”

It reminds me of a very famous quotation by one of my favourite thinkers; the original Henry Ford. He said; “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Being unhappy has brought you what exactly? More unhappiness! Right? So isn’t it time you tried something new? Try happiness instead and marvel at the quick turnaround in every aspect of your life. Your state of happiness or otherwise directly impacts on EVERY area of your life.

It seems such a simple thing; choosing to be happy, and yet so many of us just don’t understand what it is we should do to actually make that choice. Really and truly it isn’t that difficult to make some small adjustments to your routine and your outlook to make your life happier and more fulfilled.

Make sure you check back for Part 2 of this Happiness Blog, when I’ll be giving you some very specific and practical steps on how to acquire that most elusive of all emotions: HAPPINESS!

In the meantime, please do check out my best-selling novel, Spirit of Prophecy in which many of the notions and concepts I’ve covered in my blogs are woven into a fantastic, “whodunit” mystery that revolves around Olympic Champion Three-Day Eventing. You can find Spirit of Prophecy, here on my website: http://bit.ly/2LeRJ84

Spirit of Prophecy by J.J Hughes - Book Launch

You may wish to check out some of our previous blogs, which can be accessed here: 

Precognition – Real? You Be The Judge (Part 2) 

Precognition – Real? You Be The Judge (Part 1) 

Attitude Upgrade (Part 2) 

Attitude Upgrade (Part 1) 

Karma – More Than You Thought

Fear! Why? 

An Attitude of Gratitude

Karma – It’s Gonna Get Ya

Three-Day-Eventing: A Horse’s Pentathlon? What’s That All About Then?