Monday, October 27, 2008

A course in Happiness


Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” Looking around at most people today it’s obvious they have yet to make up their minds. Happiness is a result of choice — choosing how to effectively use the thoughts that flow in and out of your mind. The thoughts you allow into your mind influences the perception of the world you see around you. If you perceive a sullen, hostile and unhappy world, your mind is full of sullen, hostile and unhappy thoughts. Change your thoughts and you change your world!

Alternative thinking
The prime purpose of this course is to help you understand that outside events do not cause unhappiness in your life. What other people say or do cannot make you unhappy. It’s your reaction to what they say or do that decides whether you choose to feel happy or unhappy. Unhappiness is not something created outside of you. Unhappiness comes from within. Unhappiness is a state of mind — a dysfunctional way of thinking. Rotten thoughts produce rotten results. This course is aimed at helping you overcome those habitual rotten thoughts. Just as natural therapies provide alternative methods of healing the body, the mind can undergo healing by adopting alternative methods of thinking.

A philosophy to live by
This course presents a philosophy based on awareness, understanding and acceptance — not only of yourself, but of your fellow man and the world around you. Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher (circa 550 BC), was a scientist, a sage, and teacher who coined the word “philosopher,” which he defined as “one who is attempting to find out.” In relation to this course, we are attempting to find out what type of thinking is causing more unhappiness than happiness in your life. Once this cause is discovered, steps can be taken to modify its effects.

What is happiness?
Happiness could be described as a state of mind induced by a higher state of awareness — a natural state of mind arising from an understanding and acceptance of life exactly as it is. The only reason happiness is not a natural way of life for ninety-nine percent of the world’s population is that we have allowed our ego to control and dominate our consciousness with attitudes that demand the world should do exactly what we want and give us exactly what we want.
Our egos continuously distract us by demanding we satisfy the wants and needs of its “outer” reality, rather than be satisfied with the abundance to be found within our “inner” reality.
We always have enough to make us happy if we just focus on enjoying what we do have — and not habitually worry about what we don’t have.

Why so much unhappiness?
Unhappiness arises from the more or less continual disappointment, frustration and emotional tension we experience when life repeatedly serves up to us the very things we do not want to accept.

Giving up the struggle
Unhappiness is struggle, a continual pushing away of the things you don’t want to accept in your life. Happiness, on the other hand, is simple acceptance! When you arrive at that point in life where you can calmly accept the world and its workings exactly as it is, you will have found that elusive peace of mind we call happiness. The awakened person lives a life of simple acceptance — a state of being in which the mind is totally unconcerned with judging people or conditions. Once this higher state of awareness is able to be reached and maintained, the desired level of happiness will follow.

Awareness, understanding and acceptance
The central theme of this course is mind renewal — helping you open your mind to a greater reality than that currently accepted and understood by society at large. Once upon a time the surface of the earth was considered to be flat — a strongly held belief of those who professed to be in the know — the scholars and leaders of the time. Exploration of the seas led to a change in those beliefs, and a higher awareness as to the shape of our planet resulted in a paradigm shift in attitudes and beliefs. Times change, and with them, the beliefs of those times.

The nature of reality
Reality — as perceived by the ego, is completely relative to one’s own personally held attitudes and beliefs. We are limited in our understanding of life by our ego’s individual perception and interpretation of the world around us. The collective consciousness of those in the not too distant past, held that ships would fall off the edge of the world if they sailed too far in one direction. An illusionary perception that for a long time restricted man’s quest for greater knowledge and understanding. Fearful attitudes and beliefs hindered and limited man back then, just as they do today.

Overcoming the limitations of perceived boundaries
Columbus, Magellan and other explorers and visionaries, stretched and finally broke through the illusionary boundaries of mankind’s limitations, in particular its limiting system of beliefs. The citizens of those times learnt to accept that there were no ship-devouring dragons lurking at sea, just as they learnt to accept that the earth was round, not flat. Higher awareness led to greater understanding, which in turn led to an acceptance that attitudes and beliefs must be flexible and subject to change if man is to progress and prosper.

Choose to change your reality
Change your attitudes and beliefs and you change your reality. If your world around you, your current reality — is not conducive to inner feelings of happiness and contentment, then the solution is obvious. Make the choice for change. A conscious shift in your attitudes and beliefs will take you into higher levels of awareness where you can see what is, rather than what is not.

Happiness isn’t a reward, it’s a way of life
A veil of illusion, a mind-set created by your ego, prevents you from seeing true reality. If your ego prompts you to doubt this, why do you seem destined to have only occasional and elusive flashes of happiness and not constant long lasting happiness? It’s largely because your past programming has you believing happiness is something that has to be earned — a reward for struggling — something that occasionally relieves the constant feeling of unhappiness that clouds your perception of life.

An awakening
It is hoped this course will awaken something inside you — a "knowingness" that helps you realize happiness in this life really is all about choice. Choose the type of thoughts you regularly place in your mind, and you can find the happiness and joy that always has been, and always will be, yours to enjoy forever more.

Contents of the Course:

Module One: Mind-stretching Exercises

Our minds have been conditioned over many years by the combined influences of habitual behaviour, restrictive attitudes and inflexible beliefs. The purpose of this module is to open the mind to the infinite possibilities of an ever expanding universe within.

Module Two: The Fortress

Most of us live lives bogged down by the restrictive programming of an insecure ego-mind. Each of our fears, beliefs and limited attitudes are the bricks that make up the walls of our personal fortress of insecurity. Because our personal self-made fortress imprisons us rather than protects us, we need to become aware of its influence and the steps required to dismantle its illusionary walls of self-limitation.

Module Three: Limitations of the Mind

This module explains how the power of suggestion teamed with ineffective and limiting thought processes cause most of the unhappiness we experience in our lives.

Module Four: Cause and Effect

The universal law of cause and effect influences every aspect of our lives on earth, and here we explain how entrenched, habitual behaviour exhibits itself as effects directly caused by long-held addictive attitudes.

Module Five: Fight or Flight

In times long past, the question of survival depended on the instinctive fight or flight mechanisms of primitive man. It’s this instinctual reaction, still evident in the autonomic nervous system of modern man, that causes many of the negative reactionary effects we experience so often in our daily lives.

Module Six: Personality and Attitudes

Explores how the ego-personality and its individual attitudes shape our personal reality, i.e. our perception of ourselves, other people and the world around us.

Module Seven: Your Needs - Are they Essential or Addictive?

Therapists tell us that fulfillment of our “needs” is an integral part of a happy and contented life, but just how many of these so-called needs are essential to our well-being and how many are addictive wants and demands of our dominating ego-mind?

Module Eight: Labels and Self-worth

Our critical ego-mind sticks labels on ourselves and others as a means of measuring our worth. Good or bad, all labels are illusionary and have no basis in truth. This module creates an awareness of the restrictive and destructive nature of labels.

Module Nine: Levels of Lower Consciousness

Exposes the three levels of lower consciousness that controls and dominates the behaviour of the vast majority of earth’s consciously unaware population.

Module Ten: “Shoulds” are Addictive Demands

Our ego continuously demands that others should think and behave exactly as we want them to think and behave in order for us to be happy. This module explains how to diffuse the “shoulds” and create then maintain an accepting, peaceful outlook on life.

Module Eleven: Programmed Unhappiness

Looks at how the ego-induced state of addictive programming creates continuous unhappiness in our lives.

Module Twelve: Observing your Thoughts

How the non-judgmental observation of your thoughts can lead you into higher levels of awareness.

Module Thirteen: The Peaceful Pause

You will be able to overcome the habitual and negative reactions of past programming by selectively applying the Peaceful Pause and its three steps of awareness, understanding and acceptance.

Module Fourteen: Preferential Programming

Outlines the benefits of upgrading the negative programming of the past into today’s preferential programming. Preferential programming neutralizes inner stress caused by the insecure and addictive demands of lower levels of consciousness.

Module Fifteen: The Method of Choice

A step-by-step method that enables you to replace negative programs with preferential programs, leading you to higher levels of inner comfort and contentment.

The Method of Choice Worksheet:

Shows how to identify negative feelings, the addictive programming that caused the feelings, and the steps required to convert such programming into positive preferential programming.

Module Sixteen: Convert Demands to Preferences

By simply preferring, rather than demanding life brings you what you desire, you calmly accept life as it is, rather than how the ego demands it should be.

Module Seventeen: Identifying Addictive Demands

By applying the principles outlined in the Method of Choice, this module enables you to identify the addictive programming that causes uncomfortable and unwanted negative emotions.

Exercise: An exercise in Identifying your Addictive Demands
Steps to identify addictive demands and understand the programming that caused the addiction.

Priority Need Profile of the Ego-Personality:

A worksheet that will help you identify the priority need/s of your ego-personality. Do you need the company of other people or do you prefer your own company? The answers to these and other pertinent questions will help you better understand yourself by identifying the attitudes and insecurities that motivate your individual ego-personality.

Module Eighteen: Looking behind the Ego's Mask

Your progress into Higher Levels of Consciousness can be accelerated when you acquire the skills that enable you to identify your Addictive Demands and Pinpoint the Addictive Programming that lies at its cause.This module teaches how to become Aware of your addictions, to Understand their level of origin, and to Accept that which was previously unacceptable.

Module Nineteen: Emotional Clearance
Understand how your emotions function. To do so will increase your understanding of yourself, your life, and how you manifest the reality of your own world.You have the power to choose which emotions you want to experience. You do this by choosing your thoughts. You choose the events in your life in order to experience their associated emotions. The trick is to learn how to transmute the emotions - letting them go after the event has past and the lesson learnt.

Module Twenty: Compassion

When the soul reaches true compassion, it feels acceptance for both sides, judging nothing as inherently good or bad. Achieving compassion or integration means that a soul sees the value in both sides of the story. Compassion helps to lead you to the pivitol point of balance between polarities.

Module Twenty-one: Self-acceptance

The purpose of this module is to help you understand how the development of self-esteem is largely dependant upon the outside influences of others, while self-acceptance is generated by the self from within.