The Blog

Seeking Happiness

If you just shopped with enthusiasm on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’re hardly alone.  This annual display of  “conspicuous consumption” gets its share of criticism from the socially/politically correct. However, few of us, including the biggest critics, can resist the temptation of attractive items at great prices no matter how much “stuff” we already have. 

What’s the deal?  Why do so many people strive but never feel as though they arrive? The answer lies in our biology. Neuroscientist Jaak Panskepp said that seeking is the most powerful and important of a human’s seven core instincts.  He linked this behavior to dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate the mammalian brain’s reward and pleasure centers.  This ”seeking” instinct is why squirrels keep looking for nuts they will most likely never eat, why whales swim around the world while already surrounded by all they need, and why humans never truly feel their desires are fulfilled and needs are met.

The bottom line is our brains are designed to want more – more money, more status, more love…..more of whatever you can imagine. It’s our nature to seek, to set goals beyond our current limits, and sometimes it leads to great achievement. But seeking doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of feeling dissatisfied.

You can feel abundant and want more at the same time – they aren’t mutually exclusive states.  Start your search for happiness by setting your goals.  Write them down and read them often.  But don’t stop there.

When you reach a goal, celebrate your success. Then take time to reflect before moving on to the next goal. Consider what matters most to you, what you need to do in order to achieve or preserve those values, and how your reality matches up with your ideal life. Getting more is the easy part – it’s often harder to know what you can let go. 

Henry David Thoreau wrote “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”  It’s absolutely fine to want more of the good things in life.  Money and all that it buys can bring happiness to us and those we love.  Just remember that occasionally less is more. Money and things are meant to serve us, never the other way around.

On Being Grateful

As we prepare to celebrate an entire holiday devoted to giving thanks, it’s a good time to consider what that actually means. No one can deny that we have a lot to be grateful for in today’s America.  Being grateful is great. But using gratitude as an excuse to hold yourself back from higher abundance? Well, that’s not so great. 

The well-meaning admonition that “You should just be grateful for what you have” is meant to inspire a thankful attitude in all circumstances, and there’s nothing wrong with this.  However, that statement too often engenders guilt at wanting more for yourself and those you care about.

In the New Testament parable of the talents, we have an excellent illustration of the virtue of building on your resources, as well as the negative consequences of jealously protecting that which you have from the risk of loss.  The message is we have all been endowed at our creation with unique gifts, and we are meant to cultivate and multiply them for good. 

Gratitude and the desire for greater abundance are not mutually exclusive states. You can be grateful and still strive to create a better life for yourself and your loved ones – in fact, it’s one of the best ways to express gratitude for your blessings, however few they may sometimes seem.  Raymond Holliwell brought this point home in his book Working With The Law:

You haven’t much to begin with, you say? Well, neither did Jesus when he had some five thousand hungry souls to feed. He had only five loaves and a few fish, yet he did something with them. He started action by praising the little at hand and then passed it about…. When you learn to take what you have and build upon it, NOT with scorn and condemnation, but with praise and gratitude, you are working the Law and the Law will give the Increase.

Praise God that good is everywhere.

Thinking In Alignment With Your Dreams

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. ~ Mark 11:24

You may have experienced times when you attract the right people, the right finances, and the seemingly synchronistic events to turn your dreams into reality, here and now. That’s because the Universe is based on a Law of Attraction.

If you feel strongly that you came here for a particular purpose, then you should cultivate energy to match this dream. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances of your life are. Your current financial or social status is unimportant when it comes to your pursuit of this purpose. The presence of an army of naysayers shouldn’t sway you or make you doubt your attraction to your calling.

Oscar Wilde once observed that “we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” This is a perfect example of what it means to align your vision and thoughts so that they’re balanced with what you sense you’re here to be and do.  Even if you’re in the gutter, you have the option of looking at the stars. This means thinking “star” thoughts and rejecting the weight of those that attract the gutter. Your balance point is a certainty, a faith that you affirm with thoughts such as I know it, I desire it, it’s on its way, nothing can stop it, and there’s nothing for me to worry about.

When you get your life balanced with your dream, you’re attracting all that you need to achieve that dream with your thoughts – in effect co-creating your individual life with the Creator of all life. Thoughts that reinforce current habits incongruous with your desire must be replaced with those that reinforce your belief. If you’re in a state of imbalance - complaining, living in fear, or expecting the worst – the co-creation process just doesn’t work.

No one has said it better than Jesus of Nazareth: “…whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”.  Could there be any greater wisdom for living the in-balance life you were meant to live? 

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