Happiness: Lifting Your Spirits and Staying Positive
By: J. Marlando
Let’s face it, most people feel pretty much out of control of their lives. I don’t mean that people do not take charge of their private lives. In fact, the truth is just the opposite. Actutally, most everyone is taking charge of their private lives by the time they’re in their mid-teens. They may still be coming home by the time Mom has designated but they are utilizing their individual freedom in making countless choices on their own. At bottom line, they are “controlling” the “who and what” they are.
Sooner or later, as people grow older, they typically end up with a lot of regrets and wishing they’d done things a little or a lot differently. As a result, a kind of soft gloom shadows their worldviews and, in the least, they just aren’t as happy as they would like to be or, at worst, they’re darned depressed.
In order to shake the light or heavy depression many people turn to drugs, to booze, to religion, to jogging and all sorts of recreations and practices. (By the way, when I speak of drugs, I am not just talking about illegal ones but prescription stuff like Prozac. Incidentally, Prozac is a brand name—the generic name is fluoxetine, most basically called the happy drug the Alice in Wonderland drug). Anyway, at the end of the day, at least for a lot of people, life simply isn’t as positive and/or happy as they would have it be.
This article sets out to give the reader a surprising alternative to creating their world as happy and content as they desire it to be…without any escape mechanisms such as booze or drugs or television or anything else that is outside the self. Indeed, I am going to attempt to give you an unexpected map, so to speak, into the inner life of your own mind.
A New View of Reality
Most typically when we think of our brains we assume that they house our intelligence, keep the mechanics of our bodies running, store our potentials and, beyond all else, are the seat of our consciousness. In fact, it is not uncommon for us to imagine superior alien beings as being mostly brain. And, a great many scientists, scholars and other intellectuals insist that our ability to think is a mere epiphenomenon of the brain—a big word most basically meaning a “function” of the brain.
Well, it is no doubt true that our physical brains are the center for keeping our physical bodies running—we live in a physical environment after all with stuff we can see, touch, taste and so forth.
Our view of reality, however, has changed dramatically since even a few decades ago at least in many arenas of experience: Once a serious puzzle existed that asked, “If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it.” Today we know that sound is not what people once thought it was—an actual noise of one kind or another. We have known for quite a long time now that sound is actually a pressure wave that disturbs the medium in which it is directly adjacent to. This is most commonly air. When the vibration is heard, it means it has reached a vibrating medium—our ears and/or the ears of animals! When the “vibration” hits reaches our eardrums, it causes our eardrums to vibrate. It is our eardrums that transmit the vibration to the tiny ones in the middle ear and onward into the inner ear where the oscillating pressures are converted into electrical signals and sent to the brain. Our brains most basically interpret the vibrations into what we call sound. If you drop a glass on the floor you will hear it break almost instantaneously but a great deal has happen between the shattering and the “sound.”
This is pretty simple stuff but the same principle applies to sight. We are not actually seeing the object over there. We are merely seeing beams of light bouncing off the “object over there” through the cornea, the thick transparent protective layer on the surface of our eyes, and then the light passes through the pupil and into the lens. The lens focuses the image through a substance called the vitreous humor onto the back surface of the eyeball, called the retina. The retina is packed with an astonishing 150-million light sensitive cells called rods and cones. Finally the image reaches the brain (upside down) and the into the visual cortex where the image is turned right side up and interpreted as what we name it—a snail, a tree, a falling leave and so on. But the truth is that we have never actually seen ANYTHING as it appears before us. Indeed, everything we see as we look out the window of our homes, for example, is actually images created by a process inside our brains and not the images themselves.
The world simply does not exist separately from us—at least not in the way we typically think it does. For example, you probably believe that when you die the world will remain the same without you. It won’t, your world and my world and everyone else’s belong solely to each individual one of us. And, regardless of how we feel about the universe, we are absolutely not spectators of anything fixed and solid “out there.” In fact, a greater scientific observation comes from an old common saying, “It’s all in our head.” Another way of putting this, as Darryl Reanney also tells us, is that “our model of reality is entirely our own.”
This insight inspires a lot of questions that are philosophical, religious, and spiritual and yes, scientific. What is strongly suggested of however is that the wisdom of the sage who teaches that it is not the world that acts upon us but we who act upon the world, is correct.
The Genie in the Brain
It is not only how we perceive the world that the world becomes, but how we conceive it to be. And so, we are manifesting the world in two vital ways—first, from how we think about the world and second, from how we FEEL about the world. I will use my old standby example here: If we deem the rose bush to be a thorn bush, that is exactly what the bush will become for ourselves. And, as metaphor, let’s face it some people see the thorns much more plentiful than the roses in their lives.
In fact, what I am saying here is proven countless times over and over again in daily life. If we are in a gloomy mood, our world actually turns gloomy we see no joy or beauty in anything, only the gloom so to speak. If we are happy the entire world turns positive and so forth. This brings us to anther simply old saying that forever proves to be axiomatic: “Life is what we make it.”
No, I am not saying (or advocating) that positive thought alone creates positive results. You can be, as said, happy as lark, step off a curb and be hit by a car. There are simply uncertainties in life making us all vulnerable to accidents and happenstance. And “stuff” happens as is said!
However, happy, positive people seem to find themselves in happy, positive situations more often than not. They seem to create positive synchronicities in their lives or, in other words, positive coincidences such as being in the right places at the right time.
There is certainly more to life than the reductionists offer and so each of us are much more than a leaf upon the water as we travel throughout our lives.
Pessimists at all level nearly always feel as if they are victims and so they mope and can fall into serious depressions. Some depressions certainly need professional help but lots of depressions are merely angry or frustrations over one’s own misjudgments more often or not packaged in the blame of others. If it wasn’t for so-in-so this wouldn’t have happened.
Some people can’t comprehend that life is a chain event of all their own decisions. Indeed, the fellow who is hit by a car probably should have looked before he stepped off the curb. And yes, the driver should have been more aware and alert too so a negative coincidence occurred that could have been avoided. In this regard, I have a friend of mine who lost a near fortune in margin calls when the bottom fell out of the economy two or three years ago. He is still swearing at his broker but, guess what, at the end of the day, he made all his own decisions.
The point is that every decision we make along our way, changes our world because reality is a reflection of whatever we project into it. Recall—the rose bush becoming the thorn bush. In other words, the “genie” in our brains can transform a fun time into a hateful time, a good experience into a bad experience, a sweet romance into a sour relationship and even joy into sorrow. We see this all the time even in the most unimportant events in our lives. The spinach on our plates is simply spinach but it is made appealing or repulsive inside our brains and that becomes its reality…Indeed, the entire universe is, at the same time, inside us and outside us and so, in the far reaches of this, we are one with it.
But what is the “genie” we’re talking about?
The genie is us!
I must return to a quote I’ve used before to make the point here. It is as Doctor Paul Pearsall tells us: “…the “I”, the self, is much more that the reverberation of neurons and we are much more than we ‘think’ we are. We are also what we believe, hope, feel, and sense. We can tell the brain not only what but how to think.
Masters and Miracles
Once upon a time there was a man walking along a winding path and looking quite lost. Then, he stumbled. He managed to stay on his feet and was just fine but still the near fall had shaken him up a little; scared him!
As soon as he recovered, however, he noticed an old man sitting on a log only a few feet off the path. “You should watch your step,” the old man said with a smile. “And what are you doing so deep in the forest,” he asked. “I seldom ever see a stranger on the trail.”
“Everything in my life has gone wrong,” the traveler answered “so I am here seeking a miracle.”
The old man nodded. “Do not seek the miracle,” he said, “seek the miracle maker.”
“And where can I find him?” The man asked hopefully.
“He is you,” the old man answered.
Serious doom and gloom (unhappiness and depression) is never really cured by anything or anyone outside ourselves. The best of pain pills, for example, only masks the symptoms but do not heal the cause.
So how do we basically change our world from the downside to the upside? Ernest Homes tells us this: “If we know the Power with which we are dealing with is Principle and nor personality; if we know and believe that Mind is the only Actor, Cause, Effect, Substance, Intelligence, Truth and Power that there is, if we have a real embodiment; then we can demonstrate. If we lack, if we are poor, if we are without friends, if we are without opportunity, we should be sure to erase from our consciousness any sense of lack. We erase thought from consciousness by pouring in an opposite thought. This thought meets the other and neutralizes it…”
But, someone always asks, what if a person is so far down, so unhappy that he (or she) can’t create a positive, winning thought to “neutralize” the negative thinking?
The answer to these kinds of questions is always the same: If this is the case and it certainly can be as a great many people are in terrible, even devastating ruts, there is a secret to overcome the depression. The brain must be fooled by the genie!
No matter where you are at or who you are with or even if you are amidst strangers, say silently to yourself “I love you” to everyone you greet and all living things that you see. Say this even if, at the moment, you don’t mean it. Say it enough and your brain will begin to believe you and start delivering the positive chemicals that loving feelings evolve from. And so, if you continue to do this, you will soon enough be loving your world as opposed to faulting it.
There is no greater happiness than the happiness that comes from loving. In fact, love is so physiologic that your world will actually become brighter in a real and observable way when you are truly and wholeheartedly loving. (The quantum physicist Fred Allen Wolf told me that “love in the glue of the Universe” and we all must grasp the importance of this simple statement. When we do, life just gets better).
Love indeed, gives us a deeper connectedness with the universe and when we are aware of our relationship with everything else, even loneliness simply goes away.
But what is love?
Love is not affection, love is not attachment.
Real or true love is unconditional. It has no anticipations or expectations. It is like Emerson’s rose that is perfect in every instant of its existence. Love that is based on conditions can be sincere and even deep liking but can never be love.
If, in a term, you are down in the dumps, say to the dump, I love you and open your heart and mind to it. You will be astonished at what happens if you can muster the courage to practice loving…unconditionally. I remember many years ago a young lady who thought her world was over because she had lost her boyfriend. She was crying when she told me that the only thing she had in the whole wide world was her houseplant.
“Say to your house plant, I love you,” I said,” and see what happens.”
There is very little on the outside of us that gives us unhappiness. Unhappiness and happiness are both mere projections from within. For an example my grandmother was extremely poor, having very, very little in the “material” world and yet she was one of the happiest persons I have ever known—she loved the flowers, the trees, the mountains and so forth. In this way, she was also one of the richest persons I have ever known. In most people’s views she had nothing except the scraps of poverty but nearly everything she saw flowed through her love and became her own.
And, being an old hill woman she gave me the greatest advice of my life and I will share it with you, the reader, as I have shared it with others. If you want to be happy…never judge yourself by others or ot hers by yourself.
I repeat: If you want to be happy, never judge yourself by others or others by yourself.
References and further reading:
Holes, Ernest * The Science of Mind * Tarcher Putnam
Juan, Stephen * The Odd Brain *Andrews McMeel, Publishing
Ornstein, Robert E. [Ed.] * The Nature of Human Consciousness *Viking
Reanney, Darryl * After Death *Morrow
Siegel, Bernie * Peace, Love & Healing *Harper & Row