1. Who’s the idiot? We all are
I’m sure that many times in your life, you’ve said to yourself, “That man is an idiot.” Well, you know, like attracts like. It’s like a magnet. We attract to ourselves the very thing we are suppressing. And the thing we’re suppressing yearns to be brought into the light, where it can be part of our whole being, not just shoved into some dark corner.
So up pops a man in our life, who does idiotic things that remind us of the ‘idiot’ we have suppressed. So, our idiot is brought to the light. Because now we think, “Hey I’m not the only one.”
I’m not the only one who
- Burns the toast
- Locks my keys in the car
- Forgets appointments
- Takes the wrong turn
- Forgets an anniversary
Suppressing is depressing. It’s saying you have something to hide. Do you really want to tie yourself in knots over some minor mistakes? No. Neither does your neighbour.
I wonder if there’s a way to rid ourselves of dark places to hide. Then, with no place to hide, everything would be forced to remain in the light. Where it belongs.
2. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want
When I was eight years old, a thought came to me: what a wonderful thing to be able to live your life near water. The dream of living near the water stayed with me through the years. The focus had never left my mind. Not that I was consciously thinking about it. Somehow, it was just there. It was about 30 years later, when I was travelling around the country with a musical group, that we were booked in a club in Key West, Florida, an island off the mainland of Florida. I didn’t leave until 30 years later. Of course, I still maintain a home there. Even now, my new home is located on a lake in Western New York. I certainly got what I focussed on. Of course, we always get what we focus on. We’re just not aware of it.
Make sure you focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. It’s a step towards happiness.
3. To the extent that you find possible, banish fear from your life
In so doing, love will fill the void. Love surrounds us. It’s as if you jumped into a swimming pool. The water would surround you. Love is with us in that very way. The problem is, negativity gets in the way. Have you ever thought about a pegboard of negativity? Fear, jealousy, greed, resentment, anger, doubt, hostility—all have separate pegs. Now, suppose you could find a way to never be jealous again. The jealousy peg would be pulled from the board, and love would fill the void immediately, and you would become a more loving person. As the pegs are removed, the more loving a person you become and the more your life changes.
You’ll be thinking, “Boy, I feel good.” Of course, love is having its way.
Nothing is more important in a person’s life than to allow forgiveness to be in the forefront. When you choose to forgive everyone for anything you perceive may have been done to you, your heart is relieved of the burden of carrying grudges, which demand enormous energy. Then a loving mindset is put in motion that knows no boundaries.
Everyone wants to find a way to become one with the peace and serenity that lies within. Forgiving puts you right there. When you forgive, you are forgiven. You are free. A great step towards happiness has been taken.
5. There is no such thing as failure
Failure suggests an ending. There are no endings. It’s saying to ourselves…
“There are no more options”— Certainly there are more options.
“Time has run out”—Time never runs out. “We’ve reached the end of the line.”—Not true.
There is always a possible solution, another combination of ingredients that will produce the desired results. The only ending would be death, which isn’t an ending at all, but a transition and a new beginning. And if taken in the context of only this expression of life, the desired result is always there. It’s only a matter of changing the recipe and carrying on. The cake will eventually arrive. With all the trimmings.
I couldn’t bake a cake if my life depended on it. But looking back, I see that I have been able to bake a couple of symbolic cakes and hope for more in the future. And of course, the truth is that if I continued trying to really bake a cake, eventually a wonderful, succulent chocolate cake would materialise—as it would for everyone.
So, there is no such thing as failure belongs on the list of thoughts that lead to happiness because holding on to that thought eliminates anxiety and worry, and brings a positive flow of energy, which increases the ability to succeed. Success comes from trial and error, and it seems to me that happiness is found in the quest to attain, not so much in the actual achievement. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Whoever said that was saying there is no such thing as failure.
6. Give without the expectation of return
There are many ways of giving:
Give money to a person, or a charity that needs it
Give love to a desperate person
Give clothing to a threadbare soul
Give time to someone who needs to tell her story
Then there are simple day-to-day ways of giving, like the time I was standing in a line at the supermarket. There I was, with an overloaded cart, third in line. And there was an elderly lady with two items in her hand. It seemed like the thing to do was trade places. She thanked me and I took her place at the end of the line. No sooner did I reach the back of the line when a cashier called me to an aisle that she was opening up. To my surprise, I was now first in line.
I’m sure something similar has happened to you at one time or another. It’s just another way of giving without seeking a return, sometimes karma works instantly. Giving is going with the flow. Expecting a return is looking for something to buck the flow of positive energy. It is operating with the future in mind, thus allowing worry to enter the scenario. Stay in the present. You take a giant step towards happiness.
7. Never judge a man until you’ve walked in his shoes
We’ve all heard this before. Suppose you have a friend who seems to love playing practical jokes. And you hate it! But you never gave a thought as to why he does it. Maybe there are things tearing at him, things he feels he has no control over. So, he plays practical jokes to get even with society. He wants to make others look silly, because he feels he looks silly.
Now you’re saying to yourself, “What kind of a guy would play these kinds of tricks?” That’s a judgement. You are judging him. And since it’s impossible to see things in someone that don’t exist in us, we are judging ourselves. Wouldn’t it make more sense to accept him as he is? Then, we would be accepting ourselves, which is a giant step towards loving ourselves—which is the final step toward loving others.
8. The world is your mirror, what you see is who you are
I love to look at my personal movie because my viewpoint is different from others, as is yours. It gives me an insight into what kind of thoughts I’ve been thinking and what kind of feelings they translate into. These thoughts and feelings manifest in the physical, creating your life.
Is your life exactly what you would like it to be? No? You have the power to change it. Go inside, meditate. The stillness will help you see things more clearly. It’s a way of healing. A way to bring thoughts of harmony and love to the surface. Now, take a look at your life. Is it still the same?
Shakespeare said, ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
9. There is always the bigger picture, so don’t despair
There is the good side to every experience in life, it’s up to us to make it a habit to look for it. No matter how dire the circumstances, the bigger picture will display a good side.
For example: early in my life I went to Columbus, Ohio, to join a friend who was managing a furniture store. Although I made a good salary for a while, the store eventually closed, and I decided to leave Columbus. Things didn’t look so good. I was second-guessing myself for leaving New York City.
However, it wasn’t long before I found myself in Key West, Florida, broke but optimistic. It was there that one thing led to another, finally bringing me success, peace of mind, happiness, and abundance.
When things look bleak, think about the bigger picture.
10. Allow, Allow, Allow, Allow
This is a thought that applies to you all day, every day. What’s happening is that you are making choices pertaining to situations popping up all day long. A lot of them have to do with being angry.
For example: I used to be annoyed every time a driver didn’t follow the courtesy rules at a four-way stop. I used to get angry when my wife didn’t date the check stubs and didn’t record the bank account balance. It used to blow my mind when the movie suddenly stopped because of a malfunction. I really became upset when somebody fumbled with their money at the register in the supermarket. I used to climb up the walls when the pizza didn’t arrive on time, when the alarm failed to go off, when the car wouldn’t start, and when I forgot my keys to my shop. I could go on and on and on.
Now I just enter the universal flow of energy and allow things to unfold. It reduces the tension, and it reduces the stress.
I know I don’t need that kind of anger and neither do you.
When you finally realise there is no need for all this anger, that it’s just a choice after all, you will feel great weight being lifted from your body.