School of Happiness
FULL CHAPTER EXCERPT FROM SEARCHING FOR LIGHT
School of Happiness
Happiness in life is not luck or fate, it is a skill. This chapter deals with how you can learn to achieve happiness while living out your lessons on the physical plane. There are a variety of skills required for happiness; as you develop these skills, you extend your own self-love and the love you offer to others. You can find on what level of happiness you are currently working by asking yourself this: In what area am I having difficulty right now?
The skill levels for happiness are:
Level 1- Communication Skills
Level 2- Relationship Skills
Level 3- Problem-Solving Skills
Level 4- Decision-Making Skills
Level 5- Skills for Managing Abundance
Level 6- Leadership Skills (includes Teaching and Parenting)
Level 7- Flow Skills (Expanding your Capacity for Joy)
Our primary reason for creating this “school curriculum” is to help you to perceive happiness as a learned skill. In the future, your planet will teach these in school classrooms beside math and science. Instructing children in happiness skills, presenting concepts along with plenty of experiential opportunities, allows youngsters to grasp the cause and effect of personal actions. Once an individual discovers the power of his/her choices and actions, a sense of personal responsibility and high self-esteem is the natural outcome.
Happiness skills influence all spheres of your life – work, family, friends, and play. You move magnetically into situations providing lessons in the skill areas needed to complete your lifeplan. The first three levels are basic skills which create a good foundation for the others. As you achieve acceptable skills in these basic areas, your lessons move into the higher levels. For example, what if you have problems with abundance, specifically, a lack of money?
Lightworkers (for the most part) do not want large amounts of money to deal with until they have achieved good skills in the basic areas plus skills at managing the abundance, too. You lightworkers intend to use money energy in totally harmonic ways, having already experienced the misuse of money and power in previous lifetimes. If you lack the most basic communication skills, such as the ability to say “no” to an inappropriate request, you will not allow yourself an excess of money to be mishandled. Whenever you feel blocked, be sure to look into more basic areas to see what might be needed.
In spite of what we just said, you do not really work at completing the levels in order. The most efficient manner to “graduate” is to move from level to level, constantly expanding all the skills in a balanced fashion. Happiness skills are best gained in a “revolving” manner, rather like tightening the lug nuts when changing a tire on your car; you move from one to another, escalating the overall level each time around, instead of working on one level all the way to the end.
We remind you that the ultimate goal of the physical plane is experience — of all kinds, not just joy. Each lifetime is like a science experiment, undertaken to find out “what happens if. . .” After hundreds of lifetimes on Earth, you now seek to tighten the focus of the experiment, intending to achieve speedy growth with joyful experiences instead of painful ones. Do not forget however, that painful experience is also valid. Others around you are choosing it every day.
Your current goal is to convert painful experience into something equally effective but more pleasant. Your experiment in “spiritual alchemy” begins with yourself; transform the painful areas of your life into joy. We offer this information to help you in this goal, but each person chooses between pain and joy without losing the experience from a lifetime in physical form. If people around you choose pain, remember that a painful lifetime still fulfills the soul’s desire for experience. Happiness skills also provide experience, WITH JOY!
Level 1: Communication Skills
Communication has many facets. While working on these skills, you may want to isolate a particular topic for further study. Entire books are available on some of these individual subjects, so look for ones that attract your interest or fulfill your need. Communication can generally be categorized into two main skills which can then be broken down further into particular sub-skills. The main ones are:
How Others Communicate (Good Listening)
This area focuses on all the interpretive skills you use to improve your understanding of people as they communicate to you. It includes perception of verbal communication as well as nonverbal things: body language, voice quality, male/female communication styles, etc.
How You Communicate (Sending Clear Signals)
The focus here is on you and your skill at communicating your meaning clearly and precisely. If confusion is your daily companion, this is a good topic to look into. Learning to communicate well may include the practice of techniques such as learning to say “no” in a harmonic way, speaking the hard, unspeakable truths, expressing anger appropriately, or using “straight talk.” (There is a great book entitled “Straight Talk.” See Recommended Reading list.)
You may need to learn more about asking good questions or about the magic of using the truth (gently), instead of telling “white lies.” When communication is blocked, your emotions deposit themselves within your body; you may need to learn more about how your own body communicates emotions to your consciousness. In addition, many layers of inner communication go on inside your head, like old “tapes” from your childhood which influence you internally and probably influence your communication with others as well. You initiate improvements and control changes in yourself, so work on this area usually creates tremendous results.
We have some specific suggestions for how to achieve better communication skills:
1. Seek clarity in all your communications. Everyone can improve in this in some way. Are you frustrated by interactions with others who seem to confuse things at every turn? These people provide you with opportunities to try new ways to clearly communicate your comments or wishes. If you can interact cleanly with those people who are fighting it, you can certainly interact smoothly with others like yourself who seek clarity. As you improve in this skill, notice improved clarity in your inner processes as well.
2. Cultivate an experimental attitude with changes in your communication. Since human bodies have a built-in resistance to abrupt or extreme change, you can create problems for yourself by trying to change habits overnight. You see, speedy change tends to be more from growth with pain; but the movement is often erratic – three steps forward, two steps back. Growth with joy is generally slower, but very steady and progressive. If your negative communication habits are based on self-protective behaviors developed in childhood, your entire system needs time to see how safe these new methods of communication “feel.” Once you have proven the effectiveness of a method by experiencing harmonic outcomes and positive emotions, the old habit becomes easy to extinguish in the excitement of a newly-found self-empowerment In other words, when you try something new that works great, you automatically feel stronger and better about yourself. In that state of mind, change becomes joyful.
3. Write down your thoughts in a journal. This is particularly helpful as you seek out the negative inner messages you habitually repeat to yourself. Just seeing your thoughts in writing prompts an instant “reality check,” because their childish roots become very evident. The journal serves several other purposes as well. It allows you to monitor your growth over time, as you go back and reread old journal entries. A journal provides a place to “think aloud” to yourself, to process a particular issue as you consider a behavior change. You can create and practice new communication behaviors through writing, jotting down several possible ways to express something. Additionally, written communication is often an effective way to deal with people who do not listen well; the person has a letter or memo which you both can reference to check his/her understanding of your message. A journal helps you polish your skills at writing with clarity. Over time, using a journal helps to clarify internal communication as well, with the added benefit of improved outgoing communication.
4. Carefully observe what happens when others communicate. You can complete important lessons by making deliberate changes in your own communication techniques, but you can also gain a great deal by using neutral observation. By this, we mean observing communication between people in situations which don’t trigger strong emotions in you. This might be people at work, or casual “eavesdropping” in public places, or even watching movies and television. While observing, look for what does not work as well as what does work. Let others demonstrate for you what are clearly ineffective methods, and save yourself the energy expended on unsuccessful methods.
5. Notice discrepancies in communication. As your skill at reading people develops, be sure to notice people whose words don’t match their body language or their actions. Observe that whenever there is a discrepancy, the person’s true feelings tend to match the body language/action rather than the words. Reading a person’s true intent and feelings is a basic skill needed in problem-solving and decision-making, as well. Observe carefully, and consider testing your observations for verification.
6. Learn how to gently speak the truth at all times. This is a very important skill, for nothing has more power than truth. We don’t mean you should “dump” truth all over others, unasked. Find something true you can say, rather than speak an untruth. People always sense deceit anyway. Improved intuitive abilities make lies even more obvious now, as well. Inner clarity cannot exist in the fog created by deceit, so start inside. Usually, this means you need to develop ways to say those “hard truths.” You can say almost anything in a gentle and loving tone of voice. Experiment with this and other methods to work out useful techniques for loving honesty.
Level 2: Relationship Skills
The core issue of this entire level is personal boundaries. While living in human form on the physical plane, you are at your most isolated as a soul; other levels of consciousness provide for more fusing between souls than is possible for humans. This is the source of much frustration, but it also triggers great leaps in spiritual growth. Physical isolation is part of the physical plane; it pulls each of you into a search for more connection and spiritual blending.
The intense separateness of human existence is not found on any of the other spiritual planes you frequent. We wish to make this very clear, because many of you have forgotten why you feel such loneliness and detachment. The isolation of your physical form provides intensity; it is a highly concentrated form of your individual essence. The physical plane requires physical boundaries. In the areas of feelings and personal power, however, you need technical skills to maintain good personal boundaries. This is a primary lesson, required before unconditional love is possible.
These boundaries are not limits that confine you, and they are not barriers to keep others away. We define good personal boundaries as harmonic limits to personal power and personal responsibility. You are responsible for your own feelings, but not the feelings of others. You need to live your own share of life, but not anyone else’s share. Easy to say, but not so easy to do!
The Power Aura
Generally, an aura is defined as the radiant energy around a physical form, visible to those with the ability to see energy. Power Aura refers to one particular spectrum within the aura as a whole. For those who can see auras, the Power Aura is yellow. Depending on your way of viewing auras, you might need to “change channels” to isolate the Power Aura. It is modulated through the Third Chakra. (If you are confused by any energy terminology used here, refer to Section Three, Chapter 12, Energy Basics.) It is not neces¬sary to see auras to work with the Power Aura. You need only visualize it (picture it in your mind’s eye), making size adjustments as needed. The Power Aura is a glow of yellow light surrounding your body. It may be so flat that you can barely see it; it may be as big as a room. Use of the Power Aura provides you with a simple, non-judgmental way to observe and adjust your interactions with others. Instead of trying to change and monitor each daily action, you can work from the energy level and set your Power Aura at the desired size.
Humans strive for contact Touching personal energies is the most intense form of contact available to most humans. (For those with special energy skills, other types of contact are possible, but most people are working on getting their energies to touch.) Once you understand that humans are seeking to “rub their Power Auras together,” you can then make sense out of some odd human behavior. Why does an abused woman stay with the husband who beats her, even at risk to her life? Why does a man intensely pursue a woman, and then drop her once she falls in love with him? Why do some people (male or female) always fall in love with the most emotionally unavailable person they can find? Why do so many adults have difficulty dealing with their parents? Why are two-year olds so hard to handle? When observing the Power Auras in these situations, you set aside judgement of who is “right” and who is “wrong.” You can perceive the relationships as pure energy, and make desired changes from the energy level.
Here are some examples of different types of relationships and what the Power Auras might look like in their interactions:
Strangers and Acquaintances: Both people in this relationship have flat to moderate Power Auras, so that nobody touches anybody else. In public, it is generally accepted to “pull in” your Power Aura. Even so, you will often notice people with an air of authority or importance about them; these people have more Power Aura “sticking out.” A police officer, for example, often needs to do this. Usually, as two people move into a friendship, their Power Auras will subtly expand until some boundary is created.
Bully/Victim: The Victim has a very flat Power Aura; the Bully has a large Power Aura. Don’t be fooled by the names, as both individuals share equally in creating and keeping this type of interaction. The Victim feels the Bully is the only type of person he/she can get really close to. Others with small Power Auras do not “touch” the Victim. The Bully has found someone whose aura doesn’t resist, which feels more comfortable than the constant power struggles in the rest of his/her life. For both, this relationship is a “perfect fit” which works until the Bully inevitably pushes beyond whatever small aura the Victim has. In childhood, the Victim never learned how to extend the Power Aura safely. The Third Chakra may be significantly closed off, restricting the energy flow available to boost the Power Aura. Even if the Victim gets the energy out into the Power Aura, further expansion of Power energy is blocked by the habitually over-extended Power Aura of their partner, the Bully. Both lack the ability to adjust the boundary of their Power Auras.
Chaser/Runner: The Chaser and the Runner have the same type of Power Aura; both simultaneously seek and fear having true contact with another person, but each is in a different phase. The Chaser has a Power Aura that expands only until it touches someone, then it retreats back into the smaller “safety zone.” The Runner stays in a defensive posture, with the Power Aura pulled back but ready to expand if nobody is pursuing. When these two types come together, a perfectly balanced “dance” occurs as they exchange roles and chase each other back and forth. Another shared quality is that both have very frail Power Auras that cannot withstand any pressure from another aura; these people know how to move the aura in and out, but they don’t know how to safely hold a solid boundary. If cornered, the Runner may “pop” his/her aura out suddenly, pushing others away. This action creates enough space for the Runner to escape, on the run once again. Chaser/Runner relationships are highly volatile, but can be very satisfying to those who are fearful of true energy contact This system creates a tantalizing illusion of intimacy, while maintaining the “safety zone.” For those who wish to make a true energy connection, however, this pattern is tiresome and quite uncomfortable.
Parent/Child: Generally, the Parent has a slightly larger Power Aura than the Child. At times this may be reversed, with the Child controlling the Parent. An infant usually has a small Power Aura which, over time, grows in size as the baby learns independence skills such as walking and talking. At two years old, the child’s Power Aura expands markedly in a very short period of time. Often, the aura gets bigger than the child can handle, but it’s important not to compress the aura too much or the child may never get comfortable with handling a “normal” size Power Aura. As the Child matures, the Parent’s Power Aura is slowly and gently pulled in, allowing the Child to slowly and gently learn how to handle more and more of his/her own energy. In general, conflict between Parent and Child reflects the constant renegotiation of boundaries as the Child grows up. By “conflict,” we simply mean disagreements and negotiations, not necessarily arguments and fights. If there are no differences at all however, everyone may be using flat Power Auras and there is probably very little true emotional contact Ideally, the Parent and Child will achieve well-balanced energies which often touch pleasantly. If an adult Child and the Parent revert to the childhood Power Aura shapes, stress will occur in their adult relationship.
There are more variations than these, and you may also discover combinations of the above patterns. In addition, you should not assume that the relationship style will necessarily fit the names above. For example: a mother/son relationship may follow a Chaser/ Runner pattern, or a husband/wife relationship may follow a Parent/Child pattern.
Level 3: Problem-Solving Skills
This level has three primary skill areas to develop. Remember that both Communication and Relationship skills will also be involved. Each of the three skill areas are equally important. Do not get stuck by ignoring any one area. Problem-solving requires a “double perspective,” meaning that you think about a long-term goal (5-10 years from today) at the same time as the immediate future (tomorrow). Good problem-solving combines opposites: right- brain/left-brain, masculine/feminine, focused/spatial, change/stability. The easiest way to create solutions comes from “opening” your mind and your emotions, broadening yourself to wider degrees of understanding and possibilities.
Good abilities in the following three skills are needed for problem-solving:
1. Define the problem clearly.
This is the skill most ignored in the problem-solving process. Obviously, there is great difficulty in truly eliminating a vague, undefined problem. Over 90% of the time, humans spend masses of energy “solving” issues that are secondary to the core dilemma. This is inefficient and wasteful of energy. (Remember dharma is your goal!) Time spent diagnosing the problem is very productive.
While in a neutral state, all involved parties discuss the difficulty in great detail. Each person needs to describe precisely what they experience. Questions should be asked until each person has a true understanding of what the other experiences. If the discussion turns into an argument, drop it for the time being. Get back to neutral, review some basic communication skills and try again later. Each person should make observations about themselves only! This eliminates “attacks” that trigger an argument. Sentences can begin with phrases like “When (this or that) happens, I feel..Sentences should not begin with “You always… “ After sharing both/all “sides” of the problem, your goal is to state the problem without laying blame on anyone. Create a statement that is completely neutral, (e.g. “We disagree completely on how to spend money.”)
Now, go one step further, because your true problem is usually deeper. For instance, money and sex problems are almost always power struggles at the core. Some other common “core problems” are trust issues (fear of abandonment) and control issues (fear of losing yourself). Keep going past the surface if you can.
This exercise is like tilling the soil for your garden.
2. Find and define a mutual goal.
This is a critical part of the problem-solving process. Accomplishing this step is not difficult to do, but it can be difficult to remember to do it. You must discover and state the mutual goal. If you cannot find an area of mutual agreement, there won’t be a solution that is mutually satisfying. Most of the difficulty in developing this skill comes from how most humans “see” things. People notice only the differences between people, sometimes incorrectly assuming that other areas not discussed are in agreement. Often, the mutual goal is found in the long-term fu¬ture, with the problem itself creating short-term interference. By intentionally stating the mutual goal or solution (and not just the problem), energy is directed from the negative to the positive.
This is the transformative point. It plants the seed of the solution in the tilled soil of your garden.
3. Create and test a mutually satisfying adjustment to the situation.
Most people try to jump directly to this part of the process, suffering a bewildering failure because they do not even know about the first two skills. Many psychological and energy changes occur during the first two steps of the process, so a solution built without them as a foundation will be weak. When you define where you are now, then state where you want to go in the long-term future, the best pathway will appear as if by magic! Yes, you will need to make changes in order to “walk that pathway,” but a truly perfect solution will energize you! Don’t be satisfied with a simple compromise.
Expand your thinking in order to get a great, creative solution. Good negotiation skills are needed, but the very best solutions are great ideas that come in a flash. Usually, the best solution requires a change in some basic format or system. Test the potential solution so nobody feels constrained. An experimental attitude provides needed flexibility.
“Grow” great solutions in your garden!
Harmonic solutions are difficult to express in general terms, so we offer some examples below.
Problem #1: A 13-year old girl clashes with her parents almost daily over money. Daughter wants expensive designer clothes, with no regard for budget. Mother and Father must unhappily say “no!” to these emotionally-charged requests. Constant arguments disrupt the family, as Daughter constantly asks for lunch money, movie money, and pizza money. The “hidden” problem is a combination of power struggle and control issues. The daughter’s behavior signals that she is ready for more power and more control over her own life.
Great Solution: Daughter is given a firm monthly budget from the parents, which she may spend in any way she wishes. The budget includes lunch money, money for toiletries, entertainment, and clothes. Special items like a winter coat or a special occasion dress are negotiated, often with the parents paying half, over and above the budget. Daughter gets her own checking account to learn about banking. (Note: This doesn’t work with weak boundaries. The parents must be able to see her “suffer” consequences, like when she has no money left on Friday night for a movie.)
Outcome: Much fewer arguments about money. Parents can count on steady monthly expenses. Daughter learns to budget her limited resources; she begins avidly watching sale ads in the news¬paper for the first time. Daughter is proud of her grown-up independence, and she proudly shows off her checkbook to her friends. Parents notice their daughter adjusting her behavior as she experiences the consequences of her choices.
Problem #2: A married couple is struggling with their rela¬tionship. She tends to “push” him-craving more conversation, more emotional sharing, seeking more intimacy. He retreats, tun¬ing her out by reading the newspaper, watching sports on TV, and woodworking in the garage. The more she pushes, the more he retreats. It’s getting worse each day. She picks fights with him just to get his attention, while he tries to ignore her anger. The “hidden” problem is a complicated mix of power struggle, control, and trust issues.
Great Solution: They schedule a weekly “intimacy meeting.” She must restrain from pushing issues at him all through the week, saving them up for the meeting. He must spend a little time through the week preparing for the meeting, trying to notice his feelings and figure out a way to express them to her in any way he wants (not just words). These are not “bitch sessions.” Problems may be aired, but in a problem-solving way. Feelings are to be the focus. Imaginative methods of communication are highly-recommended, since good communication involves more than just talking. He must push forward a little; she must pull back a little. Balance and comfort are the goals. Each feels the other is making some effort toward a solution, which improves trust.
Outcome: At first, time is spent negotiating solutions to little problems, but the meetings soon evolve into something both productive and pleasant. Over time, the couple discovers that more intimacy comes naturally when they communicate in creative ways. One week she ends the meeting with an “exotic dance” to express that she would like him to pay attention to her. One week he reads her a wonderful poem that he found at the library, expressing many of his feelings about their relationship. She learns about other methods than talking to communicate; he learns it’s safe to com¬municate his deepest feelings in whatever way he wants. After several months, the planned meetings subtly shift into an unplanned, natural flow of intimate communication. Both are much happier.
Level 4: Decision-Making Skills
When confronted with two or more options in behavior, you have a choice that requires a decision. You make thousands of small and not-so-small decisions every day. Obviously, some individual decisions have more impact than others, but some seemingly trivial decisions grow larger through repetition. Most people spend a lot of time making “big” decisions (like who to marry or which house to buy), but may give little attention to the small daily decisions (like how much to eat, or whether to smoke a cigarette). When these little choices build up and accumulate into a problem, it can be hard to connect those small decisions with the larger problem. Anyone who smokes cigarettes, or consistently under- or overeats is choosing to ignore this kind of pattern.
Your first job is to realize that everything in your life, large and small, is the result of decisions you have made. If you still believe that your life is controlled by something or someone outside yourself, you will have difficulty making conscious, deliberate choices. We cannot emphasize this enough… EVERYTHING IS CHOSEN.
You choose your parents, your birthday, your body type, your birthplace. More importantly, your choices have lead you to this time and place, to your job, to your financial status, and to your health. Note: The only exception is when karma is involved. We define karma as any time a person takes choice away from another person, and this creates a karmic “ribbon” that must be “untied” by repeating the original action in some way that replaces choice. It is not so common as you might think, and very few circumstances in your life are based solely on karma. You make many choices consciously, but a large number are made from subconscious preferences and assumptions “programmed” by your Higher Self to help you achieve the overall plans for your current lifetime. We recommend that you connect with your Higher Self in order to understand the larger context of your decisions. If you see “the big picture,” you can operate more deliberately. We are not talking about making your decisions on intuition alone or logic alone, but a combination of the two.
Let us describe the structure of your consciousness, for using it effectively improves your decisions. Your physical form does not hold within it everything that you are; it is simply too much to handle in the tight focus of the physical plane experience. Your consciousness has two primary components – will and memory. The consciousness in your body holds approximately 90% of your will, which is your capacity to prefer one thing over another (commonly called desire). The other 10% remains with your Higher Self on the Astral Plane. The reverse is true for memory, as your current body holds something less than 10% of all experience (depending on how much conscious recall of past lives you have). Your Higher Self holds most of your memory, which can be accessed to regain lessons and experiences from previous incarnations. Your memory also holds the blueprint you created for this lifetime, the agreements and plans already in place for NOW. If you operate without a strong connection between these two components, your decisions will lack effectiveness. You do not want to be directed completely by your Higher Self, for it has very little of your will; however you do want to make use of past lessons you’ve accomplished to smooth your current pathway. For this reason, we recommend that you deliberately access your Higher Self when needed, much as you would use reference material from a library. There are three component skills which facilitate appropriate decisions and choices. They are outlined below, and we have included corresponding exercises for you to try:
1. Ability to Connect Past, Present and Future
In order to plan and choose well, you must be able to see how the seeds planted yesterday grew into today’s garden. The same skill allows you to predict what today’s garden will look like when tomorrow arrives. This may seem very simple, but many of you have difficulty in this area because of emotional blocks (rather than cognitive blocks) such as anytime you do something that is obviously unhealthy for your body, but satisfying to your emotions. You know better, but may convince yourself that “just this once” it will be okay; repetition over time then accumulates into a big problem. If you have trouble figuring out how you got into a predicament, you probably need to work on making these important connections. The seeds of the situation were probably planted long ago and, since people tend to follow previous patterns of behavior, most will repeat the same mistakes over and over. To those of you who can see the patterns, repeating the same errors like this seems very strange. Remember that someone who has disconnected the past from today will not connect the present to tomorrow either. When fear rules the ego, it does not allow a person to remember errors, or to use that information to improve decision-making. It is very normal to eliminate painful thoughts from your mind; the conscious mind simply “erases” the connecting thought process, alleviating the pain but leaving a person to repeat a negative behavior pattern.
Exercise: Think of a relatively small mistake you made recently, something that doesn’t trigger inner intensity for you. Ask yourself this question: “If I could do this over again more perfectly, what changes would I make? What outcome would I prefer and how can I accomplish that?” Practice this thought pattern with small issues, gradually increasing the intensity of the problems. Over time, you will develop comfort in looking at your errors in a productive way. You are retraining your ego to make the connection between action and consequences, particularly negative ones.
2. Ability to See All Possibilities
When you feel powerless and unable to decide something, you may not be looking at all your choices. This is a common problem for “victims” – people who don’t like where they are, but who are unable to see a doorway out. If you have an area of your life where you feel victimized, you will usually find the solution to the problem outside your current options. You may have dismissed some good alternatives based on erroneous beliefs. If you believe something is impossible, it becomes exactly that; if you open up your belief system, you expand your options. For some, a lack of flexibility causes the choices to narrow. If you have trouble with change, you might ignore a good option out of resistance to all change, even good change! All restrictions to your choices come from fear. If you eliminate fear, your menu of choices expands dramatically, and your problem-solving abilities are also enhanced.
Exercise: Using a simple decision you make every day, list all possible choices without limitation. It can be a silly decision with as many ridiculous answers as you can find. Some possible topics to consider are: ways to position food on your plate, ways to get from one room to another, ways to kiss, ways to show affection for someone else. Consider trying this exercise with another person, comparing ideas. Try this exercise with a child; you may see just how “stuck” in routine adults tend to be! (It’s fun, too!) Once your list is complete, spend some time expanding it even further. This will demonstrate to you how many more possibilities there can be when you make a conscious effort to find them.
3. Ability to Adjust Short-term Behavior for Long-term Consequences (Cohesive Behavior)
If you tend to act for immediate reward only, you will have difficulty matching your daily behavior with your long-term goals. The problem is not a lack of self-control, but an inner conflict that is played out through actions that lack cohesiveness. Decisions from day to day which don’t “match” indicate a need for work in this area. A person with conflicting internal belief systems often engages in self-sabotage behaviors. This person chooses daily behaviors which alternate from one goal to another, resulting in erratic movement through life. The most common conflict is between short-term rewards and long-term goals. Children learn this from choices like “Do I buy candy today or save up my money for a toy?” The solution is to connect the short¬term behavior to the goal, in order to maintain motivation and focus on the long-term.
Exercise: Select an area of your life where your daily actions conflict with a long-term goal – consider looking at a habit like smoking, overeating, or overspending. Create a visual image of the long-term goal. Add emotion to the image like how comfortable and happy you feel when the goal is reached. Hold this image for a minute or so, intensifying the good feeling in your body. Notice what part of your body feels the best. If you don’t notice any particular spot, use your stomach area. Mentally shift the visualized image from your mind into that body part. Now, whenever you notice that good sensation there in your body, you know your behavior is on target toward your goal.
Level 5: Skills for Managing Abundance
Many of you are currently working on this skill, wondering why you cannot improve your finances more quickly and easily. The block is often insufficient competence in one or more of the basic Happiness skills, particularly in the Communication and/or Relationship areas. For example, if you are unable to say “no” to others when appropriate, the Universe may say “no” to you! You created this protective mechanism to keep you from wasting or misusing large sums of money, for you have already done that in earlier lifetimes. If you believe this to be the source of your abundance problems, get to work and improve these fundamental skills. Please realize that lightworkers require superb skills in all areas to complete lifeplan activities, so you cannot settle for average skill levels!
Abundance levels tend to match perceived need levels, which causes a feeling of scarcity. An old saying goes, “Work expands to fill the time available.” With money, the saying might be, “Spending increases until it depletes bank accounts available.” Similar energy systems are at work in both situations. At this time of consciousness expansion, a more precise illustration could be made by adding a word to the beginning of each saying: Non-deliberate spending and non-deliberate work are more exact descriptions of the current concept Clear intentions provide power to all actions, whether you are “spending” money energy, time energy, or work energy. Evaluate how “awake” you are as you expend energy in any form. Are you using your intuition, your logic and your conscious will to make deliberate choices about how to spend your energy? If not, try to do so. For more efficiency, seek balanced interactions.
For our purposes, we define abundance as a feeling of plenty. When you have abundance in your life, you feel you have enough (and more!) of anything you need or want. This is a broad definition; it includes money, work, play, health, intimacy, sex, comfortable surroundings, clothing, free time, fun, etc. Begin by developing a picture of what abundance means to you personally. Your first discovery may be that you need to adjust the image you hold to a more realistic perspective. We are not saying “Think smaller.” Think as big as you possibly can, but try to imagine the reality of the experience. The purpose here is to understand that a “price tag” comes with some types of abundance. If you want to be rich and famous, do you feel ready to lose your privacy and anonymity? Will you wonder if people like you because of who you really are or because of your money and fame? Get specific about dollar amounts and how you would invest it How much income per year feels abundant to you? How many dollars in a savings account would make you feel that you have plenty? What do you need in any area of your life to say, “I have enough!” The core question here is this: What is plenty to you and what preparation do you need to handle the abundance?
If you lack abundance in any area of your life, you have located an area that needs preparation and work. Abundance is often symbolized by the “Horn of Plenty,” representing the harvest of fruits and vegetables from the garden. If your garden has not been prepared with tilling, fertilizing, the planting of high-quality seeds, weeding and watering – how can you be surprised when you get only a few scrawny plants and lots of weeds? If you can determine what work is needed to plan and prepare your garden, you are ready to see speedy results from your labors!
Many of you suffer an insatiable neediness for tangible objects (like houses, automobiles, clothing, etc.) This comes from scarcity in some emotional area of your life (often fear of abandonment) stemming from your childhood experience. A well-meaning parent who entangles showing affection with giving objects may be a source for this condition. The objects you need so urgently are symbolic of the unconditional love that you truly crave. Need is different than desire; need has a desperate quality, signaling that fear is the source. Need works like a hole in the bottom of your “energy-bucket,” never allowing the energy to reach the top and flow over the sides in true abundance.
As long as you need, you will never have enough – no matter how much you have. Many, many wealthy people do not enjoy their wealth because needy feelings drain away their sense of abundance. If you find yourself constantly craving anything (money, objects, food, alcohol, etc.), evaluate the energy source of the feeling. Using visualization, take a look at your internal energy system and try to locate the empty spot that cries out in hunger; typically you’ll find it in the stomach and/or the chest areas of the body, near the third and fourth Chakras. Self-esteem issues are the most common source of this craving sensation; lack of self-love and/or lack of self-power are usually at the core of neediness. Once you visually locate a “black hole” (an area without an energy glow), imagine the spot filled with sparkling energy pumped in from the surrounding areas.
Others of you experience your lack of abundance differently, more happily – you may have a sense of waiting for it to reach you. Abundance is necessary for all you “racers” who intend to reach 100 mph. How can you be happier than ever before in any lifetime, without a complete sense of prosperity? Each of you included a way to achieve abundance within your blueprint for this lifetime. For some of you, there is a feeling of comfortable anticipation for that time to arrive. (Some of you are a little less patient!) If your abundance skills are working fine, you may simply have to wait out a timing glitch. Returning to our garden metaphor, even the most well-prepared, hardworking gardener must wait for harvest time to arrive. Completing your plans, while becoming prosperous along the way, helps to create the inner joy that propels your energy above 90 mph! You have delayed some of your abundance to appreciate it all the more.
All abundance is some variation of basic energy. Money, love, creativity, power – all of these are energy interactions. You improve your ability to manage abundance as you learn more about how energy behaves. As you open yourself to stronger energies, you move through various skill levels and lessons. If you turn away from a particular issue, it will return with another “face” but with the same underlying issue. Abundance lessons are usually very practical, having to do with daily choices about “real world” situations rather than starry, otherworldly things. For this reason, some spiritual teachers disdain concerns about abundance. We do not, for it is the most concrete and measurable application possible for your energy skills. If any area of your life is in disarray, including your finances, you will not be able to achieve 100 mph.
Bear in mind that you will generate tangible results as you bring abundance into your life. Some of our methods for improving your abundance management skills may seem particularly “non-metaphysical.” You are existing as part of the physical plane, and we highly recommend that you keep a significant proportion of your focus there rather than continually seeking to move beyond the limitations of physicality. When making decisions on how to handle your abundance, your most effective method is to blend a harmonic mixture of intuition and logic. Use your logic to gather information and create a group of possibilities, (e.g. What are my investment choices? What return/risk quotient comes with each choice?) Next, use your intuition to expand or refine those actions, (e.g. Do I get a “gut feeling” for any of these possible choices? Do I get an intuitive sense to keep looking, a feeling the list isn’t complete?) Now, go back to your logic to verify your intuition. Continue in this manner until you find a solution that “feels” right and “thinks” right, meaning that your logic and your intuition are both satisfied.
As you might guess, there can be lots of work and study involved as you gather and verify your intuitive choices. For this reason, we have several recommendations for how to develop your abundance “muscles.” Like working out with weights, you need to create an individual program and work at your own pace.
1. Know your current financial status (no matter whether it is healthy or not). Can you balance your bank accounts? How much money do you owe? Are you spending more, the same, or less than your current income? You must be willing to acknowledge your current position in order to plot movement to another location.
2. Learn about tax planning. Your accountant can only fill out the forms according to the way you decide to distribute the money. There is a great deal of self-empowerment when you know how to plan your spending for maximum tax savings.
3. Observe your shopping and purchasing style. Are you logical or emotional? Do you plan ahead or do you buy spur of the moment? Experiment with different styles to see how they feel. Try going to the grocery store without a list compared to going with a list. Your goal is efficiency as well as good feelings. It’s possible to teach yourself a new style, if you wish.
4. Use observation and intuition to discover profitable businesses. Notice how they operate and what they feel like. You are learning how to select highly profitable stocks or other investments, and also how to adjust your own business or job so it is a magnetic, high-energy zone that attracts customers and profit.
5. Look for interesting books on business and money management at the bookstore. Two possibilities to consider: More Wealth Without Risk by Charles Givens provides specific, practical advice on money management and investment; The Great Boom Ahead by Harry S. Dent, Jr. describes the coming economic conditions of which you are preparing to take advantage. Notice that the economist author dedicates the book to a spiritual master.
Level 6: Leadership Skills (including Teaching and Parenting Skills)
In many ways, this level is the most difficult yet rewarding skill area for happiness. As you might guess, your lifeplan requires that you develop strong abilities in this area. However, many of you plan to be involved in situations that don’t look like the Western definition of leadership. You may need to work on one or more of these areas, so use your intuition to guide you about where to begin. We remind you here that the first five levels of Happiness Skills provide a strong base for these higher skills, but that lessons seldom come to you in this exact sequence. Work on whatever lessons you find right under your nose, for those tend to be the most needed; use your intuition to determine where to begin.
Leadership. This can mean to go first and bring a group behind you, or it can mean to send people in the direction of your choosing, as you point the way. Both of these techniques have value, but current planetary energy makes the first method more efficient. It is difficult to push unless you use fear, while love works well as a magnet. If you go first using love as your bait, those following you automatically have a focus on the positive. Feminine leadership techniques tend to work best right now. While these have been used extensively in the Far East, most of you in the Western world do not recognize these techniques as leadership. They may seem mysterious and odd to you. Viewing Eastern leadership through the lens of Western society beliefs can make it difficult to tell who is the real leader!
Here is what Eastern leadership principles teach: A good leader uses power gently and as seldom as possible. Allowing the natural order of things to flow provides natural consequences, which a good leader harnesses to his/her higher purpose. A good leader keeps one eye on the larger goal, the long-term effects, and the group as a whole. Gentle well-placed nudges from a good leader are sufficient, making heavy domination unnecessary. A good leader seeks to understand the cause for each effect in order to create the desired consequences for the group. The true leader is not just the person with the title, but rather the one who influences the outcome.
As you can see, there are many nuances and subtleties to Eastern or feminine leadership. Unknowingly, you may have been working with these issues for quite some time. We recommend that you look around for the areas of your life where leadership operates. You may be leading one person (your child) or you may be leading an entire group or organization. We are not suggesting that you abandon all usage of masculine-style leadership; we are suggesting that you extend your skills by adding on an additional layer of leadership methods and techniques. You need both styles for your work, but be prepared for tremendous results with little effort when using the feminine leadership style at 90 mph!
How do you recognize when you are working on leadership skills? What forms do leadership lessons take? You may be surprised at the life lessons that fall into this skill area. Following are broad descriptions of some of the many ways leadership lessons appear in your life:
❖ Anytime you have difficulty with authority figures or “rules,” you strengthen your self-esteem and inner will to become a better leader. At some point in their lives, all leaders turn inward for moral guidance rather than looking outward. Many “difficult” children grow up to be strong leaders; others may be docile as children, but face a confrontation with authority at some point.
❖ When you find leadership thrust upon you by others, you are being handed opportunities to practice and improve your leadership skills. Whether it is the PTA or a large business project, you are “rehearsing” for later leadership. Take the reins and drive the wagon as much as possible. If one leadership method doesn’t work well, try a new one. The point is to get you to try out new leadership behaviors and techniques.
❖ If you have a child, you are definitely working on leadership skills! If you have a child who is a leader, you have taken on a particularly complicated project! You are shaping those who carry your work into the next phase, those who will someday take your lightworker inventions and make them an everyday part of life on this planet. While Henry Ford’s generation invented the automobile, it was the next genera¬tion that built the superhighways and added power steering. It is during your children’s lifetime that your White House projects will become “mainstream.” Parenting leadership may be one of the most important but overlooked areas of leadership, but many of you plan to focus heavily on this skill. There are a tremendous number of powerful Old souls currently entering Earth’s physical plane as children. Look around for one (or more) near you. You can knowingly guide them as they seek to reach adulthood with good happiness skills of every kind.
❖ Involvement with conflict is another source of leadership lessons. When you find yourself in the middle of a conflict, especially if the difficulty is primarily between two parties (people or groups), you are in a situation that provides an opportunity for you to experiment with various new methods of leadership. For instance, mediation is an extremely important leadership skill. It utilizes all of your happiness skills, improving as they improve. If a reliable old technique suddenly quits working, don’t throw it out of your “toolbox.” In the long-term, you need to use every tool you have, but these short-term lessons “force” you to find or create some new tool, thus adding to the old ones in your toolbox. Just because you only need a screwdriver for a particular job, don’t throw out your hammer!
❖ Leadership through teaching has many uses, and many sources for lessons. Effective salespeople are actually teaching by answering questions and providing information to their clients. Good healers and counselors also teach through their work. Business executives and managers lead effectively by teaching their employees more efficiency and basic happiness skills such as Problem-Solving and Communication. Most teaching leaders use a combination of instruction (information provided at appropriate intervals, combined with experiential learning opportunities) and modeling (effective behavior from the leader which serves as an example after which the student may pattern his/her own behavior). In your daily activity, observe what you are teaching others through instruction or modeling – whether you are conscious of it or not!
What Kind of Leader Are You?
Ask yourself a few questions. Our intention with this “quiz” is to provide you with a map of your true leadership abilities. Many of you are better leaders than you give yourselves credit for!
Do other people come to you for advice and counseling? Do people tend to “gather” around you and follow you like sheep as if you’re the shepherd? Do friends/family occasionally remind you of something you once said or did that really made an impact on them?
Have you ever found yourself talking to a total stranger about their deepest feelings or biggest problems? Do you have strong opinions about social and political issues of the day?
Has anyone ever told you they wanted to be like you? Has anyone ever seemed to strongly dislike you for no apparent reason? Do you dress to follow clothing trends or do you wear whatever you like?
Have you ever spoken to a total stranger in a book or video store to offer a suggestion? Do people in public places come up to you asking questions about where to find or how to do something?
If the answers to some or all of these questions is yes, then you exude some intangible quality called leadership. People respond to leadership energy without consciously knowing why. People may be drawn toward your energy -asking you questions, telling you their problems, sometimes trying to give you too much power over their decisions!
When you come across someone who seems to dislike you for no apparent reason, it’s likely that they are working on a beginning level of leadership. They are reacting to your leadership energy with an unconscious desire to resolve the hierarchy, like stags battling for herd dominance by crashing their antlers together. For the most part, you will not find it helpful to engage in the battle with these souls. Stand aside or ignore their combative behavior if you can.
Leadership energy is the purple hue within the rainbow of colors in your aura, modulated through the Crown or seventh chakra (at the top of your head). This energy is quite different from the yellow of the Power or third chakra, however the two are closely related and are most efficient when used together. The seventh chakra is sending and receiving during good leadership intervals, providing intuitive information between leader and follower. This psychic link fuels the interaction. When you sense a need for leadership energy, open the seventh chakra. As you intuitively receive needed information, your action (or non-action) pathway becomes obvious to you.
Level 7: Flow Skills (Expanding Your Capacity for Joy)
In previous sections, we discussed tangible behavior modifications. This topic is very different from the other six. The primary feature which sets this level apart from the others is this: Flow is not an action or a learned behavior… it is a state of being, a mind¬set, a deliberate focus which transforms any action or behavior into a joyful experience. As we move into a more complete explanation below, please keep this distinction in mind.
What does flow mean? For our use here, we mean a state of Oneness with the Universe. This state of mind increases joy, creativity, self-empowerment, and total involvement with life. Oddly enough, when you are in the flow state, you lose the sense of isolation characteristic of the physical plane. You merge your energy with your surroundings. Fear and negative thoughts fall aside as outwardly-focused concentration pulls you out of the ego and into the flow of consciousness.
Re-experience for a moment those times in your life when you felt most alive. Countless situations provide the trigger for peak experiences – a child’s first smile at a parent, a sailor holding a tight course into the wind, a musician creating a new song, a child breathlessly placing the final block on a toy tower. These moments occur at unpredictable times, even in the midst of crisis or danger. Some people court danger on race tracks and mountain peaks in search of this optimal sensation. A struggle which forces you to meet a challenge of any sort can lead to such an experience. A comprehensive look at this topic can be found in a book entitled FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience—Steps Toward Enhancing the Quality of Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
For ease of understanding, we’ll use the same terminology as this author, who labeled the flow state an “autotelic experience,” and the person who enjoys them frequently as an “autotelic personality.” The word “autotelic” derives from two Greek words, auto meaning self, and telos meaning goal. Autotelic refers to a self- contained activity, something that provides its own reward in the act of doing. If you do something with the expectation of a future reward, it is not an autotelic action. If you do something because you enjoy doing it, you can create an autotelic experience. It is possible to integrate autotelic episodes into every aspect of your daily life – at home or office, playing soccer or raking leaves, singing or sewing. Your goal for this lifetime is to learn how to bring joy into every moment of every day – to EXPAND your capacity for joy.
What are the common elements for most autotelic experiences? In order to learn how to shift into the flow state as often as possible, you must clearly understand the necessary components. Following are several elements common to autotelic events. All need not be part of every optimal experience.
* Activity that provides both challenge and requires skill. (Notice that most enjoyable experiences provide this naturally – games, crafts, art, music, dancing, reading and even socializing!)
* Intense concentration. (Irrelevant information is excluded, which removes negatives from consciousness.)
* Merging of action and awareness. (Person becomes one with activity.)
* Clear goals and feedback, creating complete involvement. (Provides a sense of forward movement.)
* A feeling of general well-being with a powerful sense of control.
* The loss of self-consciousness, a lack of self-scrutiny or self- judging.
* The transformation of time. (Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, the event creates its own rhythm.)
* The sensation of increased energy flow throughout your energy system. (The basis of all the other elements.)
You need not develop proficiency in all other happiness skills before beginning work on this level. As you increase your autotelic behavior, you bring more high-grade energy into your system which creates rapid growth in every other area of your life. Flow leads to improved relationships and choices as your energy pulsates strong and clear. Remember, flow is a state of mind that leads to enhanced happiness.
Increasing the Frequency of Flow Experiences
Yours is a highly personal journey, with countless ways to enter the flow state of consciousness. Begin by figuring out what triggers the flow state for you. Bring flow into other activities by creating challenges, goals and feedback. Try attaching “games” to work activities not normally considered “play” – like a family contest at raking leaves, or for one person raking alone, rhythmic designs or music coming from the look or sound of the leaves as they are moved. Of course, you will have your own preferences as you create energy patterns that you enjoy, but here are some broad-based suggestions for increasing your flow experiences:
1. Use one of your five senses to attach your attention to one aspect of an experience. This trigger (sense) becomes the focus of your goal and feedback loop. If you have trouble finding a trigger, shift from one sensory mode to another. For example, you may discover an auditory trigger (crunching) to induce the flow state in an oral exercise (eating cereal). Ultimately, you may discover that one of your five senses is stronger than the others, which helps as you add more and more flow events to your life. With practice, you can grow in your ability to use multiple senses simultaneously.
2. Set a clear goal for yourself in the selected activity. Many pursuits have natural goals. For instance, reading the first page of a new book immediately establishes a natural goal of going to the last page of the book. In some cases, the lack of flow is caused by the lack of goal. Your goal can be anything; it can be as simple as JOY, created by combining words and a melody together for a silly song in the shower, for example. An important aspect of an autotelic personality is the high level of self-esteem that results from large numbers of successes and goals reached. A habit is created, a habit of choosing an objective and reaching that objective by personal effort. Choose goals that require some effort, while remaining within reach. Goals chosen too low will induce boredom; too high will cause anxiety. Flow lies in a balanced place between these two extremes.
3. Build a “flow loop” within your activity by adding feedback to your goal. The goal pushes your energy outward; the feedback completes the loop, pulling the energy back to fuel a stronger surge of energy on the next action. Successful attempts or close-but-not-quite attempts can fuel a stronger second try, since a desire to improve is strengthened by either outcome. For example, video games have a natural “flow loop” in their structure. Knowing this makes it easy to understand why they have such wide popularity.
4. Remember that your only limit is your creativity. The only things absolutely required to establish flow consciousness are mental focus and the shaping of data into a pattern. For example, you will never achieve flow while playing chess if you don’t learn the rules of the game. Flow occurs as you concentrate your attention and establish a non-chaotic meaning which attracts even more focused attention. Meaningless information swirls around you all the time. You create the flow state by discovering meaningful patterns in the data.
5. Observe children, particularly young children, to see natural flow energy at work. Whenever you tell a child to “go play,” you are really saying “go flow.” Everyone uses flow extensively in early childhood, for this is how so much learning (crawling, walking, talking) happens in such a short period of time. If you have trouble reconnecting to the feeling of flow, try some of your favorite childhood activities. In some cases, a low challenge level may make it boring. (It’s harder to color inside the lines at 4 years old than 40 years old.) Some may be more challenging now than they were then. (Those little jacks and tiny ball are harder to handle when your hands are bigger.) Some may stay just as exhilarating as ever. (Almost everyone likes to see how high they can swing.)
Seeking Joy in Everyday Things
This section is an added corollary to the flow information. We often mention far-reaching lifeplans and complex group agreements, but your life will never be truly and completely joyful unless you learn to achieve joy in small daily activities. Remember that you lightworkers intend to build mountains out of the tiniest grains of sand! Like most people, you spend your days preparing meals, eating them, chatting about daily events with others, feeding the dog or cat, reading the newspaper, watching television, taking a shower, making the bed, paying bills, mowing the lawn, driving to work, buying groceries, cleaning the toilet, answering the telephone, working at your job. This is your challenge – to turn each of these activities into a joyful experience.
Here are some suggestions on how to accomplish this goal:
1. Immerse yourself in the activity. Whenever you choose a particular activity, do it with complete focus of attention. Notice details. Tune in with all your senses, observing everything around you carefully. Experiment with different and interesting ways to go about the activity. Don’t let your mind wander. Keep it on the activity at hand.
2. Become more skilled at the activity. Improve your efficiency and creativity in every activity you undertake. Even the most “boring” of jobs can be reworked for more efficiency. Some activities can become a huge source of improved self-esteem if you challenge yourself to new levels. Cooking is a good example of this.
3. Turn the activity into a game. Add some low-level competition. If others are involved, it’s more game-like if you compete. If it’s a solo activity, you can compete against yourself. Remember that all flow activities have some sort of challenge involved. No matter what the activity, you can concoct a way to make it a friendly contest of one sort or another.
4. Ritualize the boring activities. There is intense power in repetition; this can be observed in the rituals of many organized religions. Repetitious activities can be exceedingly boring unless you allow the repetition to create a transcendent energy, taking personal energy into a higher state. By “ritualize,” we mean to give each part of the activity a meaning that elevates the actions. It is not necessary to make a religious connection, but some kind of spiritual meaning is often helpful, (e.g. While planting flowers, take time to “talk” to each individual flower, perhaps give each plant a blessing for growth.)
5. Add music or rhythm to the activity. Music pulls you quickly into a timeless consciousness. For hundreds of years, humans have added music to repetitious or boring activities. Examples of this are old-time songs of the railway workers and the singing cowboys alone on the range. Military drills have long involved chants and songs. “Whistle while you work” is an age-old way to help you be happier at a mundane job. Listening to the radio does not usually achieve your goal here. You don’t want to be pulled away from the activity, but further into it. Listen for the natural rhythm or sound of an activity; sometimes birds singing or leaves crunching for example are enough to induce the flow state. Other times, you might join in with music of your own kind.
6. Be fully in the moment and fully in your body. You may discover how much of your day disappears when you aren’t there. When you are thinking of last week or next month, you are not fully in the moment. When you get “into your head” too intensely, you are not fully in your body. For maximum joy, you need all parts of yourself – mind, body, soul – to connect in the same place at the same time. Often, this is most easily attained with comfortable daily activities. As you develop more awareness of “getting yourself together,” you will find this important connection easier to maintain.
As lightworkers, achieving personal happiness is your job. It is your reason to exist here on the physical plane. Grasp your lessons and embrace them, for they attract cosmic light-energy into your body. Each skill you develop, each lesson you complete, each difficulty you successfully resolve is another light bulb in your personal light show. When you lightworkers reach 100 mph using Happiness Skills, this planet will look like a cosmic version of “The Strip” in Las Vegas – countless individual lights all shining at once in a glorious display!