The stress and strain of constantly being connected can sometimes take your life -- and your well-being -- off course. GPS For The Soul can help you find your way back to balance.
GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony, or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to look at the GPS Guide below, visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.
Everyone wants it.
Few people find it.
Fewer still know where to look.
For happiness, that is.
Confession. I wasted more years than I wish to admit...
...wanting to be happy,
...not certain, when I was happy, whether I was really happy,
...and, even more uncertain where to look to find it.
Which is why I'm writing a new book, Living Life Backwards. Having lived more than half my life, I've gained a perspective I describe as the backward look that may be beneficial to persons of any age, but particularly to those who still have more than half their lives to live.
In this GPS for the Soul series, I share a few of the things I'm developing more fully in the book -- which is, of course, my most important resolution for the new year: to finish writing it. That and finding a publisher, of course.
It's a collection of things I've learned and spiritual practices I engage in on a daily basis. They provide to me, and perhaps to you, too, a framework within which to nurture the happiness that is me, and you, already.
Happiness is hard to find within yourself. But impossible to find outside yourself.
Start here. That is, on the inside, instead of the outside in the search for happiness.
Jesus once told of man who found a treasure in a field. We might change it a bit to be that of a boy finding a treasure buried in the sand.
Here's how the story went: While crossing an empty field one afternoon, a nameless but familiar fellow stumbled over something. He had inadvertently, and unexpectedly, stepped on a "buried treasure," the value of which was so great, he went out, sold everything he had, and purchased the lot that housed this incredible find.
Hard to avoid the irony. Here's a guy out searching for happiness and he's stepping on it at one-and-the-same time.
The happiness he was searching to find he stumbled upon. For years, I made the same mistake. Looking beyond for what was beneath me all along... or, searching outside myself for what could only ever be found on the inside.
Happiness is nearer than you think.
What looking inside means:
Jesus said, “Deny self…” The Buddha said, “Let the self subside…” Robert L. Stevenson put it to verse, “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me; and, what could be the use of him is more than I can see. He’s very, very like me from his heels up to his head, and I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.”
Question: What are the two most important days of your life? Answer: The day you were born; and, the day you figure out why. You showed up for a reason and it may have nothing to do with a “career.” We have it backwards in our culture: we teach children to look for a career. So they look outside for a career instead of inside for a calling.
You were born with a “WHY?” chromosome; use it. The Buddha said, "Believe nothing until you've questioned it…" This includes your religion, if you were raised by religious parents. Until you question your faith, you have no faith.
Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” (Matt. 7;12). My slightly altered version is that you only ever do to others what you have done already to yourself. Want better relationships, then start with treating yourself the way you’d like to be treated.
“All events are blessings given to us to learn from…” said Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Can you see how this perspective impacts your happiness? Know also, “Nothing you are currently experiencing will ever fully disappear until you learn the lesson it was sent to teach you” – Buddhist Pema Chodron. Saint Paul put the same idea in these words, “All things work together for your good” - (Rom. 8:28)
If you ever hear someone say, “If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t change a thing!” Know this: They’re lying! You seldom regret the things you have done; you always regret the things you have not done. You never worry about the things that WILL happen; you only worry about the things that MIGHT happen.
Christiane Northrup, MD says, “Unfortunately, for people in the west, the only acceptable form of meditation is hospitalization.” Jesus said, “And when you pray, go into your medicine cabinet and take three Extra-Strength Tylenol” (Matt. 5). No, he said, “Go into your closet,” which is symbolic for your inner world. Lao-Tzu said, “Where there is silence, one finds the anchor to the universe.”
Look around the room where you are reading this. What do you see more than anything else? That is, what is more present in the room than any of the objects you see? Nothing, of course. There is more of nothing than there is of anything. I know that sounds absurd and, of course, it is. But it is amazing to train yourself to be conscious of nothing. It is infinitely more difficult than you might imagine. It is infinitely more valuable to your happiness than you might imagine, too. So give some of your awareness every day to nothing. Be still, but especially in crowded places -- subways, sidewalks, sports events, traffic jams, etc. -- and, in those noisy, stifling situations, be aware of the vastness of space that exists EVEN in the crowded situations."
You can only give to another what you possess yourself. And, you will only give to another what you have given yourself already. The deeper the experience of grace, the higher the capacity to give.
Know that the life you live IS the legacy you leave. So think about death daily. There’s nothing morbid about it, which is why the Buddha said, “Death is your guru; so let it teach you.” Muhammad said, “Die before you die, or you die a thousand deaths.” Death to self is the way to life itself.
Discover the secret to happiness.
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