In my book “Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” I describe the 10 ways I discovered one day when I was lying on my sofa thinking about my long, dramatic life and I asked myself what I needed to remember to live the rest of my life a little bit more happily. In answer to my own question, I wrote down a list of 10 points or ways which I felt I needed to remember to live more happily. My list turned into this book.
The 10 ways I wrote down that day were:
1) Accept what is
2) Want what you have
3) Be honest with yourself
4) Investigate your stories
5) Mind your own business
6) Follow your passion and accept the consequences
7) Do the right thing and accept the consequences
8) Deal with what is in front of you and forget the rest
9) Know what is what
10) Learn to see beyond impermanence
In the book, I explore each of these 10 ways and explain why each of them is so important!
Here’s a bit from Chapter 6 which is about the 6th way.
Follow your passion and accept the consequences
The number 6 cause of suffering and unhappiness is not doing what you want because you think people will disapprove.
Why is it we don’t do what we want? Why is it we do not follow our passion but instead allow ourselves to get sidetracked into doing all kinds of things that we know in our heart of hearts we don’t really want to do?
Is it money, pride or ego that are preventing us from following our dreams? Or is it simply our fear of the disapproval of others? For some it might be that they don’t know what their heart’s desire is so they just move along or drift with the flow of life, which of course is perfectly OK. But that isn’t really what I want to investigate in this chapter. Rather I would like to explore why many of us may find it difficult to honor our deepest passion and heart’s desire.
So if you know your heart’s desire and are not honoring it, the question is why is this happening? And why do I bring this up in a book about living a happy life? I bring it up because in my experience, a happy, fulfilled life is one that honors our deepest passion and the most profound longings of our hearts. Regrets for roads not taken simply do not make for a happy life.
If any of this rings a bell, then it might be a good idea to explore this question more fully and deepen your internal dialogue with your self, especially if you feel you are off course in terms of living your dreams! In this connection, it might be interesting to start by asking yourself how and when you discovered you were not fully honoring yourself? What was the trigger? Did something dramatic happen or did you just wake up one morning and realize that you were making poor choices and not honoring the deepest longings of your heart? Did you have an utterly clear moment when you saw your choices and how the momentum of your life was moving you in directions that were not honoring who you really are? And that you were allowing this to happen against your better judgment? What brought on this realization? Was it a close call with death? A sudden illness or change of fortune? The loss of a loved one? The end of a relationship? The loss of a job? Moving to a new place? Or was it just because you felt it was time to look at your life and take stock? And as a result, you found yourself sitting in a chair, gazing out the window, with the bitter taste of regret in your mouth?
Obviously if this has happened to you, it was probably not a pleasant discovery. But as far as I can see, it’s better to wake up sooner than later. Everything I write about in this book is about living a more conscious life. And seeing the reality of our situation is always a good place to start. This is because seeing what is and being honest with ourselves about what we see can help us make better decisions and choices in the now present moment.
The way of it
The reality is also that we all know when we are following our passion or our heart’s desire because it feels right. Everyone has experienced this feeling of ‘rightness’ at some time in his/her life. It’s called integrity. And it’s easy to recognize. It’s a sense of real comfort. A feeling that life is good and that life is moving freely in and through you. It’s that feeling of ease, when you experience no discomfort, no obstructions, no limitations, no doubts. You know it’s good because it’s the free flow of life through you, as if the whole universe is working in and through you. And in truth, this is what is happening. This is the reality of it. Because when you are in the flow, everything in life is working in and through you and with you. And that’s what makes it feel so right. (For more about this mechanism, see my latest book “Find and Follow Your Inner Compass – Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload”.)
So we discover that what all our arbitrary beliefs and belief systems really do is block the free, spontaneous expression of life in and through us. And this is why we suffer. This is why we feel discomfort. This is why we experience what we call a conflict of interests. Something is blocking the free flow of life in and through us. Something is limiting our freedom. Something is preventing us from expressing the will and creativity of the universe. And this makes us suffer. This is what suffering is. Limitation.
When we understand this, we understand that what we call our true desire, our heart’s desire, is really our becoming conscious of this free flowing life that is working in and through us. Or you could say we become aware that our heart’s desire is actually the will of the entire universe or of the great universal creativity expressing itself through us. What could be more joyful???
Barbara Berger is the best-selling author of “The Road to Power – Fast Food for the Soul” (published in 30 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind” and “Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” (published in 21 languages). The books can be ordered on Amazon.com. Barbara also offers private coaching sessions (via Skype or telephone) to people around the world. For more about Barbara Berger and her activities see www.beamteam.com
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