an article by Bethany Lynn
There is a non-physical part of yourself that you might call your higher self, your inner being, your essence, life-force, Source or God. It doesn’t matter what name you give it, but we all have it. This is the place where gut feelings, hunches and those gentle nudges and intuitions come from.
This inner being that we all possess is peaceful, calm, happy and joyful. It is pure positive energy. It is the life force that pulses with unconditional love, creativity, constant peace, unbridled joy and bliss. When you connect with that part of your being, when you’re in sync with it, you are in a good place because you feel the way your higher self does, and that includes being happy.
When you’re not in sync with your higher self, the disconnect does not feel good. It might be anything from mild discomfort to frustration, to anger, or even despair. The good thing about those negative feelings is that they are a perfect indicator of whether you are in sync with your higher self, or not. Your inner being doesn’t go with you when you choose negativity, so you feel the discomfort because you are fragmenting yourself. Your inner being is over there being happy, and you are here, being unhappy. But the more in connected you are with your inner self, the happier you will feel.
When you feel out of sorts, angry, frustrated, etc. it’s only because you have stepped away from where your inner being is. We tend to think it was the circumstances, or the person who was rude that made us feel bad, mad or sad; but no one and nothing outside of yourself has the power to ‘make’ you sad or angry. That is yours and yours alone to control. This control comes from paying attention to your focus.
There are many disciplines that offer a path to bliss, nirvana, ecstatic experiences, heaven, or whatever you want to call it. Regardless of what discipline it is, whether a psychological approach or spiritual, one thing they all have in common is focus. Some focus on the breath, a candle flame, or do visualization. In Christian meditation you might focus on God, or a short scripture. But they are all about focus.
Why focus? Because when you are focused on ‘this’ you cannot also be looking at ‘that’. When you deliberately focus your mind on something else other than all those things that bombard you all day long, you shut out all the hustle and bustle around you, all the drama and those things that call you to some form of action.
Happiness, or the lack thereof, is a direct result of your thoughts. Every emotion you feel is a result of something you’ve been thinking, but it happens so fast, we don’t always notice the thought that precedes the feeling. You cannot have a feeling without it originating in a thought, or belief. This is a critical point to understand.
So, the question then arises, can you control your thoughts? It may seem impossible. It may seem that thoughts just come at you all day long without your bidding. The truth is you can learn to control your thoughts, and it’s all about focus.
If I say, “Look at me, look at me!” but you are determined to look elsewhere, I cannot make you look at me. You have complete control over what you focus on, and that is how you control your thoughts – by choosing what you focus upon.
So, if you can choose what to focus upon, and you can, then you can control your thoughts. As you gain control over your thoughts, you can also control your feelings because your feelings are a direct result of what you are habitually thinking.
We tend to have habits of thought that make us unhappy, like worry, anxiety, or anger. Then there is sadness and grief, pain or illness, and stress from responsibilities, which easily attract our attention. We think we’ll be happy when the situation changes, or when we get well, or when we can afford that new car, or find the perfect partner, etc.
Stop and ask yourself what is it that you think will make you happy? What do you want to change about your life? What do you want?
Now, ask yourself why you want it. Isn’t it always because you think you will be happier with that thing or situation? You think that thing, situation or person will make you feel better, but this kind of happiness is temporary, transitory, and completely conditional. If you need the right conditions to be happy, you will never get there because there will always be something, or someone, that won’t cooperate with your desires.
But the good news is, you can choose to use your thoughts to go to a happier place before things change, or before you get well, and wouldn’t you rather be unconditionally happy, most of the time, all day long?
You can be happy right now, without anything changing. Happiness is a choice and here’s how to make that choice
Take the time to do this little experiment right now:
Close your eyes and think of something that makes you really happy. Something you love that makes your heart sing. It could be lasagna, your dog, a beautiful sunset…anything. For me it’s a view of water and mountains.
Concentrate on that thing that makes you happy. Feel every sensation that goes with it. Really get into it. See it, smell it, taste it. Whatever makes this thought real and alive for you. Immerse yourself until you feel the happiness. Soak it up, milk it for all the deliciousness of it and stay there for as long as you like.
When you open your eyes, how do you feel? Do you feel good, or at least better? Can you be sad, angry, worried or depressed while you’re thinking of that thing you love?
The point is, what you focus on – what you think about – determines how you feel. It’s that simple. That is how you can choose to be happy.
Is it easy? No. Is it impossible? Absolutely not! And it gets much easier with practice.
The problem is, most of us go through life half-unconscious and don’t pay attention to where we are focusing. So often it is on what is wrong, or missing, in our life and in the world. We get caught up in the business of everyday living, in the woes of the world, global warming, politics, etc. Without realizing it, we focus mainly on things that bring us down. But our inner self, our higher self, is not focused on these things. There is a place within you that is unconditionally happy all of the time and all you have to do is change your focus to access it.
True, It takes deliberate, consistent effort to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings and redirect them, and you are the only one who can do this for yourself. So, why would you want to go to all that trouble?
Well, if the pure joy of being happy most of the time isn’t enough, if feeling inspired and in love with life isn’t enough, here are some other benefits that come as you develop the habit of focusing on thoughts that make you feel good.
- Creativity flows. All kinds of creative ideas pop up effortlessly.
- Clarity happens. You get a sense of knowing who you are, where you fit in the world, and what to do next.
- People come into your life who appreciate you and whom you enjoy; people with whom you can collaborate are drawn to you.
- Material things come into your life, like food, clothes, and useable items, even money.
- There is an ease about life. Things aren’t so hard, they just flow naturally.
Why does all this good stuff happen just from focusing on the positive? Because thoughts are energy and they create a vibration. Positive thoughts vibrate at a higher level and are more powerful than negative thoughts.
There is a chart in the book by Dr. David R. Hawkins, Power vs Force, that shows the vibrational levels of everything from fear to love and enlightenment. (See the next page.) This chart was developed from over 20 years of empirical scientific studies on kinesiology (the study of the mechanics of body movements). Specifically, studies were done on how the body reacts to truth and falsehood as well as beneficial and detrimental stimuli.
These studies showed that no matter the person’s nationality, beliefs, gender or age, everyone at a cellular level responds the same way. When muscles are tested for strength or weakness in the presence of detrimental substances, such as artificial sweetener, the muscles always go weak. In the presence of something beneficial, such as an organic apple, the muscles always go strong. They found this to also be true in the presence of beneficial thoughts and negative thoughts.
In a nutshell, without a very thorough explanation, muscle testing is done with one person holding an arm out straight and resisting while another person presses down on their wrist with two fingers. Normally, the person holding out their arm is able to hold their arm in a firm position while resisting the pressure. When a negative thought, an untrue statement or a detrimental substance is introduced, their muscles go weak.
I have seen this experiment demonstrated several time and have done it myself more than once with the results that when I think negative thoughts about the person, their arm goes weak; when I think positive thoughts about the person, their arm remains strong. If my thoughts can affect a stranger, how much more do they affect those I live with or myself?
NOTE: On the chart below, I’ve re-worded the column headings to make them easier to understand, but kept the meaning the same.
If this sounds wacky to you, consider this: thoughts are energy that form waves, or vibrations, which can be seen and measured for strength by scientific instruments. They go out into the air, like radio waves, and are picked up by others. Their strength determines how much impact or influence they have, but fortunately, good vibrations are much stronger than negative ones.
When you think about something you love, you are raising your vibrational level. The more positive your thoughts are throughout the day, the more steadily you stay at a higher level. You can tell how you’re doing in comparison to the chart by how you feel, by your general outlook on life. How you feel is a perfect monitor of your vibrational level.
In looking at the chart, where would you rather hang out and spend most of your time? What level do you think would produce the most happiness in your life? How much more good influence do you think you could have at a higher level?
So, happiness isn’t just about thinking happy thoughts when the rest of the world around you is having troubles. Neither is it burying your head in the sand and living in denial. Unconditional happiness is a higher level of consciousness over which you have complete control. No one can take it away from you and no one else can give it to you.
When you focus on what’s wrong, or what is lacking (money, relationship, etc) you lower your consciousness level and you feel down as a result of your focus. But when you focus on good things, on something you love, you feel happy as a result of your thoughts. So, what are your usual, habitual thought habits? It is your habit that determines your level of happiness, or unhappiness, and it’s your habit that determines your level of consciousness, reflected by the chart.
The next time you feel down, stop! Ask yourself what were you thinking about? Where was your focus? Choose your focus deliberately. Pay attention to how you feel because that is the indicator of your recent thoughts. If you change your focus, you can change your life.
In case you’re thinking, “Yeah, that’s all well and good for you. You don’t know what I’ve been through and what I’m dealing with.” But it is possible to separate the fact of the situation or your health from the focus of your thoughts.
I know this works because there was a two-year period in my life, not too long ago, when nearly everything that could go wrong did. I got divorced, had to change jobs five times, which meant moving four times. I lost the investment in the house I owned and found myself broke and in debt for first time ever. On top of all that, my son was arrested and received a ten-year prison sentence.
Yet, with all this happening, these were still two of the best years of my life (up to that time) because I was focusing on some very uplifting stuff in my reading and thinking. Now that I understand this principle and do it deliberately, it’s even better. It doesn’t make the undesirable stuff go away, but it so much easier to get past it and to maintain a positive outlook, as well as stay peaceful and calm in the midst of chaos.
Since I’ve been practicing this way of being, I am ridiculously happy almost all of the time. I am filled with joy, not as easily annoyed or frustrated, and am in love with life.
Every once in a while, I get so busy that I don’t take the time to stop and spend time deliberately focusing on things that make me happy. When I realize that I am feeling kind of ‘blah’, not my usual ‘in love with life’ self, I spend some time, not even very long, focusing on things that make me happy.
I usually start with visualizing a water and mountain view, then list all the things I could think of that I enjoy and am grateful for. The change in how I feel goes from ‘blah’ to inspired almost instantly. It’s amazing how this shortcut to happiness has changed my life.
Do yourself a BIG favor! For a week, make a commitment to yourself to pay attention to how you feel – REALLY pay attention. Change your focus as often as necessary from those things that are wrong, or lacking, to things that you love and are grateful for. You may need to write down a list of things that make you happy to prime the pump, but after a while, you won’t need to look at the list.
If you get stuck, I hope you will email me because I really want you to be able to live happily ever after.
Live free! Be happy!