"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Joy: a Fundamental Key to Your Happiness

Who holds the key to your happiness? Or perhaps I should ask what holds the key to your happiness? In the first instance, it is a specific (or more than one specific) human being that holds the key to your happiness. Perhaps your partner without whom you are incapable of being happy. Or your child, adult or small. Or perhaps your parent, or even a pet. In the second instance, it is a something that holds the key to your happiness. This can be something material, such as the balance in your bank account or portfolio, or the size and location of your home, or it could be your youth, your strength, your professional situation, your social position, and so on.

In all instances, you derive your happiness from an outer source, the key to your happiness lies without and not within.

Perhaps you can see the problem with that. People can let you down, leave you, or die. Material things can disappear, as can youth, professional and social positions. If any of that happens, and if the key to your happiness lies there, then what are you going to do? And please don't answer that then you will implement Plan B.

Recognizing that happiness first needs to come from the inside out is your path out of the above dilemma. Starting to walk on that path requires conscious awareness of a desire or intention to begin to love yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you will be able to find happiness on the inside and will notice - perhaps to your surprise - that you no longer need to find it on the outside, or at least, that you will no longer look for it on the outside.

In my book Rewiring the Soul I wrote: The less you love yourself the more likely it is that you believe another holds the key to your happiness.

Imagine one of your friends shows up in a new Audi Spider that you've secretly coveted for years, another friend has dropped 20 pounds, something that you've been trying to do unsuccessfully for such a long time, and yet another just landed a deal to expand his/her business that will net millions over the next few years. You read about someone you've never even heard of who signed a record deal recently and now the hit single on the first CD has hit the charts not nationally, but globally ... it went viral. Your best friend of many years never seems to stop going out, another continually fills your ears with how wonderful life is, and a third can't stop talking about the children or grandchildren and how intelligent or successful or proactive they are. An acquaintance met a wealthy widow/widower and is now getting married, the son/daughter of another friend was just promoted to Vice President of the company he/she works for, your golfing neighbour just started going out with an incredibly gorgeous woman about 20 years younger than you, and of course the list of all the good stuff that happens to others goes on and on. And not only does it go on and on, but it's been happening that way every since you can remember. Always.

And although a part of you is happy (truly happy) for them, there is another part of you that is envious, or feels jealousy, depending on the situation. You're aware of it. You don't particularly like feeling envy or jealousy, but there it is, it pops up all the time when you hear of the good fortune that happens to others. These thoughts are the breeding-ground for your unhappiness. The more they (the thoughts) occur, the more your habit of having those thoughts and hence your unhappiness grows. These are most definitely not thoughts of joy.

Here's what you can do: first, become aware (as you probably already are) that this is happening. Acknowledge that is does you no good. All the bacteria of those thoughts continually spread to infest you with unhappiness. Clearly, the thoughts must be tackled. Probably you are thinking that since they pop up unannounced and not because you 'will' them into being, there is little you can do about them. But there is. They have become a habit that started years, perhaps even decades ago. And all you have to do is rid yourself of that habit, much as you might rid yourself of the habit of exploring a chipped corner of a tooth in your mouth with your tongue. At the beginning you would simply explore, but as time goes by, your tongue develops a very sore spot on the place where it hits the chipped tooth. It hurts. So now you pull back consciously each time your tongue wants to go there, and soon enough, your tongue stops doing it. You do this because you engage your conscious mind into stopping the process because of the pain it produces.

In the case of the thoughts of envy and jealousy that lead to unhappiness, you do exactly the same thing. As you hear of the wonderful thing that is happening to someone else, and you notice the thoughts of envy or jealousy arising, you have a short inner dialogue. You ask yourself whether you wish to pursue that thought. Probably the answer is no, because you are already aware of the fact that those thoughts only lead you to unhappiness. You may need to have a brief battle, because it may be that a part of you wishes to engage in the thought (what Eckhart Tolle would call the pain body), but you can win that battle, just as you were able to win the battle over your tongue.

So now you had the thought, but you curtailed it. It lost a bit of its strength. You go on to something else. The next time envy or jealousy arise, you do exactly the same. And again and again and again. As you do this, the strength of the neural pathways that have to do with this particular habit will diminish. Eventually the habit will cease. All you have to do is remain conscious enough to practice this. And of course you have to want it. It's that easy. And you open the path to joy.

Imagine children jumping for joy. It's an image we often associate with children (or animals), but not so often with ourselves. When is the last time you jumped like that? Or even if you are elderly or confined to a wheelchair, when is the last time you felt like jumping like that?

So what has happened to us? I certainly remember jumping for joy as a child and now, as a boomer, my jumps tend to be more in my head, but I feel great joy with simple things ... such as having a wonderful coffee in the morning in a spot with a fabulous view (and that can be the view out of my French windows), but it can also be the view I imagine myself seeing on my Facebook posts where over the past while, I have posted myself enjoying a virtual coffee at a different spot in the world each day. I can also experience great joy as I unfold a newspaper in front of that coffee and settle down to read it (somehow, I have noticed, the joy is not as intense if the newspaper is virtual, in my smartphone, that allows me to view the world's press, along with the coffee, but the joy is not the same as feeling the actual paper in my hands). Other things that bring me great joy are setting out for a weekend drive with a friend (even if it's a short one of 30 - 60 minutes) into the unknown, or into the countryside, or up into the mountains, or along the Mediterranean, here where I live. I also experience joy as I open a new book, drive to the airport to pick up one of my sons (that's one of the greatest joys!), or as I contemplate an upcoming holiday. Joy comes as well as I savor the aroma of freshly-baked bread (even if I don't partake), the perfume of jasmin, or the unmistakable childhood smells of freshly-mown grass.

As you see, my joys are simple. I could list others that cost money or are complicated and involved to achieve, but the fact is, because my joys are so simple to attain, I can have them every day. And having joy every day, mentally jumping for joy every single day, should be on your to-do list in the same taken-for-granted way as you brush your teeth and have a shower. Abraham states: The standard of success in life isn't the things. It isn't the money or the stuff, it is absolutely the amount of joy you feel and I totally agree.

Are you feeling joy today?

For more about living consciously with joy and about using choices based on full awareness that will enhance your life and promote greater inner peace and freedom, have a look at my book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon:

Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

My new book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is now also available in print and Kindle formats.

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author 

“Eloquently and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 
Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 

"The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is a unique blend of wit and wisdom; Dr. Kortsch encourages us to take responsibility for our relationships, while recognizing and seizing the opportunities for our own personal spiritual growth." 
William Buhlman, Author of Adventures Beyond the Body 

Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for my new book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

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