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Is there a Key to Happiness?

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Posted on Jul 5, 2012 9:28:15 AM PDT
H. Falco says:
Know Thyself, Accept Thyself, Love thyself...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 1:43:39 PM PDT
How would you suggest I do that, H.?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 2:15:08 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, we have had some discussions around this. Would you be interested in reading my first blog, as I give many thoughts around this topic, and you are welcome to comment on the blog posts and I will try my best to answer? I don't promise to have the answers, just some thoughts and ideas that may guide you to find your own answers. Unfortunately each person may need a different journey to come to these answers, and I believe it is often a journey started in childhood that may start many people off at different points on the beginning of the racetrack--some are way ahead in the journey of life, whilst others lag, often due to life circumstance like tragedies.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 3:20:17 PM PDT
Hi, Shirley, Wow, it took a long time to scroll down your Black Swan. I feel I have most of my answers and know quite well how to make and keep myself happy. The same may be true of you. Do you have any moments of unhappiness? I don't. At almost 87, it's unlikely I will find any answers by reading books, etc. But I am interested in this topic. I am working on a post I hope you will comment on, agree with, disagree, tell me what might work better. I just asked you one question. Do you have any for me? Rusty

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 5:37:02 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
I used to have lots of moments of unhappiness and it's been a journey. I still have a long way to go, but I am much happier now. I used to feel "different" to everyone else and maybe still do, but accept that now, and therefore the topics I write about might not resound with many--hopefully they do. I know I've said it before, that I have found my happiness in my journey to find God, and it was not a conscious searching, and thereby perhaps got to know more about myself. Are you 87?--I would never have guessed! You come across as someone in his thirties or forties--I am forty. You must have a wealth of experiences. I'd love to find out a bit more about you--please let us know anything about yourself you might feel comfortable sharing. What work do you do, or perhaps used to do? What has been your journey? Sentences will not summarise I'm sure! Everyone has a story, and you will find many who will be able to learn from your experiences, especially tragedies, as these can be turned into triumphs, or into lessons to help others.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 7:57:44 PM PDT
L. Gregory says:
The Ultimate Makeover ebook

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2012 4:23:23 AM PDT
Thanks for answering my question, Shirley. On being "different," everybody is both genetically and in experience and personality. Identical twins at least on the latter. Yes, I am a very happy, very old 87. I'm retired, but used to be a clinical psychologist at the Albuquerque VA Hospital. My journey? That's 10,000 questions in one, more than I can or want to handle at the moment.

I'm working on a post which will be a public experiment or trial of at least 10 people trying a very simple 4 keys to happiness. You might want to join. You might even make $5 doing so! Are you interested? Do you pray? How? For many that seems to be a key to happiness. Enjoy!

Posted on Jul 6, 2012 4:25:49 AM PDT
L. Gregory, try saying the same thing without being offensive or insulting. It'll get posted.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2012 4:33:06 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, I will reply to comments you make on my blog or here if applicable, and I am interested to take part in the trial, but would like to see what it's about first (being my cautious self).
I pray as I am led. I pray in church during worship. I pray a lot throughout the day, most days. I don't set a special time aside for prayer and I have no idea how long I pray for, and prayer in the Spirit can be exhausting so I will sometimes only pray for a brief time until I feel my prayer has been heard. I don't find happiness in prayer as such, I find happiness in relationship with God. I trust God and that He knows best, even if prayers are not always answered as I might hope.
I have had some counselling through the years, and I learnt a lot during those sessions. I can only imagine the stories you must have heard, and I admire your role in society--it is not an easy job, and I imagine can seem thankless sometimes, but does make a huge difference, even if people don't know it at the time. Have a great day.

Posted on Jul 7, 2012 1:06:51 PM PDT
We seem to be by ourselves, Shirley. That's OK. I think I have the final draft of what you called the trial, and I appreciate your being cautious. You may/may not make $20 by participating in what I'm also calling an experiment. For Psych 101?

Thanks for the answer to my question on how you pray. I think you're what I would label a good Christian. There are many who claim to be Christians I do not label that way. For example, prayer and Bible study groups at a restaurant I go to. I've heard their prayers which are on the level of 3 year old gimmee gimmee gimmee. I really wonder about the very popular and expensively built church they attend.

Yes, I heard lots of stories, and at the VA I got tired of hearing them. Too many of them there were not even honest other than an honest attempt to get more VA psychiatric disability pension. I was really glad to retire at 55.

After I review and edit another few times, my next post here will give people an opportunity to get $20 from me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 3:48:08 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, I won't want money to participate. Regarding your statement about the way people pray: as Jesus said, "Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6: 19-21), and He also said you cannot serve both God and Mammon (wealth)--"gimmee gimmee gimmee" is therefore not very biblical, depending on the reason for prayer and the motive behind it. God can break someone out of bondage that is keeping him or her captive in poverty, but He will not just give someone wealth unless they are ready for it and have the right motives. There is nothing wrong with being rich from that point of view (just my own thoughts), but I believe we must all guard against wanting wealth, as that can also turn our hearts away from God. If I had success with my book now, would I still continue my journey?--perhaps not. God has the master plan.
Oh, I still have a long way to travel in my own journey, and need to be more honest myself, and could have added much more to my book, but that might get me in trouble from many angles. Society trains us not to be honest sometimes.
Looking forward to reading your comments!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 6:27:05 PM PDT
Shirley, To comment on your comments, -
I seems the reason that there are so many denominations is that
we tend to find a favorite scripture and build a belief system
around it; forgetting there are many others on the same subject.

Good point about not putting material things first, - however,
there are many, places that God does promise much, - as He
guides the attitudes of our heart.

".....I have come that you might have Life, and that you might
have it more abundantly."
..... (that is both materially and spiritually)
The confusion comes when we put "things/stuff" above God
and people?

Psalms 37:4-5 "Delight yourself "also" in the Lord, and He shall
give you the desires of your heart."
....(the word "also" tells us that there are other factors involved)
5. "Commit the way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He
shall bring it to pass".

"Keep your mouth with all diligence; for out of it come the
issues of Life".
If we study the Principals and Intent of the entire Bible,
we may be impressed how God, through Christ, is telling our
inner man, today, the things He shared with the Prophets and
the writers of the gospels........ in their day.

The stories are different according to our/their culture; but the
Principals and Intent are the same. (they confirm one another)

There are many people that followed God, from every walk of
life. Jesus did not teach poverty; but to walk and talk with Him.

Isolated scriptures can give isolated impressions.
I see the the fullness of God's intentions for man
is a Journey, - not a sentence or a paragraph.

Thanks for your good post; these are some of my
biased opinions........ eager to learning more.....

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 7:17:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2012 7:25:08 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Thanks Carol, good to have your input, and good to have an additional viewpoint. You are right that the space in these comments is not suffice to include everything one could possibly say, and each viewpoint adds a different perceptive or truth--there's usually not one truth alone, and it's a factor of context (I write about the three truths principle in my book). I included a basic chapter on Christianity in my book (my faith, my spirituality) and I have been a bit worried I may have some thoughts "wrong", which is dangerous of course as I hope my book to be for many non Christians too, but that is what I felt led to include. I believe God does speak to people today, but I sometimes have trouble hearing correctly and it is a journey for me and I pray I continue to be led. Ultimately all Christians form One Body in Christ, irrespective of denomination, and that is what I fully believe. I trust fully in God and His plan.

You are right, Jesus did not teach us that we must be poor, but Jesus did say we should help the poor: "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matthew 19:21) and further on in Matthew Jesus said, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. " (Matthew 25:34-46 KJV)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012 8:01:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2012 8:02:02 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, I forgot to add that there are many who advocate prayer almost in and of itself, but in my Christian belief, I believe prayer must be directed correctly, to our Father in Heaven, as Jesus taught, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." (Matthew 6:9). And God in Heaven alone is the only one to be thanked when prayer is answered. People who pray for others can be thanked for praying as an intercessor, but God alone has the power to heal, not the person who has prayed. (I should have included this is in my book!) What do you believe? Or do you have anything else to add?

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 4:35:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 5:58:02 AM PDT

I will mail a check for $20 to anyone who follows these easy, simple directions to the best of their ability for one month and does not report they are happier the last day of that month than they were on the first.

The directions: Try to say mentally the word "breathe" when you inhale, and either the word "deeply" or "slowly" as you exhale as many times a day as you can.

That's it, but of course, I do need a bit of evidence before I mail $20 to someone.

Evidence: A post here that the person will make a good faith and honest effort to follow the one sentence direction for one month. In the same post they will answer the questions below after their first 24 hours of trying it and after the last day of a month of their best effort.

1. On a 1-10 scale, how happy were you in the past 24 hours. 1 is miserable, 10 is perfectly happy.

2. Over the past month?

3. Rate the number of unhappy thoughts you have had in the past 24. 1 1 is none, 10. is a massive number.

4. Over the past month

5. Rate how well you slept in the past 24. 1 is extremely poorly, 10 is extremely well.

6. Rate your level of energy in the past 24. 1 is very low, 10 very high.

7. How much have you learned about yourself in the past month? 1 is nothing, 10 is a totally surprising amount.

8. Your best estimate of the percent of your breaths you followed the direction today while awake..

9. Over the past month. Answer only on last day.

See my profile for my email address so you can tell me where to send $20. In the unlikely event of an overwhelming response, I do reserve the right to limit this to the first 10 (ten) who try and report being no happier or unhappier. The results of this experiment will be entirely public---posted on this Amazon discussion site.

Since many on this site love reasons, rationales, and theories, in future posts I will be giving some: why such a simple practice works. I hope that a number who advertise books on this site follow the directions. It might give them material for their next book. Or I might send some of them $20.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 6:41:43 AM PDT
TN says:
Congrats. You're applying a principle to happiness: "there is more happiness in giving than in receiving".

Another principle is "love your neighbor like yourself".

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 7:16:16 AM PDT
Shirley. Thanks for the Bible quotations. And Carol, ditto. I heartily agree with your first paragraph. It also is true of every individual whether in or out of a particular denomination. Biblical quotes can be used to justify anything--even greed, one of the seven deadly sins!

Wow! What do I believe? I could go on for hours but: One of my strongest beliefs is in scientific method as I understand it. Another very strong one is belief in what my senses tell me---not my interpretation of that data, but just the raw data itself. Of course I am bound to do some interpretation, simply naming something in your head is interpretation. It massively simplifies the vast complexity that comes in through my senses.

Do I believe in the Christian, Muslim, or any of the other gods that have been proposed and religions have been created for worshiping them? No. I find none of them useful in my life. They don't develop any new hypotheses that can be tested, but instead tend to say that many things are known and not to be questioned. I prefer the scientific belief that anything and everything is subject to change and can be questioned. I believe in doubt.

And, Hi, TN.

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 7:40:32 AM PDT
The Key to Happiness is Literally Right Under Your Nose! Take a conscious breath! It's just that simple :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 10:20:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 10:28:06 AM PDT
Al, As a Christian, I am most grateful for "doubt".
A "seeker" has no where to go, unless they are full of doubts.

Both the spiritual seeker and the scientists must have before
them, a question that needs answers. They feel the answer
is missing; but that one does exist somewhere....................
......and so they continue to "seek".

IF we believe that it takes more imagination to think that all
this incredible Life came together by accident.....
....... I haven't got the ability/desire to go there;
...however, I love to find where the systems come together.

IF there is a Creator that still brings forth "Life/Light" .. and
continues to sustain it all forever,
it is quite impossible for creation to really be in departments.
(except to study)
We are all seeking what we can discover about "Life".
Life just IS.
God defines Himself as , "I Am That I AM".

I so wish for everyone, that they do not limit their beliefs to
what their brain can produce.
The Infinite limited to the finite???
...(not in line with scientific attitude)....

I would also look further into any statement that can equally see
3 faiths that are based on opposites.

Most faith in God has a Love/Life/Light base; - (freedom)

If any are based on force and death, - more study needs to be done?
Thanks for your posts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 11:12:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 11:25:51 AM PDT
Shirley, I follow what you say.
When Jesus was teaching anyone, - He was not addressing their
conduct, - as much as correcting the attitudes of their hearts.

Jesus had many wealthy friends. He borrowed a tomb from
one of them.
The rich young ruler is not just a surface story.

Although he went away sorrowfully, - I like to assume that
he followed Jesus suggestions and watched the wonder, as
many great and mighty blessing were drawn to him.
(That is based on the results of the blessings that came to Job.)

Jesus knew the heart of the rich young man.
Remember he was already following all the rules of the day.
He brought up the subject of his own lack to the Lord.
..... That IS seeking at its best.

In this Story, Jesus is telling us all that outward perfection
just isn't where it all comes together, - but He wants our hearts.

When God showed Job the great gap in his life, - Job, also, had
been keeping all the rules as he understood them.

However, when Job "saw God as He IS," Job's heart was
changed from depending all on his reasoning, -
and his efforts to just do the right thing that of giving His heart to God.
He traded his life of self efforts/rules, to one of freedom to Love.

Immediately, God gave him all that the had before;
plus he was the most wealthy in the land.
He now understood things about his relationship with God,
that would draw good things into his life, as he was empowered
to reject the negative.
His daughters were part of his inheritance. (ahead of their time).
For good measure God threw in, - that they were the most beautiful
women in the land.

When God comes first in our lives; He does not instruct us to
be obsessed/concerned about our possessions. In fact, it can be
part of the blessings that are drawn to the blessed.

Yea God!
The Stories differ throughout the ages, but the Principals, Content,
and Intent remain the same. Yes?

This is my opinion at the time; based on inner impressions
as I use the written Word for conformation.

Don't be concerned about anything you might have missed
in your book. The people that read it have mind and spirit;
they will catch the good message, clearly.
Thanks again........and Blessings

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 12:02:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 4:29:50 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Thanks for taking the time to write Carol. Your thoughts add more context. I am disappointed when people criticise Christians who are wealthy, as if all Christians must be poor, and I do agree that God never said we must be paupers. Each person has a different journey, and God may give some monetary wealth, and others may have other wealth, like the gift of teaching or discernment. Bless you and God Bless.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 12:10:39 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, breathing does help. I have tried this in the past and had forgotten about it, and I must try it again. Biofeedback and meditation both use breathing as their core. I guess it's like a principle of laughing yourself into happiness. We are happier when we smile through our pain. I heard a sermon recently in church where the pastor said many are successful in life when they follow Biblical principles, but if they don't have God, the key ingredient is missing. So one can breathe oneself out of anxiety, but is the underlying trauma still sitting there somewhere with a lid on?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2012 12:29:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2012 12:30:47 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, as Carol and I have said, wealth is not necessarily greed, it is motive that determines this. One can be wealthy and not be a slave to greed (there are many wealthy philanthropists who do much good in the world). We see outward behaviour but we cannot see the heart.
I do believe each person will find happiness in knowing his or her own beliefs, and sometimes this is a long journey. As I mentioned, my hope and my happiness is in God. For me, He is not proposed, He is real. I believe in doubt too. Always leave some room for doubt. I used an example in my book of an intuition training course experience I was part of, where we had to count something, and people who had incorrect answers were most convinced they were right, and they would not change their minds, as that is what they had seen, even with the testimony from others who perhaps had the right answer! Eye witness testimony is often flawed, and people may swear they have seen someone do something and can describe the person, yet a video replay will prove this to be wrong. The movie 12 Angry Men is a great example!
Do you have another lesson you can relay to us, after your career helping people at the VA? I am sure you have many!

Posted on Jul 8, 2012 2:17:21 PM PDT
tigermothe says:
Yes, being a Mayan Priest. I think that is what was posted on that bottle of tequila last year...

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 2:59:51 AM PDT
The key to happiness is to find work you love, in my book I describe a method of finding what your ideal work should be:
How to Become a Billionaire: Good Advice from the First Person to Be One
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