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Is there a Key to Happiness?

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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 11:14:57 AM PDT
TN says:
I'm an expert in Islam. Carol Reese is correct. See my threads on Islam fora and history fora.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 11:18:29 AM PDT
TN says:
One quick path to happiness and health is laugh yoga. Yes a big group of people go to a park in the early morning and laugh out loud (and do some taichi afterward). It works great. The idea is not new. I know a group in Georgia doing that 5-7 years ago.

"Laugh is the best medicine" goes they saying. Truer than you think. And free, not even $20 LOL.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 3:28:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 12, 2012 6:51:39 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Carol, why do you say I judge the faith? I make reference to being hurt by some people, or at some churches by some people, and this does not mean I judge the faith. I am a Christian too, and in chapter 5 of my book I write about "MY Faith, My Spirituality" (which is partially available on my blog too). I was merely agreeing with what you said, when I said "ditto", as I have also experienced what you wrote about--and these were the words you used:
"While some are not very interested in things that resemble religion;
others have good reason to be turned off by the inconsistencies that we,
as Christians present.
Some are angry, that have experienced abuse, while hearing scripture quoted
by well meaning religious parents, or mention a few.. "

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 10:46:30 AM PDT
5/13/12: I hope your writing made the things less difficult to talk about in person, Shirley. My dog Spike is a 12 year old Chihuahua/jack russell terrier I rescued from the pound. A faithful companion, he sleeps with me part of the time, and guards me ferociously.

On my reading your book. Should I put my mailing address on the web? Why not? It's in the phone book and anyone who really wants it can easily find it on the web. It's 1609 Camino de la Tierra, Corrales, NM 87048. I will be trying again on the web.

Richard, Would you believe happiness can be chosen? That there is no need to wait for those "unexpected moments?" It takes work, but I can go into a very happy feeling at any time, in a very short time.

Thanks for the statement of your beliefs, Carol. Yes, there are inconsistencies in any group of people, even a couple, even in one person. Tender feelings and self revelation. I think a good subject for us to keep discussing. Are you unwilling to reveal your gender, Carol? If so, that's fine. I'm glad you're very happy. I tried the Koran once. Kept failing to understand it and gave up. Poor translation, me, or perhaps it's not very understandable? Everything you said about the Muslim book is how a very large number of people have interpreted the Bible, not only in the past but now. Each of us do create our own world.

TN: I agree. I haven't done laugh yoga but I'd guarantee it will work. A question is how far---how long after the session ---does the happiness carry over. I've done Tai Chi, alone, not in a group. I wish more of it would have carried over into the rest of my life. Living a life of slow graceful movements sounds great. I still pay some attention to trying to do that. How did you become an expert in Islam?

And Shirley again, talking with Carol. A faith is an abstraction. Can anyone be hurt by an abstraction? I'm not sure, but tend to doubt it. What are your thoughts on that, Shirley, or Carol, or anyone? I do feel sure we can be hurt, even physically, by people in a faith or a particular church. History records a massive record of killing for God. I'll be back tomorrow. Enjoy, as I will, til then.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 11:58:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2012 5:25:26 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Rusty,
I am sending you a copy of my book (might take a few days to get to you), and suggest you remove your address from your post (I thought you'd tell me how to contact you electronically). We have a female black dwarf rabbit called Max--my son is sure "she" is a "he" and I can't argue with that logic. And a cat and a small terrier cross. I have been reading Karmenka to my daughter, about a boy and his Borzoi, a book which my gran gave me as a child. Funny how the gifts we get as children often hold a special place. I lost the book my gran gave me, and found a second hand one recently (the book is out of print), which is an old library copy.
As to your question about a faith being an abstraction: not sure I understand, but will attempt an answer. A faith is a belief system: firstly one believes in God, and then secondly there are specific statements of belief--these can differ subtly from church to church, but from a Christian point of view it is still one faith. I have discovered that churches are corporate structures, with sometimes selective membership criteria, which surprised me initially for some reason, as I had assumed it was a flat all inclusive structure on a more personal level, but I am adapting my internal frame of reference to incorporate this mindset--people and politics do go together. And to turn this point around, Christians believe we need to be following God and Jesus correctly, or we may be following a counterfeit--as Joyce Meyer says, the devil only counterfeits what's real, so he will put forward different versions of the Truth, and hope people fall for his snares. As a Bible verse goes, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. If you don't believe God is real, this may all seem like an abstraction and arguing about unimportant matters; to a Christian it is a matter of salvation of one's soul.
Hope you have a good day. Shirley

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 12:30:44 PM PDT
TN says:
<<How did you become an expert in Islam?>>

I study and discuss Islam the last 10 years. Ditto with the bible, and many other things. I'm blessed with good retention and speed reading.

I don't do Tai-chi myself but yoga is second nature to me, not that I visibly practice it, but I listen to my body and am very healthy physically, mentally, and psychologically. It's the passion for excellence I guess. One negative: I don't care for small stuff, but some time they become a drag in life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012 3:02:18 PM PDT
gspence says:
i think that you have to get away from all things negative n live n the moment because if you over analyze everything you are asking for trouble... im engaged to a guy who lives n a little town

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 11:39:47 AM PDT
TN, Are we different, or what? I don't sweat any of the things
you have accomplished .... and I glory in the small stuff.
We would make a typical committee?

The Principals and Intent of the Hebrew Text is not the same
as that of the Islam book...... neither is the New Testament.
There are isolated parts that sound harsh and blunt;
however, the Principals are not based on rules, force and death.

(The man's spelling is Carroll. I am a Carol girl.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 3:05:35 PM PDT
7/14/12---Thanks in advance for the book, Shirley. On faith being an abstraction: all words are abstractions, even the most concrete nouns. Since all faiths come from and are put in words, by definition they are all abstractions. Does that clear it up for you? And, I think I do understand a number of different Christian points of view and beliefs---as Carol said they vary greatly, and as I think I have said, even among individuals belonging to the same church. And, selective membership criteria?! That's a surprise to me. How can they justify that Biblically? My memory is that Christ sent his disciples off to "all nations." I took that to mean all groups and even all individuals. Can you, or anyone reading this, Biblically justify "selective membership criteria" for a Christian church? My bet is it can be justified, and probably one of Paul's NT books is the place to look for it.

I'm continuing to practice my one paragraph "Guaranteed Happiness" practice, but I'm already into revising what I have written about it so far. As I get each section revised I will post them again on this website.

TN, You're one of many self-proclaimed experts. Fortunate to be a speed reader as my wife was. And with a much better memory than my aging one. How old are you? Late 20's is in my head, is that right? Keep listening to your body. Do you recognize that many of the small things you "find a drag" can end making even vital difference?

Tawnya: How can I know when I am over-analyzing?

Ah, an argument (a discussion?) about what the Koran says, between Carol girl and TN!! I'll observe from the sidelines and probably will learn a bit more about the Karan. Go to it kids! I'm sure I'm much older than both of you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 4:38:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 10:19:35 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, my belief is that faith is an abstraction, and God is real. Or perhaps I might say faith is real, as it is real for me, in as much as organisations have an organogram or a code of ethics they adhere to, and isn't much of life and what we follow "created"?--faith is who I am now. I am not good at abstractions, and you will see my book is quite concrete. (I hope you get the revision dated 14th July, as I am not sure if the latest version will print, or the one just before. Providence: I felt moved recently to make changes, especially about where I wrote about the Ten Commandments and Jesus doing away with the law, then realised He never said that and left just His words to speak, then, just having finished these changes, I receive an email from someone I greatly admire and used to work with, now retired, who gives me feedback about some typos after 3 months of reading my book, so finally I am confident someone has read my book with a critical eye and I can slot his changes in where I choose to--coincidence again!)
I was not referring to nations being kept out of church, and I have experienced some blocking at churches, the same as happens in organisations--simple politics I guess: there is a verse in the NT that says Christians who profess to be Christians, yet who follow evil ways must be kept out of church and given back to Satan to change their ways and then come back to the fold again (a sift, shift, lift process as per a sermon I heard once), and I imagine the reason for this is to ensure the Christian name is not tainted by wrongdoers, but then again, the Christian faith is a journey, and people make mistakes, and this does not mean someone who slips sometimes is evil, so how do we know?--we see behaviour, God sees the heart. Romans 14 says be gentle with people who seem strong on opinions but weak on faith, and who are we to cross guests off the guest list for supper, as God can teach them manners without our help!
I looked up your address on Google, and it looks really interesting, and windswept! Aren't the different parts of the world amazing! Hope your weekend is going well. My child is sick and I am really fretting that I can't go to church because of that! Shirley
(I decided to send you a paperback and a hardcover, and the paperback is definitely the up to date version--there is one diagram possibly too small to read, and I hope it's okay)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 5:19:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 5:23:34 PM PDT
TN says:
ARR, how did you figure out my young age? I'm over 50 but look and feel 15 years younger, perhaps because I live wisely and contentedly.

I learned yoga when I was 16, the chart of vitamin of food at 6, got admitted into medical schools and finished a couple of professional schools so I can manage my life pretty well.

I don't sleep much so reading is what I do until my eyes can't take it anymore. Hence I dip into just about everything from the internet. I post mainly about economics/politics, Islam, and sciences. I also have hundreds of bible verses memorized but I'm tired of people's misunderstanding of the bible to discuss much about it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 1:41:51 AM PDT
There's only one key to happiness: Goal setting. Look at Goal Setting in Life and for Business André Rademeyer.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 3:22:23 PM PDT
TN says:
Buddhists give themselves a simple goal: desire no material things.

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 5:23:15 PM PDT
5/15/72: I recalled, Shirley, the membership requirements of the church I grew up in: being "confirmed" in the Lutheran faith, usually after attending a confirmation class to learn about it. Then your first confession, and you were then a member. What I was thinking of was the "open doors" of churches and anyone being free to attend services. It used to be people could go in at any time to rest, pray, or sleep in the church. That's how I became a member as a kid. I don't know how adults wanting to join was handled. I'll be looking forward to your book. Thanks

I figured wrongly from the way your posts sounded, TN. Shirley said I sounded 39 or 40, from reading my posts. Did you get any degrees? From where? My Ph. D. is from Columbia U. I take "people's misunderstanding of the Bible" to mean they understand it differently than you do. Is that right? And which Buddhists are you talking about? My experience of some of them is different individuals or organizations set different goals, many of them far from "simple." Now back to revising/rewriting my GUARANTEED HAPPINESS.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 7:08:30 PM PDT
TN says:
On the internet, a dog can claim to be a PhD.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 7:27:25 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Albert, one of the techniques I am learning is to ignore what other people say about me and my work, and take pride in what I do because I enjoy it, e.g. if someone tells me I am worthless, I must not own that comment or I let it define me. But it is difficult, as we are social beings and tend to look at other people for approval, which we must not do--there will always be criticism for and against. Another thing I have noticed, and I don't think I wrote about it in detail, is the tendency for people to subconsciously identify another's weak points, and goad them with those weaknesses (manipulation/bullying?). Why do we do this? Why do we take pleasure in pushing other people's buttons? For example, if someone knows I want to be included in a church group, the person might do all they can to exclude me, and gleefully watch my reaction when I am blocked, for example phone calls not returned, and when I complain about this happening, I am often the one who is seen as the problem.
Hope you had a great weekend. Shirley

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 8:26:07 PM PDT
JoeyP says:
Live in the Here and Now! Plan for the future and learn from the past. Life is really simple. To be truly happy you have to be self aware, you have to have goals, and you have to keep yourself motivated to achieve those goals. Once you achieve, you create a new goal or desired outcome. There will be ups and downs but without the downs you couldnt appreciate the ups. Just stay motivated! I am writing a 300+ page book on it now, but in a nutshell thats all you need. When you look at it that simply, it seems like something you can handle, doesnt it? Well, if you want pick up my workbook that helps build self awareness and thanks for the support.

Joey Poltor
Polphia Self Awareness Workbook

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2012 7:51:19 AM PDT
There's definately a spiritual side to goal setting. How can a Christian/Buddhist/Moslem be happy without the Higher Power? See Goal Setting in Life and for Business

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2012 9:05:08 AM PDT
Shirley, A person once suggested that,
"IF there is someone that you feel you must have their approval; for that time, -
.........they are your god."
That is one of the most important bits of information I have learned.

I do try to be open to learn from critics, - because they will often tell us things
that our friends would not.
Learning from everyone, - is completely different than thinking we need their approval.
Thanks for your posts.

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 3:33:56 PM PDT
Right, TN. You can check mine out with Columbia U. Again, did you finish any professio nal schools? Which ones?

Shirley Ann: We can listen to other's comments and evaluations, learn from them, but I only own them when after considering them I find them useful. As to pushing other's buttons. It's a temptation. Do you think I just did that with TN? Was he trying to push mine with his post I answered? I do think TN is very bright and that I might learn things from him. For instance, if he and Carol get into a serious discussion of the Koran.

JoeyP: Welcome and thanks for your sales pitch. As a way to happiness, I suspect that all the goal setting, planning ahead and futuring can result in unhappiness more often than in happiness. Do you agree? But it is the American way. And perhaps it partly accounts for the record high sales of tranquilizers and anti depressives in this country. What do you think?

A. P. to whatever extent I am a Buddhist, I am very happy practically all the time not believing in a higher power. Or were you talking about the US gov't? I believe in it, but not necessarily as a source of happiness. Incidentally, from reading a lot of Buddhism, my understanding is that for many, but not all, Buddhists, belief in Gods, higher powers etc. is a no-no.

And Carol: a great post. I agree 100%.

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 5:03:42 PM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Hi Carol, I do love reading your posts. I agree, people or objects can easily become Gods for us, and this tendency needs to be guarded against. I sometimes find myself placing too much hope in someone, and as a sermon recently in church said, trust in God. For some reason yesterday I found myself thinking "be still and know that I am God". I agree with your sentiments about ongoing learning from others.
Rusty, I read too much into things sometimes and have a tendency to overanalyse, so what is probably one of my biggest strengths can become a weakness at times (something I wrote briefly about). I am also learning not to take the dog by the ears (Proverbs 26:17).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2012 9:18:49 AM PDT
By a Higher Power I meant your personal spiritual belief. As a Christian, my Higher Power is God.

Posted on Jul 18, 2012 11:26:12 AM PDT

For everyone but especially for seniors.

7/18/12---I'll dedicate this to Jake and Jaffa, who sent me an internet birthday card. Today is my birthday! I'm 87, and set to take off on a new year in new ways. Thanks J&J! Even though I didn't manage to view it. Next time, if I'm still alive, just email me.

An old way is that I'm still a non-driver even tho my license is still good. I've adjusted quite easily to not even having a car, but have to admit that depending on others fo transportation is inconvenient and requires some planning and effort. We all should make the non-driving decision earlier rather than later. It might save your life, and for me even more important, will keep me from killing someone else. I am very happy with my decision!!

A second reason I dedicate this to J&J is I remember Jaffa saying years ago, "We use Rusty as a role model of how to age successfully." Did I thank you for the compliment, Jaffa? I'm unsure I did then, but if you gave it to me now, I know I would. My thought would be that thanking you would contribute to both our happiness. One of numerous changes I've made since then.

For years, breathing has been strongly connected with my happiness practices. I rose at 6:15 and started counting my breaths like this: on the inhale I mentally said "slow" and on the exhale I counted a few over 1000 breaths before stopping deliberately. I strongly recommend that anyone reading this, try this specific practice for a week, a month, perhaps forever if they find it works in making them as happy as it helps me be.

I say "slow" while inhaling for several reasons. One is that it helps prevent my manic genes from taking over completely and controlling me. They've done that a couple times when I didn't get enough sleep for 4 or 5 days in a row. So I remind myself to slow down with many, many breaths each day. I also make sure I go no more than one night, possibly two with less than 7 hours sleep. It's been more than 3 years since I have had to resort to a sleeping pill!!

Even people without manic genes might use the breath "slow" reminder to slow themselves down. I have read and heard many complaints about the pace of modern life being too fast, of people being unable to slow down. If any really want to, this simple breathing practice offers a way, a practical means to slow yourself down.

Enuf for today. I appreciate feedback: from those disagreeing with the above, from those who agree or try it, from any readers. I'll even pay for it. I'll send a check for $5 to anyone starting a post or comment responding to the above with "Send me $5." Just email me your address. My email is on my profile in the Amazon discussion site titled "Is There a Key to Happiness?" I reserve the right to limit the total on responses to this post to $50.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012 2:08:27 PM PDT
Shirley: "be still and know that I am God." How often to you know that you are God? In a sense, I know it all the time since I know I create my own world which is different than yours or anyone's. How often do you be still and not experience yourself as God?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012 3:38:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2012 3:14:28 AM PDT
Shirley Anne says:
Rusty, I was referring to this as a thought about God, not me. I believe I must trust in God alone, not in my own power, and this quietens my concerns.
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