My two Universal Guidelines:
- Do no harm to others.
- Help others who need and will accept help to the level that you are able to help.
The sages through history have espoused some version of “treat others as you yourself would want to be treated”. That is perhaps the higher form of both the Universal Guidelines. You should stop to think before you do anything and ask yourself – “what do I want the outcome to be as a result of this action?” When you do this, you must look far enough out in time in examining the outcomes to see just how they will relate to the two Universal Guidelines.
This seems so basic and straight forward that it is difficult to write about. Yet, I suspect that there is no one alive who can live absolutely consistently in accord with the two Universal Guidelines. We have world strife and wars. We have enslavement. We have huge poverty while we have huge concentration of wealth. We have theft. We have murder. We have one person striking out in anger at another. People leave garbage where ever they please. On and on it goes. All of these are anti-social and create divisions, discord and unhappiness.
My thesis is quite simple. If enough of us will try to live as close to the standards of the two Universal Guidelines as we can, the trend will grow and eventually prevail in a group of people, a location, a region, a country, a group of countries and eventually the world! I liken it to “phasing” in quantum physics. At a certain critical point it will take on a life of its own and line up together so that we are all in concert with each other and the two Universal Guidelines.
Understand, I am not speaking about a bland, vanilla world of sameness. Not at all! There will be plenty of room for difference. Ideas should still be challenged. We will still organize in societies with governments. Everyone at every level will just always work in consideration of the two Universal Guidelines.
I hope you have a huge dreams list by now. I also hope you did not edit or limit the list in any way. Did you enjoy the process? If you study the list a bit I know you will see some common themes in the items on your list. So let’s organise the list a bit before we do much else.
Look for items that have commonalities. Group together those items that relate to family, social, material, finance, spirituality and any other main heading that you may want to group together. We are not limiting the list here at all. We are just putting items in an organised system. OK?
Now is where we start to really get excited and put a plan together for a life that has happiness as its central theme. Looking at the main groupings that you have identified and filled with dreams, which is the most important to you right now, at this very point in your life? This will change through the journey you take in life but one of the main headings will be the highest priority right now. Do not think about what others think it should be or what you think they expect. Focus! What do YOU think?!
Great. Now, what is number two for you right now? Three? And so on ….
I bet you can guess what comes next. Right. Do the same exercise in each heading to prioritise each dream in each heading. You have now done something that most people never do. You have built a true dreams list, organised it and made decisions about which are more important TODAY. What will you spend spare time on now?
Next time we will actually focus even more and develop plans that will very naturally lead to a happier life.
Get ready to let your true self out of the constraints of your everyday reality. Get ready to shrug off the bindings that are holding you back. Look for the kid inside of you who had no trouble at all generating huge lists of what you wanted to have or do. Permit yourself to be very selfish for a while and do something that is just for you. You don’t have to share this with anyone. It is for you and your eyes only. Be honest with yourself. We are talking about your happiness.
Take a few minutes and just think. Think about what you would like to do if you could. Don’t worry about how for now. Just think about everything. It is going to be a bit noisy in your mind because you will start to get ideas that generate other ideas and your mind will throw up resistance. Ignore the resistance and keep thinking!! Your imagination is now engaged.
Now, take out some paper and a pen. This works best if you actually write it down. There is a link that seems to form when you actually write the things down. You can type it into a computer but please don’t worry about “pretty” list that is the correct format and so on. That is for later. For now, you are just getting the elements gathered for your catalogue for living a great and happy life. This will be your dreams list.
Find somewhere that you will not be disturbed. Set a specific amount of time to write your list of desires for you and your life. I would suggest about 10 or 15 minutes for the first try at this. This is not quite as easy as it sounds. Once you have everything together, go to it!
The best way to get started is to just start writing! Don’t edit anything. Do not stop. If you are at a blank in your mind and the time is not up that you set aside for this, write anyway. Even if it is a sentence saying that you can’t think of anything to write.
Keep on doing this exercise as often as you want to. Merge your lists together so you have one large catalogue to select from. We are going to do much more with this list. For now, revel in it and enjoy the feeling that you now have some interesting ideas of what you would really love to have, experience, achieve, do and be. I hope it is large. We will help focus and prioritise a bit at a later posting. Enjoy!! Dream!!
This is one of my tools to deal with outside events that happen to me that I might not really appreciate or want at all. If you think about it at all, you will realise that there is not one thing you can do to erase what has happened that you do not want in your life. There is a great poem by Omar Khayyám (The Rubaiyat) that describes it well.
from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
Omar Khayyám was a scholar and astronomer who lived in Iran. His poetry reflects his thoughts about the deity, good and evil, spirit, matter, and destiny.
It is sort of like looking at the wake a boat leaves as it moves forward. No matter what you do, you cannot change the wake. All you can do is look forward and make plans to control where the boat is going next. I will not dwell too long on this right now because it will be a theme going forward.For now, just make yourself much more aware that you need to ask yourself better questions. Don’t just focus on “why me?”. Rather, focus on “we are where we are – now what?”.
There is a great resource available to you right now. If you just click here you will be taken to an offer of a great course. Even before you decide on the course, you can download a free e-book just by registering. Have a look and see what you think. It could just be the thing to set you on your way to whatever it is that is missing in your life. Good luck and enjoy.
Start thinking about how you handle outside events. I will write on that a bit next time.
Pretty much anything you read about happiness will lead you to the subject of gratitude at some point. All point out that we tend to focus so much on the problems in our lives that we actually become blind to the good that is there as well.
This subject is so obvious to me that I know it is to most as well. I will not dwell too long on it here. Gratitude is a habit that has to be nurtured just like any other habit. Do not worry about the research on this idea. Do not wonder if it really will work or is just more hokum that will achieve nothing at all. Just try this for the next couple of weeks without fail and without missing once. If you miss once, start the two weeks over again.
When you get up in the morning, take a minute or two and think of at least 3 or 4 things that you can be grateful for on that particular day. It could be as simple as the hot water that you have for your shower. Or, for the transportation that will take you to your job. Or, your job! Focus on thinking about a few each morning when you get up and try to make them different each day. Don’t have time? What about in the shower, or during a bathroom break? Find the time.
Then, the last thing before you go to sleep, again think of at least 3 or 4 things that you are grateful for in general. No matter how lousy the day felt to you, make the effort to identify at least 3 or 4 reasons to be grateful. The rainbow earlier on. The snow stopped finally and it looks so brilliant now and clean. Do not limit yourself to just 3 or 4 but be sure to focus on things for which you are truly grateful when you think about it.
Some of you might want to make a journal of your ideas. A Gratitude Journal. Go ahead. I have always had a file called my rainy day file. In that I keep things that bring cheer and a smile to my face. Things that just plain make me feel good when I recall them. If I find myself a bit down and can’t seem to pick myself up (yes, I too have those days), I reach for the file and randomly look through and someting always sticks out and brings that smile and sense of calm and peace back.
To day I heard of a great file that everyone can access right away if they want to. It is another blog and it has just won an award. I encourage you to just have a look at it. It reminds us that everyday things are really remarkable but we mostly don’t notice or revel in them. This fellow reminds us to sharpen our observaation skills and see the fun in things. Enjoy it.