Those who grow to accept themselves and love who they are develop a zest for life, and value most of all the things money can't buy; new,
meaningful experiences as opposed to objects that soon lose their shine.
They find that life has purpose, clarity and meaning, and doing what they love - their passion - becomes their prime motivator. They also begin to consider how their lives might benefit others rather than seeking constant self-gratification and comfort in every situation; such as high-fliers in financial institutions who re-evaluate their lives, follow their feelings, embrace life with a renewed sense of confidence and "downshift" to put their quality of life first. Their fears around not having enough as they compete to keep up with the Joneses dissipates, and doing what really interests, inspires and fulfills them fuels their joy for living. This may involve turning a hobby or a passion into a living, and include an element of giving selflessly instead of taking endlessly. Life fills with purpose instead of feeling manic, trapped and mundane, and no longer are they too tired, jaded, miserable and burned out to enjoy it.
"Materialistic pursuits are not a path to sustainable happiness. A mass of evidence shows people who have
more materialistic goals are less happy than those who focus on intrinsic aims such as relationships or personal growth."
~ James Montier [Global equity strategist]
"Paradise syndrome" is a condition experienced by those who have acquired every possession they want but still aren't happy. Contrast this depressive state with the New Economics Foundation and Friends of the Earth's 'The Happy Planet Index', which measures the happiness ratio of 178 countries based on various factors. The survey places the self-sufficient South Pacific island of Vanuata, population 200,000, first and well ahead of competitive, consumer-driven industrial nations like the UK (108th) and the US (150th). "People are generally happy here because they are satisfied with very little," was the response of Vanuata's local online newspaper. "It's a place where you don't worry too much." The UK and US also trail behind Libya, Gabon and Azerbaijan where family, community and only essential material possessions are valued most.
"The ego/mind constantly seeks control and gain... It seeks successes by whatever yardstick it measures that illusory goal. Happiness is always around the next corner, so it strains harder to achieve its goals. At some point, the illusion breaks down and the opening for the start of the spiritual quest begins."
~ David R. Hawkins [The Eye of the I]
You can only accept and love yourself when you let go of the fear that clouds the mind, fuels the ego, and separates you from your heart centre.
This entails commencing the process of releasing the pain and anguish - emotional blockages - which give rise to fear and helplessness. Drug-free ways to break free of the chaos and disruption of the outer world and cultivate an awareness in the heart include meditation and yoga; activities which transcend and silence the mind's internal chatter and induce a state of stillness and wellbeing. But, like drugs and alcohol, they offer only temporary reprieves. Identifying, dismantling and letting go of each barrier of fear, and the pain and guilt attached to it, means going within and confronting that pain head on.
"We're all afraid to talk about what happened to us when we were ten years old... But the answer to that fear isn't to hide. It's to face the past. What I'm trying to tell people every day is to open the door and let the past in. You won't be swallowed by the past - you will be healed by the light that pours in."
~ Oprah Winfrey
Fear and denial hold most back from prising the lid off the past in order to release the demons and move on. So much easier and "safer" to expend energy immersed in the manufactured distractions of the outer world; video/computer games, surfing the internet, gambling, work, eating, drinking, shopping, movies, television, spectator sports, celebrity trivia, working out... When done to excess these become addictions: empty, fruitless pursuits that anaesthetise the pain but prevent our emotional and spiritual evolution. External pursuits entered into for the sole purpose of keeping the mind focused externally rather than the pleasure of participating are quick fixes that prevent us going within and realising our true potential.
"Once you see the reason why you're doing things, it's not a pretty sight. There's always some sort of insecurity... Addiction is never something you want to do. You do it to kill your insecurities or to feel better about yourself. Those were the answers I got and I thought, 'My God, if I have to do this stuff to feel better
about myself, I ain't nothing.' I want people to see me as I am."
~ Mary J. Blige
Crystal meth has fueled an epidemic of sex addiction among gay men whose energy has been diverted from their true purpose.
No amount of bath house or cybersex can ever satiate the empty void of the meth abuser's addiction. Because he continues to convince and delude himself that his addiction will eventually overcome his emptiness, his quest for more and more partners spirals out of all control.
"Some feelings are so painful that we cannot feel them at all. We only feel the emptiness of their absence; a hole in the heart. I couldn't accept myself or fully experience my own emotions because I was raised in an environment that denied my true, gay identity, and in a household where emotions were dismissed.
"I've spent much of my adult life keenly asserting my individuality, while on an unconscious level I'd been programed to despise my true nature. In managing this conflict, like most addicts I was extremely controlling.
"But you cannot make up for unmet childhood needs by bullying people in adult life. You cannot sate this legacy of need with drink or drugs. I was trying to fill an emptiness that could never be filled by those means, so was always left dissatisfied.
"The void is filling now, as I discover ways to make recompense in the present for the deficit of emotional nurturing I carried from the past. Recovery is surrender; relinquishing attempts at frantic control and turning internal conflict first into an uneasy ceasefire, then into lasting, increasingly stable peace; very different from the temporary relief and denied feelings of addiction."
~ Paul Bakalite [Positive Nation]
Whatever the reason or excuse not to go within, until emotional pain is confronted head-on the ego continues to influence all decisions and judgments, sabotaging our happiness in the present while shackling us to the past. Letting go of each self-inflicted barrier of pain, however, gradually reveals the love, light and abundunce of authentic power and creativity that has always resided within.
Healing through therapy is big business, particularly in the States. The therapist, counselor or psychologist listens attentively while the patient recalls past events that led to him imposing protective mechanisms, and the patient is encouraged to identify the underlying reasons why each defensive barrier was erected to establish how and why the ego tricked him into, effectively, living a lie. Only when the patient can see clearly how he has limited himself by allowing the separation from his authentic power source is he ready to let go of the fear, pain and guilt associated with each emotional blockage, and move closer to his heart centre.
Forgiveness is the only effective way to release pain and let go of attachment to the past.
If you can't forgive but continue to harbour resentment
towards the people or situations that led to you
erecting each barrier of fear, then you become a victim mannacled to the past. And if your past is one anchored in misery and unhappiness, more of the same will surely follow if you maintain the same, rigid set of beliefs, judgments and principles that keep you stuck in the same groove of the record, going round and round and repeating the same old patterns...
The first step in forgiving others is forgiving ourselves, because it is our guilt, fear and dislike of ourselves
which make us attack others for displaying the faults we wish we could banish from our own personalities, such as John bullying the classroom loner. Many feel the need to forgive their parents most of all for imposing their beliefs and ideals on them, particularly during their formative years. Heartfelt, unconditional forgiveness that is similarly reciprocated triggers a seismic shift in consciousness; a breakthrough that shatters a chain of repetitive conditioning that may have endured for generations as all barriers and tensions literally melt away, allowing the love to flow unimpeded again.
Releasing mental pain can result in a cathartic outpouring of emotions like anger and tears as the pressure caused by the build-up of emotional blockages and negative energy is swept away. Healing is like peeling away the layers of an onion to reach your core and discover who you really are; tears will flow, but as each layer of pain is confronted, the cuase of the pain forgiven and the guilt and anger released, the judgmental voice of the ego fades into silence. This process gives way to a liberating transformation of mind and profound sense of peace and lightness as you reconnect to your true source; love. When guided by your feelings and not controlled by the ego, you become a balanced, grounded, heart-centred person.
When the heart guides your thoughts, life fills with purpose, meaning and clarity, and the ego can be called upon only in situations where it can be used in a healthy, productive way.
People who have never cried, grieved or been encouraged to listen to their feelings, especially those indifferently conditioned by their environment to be "real men", store up a pressure cooker of negative emotions in the subconscious which literally gridlock the mind. Pent-up stress can manifest as rage, anger or violence at the pressing of any button that activates the memory of an unresolved, painful experience, and often leads to careers in the military or participation in contact sports which legitimately permit the expression of repressed anger. Individuals fortunate to express their feelings and emotions freely from birth avoid aggressive situations, and always look for peaceful solutions to the problems life throws their way.
All too often, people wait until the point of death - when they no longer have a need for their ego boundaries to hide behind and so are able to speak from the heart - to forgive others and express their love. The effect of not having the opportunity to forgive others due to sudden death can have a traumatising effect on those left behind; on 9/11, for example, those trapped in the burning towers felt an urgency to phone their families and express their love before they perished. They knew they had nothing to lose in doing so.
Stress and tension caused by unhealed pain and emotional blockages - negative energy - feeds off vitality, prematurely ageing and decaying the body.
Unhealed pain creates toxic emotional blockages which ultimately manifest physically as diseases (dis-ease), like cancer or osteoporosis. All bodily diseases are related in varying degrees to emotional blockages. Positive-minded, forward-thinking HIVers, for example, tend to remain fitter and healthier far longer than HIVers whose fear and sense of hopelessness about their condition places an intolerable strain on their already compromised immune systems.
Western civilisation is conditioned to accept that all healing must come from synthetic medications as opposed to the clearing of emotional blockages through positive thought aided by a healthy diet, natural and alternative remedies and physical therapies which offer long-term solutions with immediate benefits. Cure isn't big pharma's overall intent, with many drugs offering only short-term fixes with long-term harmful effects. Treatment is far more lucrative than finding the cause and purpose of the physical and/or mental imbalance, and big pharma uses its financial might (the global drugs market is worth $600 billion, of which the US accounts for half) to pressure governments to suppress alternative solutions.
This corrupted approach to health has resulted in millions in the West being dosed up and dependent on cocktails of poisonous antibiotics and medicines. Deaths from prescription drugs rose from 4.4 per 100,000 of the American population in 1999 to 7.1 per 100,000 in 2004 - a jump from 11,000 people to almost 20,000 in just five years. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 106,000 hospitalised patients alone die each year in the US from properly administered prescribed drugs, while the side effects of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines kill another 200,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands globally. By comparison, each year street drugs like crystal, heroin and cocaine kill some 10,000-20,000 Americans. Pharmaceutical drugs are, by far, the single biggest killer of human beings today...
"The FDA continues it's never ending assault on doctors and researchers who provide alternative, proven remedies for all kinds of medical problems because there will be no tolerance of any cures not sanctioned by the big pharma companies who peddle death and depend on repeat customers."
~ Devvy Kidd [Newswithviews.com]
As well as the key to good health, positive, vibrant energy is key to maintaining a youthful glow and vitality into middle age and beyond; the so-called it factor that radiates from beneath the skin and manifests as supreme self-confidence devoid of egocentric traits (i.e. arrogance). At 40, a face is a reflection of a person's cumulative state of mind; positive, grounded people continue to radiate youth, while close-minded, negative 40-year-olds look old, tired and haggard.
The radiant glow of self-confidence will attract and magnetise others of a similar resonance into your life because like attracts like. By the same equation, low self-esteem repels confident people but draws others lacking in self-worth into your life, and among whom crystal meth and other destructive addictions easily prey. Confident people emit an aura of wellbeing, purpose and grace that motivates and inspires others, triggering in them a desire to heal too, and leaving those who are unwilling to change their negative behavioural patterns and thought processes behind.
Acceptance is the key to respecting and loving yourself. It is the process of becoming your own best friend by avoiding addictive behaviours and external distractions; of getting to know who you really are in moments and periods of quietness and solitude by dismantling each of the negative, self-limiting thought patterns that clutter the mind and make you seek power through control and force.
Only when you are able to unconditionally accept and love yourself are you ready to unconditionally accept and love others for who they are.
How do you know if you are getting there? When you o longer feel the need or desire to be forceful and controlling. When you can look someone fearlessly in the eye and sense a connection to a warmth within. When you are able to receive and honour a compliment instead of rejecting or instinctively denying it. When you begin to see life from a higher level of awareness and knowing, as if a filter - a "veil of illusion" - has been lifted from your mind's eye...