Sample text for Unleashing your authentic power : resistance-free living / Jim Britt.


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Chapter One

Unhappiness
Is a Learned
Behavior
Happiness
only exists when
we see that
unhappiness
is not connected
to the event itself
but rather to how
we perceive
the event


Imagine walking into a room where groups of people are seated at a table where a delicious-looking meal is set before them. The table is filled with every sort of food you can imagine. It's a mouthwatering display of food, all perfectly prepared. It's all right in front of their noses and easily within their reach.
You notice that none of the people are eating. They haven't even taken a single bite. Their plates are empty. It appears they have been seated there for a very long time—so long that they appear to be starving to death.
They are starving not because they cannot eat the wonderful food before them, nor because eating it is forbidden or harmful. They aren't eating because they don't realize that food is what they need. They don't know that those very sharp pains in their stomachs are caused by hunger. They don't see that all they need to do to stop their suffering is eat the food that's right in front of them.
This is an example of our basic human suffering. Most of us sense that there is something wrong, that something is inherently missing in our lives, but we haven't a clue what the problem is or what we should do about it. We may see faintly that what we need is somehow very close to us, but we don't connect it to the sharp pain inside us. Even with time, as the pain becomes more severe, we can't see what we need.
We all long for something. We feel the pain. We suffer daily not knowing that everything we need to eliminate our suffering is right before us.
All the pain and suffering we experience is of our own making. It develops out of our own hearts and minds. It comes out of our own confusion. In addition, if we don't begin to see where the problems originate or what they really are, we will only increase their strength. Because it's all we know, we will teach our children the same confusion. And it will continue generation after generation, doing more of the same to ourselves and those around us. We—you and I—are the pivotal generation. For things to change in our lives, our children's lives and in the world, we must make a change. The time is NOW!
We all want to be free of our problems, but here's the bottom line. No person's life ever is, was or will be free from difficulty. All I'm offering is possibly a new way of observing the true nature of our problems, what they are and where they originated. It's not a "sit back and let it happen" philosophy. It's simply about getting to the basics. It's about getting to the root cause of our pain, and then acting on it from that point of view.
I once heard a story about a man who went to a spiritual master hoping to rid himself of his problems. He explained for hours the long list of problems he faced. He explained that even though his children were good, sometimes they just didn't respect him enough. He explained that even though he dearly loved his wife, she nagged too much. He explained that sales in his business were declining and he had barely enough money to pay his bills. The list of problems went on and on.
The master sat in silence listening to every word the man had to say. Finally the man wound down and waited for the master's response, for the master to give him the secret to handling all his problems.
When the all-knowing master finally responded he said, "I can't help you."
"What do you mean you can't help me?" the man cried.
The master said, "Well, we each have fifty-one problems, and there's nothing I or anyone else can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, you just might fix it, but as soon as you do there'll be another to take its place. For example, you are going to die some day, and so are your wife and children. Now that's a problem, and there's absolutely nothing you or I or anyone else can do about it."
The man became very angry and shouted, "I thought you were a great master. I thought you could help solve my problems! What good are your teachings anyway?"
"Well," the master said, "maybe I can help you with your fifty-second problem, your greatest problem of all."
"My fifty-second problem!" the man shouted. "What's my fifty-second problem?"
"Your fifty-second problem," the master said, "is you want to not have any problems."
We all believe that we have to resolve each of our problems in a way that completely eliminates them, or we want to deny their reality altogether. However, in doing so, what we are really trying to do is to make reality into something other than what's really happening.
Here's the point. Life involves having problems and dealing with them. That's why we're here in the first place. Name one person who doesn't have problems and I'll show you someone without a pulse. In fact, if you're alive and you don't have problems, then you've got real problems!
Here's a good starting point. Problems are a fact of human life. Weeds will grow, even if we hate them and wish them gone. Why? That's the nature of weeds. They will grow without our planting them. Flowers, on the other hand, will grow, wither and die, even though we love them and want them to remain.
How do you feel about this reality? Maybe we should all just pretend there are no weeds. Maybe we should all just pretend that all we love is not going to eventually die. Maybe we should just pretend there are no problems and see what happens. We've all become pretty good at that one. All we need to do is just look around. Our whole planet is in denial. That's why we have so many problems.
It's important to realize that all our dissatisfactions originate within us. They arise out of our ignorance, or our being blind to reality, or our desire for reality to be something other than what it is. It is this wanting reality to be something other than what it is that dissatisfies us in the first place.
Life is a journey. The journey should be one of getting to know our true selves once again, a journey into nearness and self-intimacy. Our real journey is to awaken to the here and now, to be fully alive and fully present in this moment, in this reality. After all, this moment is all there is anyway. Why would we want to be anywhere else?
We must come to three realizations in order to find happiness. First, we must realize that life is fleeting. It's passing us by, moment to moment. Next, we must realize that we are already complete, whole and worthy of happiness. Last, we must see that we are our own refuge, our own sanctuary and our own salvation. We need nothing from the outside to make us more, or to provide us with happiness.
We've Become Attached to Our Pain
As we've discussed, life involves pain and unhappiness. Wouldn't you agree? We could define pain as anything from displeasure or dissatisfaction to failure, a relationship breakup, lack of money, or the death of a loved one.
Most of us continue to choose our old way, the way that causes us pain or unhappiness, because we're good at doing it. We retreat to the familiar. It's what we know, and it's who we believe we are. It feels safe and comfortable. We know exactly how to do it. After all, we've been doing it all our lives. The reason we continue with our old methods is because there's no risk. Before most of us would risk moving out of our comfort zone, things would have to get pretty stressful. In other words, we'd have to become pretty miserable before we'd let go of our ideas about how we think life should be. We'd have to let go of our belief about what really constitutes happiness.
The only reason we have unhappiness is because we continue to hang on to what we believe happiness should be. We refuse to let go of our old belief systems, our feelings and our old habit patterns.
Our pain and unhappiness are caused by our unwillingness to accept what is, right now, and to let go of the past and our expectations of the future. We discover our willingness to let go of our old ways only when the pain becomes more than we can handle.
There are basically five reasons for our unhappiness:
Not getting what we want in life.

Getting what we want but not being satisfied with it.

Suffering the absence of something or someone we love.

Enduring the presence of something or someone we do not want in our lives.

Our greatest concern: living in the past or in the future; not being here now.
How we respond to the above leads us either toward or further away from happiness. Throughout this book, you'll be encouraged to observe yourself to discover why you do what you do, and why you continue to make the choices you make. You'll be encouraged to see whether your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, language, behaviors and perceptions cause you to experience happiness or move you away from it.
Let's begin by exploring our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, language and behaviors. Observing these areas allows us an opportunity to see ourselves a little more clearly. We'll begin to see how we approach life, how we think, how powerful our words are, how we choose our values, why we embrace certain behaviors and how our beliefs and feelings affect our lives.
You shouldn't concern yourself about what you are doing right or wrong, because neither will apply. It's not my objective to persuade you to do anything about how you think, believe, feel, speak or behave. However, I would like for you to have an open mind, explore the whole process and see how these things are affecting your life. As the process unfolds, I'd like you to focus upon you and not on the content of your life. What you think, believe, feel, speak or your behaviors will not be the point. Why you do it will be the point.
You may, for example, hold a belief that life is difficult. That's a very simple statement, one that is heard often. Here's what I want to encourage you to do. I want you to observe yourself, and to explore how you came to believe that life is difficult. Who taught you to believe that? What sequence of events supported that belief? More importantly, how has having that belief affected your life? Does it add to your happiness? Does it help to ease your pain? Or does it cause you to suffer more?
What would happen to your life if you suddenly challenged that belief? How would your life be different? That's the real issue. My purpose is to get you to ask yourself why you have certain beliefs, and for you to ask yourself, "What if it's not true?" I want you to ask yourself, "Is this belief really necessary? Or for that matter, is any belief necessary?" I just want to encourage you to back off and observe how you are living your life. That's the real purpose of this book.
This book isn't about motivation. We've had enough motivation to last a lifetime. Motivation is self-addition. What we need is self-correction. We need awakening! We need to discover what de-motivates us, not how to get re-motivated every time we feel down or things aren't going our way. What we truly need to discover is what has turned us off. Getting turned on is easy. We can do that at the drop of a hat. Staying turned on is the problem that faces us every waking moment. Finding out what keeps turning us off is the key to happiness. Only when we can discover what's holding us back and causing us to suffer will we find happiness.


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(c)2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Unleasing Your Authentic Power by Jim Britt. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.





Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Self-actualization (Psychology)
Happiness.
Success -- Psychological aspects.