The Master Secret
Happiness is the highest reward and the fruit of the Master Secret. There are seven fundamentals that when applied to one's life are guaranteed to elevate both the level of quality and happiness one experiences in every aspect of life.
Happiness is the Secret(Originally published in Mind/Body/Spirit)By Eldon TaylorWhat is success? Have you ever wondered why it is that for some, everything works, and for others, nothing works? Why is it that two people can have essentially the same opportunities, but one person be happy and the other one miserable? Is it not, therefore, happiness that constitutes the true meaning of success?Success is happiness! Truly successful people are happy, and when you are happy and whole in yourself, all good things follow. Where then do happiness and wholeness come from? How does a person who experiences frustrations in life become whole? Can personal wholeness provide happiness, improve self-esteem, and lead to riches and fame, peace, balance and harmony? Can relationships with family, friends and associates be improved because one person assumes the responsibility to be personally whole, takes the initiative to exude joy and happiness, seizes the opportunity to empower his or her own life by using the secret of the ages? The answers to all these questions lie in the seven fundamentals of the master secret.
The first fundamental is you - the absolutely awesome and incredible you! Not the you of self-doubt, not the you that fears rejection or failure, not the you that questions your abilities, but the real you! Those other "yous" are not you. They are synthetic yous built upon limited and false notions of who you are and what you may become. For most of us those false notions originate as we mature. In our very early attempts to achieve acceptance, we often trade off our real selves. The desire to be loved is so strong that many of us give up love or respect for ourselves in order to obtain security. That trade-off never works, because what we are insecure about in the first place exists within ourselves.
Happiness is a state of mind. The kingdom is within. The real you is a higher you, a higher power that resides within you or is available to you whenever you ask or seek. The fact is, it is your birthright to manifest the glory of the incredible you. You absolutely have the power and ability to experience all the bounties of life, to experience many literal miracles in your life -- for you yourself are a miracle, and all that you are or can ever be is a gift!So the first fundamental is you. The power resides within you. No one else can do it for you. Your thoughts are reflections of your expectations. What has been sown in your subconscious mind is what you reap. Doubt produces failure, fear yields anger, and belief in limitation is the greatest of all self-fulfilling prophecies.
The second fundamental is that thoughts are things. The thoughts we have reveal the beliefs we have about ourselves.
Listen to how we talk to ourselves. Is the language from the inside reflecting optimism, or is it filled with negative and self-limiting ideas?What you expect is what you get. Science refers to this phenomenon as the Pygmalion effect. It is a fact: if you expect the worst, you get it. And some of us must love it, because we keep on getting it! Oh, we may complain about it, we may yell and scream when it happens, but what do most of us do about it? Most of us speak and act as though there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. After all, isn't life full of "normal" events that produce "normal" responses? Isn't it normal to become angry for being cut off in five o'clock traffic? Isn't it normal to become fearful when the boss speaks harshly? Isn't it normal to be frustrated with a child's lack of respect or self-responsibility? Isn't it normal to become stuck or just fed up?Such reactions may be normal, but are they appropriate or conducive to happiness? Has anger ever produced a peaceful sense of harmony within you? Has it ever solved a problem or led to anything other than more anger, guilt, and feelings of being out of control? Such reactions may be normal, but another word for normal is average, which can be defined as the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Neither end of this definition is the highest best of who you really are.
You are your thoughts. You manifest your thoughts, your subconscious beliefs, in everything you experience. Do you believe you deserve happiness, wholeness, and success? You must truly know at all levels of your being that all good things are yours in order for them ever to be yours. You create your own realities. Events are not pivotal points in your life; you are the pivotal point in your life. When your thoughts are in agreement with your desires, your desires will magically materialize.
The third fundamental is to forgive and let go. That idea may be a bit startling at first, but think about it for a minute. Do you consider yourself to be a victim? A victim of your circumstances? Or are you willing to assume responsibility for who you are? There are two ways to be tied up in the world. One is to be tied, literally, by someone else and the other is to tie yourself, figuratively, by refusing to let go of beliefs that limit your expression of the whole and complete being you are. In other words, as long as you displace responsibility by blaming someone or something for who and what you are, you remove from yourself the power to be anything other than partial and incomplete.
All behavior is the result of choice. Sometimes our choices are made at an unconscious or a subconscious level. For example, we choose to avoid conflict by repressing our true feelings. Later our true feelings become so strong that we can no longer suppress them, and some small incident triggers an overkill response. That is a reactive model -- we have lost control. When we assume responsibility for every aspect of our lives, we get in touch with our deepest fears and feelings. The power we gain over our former, reactive behavior, provides us with the ability to respond appropriately to all stimuli. That is a proactive model -- we are always in control.
It has been said that the highest act of consciousness is inhibition - inhibition of animal stimulus-response conditioning. When we accept responsibility for our every thought and action, we empower ourselves by performing the highest act of consciousness: inhibiting the animal stimulus-response reaction. But that means we no longer have anyone to blame.
In fact, as long as we blame, we effectively eliminate our ability to grow, to be in control, or to experience peace, balance, and harmony. Power to grow resides in forgiveness. Forgiving and letting go will set us free. Forgiving everyone, including ourselves, provides the opportunity to become more than we have been, which for many is but a mere shadow of our real selves. And the irony of all this is that most of us know that we are much more than we have acted out our lives to be!
The most powerful force in the world is love. Love cancels fear. Fear is the only obstacle that must be overcome in order for all of our experiences to take on new dimensions of meaning and joy. This love is not romantic love between lovers but the unconditional love that we give our children. We are all children in some relative stage of development, learning how to live in joy and happiness. When we truly understand this truth, it becomes easy to forgive another of acts that are selfish and self-centered -- and forgive ourselves, as well. "Above all else, respect thyself," said Pythagoras. In order to love others, we must first love ourselves. We cannot pour from an empty container.
Contemporary studies of behavioral dysfunctions ranging from learning difficulties to criminal activity indicate one common denominator: low self-esteem. Low self-esteem grows out of fear of rejection -- rejection by a loved one, an employer, a stranger, anyone who might laugh at our efforts or who would misunderstand or disapprove. On the other hand, high self-esteem grows out of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is self-love. Self-esteem comes from self-love. We cannot love anyone unless we love ourselves.
The fifth fundamental is that acceptance is mastery. Loving unconditionally suggests accepting others as they are. Furthermore, loving unconditionally suggests accepting yourself as a whole and complete being on the journey of learning we call life.
Acceptance, love, and forgiveness are as necessarily interrelated as each side of a triangle is to the triangle as a whole. Acceptance is the natural process we knew as children. When light faded into night, each of us accepted that this just was the way it worked, and we learned to live accordingly. As we grew older we began to manipulate our world by means of electricity. Some things in the world can and even should be manipulated to our benefit -- turning the dark into a bright space by flipping a light switch may be one of them. But there are other elements in our environment over which we have absolutely no control, nor should we. Attempting to change other people into what we want them to be by manipulating them is what many of us have spent our lives doing.
The best way in which each of us can influence our environment is in our presence of being. When we accept other people for who and what they are, we have taken the first step toward accepting ourselves and contributing to the improvement of any condition or situation. Krishnamurti once stated, "You are the world." When we reflect peace and joy from an inner level of being, the world mirrors it back to us. When we judge, condemn, hate, lust, and so on, the world shows us these qualities. The world is a mirror, for the principal function of the world is to provide us the opportunity to learn.
What we resist we often become. What we like least in another is almost always a reflection of something in ourselves. When we love and accept ourselves, we love and accept others. Each individual who comes into our lives is a teacher. Each has something to contribute to our learning. We in turn have something to contribute to their learning. When viewed from this perspective, our every transaction with another individual transcends the limitations of manipulation.
The fifth fundamental has been called the Golden Rule. Treat others as though they were you, and treat according to the best you there is, and the rest just happens. What goes out is what you get back. Just as the story in the Bible of the prodigal son teaches us that God has already accepted and forgiven us, so this fundamental suggests that for many of us the least of our brothers and sisters has been ourselves! Accepting and loving ourselves provides the ability to accept and love others, just as accepting and loving others provides the ability to accept and love ourselves.
Martin Luther King once said, "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be." He went on to say that the mutually related network of reality is the fabric of the human condition.
The sixth fundamental, then, is interdependence, the principle that each of us is an aspect of the whole. Each of us invites respect or disrespect according to what we give others, all others. Down through the ages this concept has been given many labels, including the popular label karma. In law it is called reciprocity. What we sow is indeed what we reap.
Interdependence means individually assuming responsibility for any condition that is contrary to the quality of humanness in its highest form and then acting to produce, out of the condition or situation, balance and harmony for all. That is not to say that we take up causes and then shove them down someone else's throat. It is to say that we can work in harmony through example and right action to produce an environment that is loving and nurturing for all.
Many people operate in a codependent manner. Their method of assuming responsibility is to manipulate others by placing blame, finding fault, or assuming a contractual posture that goes like this: "If I do this, will you...?" or, "If you loved me, you would..." or, "Don't you feel sorry that I feel..." or, "You need me to...," and so on. Codependence is manipulating another person to provide you with security, sensation, and power. If someone else cannot live or function without you, then your self-worth has been validated -- and vice versa. A codependent is a victim, a victim both of his or her surroundings and of other people. The need to control another person is a classic symptom of codependency. Codependency grows out of insecurity. All insecurities are externally oriented. The codependent sees stimuli through the lens of expectation. Expectation is a contract that goes like this: "I will behave this way, if you behave this way;" or, "If you behave that way, I will behave that way." The fear of unfulfilled expectations gives rise to internal conflict.
Happiness is a state of being. It exists moment to moment in the eternal now. If happiness doesn't exist, conflict takes its place -- even if the conflict is only the difference between what we think we should be experiencing and we are experiencing. In other words, when we have what we desire, we experience joy. Furthermore, when what we experience is unconditional, as opposed to contractual, then we experience only joy.
Insecurity fuels fear, and fear is a very creative force. What we fear most is therefore very often what we create as our experience. Instead of accepting what is, we project what might be or lament what might have been. We are responsible only for ourselves individually. We must be whole before any event in our lives will be. Therefore, true interdependence assumes the role of "fixing" oneself.
The seventh fundamental is the culmination of all the fundamentals of success. That culminating principle is this: Do it now. This is a world of action, not procrastination. For anything to change, you must do the changing. Nothing happens until you make it happen! Only you can do it for you.
If the world was a world of theory, then none of us would be here. Nothing in this world stands still or waits. No action is inaction and all inaction is action. The form and the function are the same. Live with the awareness that God's presence exists in all!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eldon Taylor, Ph.D. is the author of over 200 books and self help programs (http://www.innertalk.com ). He is currently Director of Progressive Awareness Research and he received the 2005 International Peace Prize awarded by the United Cultural Convention sitting in the United States for his work in forgiveness and acceptance. He is a Diplomat in the American Psychotherapy Association and has been honored in over a dozen Who's Who publications.