A COURSE IN HAPPINESS

Finding Happiness . . .

Happiness is an emotional state of mind. Your level of inner happiness is a direct reflection of the thoughts you choose to run through your mind. This free course will help you identify the underlying causes of your unhappiness and set you on a path to higher awareness, understanding and acceptance.

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Free yourself from fears, phobias, anger, resentment, jealousy and all types of emotional unhappiness by identifying each of their negative and addictive causes.

Presented by
John T. Davies Dip. C.H.GCHS, Dip. A.I.P.C. (Counsellor-Hypnotherapist)

http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/~acceptance/ACourseInHappiness/HappinessCover.htm

Introduction

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” Looking around at most people today it’s obvious they have yet to make up their minds. Happiness is a result of choice — choosing how to effectively use the thoughts that flow in and out of your mind. The thoughts you allow into your mind influences the perception of the world you see around you. If you perceive a sullen, hostile and unhappy world, your mind is full of sullen, hostile and unhappy thoughts. Change your thoughts and you change your world!
 
Alternative thinking
The prime purpose of this course is to help you understand that outside events do not cause unhappiness in your life. What other people say or do cannot make you unhappy. It’s your reaction to what they say or do that decides whether you choose to feel happy or unhappy. Unhappiness is not something created outside of you. Unhappiness comes from within. Unhappiness is a state of mind — a dysfunctional way of thinking. Rotten thoughts produce rotten results. This course is aimed at helping you overcome those habitual rotten thoughts. Just as natural therapies provide alternative methods of healing the body, the mind can undergo healing by adopting alternative methods of thinking.

A philosophy to live by
This course presents a philosophy based on awareness, understanding and acceptance — not only of yourself, but of your fellow man and the world around you. Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher (circa 550 BC), was a scientist, a sage, and teacher who coined the word “philosopher,” which he defined as “one who is attempting to find out.” In relation to this course, we are attempting to find out what type of thinking is causing more unhappiness than happiness in your life. Once this cause is discovered, steps can be taken to modify its effects.

What is happiness?
Happiness could be described as a state of mind induced by a higher state of awareness — a natural state of mind arising from an understanding and acceptance of life exactly as it is. The only reason happiness is not a natural way of life for ninety-nine percent of the world’s population is that we have allowed our ego to control and dominate our consciousness with attitudes that demand the world should do exactly what we want and give us exactly what we want.
Our egos continuously distract us by demanding we satisfy the wants and needs of its “outer” reality, rather than be satisfied with the abundance to be found within our “inner” reality.
We always have enough to make us happy if we just focus on enjoying what we do have — and not habitually worry about what we don’t have.

Why so much unhappiness?
Unhappiness arises from the more or less continual disappointment, frustration and emotional tension we experience when life repeatedly serves up to us the very things we do not want to accept.

Giving up the struggle
Unhappiness is struggle, a continual pushing away of the things you don’t want to accept in your life. Happiness, on the other hand, is simple acceptance! When you arrive at that point in life where you can calmly accept the world and its workings exactly as it is, you will have found that elusive peace of mind we call happiness. The awakened person lives a life of simple acceptance — a state of being in which the mind is totally unconcerned with judging people or conditions. Once this higher state of awareness is able to be reached and maintained, the desired level of happiness will follow.

Awareness, understanding and acceptance
The central theme of this course is mind renewal — helping you open your mind to a greater reality than that currently accepted and understood by society at large. Once upon a time the surface of the earth was considered to be flat — a strongly held belief of those who professed to be in the know — the scholars and leaders of the time. Exploration of the seas led to a change in those beliefs, and a higher awareness as to the shape of our planet resulted in a paradigm shift in attitudes and beliefs. Times change, and with them, the beliefs of those times.

The nature of reality
Reality — as perceived by the ego, is completely relative to one’s own personally held attitudes and beliefs. We are limited in our understanding of life by our ego’s individual perception and interpretation of the world around us. The collective consciousness of those in the not too distant past, held that ships would fall off the edge of the world if they sailed too far in one direction. An illusionary perception that for a long time restricted man’s quest for greater knowledge and understanding. Fearful attitudes and beliefs hindered and limited man back then, just as they do today.

Overcoming the limitations of perceived boundaries
Columbus, Magellan and other explorers and visionaries, stretched and finally broke through the illusionary boundaries of mankind’s limitations, in particular its limiting system of beliefs. The citizens of those times learnt to accept that there were no ship-devouring dragons lurking at sea, just as they learnt to accept that the earth was round, not flat. Higher awareness led to greater understanding, which in turn led to an acceptance that attitudes and beliefs must be flexible and subject to change if man is to progress and prosper.

Choose to change your reality
Change your attitudes and beliefs and you change your reality. If your world around you, your current reality — is not conducive to inner feelings of happiness and contentment, then the solution is obvious. Make the choice for change. A conscious shift in your attitudes and beliefs will take you into higher levels of awareness where you can see what is, rather than what is not.

Happiness isn’t a reward, it’s a way of life
A veil of illusion, a mind-set created by your ego, prevents you from seeing true reality. If your ego prompts you to doubt this, why do you seem destined to have only occasional and elusive flashes of happiness and not constant long lasting happiness? It’s largely because your past programming has you believing happiness is something that has to be earned — a reward for struggling — something that occasionally relieves the constant feeling of unhappiness that clouds your perception of life.

An awakening
It is hoped this course will awaken something inside you — an awareness that helps you realize happiness in this life really is all about choice. Choose the type of thoughts you regularly place in your mind, and you can find the happiness and joy that always has been, and always will be, yours to enjoy forever more.

Module One: Mind stretching exercises

DO YOU feel your chair moving? It really is a seething mass of movement. Although these movements are too minuscule for you to feel, indeed there is movement. The chair is nowhere near as solid as your eyes and conscious mind tells you it is. The mass that makes up the chair is composed of molecules of matter, which in turn are made up of atoms of matter. The atoms are made up of a nucleus composed of neutrons and protons and orbiting electrons whirling around at enormous speeds. Although the chair itself seems stable enough, its atomic structure is vibrating with non-stop movement. The amazing thing is that each atom is composed of more space than mass. If the atom were the size of a football field, its nucleus would be no bigger than a pea, with its electrons orbiting that pea from a distance equivalent to the fence line surrounding the field. What fills the area between the pea and the fence? — apparently nothing but empty space!
Now consider for a moment the fact that your own body is made up of a similar collection of rapidly-moving particles each separated by large volumes of space and you will see the affinity between the chair and yourself. You and the chair are both made of the same substance. The only differences between the chair and yourself are in form and consciousness.

From the microcosm to the macrocosm
Now consider the marvelous harmony and balance of the solar system. From the microcosm of electrons in orbit to the macrocosm of planets in orbit.  The electromagnetic energy that maintains constant motion and vibration within the atom is the same energy keeping the planets in orbit around the sun. This same energy maintains the solar system in its place within the greater macrocosm of our home galaxy. This entire galaxy of some 1 billion stars is itself in a whirling elliptical orbit around its own centre of gravity. Consider the magnitude of this spiral galaxy we call the Milky Way. Our solar system takes 240 million years to complete just one orbit around the centre of our galaxy. Moving at the speed of light, a space ship leaving earth would take 25,000 of our years just to reach the centre of our galaxy! Travelling from one side of the galaxy to the other would take one hundred thousand years! Let’s stretch the mind a little further. Let’s look at the immense distances involved here. Distances so great we must talk in terms of light years, the distance light travels in a year. Light travels at 300,000 km per second. That’s 186,000 miles per second, around 670 million miles per hour. The distance light travels in one light year is six trillion miles (9,500,000,000,000 kilometers).

Take a large packed lunch
For us to reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest bright star in our galaxy, we would need enough food and reading material to last us four to five of our earth years. (Note: Alpha Centauri is the brightest of the two pointer stars leading to the Southern Cross). The nearest galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy and it’s 2,500,000 light years away. The strongest of man’s telescopes look out into the farthest reaches of the known universe (10 billion light years away) and see another 100 billion galaxies, each with at least 100 billion stars apiece! Scientists estimate that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sands on all the beaches of the world! If that’s difficult to accept, remember that there is a finite limit to the number of beaches and grains of sand, whereas the universe and the stars it contains is infinite.

So what?
What has all that have to do with you? Simply this. The stuff that makes up this mind-bending expanse of space, matter and energy is the very same stuff that you and I are made of, and all of it is  interconnected. The point being, you are not some insignificant speck of cosmic dust, all alone in an uncaring, scary and haphazard universe. You truly are connected to it all, just as everything is connected to you. To think of this universe as some sort of accidental coming together of matter, with no specific purpose, obviously seems to be at odds with what appears to be a carefully-planned creational event—a magnificent combination of harmony, symmetry, balance and purpose. You and I, and the universe are one—and we, along with the universe, really do have a purpose.

Ego versus the world
Now the ego, from its natural environment of fear and insecurity, looks around at this wonder of balance and harmony and trembles. For ego sees itself as something isolated and separate from the universe. It has no concept of unity and oneness. Cowering behind its fortress of insecurity, it believes that not only is it a case of “it” against the world, it fears the whole universe is out to get it. The fears and insecurities of the ego’s world has no term of reference within the higher state of awareness of your own true self.

Know your Self
Do you want to live a solitary life of fear and insecurity shackled to the habitual demands of the ego, or would you prefer to expand your mind and soar into the unlimited universe that is your own true self? The choice, as always, is yours. That is what this course is all about — choice. You have always had the power to choose, and up until now, the majority of earth’s population have chosen to go the way of the ego. Looking at the sorry record of man’s past history, you’d have to agree this way has not served us very well at all. Going “one out”—you against the world — is never going to work. You may become “rich and successful,” but then the fearful ego programs you to think it’s you against all those trying to take it from you — the thieves, the Taxation department, the ex-spouse. Wouldn’t you prefer to become rich and successful, live a happy life, and still be totally unconcerned about losing it all? That’s what this course offers you. A new way of thinking where you can have it all, keep it all or lose it all, and still be happy with what’s left. Your self.

Module Two: The Fortress

INSTEAD of opening ourselves to others we isolate ourselves from the greater unity that is humanity. Believing ourselves to be separated from the infinite unity of the universe, we live lives bogged down by the restrictive chains of insecurity. We lay in lonely retreat and isolation behind fortress walls we’ve built ourselves. Each brick in the wall represents something we have learned in the form of values, beliefs, knowledge, attitudes and convictions. Our deluded ego-mind spends a lifetime accumulating all this stuff, which we use to reinforce and strengthen the walls around us in an attempt to protect us from further hurt.

Imprisoning the Self
Far from protecting ourselves, our fortresses do no more than imprison us—mentally and spiritually. The walls themselves are made up of all our insecurities and addictive programs of the ego.

Arguments reinforce the wall
If anybody should threaten our tentative sense of security by daring to question the validity of our walls we instantly retaliate. A fortress threatened is a fortress defended. Unfortunately, it is the very act of defending our fortress that strengthens and reinforces the attitudes and beliefs that make up the walls. Should these be negative or positive attitudes, it matters not. The ego demands they be protected at all costs.

Limitations of a closed mind
As long as we are limited in our capacity to accept other people’s points of view, we will tend to assume every conflict is a dispute between right and wrong, and to feel that attack is the appropriate response to another’s different opinion.

Insecurity demands attack
Let’s imagine an argument between two people who follow different religions. One has questioned the other’s religious beliefs. The fortress is the storehouse of our meaning, and to threaten one part is to threaten it all. So naturally, up go the defenses and a counter attack is launched as a diversionary measure. Each then becomes concerned with resistance rather than understanding. Open communication is unlikely as long as each is absorbed by the “need” to focus on defending their fortress. Conceived through insecurity and fear, the ego is only able to accept unconditionally, those messages that support and reinforce its own interpretation of reality. Listening to another’s point of view with an open mind is totally unacceptable to the ego’s set of standards.

Listening takes courage
Listening with an open mind takes courage because it requires us to actually entertain the attitudes and beliefs of the other person. We may even have to change our point of view in response to what we are about to hear. The ego considers listening a risky business because we are at risk of finding we were wrong!
Have you noticed how most people find it easier to talk to others than to listen to them? This is because most people are more interested in telling you about their view from their fortress than listening to you talking about the view from yours.
When we decide to really listen, we move outside our own fortress in order see for ourselves the way things look from inside the fortress of another.

Afraid of change
We are afraid to listen because we are afraid of change. What we hear might cause us to change our minds, and to change our minds means we have to demolish part of our fortress and rebuild with new ideas. The ego hates to be proven wrong and will try its best to keep our mind closed. A certain amount of courage is needed to admit we’ve got it wrong; to accept that another’s alternative viewpoint is superior to our own. We must accept that our reality may not be the only reality; that the experiences of others are valid and are worth listening to.

Lower the drawbridge to trust
Lowering the drawbridge of your fortress is a display of trust. What you are saying in effect is,
“I am putting my ego’s interests on hold. I am prepared to listen to you first. I am going to entertain your ideas, your values, your ego needs.”

An invitation to open communication
This act of trust, the lowering of our defensive drawbridge, signals to the other person your willingness to communicate openly and unconditionally. You have given them one of the most precious gifts one can give to another. You have acknowledged the value of the other’s perception of reality and the validity of their collective life experience up until this point in time. You want to hear what they have to say. You are prepared to enter their world and look at their view of reality from the barred-up windows of their fortress.
From this act of acceptance and a willingness to truly listen, the seeds of understanding will sprout and grow.

Better communication leads to understanding
Ineffective communication in usually caused by a clash of egos, both insisting all the right answers lay within the walls of their fortress. Later modules in this course are aimed at finding ways to open up more effective lines of communication and hopefully help diffuse conflicts before they erupt into full scale siege warfare upon another’s fortress.

Module Three: Limitations of the Mind

WE HAVE not been taught how to effectively use the full capabilities of our minds. We’ve been given instruction manuals for our cars, video recorders and washing machines, but no manual on how to use our minds. We grow up relying on our parents and other people to teach us. The trouble is, they weren’t given a manual either. You only have to look at the state of the world today to recognize that fact. Most of us live our lives not really knowing what we want out of life, but we’re damn sure this isn’t it!

“There’s got to be a better way to live”
Your parents and their parents and their parents before them probably said the same thing. But your parents taught you the same mistakes their parents taught them! Someone, somewhere, at sometime—simply lost the plot, and the same habitual mistakes have been handed down generation after generation. Are you going to teach the next generation the very same mistakes, or are you ready to make a change for the better?

Know better and you’ll do better
It’s a simple premise. Once we know better, we can do better. The majority of us run around bleating how life is seemingly just one problem after another, not realizing that the only problem we have in life is the ineffectual way in which we utilize the creative power of our mind.

We’ve been taught to make ourselves UN-happy
Although this may not be apparent to you at this stage, by the time you complete this course you may see some truth in this statement. Almost every single technique that others have told us would bring us happiness, only serve to reinforce the thoughts, the feelings and behaviors that habitually bring us the exact opposite—unhappiness.

It’s time for a change
In case you haven’t noticed, the world is changing and now is the time for you to change too. The old ways in which we were taught to be happy just do not work! They didn’t work in the past and they don’t work now. Unless we see and accept this point, we cannot possibly progress.

Conscious and sub-conscious mind
Every human being has a mind, and in the mind of each human is a large portion that is constantly influencing our thoughts and behaviour—the subconscious. In most instances, we are completely oblivious to how much influence this subconscious part of the mind really has on us. We can use the analogy of an iceberg to illustrate. Only one eighth of the iceberg’s mass is visible to the human eye. The other seven-eighths is sub-merged, hidden from sight beneath the surface of the ocean. Our subconscious can be compared to the hidden section of the iceberg. The subconscious mind is the much greater part of our mind. It is the seat of all our memories, all our past experiences, and indeed of all that we have ever learned. It is said by some that each individual subconscious mind is part of a much greater network called Universal Mind. Carl Jung, the Swiss Psychiatrist, referred to it as the Collective Unconscious.

The conscious mind
The conscious mind is the part of the mind which thinks, feels, and acts in the present. It’s the part of the mind I’m using to write these words, and it’s the part of the mind you’re using to read and understand these words. The conscious mind is the seat of the ego personality.

The subconscious mind
When you are said to act un-consciously, you are actually reacting to lessons of the past—stored memories filed away in the filing cabinets or hard disks of the subconscious mind.
Many of us have driven our cars to work through hazardous peak-hour traffic while on automatic pilot. We go through the motions of indicating, turning, braking, stopping at traffic lights etc, while all the time our conscious mind is focused on a conversation we are having with our front seat passenger. It’s this same subconscious mind which automatically directs our driving that a hypnotherapist addresses when he guides you into the altered state of hypnosis.
When we talk about mind, we are not referring to the brain. The brain doesn’t do our thinking; its job is to interpret the messages received from the mind and convert them via electrical impulses into action. The brain is the physiological link between the conscious and subconscious minds and the rest of our body. It’s the electronic switchboard, the central processing unit that responds to the incoming thought impulses of the mind.

Hypnosis and the power of suggestion.
An all important revelation that hypnosis has provided for us is that the subconscious mind responds instantly and totally to suggestion. Even under a light state of hypnosis, a person will respond to the suggestions placed in his subconscious by the hypnotist. This is because the hyp-notist has taken over the role of the person’s ever-critical conscious mind. He does this by giving suggestions to the conscious mind. He suggests the body is so relaxed that the conscious mind might as well relax right along with it. He suggests the conscious mind takes a break. He suggests the eyes will close and the subject’s conscious mind goes to “sleep.” The conscious part of the mind, the ego-mind, is the gatekeeper to the subconscious, and once it is distracted in this manner, the greater powers of the subconscious may be directly spoken to by the hypnotist. Here then is the greater power of the human being—his subconscious mind. Here is where thoughts are transformed into things!

How suggestion affects the subconscious
When the hypercritical conscious mind is asleep, as in the hypnotized person, the subconscious seizes onto every suggestion offered and immediately interprets each suggestion as relative truth. The subconscious unreservedly accepts any suggestion given and the only reason all our thoughts are not turned into physical reality is that they are not faithful convictions of the conscious mind and therefore are not given to the subconscious. In other words, they are not an accepted part of the person’s belief system.

The gatekeeper
The conscious ego-mind, being hyper-critical, simply rejects thoughts that do not agree with its limited belief system. Here is where the ego has overstepped the mark in its role as servant. Its range of limiting beliefs constantly suggests to your subconscious that you wish to live a limited lifestyle. It stands at the gateway to your subconscious—an overzealous bouncer who rejects any thoughts that do not conform to its “in-house” rules. When you allow yourself to be ruled by your ego, you place yourself under its hypnotic influence. It has you in a permanent state of self-hypnosis, where every addictive thought from the lower levels of consciousness, becomes a self-limiting suggestion which, when allowed to pass through to your subconscious, results in limited and addictive behaviour.

Mind only does what it’s told to do
Every time the person who is trying to give up smoking says to himself or others, “Boy, it’s hard to quit smoking,” he simply allows the conscious ego-mind to place another negative suggestion into his powerful subconscious mind. The role of the subconscious is not to criticize this obvious defeatist attitude—it simply hears and obeys. It says to itself, “The boss says it’s hard to quit, so let’s make it so.”

Suggested tiredness
To understand how subtle, yet powerful self-suggestion is, consider the effect of a person yawning in front of you. The suggestion implied is tiredness. The ego, because yawns and tiredness fit into its belief system, suspends criticism, believes the implication and allows the suggestion to pass through to the subconscious, which yawns an obedient reply.

A walk on the wild side
Self-suggestion allows Hindu “holy men” to walk on hot coals in bare feet and even drive metal spikes through their flesh without pain or bleeding. Self-suggestion allows pain-free childbirth, teeth extracted without anaesthetic and martial arts exponents to smash bricks with their head. The regular success of medical placebos are another example of the power of self-suggestion.

Self-worth and the power of suggestion
Society’s belief system tells us our worthiness lies in our contributions to society. For example, if you have a job and pay taxes you are worthy. So the person who loses his job or doesn’t have a job, might say to himself, “I’m redundant—I’m useless—I’m worthless”. When such statements are backed up with intense emotion, which they usually are in such cases, the effects upon the highly suggestible subconscious is dramatic. Others will try to convince him otherwise, but the damage has already been done. The suggestion that he is worthless has been implanted in the subconscious, where, reinforced by the ego’s belief system, it is believed and stored as absolute truth! Self-hypnosis, induced by the ego, is as easy and as debilitating as that!

The creative power of the mind
The mind really does have power over matter and we create our material world of reality every second of every waking day by the thoughts we create. The power of creative suggestion enables the Hindu initiate to drive a metal spike through his body without feeling pain or allowing blood to flow. He adopts a light trance-like mental state of relaxation, suggests to the subconscious that this is absolutely possible, and the mind, reinforced by the emotion of his strong religious beliefs, tells the body to make it so. His mind runs a program of learned beliefs and attitudes (inner creativity) and these thoughts are projected outward and made manifest in the physical world of external reality.

You are limited only by your thoughts
We are so completely hypnotized by the conditioning of an ego-driven society that we have become desensitized to the intuitive promptings of the higher subconscious mind. We listen only to the insistent directives of the ego’s lower levels of conscious mind. That which seems to be illogical and impossible within the confines of our limited belief systems, is an accepted matter of fact to the Hindu “holy man.” We limit ourselves and our natural capacity for happiness only by our limited attitudes and beliefs.

Why be limited by fear, when fear is only a thought?
Judgment, criticism, jealousy, envy, hate, cynicism, anger—all emotions such as these are fearful emotions of the limiting ego mind. It is a belief in these and other similarly negative emotions that keep you locked in darkness inside the insecure ego’s fortress of fear.

Let go of the past
Limited thinking has created all the unhappiness in your life in times past and is creating all your unhappiness in the present. Are you going to allow this unhappiness to continue into all your tomorrows, or are you going to make a choice for a change—right here, right now? It’s time to discard completely all the negative and restrictive concepts of your past conditioning. Begin now! Forget those disruptions of the past. Learn the lessons they presented, yes, but let go of all guilt, anger and other negative emotions that tie you to the past. By continually blaming the past and re-examining mistakes, you only serve to reinforce the limiting and addictive programing that has led you into a life of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. You are the only person with the power to change your life. Start now with a renewing of your mind.

Module Four: Cause and Effect

WHEN trying to understand why we do the things we do, particular attention should be given to the universally known theory of Cause and Effect. Psychologists and Counselors are well versed in this theory and for their purposes refer to it as Stimulus and Response. Newton’s Third Law of Motion has its basis in the law of Cause and Effect. His studies showed that for every force or action produced in the universe, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. Cause a stone to be thrown into a still pond and it’s effect will be a series of ripples radiating outwards across the surface of the pond dispersing energy in an equal and opposite reaction.

Stress results in conflict (cause and effect)
Whenever our egos bring us into conflict with another we will most likely be acting out yet another cause and effect scenario. If fact, just about everything that happens to us has its basis in cause and effect. The personality, the egotistical make-up of a person, will play a large part in determining that person’s reaction to a certain situation and its cause or stimulus. The response, or effect, is directly linked to the perceived nature and strength of the stimulus. Throw a large stone into a pond and the immediate effect is large ripples. Throw in a small stone and we get small ripples. If we allow ourselves to be placed in a situation that cause powerful amounts of stress to build within us, the resultant release of that stress will be equally powerful.

Domestic conflict
A critical comment by a wife, (stimulus) may evoke an angry retort (response) from a stressed-out husband, resulting in a typical domestic squabble. The cause (critical comment) and the effect (angry retort) is usually associated with a particular environmental influence and habitual programable attitudes. In this case it may be stress brought on at the husband’s place of work, reinforced at home by his attitudes towards his wife’s critical comment. The husband reacts habitually and this leads to the addictive behaviour — domestic conflict.

A conditioned reflex action (a re-action)
Most of the time, when we react to one isolated incident, we are in fact reacting through the combined strength of a lifetime of learned attitudes. The husband may have been conditioned to react as he did because of attitudes he learnt from his father. For example he may have often heard his father say such things as, “After a hard day at work, a man should not be criticized and humiliated in the sanctuary of his own home.” His mind-set tells him his home is his castle.
We have all been exposed to such addictive demands during the course of our lives, and it is important we learn to become aware of, and modify, our own set of limiting attitudes if we are ever to find peace and comfort in our lives. Learning to modify our attitudes and responses will play a major part in future modules of this Course in Happiness.

Marital discord
All too often couples will blame problems and issues as the cause of repetitive marital discord. Problems and issues do not cause marital discord—these things are only the symptoms, the effects of insecure thinking. The major causes of relationship conflict are ineffective and restricting attitudes. Once a couple become aware of which ineffective attitudes (cause) produce highly emotional responses and hostile behaviour (effects), they can take steps to modify their behaviour by not only adopting more acceptable attitudes, but by consciously choosing a more positive and constructive response. (See modules 13, 14, 15)

Entrenched behaviour
The continual backwards and forwards action of cause and effect relationships can become habitually entrenched into our behaviour unless we find some way to intervene and stop this seemingly endless process. Sometimes disagreements resemble those protracted, drawn-out tennis rallies where the ball is slammed from one side of the court to the other — an emotional free-for-all with each “competitor” striving to gain the upper hand.

Introduction of the mediating response


 
Somewhere along the path between cause and effect, a mediator must be introduced to intervene and diffuse the situation before it erupts into outright conflict.  Counselors describe this type of intervention as the introduction of a mediating response. You’ve probably heard of a mediator being called in to sort out differences of opinions between a building company and the Builders’ Union. A mediator is a go-between, someone who attempts to smooth the troubled waters between the warring parties. A prepared course of action in response to conflict, is called a mediating response. (See modules 13, 14, 15)

How understanding encourages stress-free behaviour
An understanding of the Cause and Effect relationship between people, their attitudes and their environments is a vital element toward understanding human behaviour. Once you are able to understand the cause and effects relationships between you, your environment and other people—you are better able to anticipate undesirable emotional reactions such as stress, anger, jealousy, embarrassment, and other restrictions of the ego.

The addictive demands of the ego
The addictive and demanding attitudes of the lower mind — the ego — are largely responsible for the lack of happiness in people’s lives. Choosing to apply suitable mediating responses to these addictive demands will greatly assist you in your pursuit of happiness.

Module Five: Fight or Flight

THOUSANDS of years ago, survival was the name of the game for early man. In a dangerous and uncertain world, man had to be equipped with some sort of survival kit in order to keep one jump ahead of hungry sabre-toothed tigers and other nasty predators. And so early man was supplied with an inbuilt survival mechanism. It was activated instinctively, and its effectiveness was dependent upon the reactions and reflexes of the human about to be set upon.

Warning! . . . warning!
When confronted by a hungry tiger, you had to react automatically. You can’t reason with tigers, so meaningful dialogue was out. And if the only weapons you have are sticks and stones, there is no future in a stand-up fight. What we have here is one very stressful situation, and while you’re under such great anxiety and stress, you have to make a life or death decision. Do you stand and fight or take flight in the opposite direction?

Red alert—send out the troops!
Around about this time the nervous systems of the body are on red alert and things are really jumpin’. In response to the emotional shock of being confronted by a tiger, the limbic system of your brain sends out signals which travel through the thalmic region and triggers the release of extra hormones into the bloodstream. This in turn activates the adrenal glands which sit on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands respond to stress and fear by squirting large amounts of adrenaline into your bloodstream. The adrenaline causes your heart rate to go up, your lungs to take in extra oxygen, tense your muscles, increase blood sugar and many other things to prepare you for a fight or flight reaction.

Enter civilized man
These fight or flight programs would have been a great help in helping our prehistoric ancestors survive in a perilous environment, but as mankind progressed and civilization took man out of the jungles into villages, towns and cities, the need for survival no longer depended on the fight or flight mechanisms of primitive man. Unfortunately, the programming that instigated the fight or flight reactions in primitive man remains in the psyche of modern man. Obviously, if you are crossing a street and a bus is bearing down on you, these instinctive mechanisms that cause instant unthinking reactions are still very handy to have on board. By and large however, the fight or flight reaction to modern day stressors are more a hindrance than a benefit.

A world full of “tigers”
Our present day emotional programming is no different to that of a fearful, primitive man, and this fearful programming makes us perceive other people and the conditions of the world around us, as threats. Animals are no longer a threat, but the world is full of people masquerading as tigers who, according to our insecure egos, are obviously out to get us — to devour us, metaphorically speaking. Illogical in context to today’s modern society, but perfectly reasonable to the fearful reasoning of the ego — our throw-back link to prehistoric man. Genetically speaking, our cells are made of the same material as primitive man, and it would appear the DNA make-up of modern man still contains the cellular memory of the primitive.

An evolving consciousness
Fortunately for us, our knowledge and conscious awareness has evolved and grown, and within that knowledge is the awareness that unlike other life forms on this planet, we have a consciousness that allows us to choose how we wish to think and behave. We may act like automated robots sometimes, but underneath it all we do have choice! We can continue to let outdated programming run our lives or we can choose to replace ineffective thinking with positive, progressive thinking.

What causes stress?
Stress is a product of our own imagination. Because of our perceived separation from everybody and every other thing in the universe, we feel vulnerable and alone. It’s us against the world—or at least that’s what our ego programming will have us believe. This constant feeling of insecurity fuels the addictive demands of the fortress which tells us to be always ready to fight or run from these perceived threats to our security. Contrary to popular opinion, stress is not caused from events that happens to us “out there” in the outside world. Stress is caused by how we react to those outside events, and that reaction is in the form of illogical thinking, the self-talk of the ego manipulating the inner world of our mind.

“They should do it my way”
Our faulty programming demands that people and circumstances adhere strictly to our views on how things should be in order for us to feel comfortable. It’s when the inevitable happens, when the world doesn’t follow the rules (the should’s of the ego), that the unreleased energy (stress) created by our instinctive fight or flight program, finds itself stored up inside with nowhere to go.

Repressed energy
Stress is bottled up or repressed emotional energy. When confronted by a hungry tiger, this energy is usually released and used up as we fight the tiger or run away from it. We have no tigers in our environment so we allow the ego to make them up. Our modern day tigers can be as diverse as rude salespeople, critical managers, red traffic lights, disobedient teenagers, and even disagreeable television commercials. Our natural instinct is to lash out at these threats to our peace and security, but our learned attitudes, those handed down from generation to generation, tell us that it is not the right thing to do. We must hold our emotions in and put up a brave face. Psycho-emotional energy is repressed and we cause ourselves to suffer mental and emotional anguish. Some of us break under the strain and we explode with an aggressive outpouring of repressed energy. Continual repression often results in a complete mental breakdown.

Let’s now look at how Personality and Attitudes influence our behaviour.

Module Six: Personality and Attitudes

HOW WE perceive ourselves and others around us is a reflection of our own mental and emotional outlook on life. This philosophical outlook on life is formed by our individual personality and attitudes. Our inherent nature, sometimes referred to as personality, is something we are born with. As babies we come into this world endowed with some of the genetic make up of our parents. Besides causing us to physically resemble our parents, these inherited genes also tend to instinctively influence our behaviour as we grow up. Some believe these inherited traits stay with us for the rest of our lives, giving rise to the often quoted saying, “Like father, like son”. (Note: Character traits can cause a person to act a certain way — but not always!)

Learned attitudes
As individuals, with a free will and free mind, we are able to influence our behaviour by educating our mind. We do this by the introduction, learning and nurturing of attitudes. The manner in which we are brought up, our nurturing, will cause the ego to shape our own unique attitudes to life and to the people around us.
Whereas part of your personality is somewhat predetermined by inherited genetic traits, your attitudes are shaped largely by an ongoing series of learning experiences.
If at aged three, you placed your hand within the flames of a fire, you would  probably develop and nurture a wary, but useful attitude to all types of naked flames for the rest of your life.
This process of continuous learning will shape, influence, and re-shape your attitudes and perceptions of life. Certain events in our life, and the behaviour of people close to us, will influence our cognitive (mental) processes — the way we think, as well as our emotional make-up — how we feel, act and react to these people and events. Our attitudes also determine how we perceive ourselves and our role in society. The particular format of our nurturing background will influence the self-image we have of ourselves, and the self-evaluation of our being.

Reactions rather than responses
Our learned attitudes also affect the ways we respond to various stimuli such as crisis, confrontation and the like. It’s during these times of stress, that our response may not always be the appropriate response to the stimulus. Nine times out of ten we habitually and emotionally react rather than responsibly respond. It is important to note that although ego personality and attitudes both influence our behaviour, it’s our attitudes which act as the controlling manager.
We tend to act in accordance with our programed attitudes in times of crisis.

How attitudes are acquired
As mentioned, an attitude is a learned set of values and responses which influence our pattern of behaviour. Attitudes can be formed via conscious awareness of what we see, touch, hear, smell and taste, or subconsciously formed as it filters through from stored memories of events which may have happened in our formative childhood years.

Group reinforcement
Attitudes can also be formed as a result of close social contact with an individual (partner) or group (family, church, school or work place). Where a personal need base is reinforced and supported by the individual or the group, attitudes take on a substantial and entrenched influence over one’s behaviour.

Attitudes CAN be changed
It is important to remember that all learned and strongly entrenched behaviors can be changed and reduced in strength by the introduction of new and powerful information. This new information, if reinforced by repetition, can bring a total turnaround to learned beliefs, attitudes — and subsequent behaviour.
Whereas personality traits are established from birth and remain virtually static throughout life, attitudes are continuously taken on board as one grows and travels through life. Thankfully for all concerned, attitudes can and do change, and it is the bringing about of a positive change in one’s attitudes than can enhance the level of contentment and satisfaction within a person’s life experience.

Behaviour—why we do what we do
The way a person behaves is directly linked to that person’s nature or ego personality, together with his learned set of values or attitudes to life. A person’s behaviour is usually a projection of the “needs” of his personality type. Each ego personality has different wants and desires, and whether these addictive needs are met or not, determines to a large degree, how happy the ego feels about life’s direction, which is then reflected in the person’s behaviour. Whereas personality reflects something of the instinctual nature of a person, his attitudes and beliefs reflect the type of nurturing environment within which the person learns and experiences life. The relationship between a person’s attitudes, individual personality and the various environments they find themselves in, has a direct bearing on that person’s ultimate behavioral patterns.

Ego gratification
The bottom line in relation to all types of behaviour, is the ego’s need for gratification and rewards in relation to the amount of emotional and mental desires (addictive demands) projected by the individual’s lower levels of consciousness. Whether our needs and desires are acceptable to society or not, the gratification of those “needs” are what currently drives us as insecure, but slowly awakening human beings.

Modifying those ego driven needs
The task before each of us is to reach a higher awareness that allows us to still the “needs” (addictive demands) of the ego. From a base of peace and understanding we are then able to choose more positive responses to life’s unending stream of challenges and opportunities.

Module Seven: Needs—Essential or Addictive?

MAN’S behaviour is generally determined by his ego’s desire to satisfy his personal “needs.” These so-called needs fall within the broad categories of physiological needs, mental needs, emotional needs, and social needs. When a psychologist or professional counselor talks about a person’s needs, they are referring to the ego’s emotionally driven desires or  wants — in other words, what the ego feels it “needs” in order to be happy.

Physiological needs
When a man dying of thirst in the desert expresses a need for water, he is talking of a genuine lower order need, a physiological need, the fulfillment of which is essential for his survival.

Mental needs
These are needs where gratification would come from mental challenge and creative pursuits such as career, hobbies and personal development.

Emotional needs
Emotional needs are those which when gratified, make us feel good about ourselves. Most people in the western world are continuously searching for more and more ways to fulfil their desires and wants in the quest for enhanced states of emotional well-being. The drug and alcohol problem is an example of how these emotional “feel-good” desires can and do, become addictive.

Social needs
Social needs refer to the personality’s desire for friendship and companionship. The nature and strength of these social needs vary in strength from person to person, as do the other needs just mentioned. A little further along in our course, we will be looking at how physiological, mental, emotional and social needs vary in different people because of their differences in personality make-up.

Spiritual needs
Ever since man first stared in wonder at the star-filled night sky, he has needed to know “why?” What is the purpose of it all? And where does he fit into the overall scheme of things? Perhaps it is because of this need to understand and a need to belong that man continues to search for meaning. Unfortunately he continues to search in areas that cannot supply the answers. He thinks to himself, “If only—if only I could find that perfect partner, get that promotion or win that lottery, then I can be happy. When I’m happy, perhaps things will start to make some sense.”

The ever-present critic
A still, quiet voice suggests he look towards his spiritual needs before all the others, but that is constantly suppressed by the put-downs of the critical ego. “Come off it”, says the critic, “all that spiritual stuff is too airy-fairy. Get real, life’s too short to waste time on that rubbish.”

Lower order needs
Lower order needs are physiological in nature, and refer to man’s basic needs for food, water and shelter. These are genuine instinctual needs and must be met if a person is to exist for any period of time on this planet. Other general needs of a lower order nature might include such things as a safe and secure environment providing freedom from threat (a cave), and some sort of covering for the body (a bear skin). Modern man would see these needs as having a home and a secure job to pay for the home and clothing.

Middle order needs
It would be safe to say that a need for love, belonging and acceptance would be needs the majority of the world’s population can relate to. Are these essential for survival? No, but they sure are nice to have around. Behavioral Scientists describe these needs as “middle order needs.”

Upper-middle and higher order needs
Then comes upper-middle order needs, listed as esteem, prestige, status, achievement and recognition, followed by higher order needs such as knowledge and beauty — and at the top of the list — self-realization, the fulfillment of one’s purpose in life.

“Donkey” wants and desires are not necessarily “needs”
So if most of our lower to middle order needs are being met and satisfied, why then, are we not happy? To get a stubborn donkey to move, a tasty carrot tied to a stick is dangled in front of his eyes. He wants that carrot. He is so focused on his desire for the carrot, that he is unaware of being manipulated and fooled. Does he need the carrot? Probably not, but blinded by his addiction to carrots, he cannot see the trickery being played out upon him. Sitting on his back, the rider of the donkey simply steers and guides the donkey by moving the carrot to the left or right, at all times keeping the prize just out of reach in order to maintain control.

Be aware of the masquerade
A lot of us are like the donkey. We allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking we need a constant supply of “carrots” in order to be happy. Our wants and desires masquerade as “needs” that the ego tells us we must have in order to be happy.
The guy on top of the donkey makes sure the donkey sees only the carrot. Likewise, when the ego is in charge, you are aware only of what the ego allows you to be aware of. The rider programs the donkey. The donkey has little choice because it operates essentially from lower order needs. You are not a donkey and you do have choice. The programs that run through your mind are entirely your choice. Are they programs of an addictive and demanding nature, or are they programs of awareness, understanding and acceptance?

“I need my needs to be met”
Having addressed all the various needs man apparently requires in order to find some level of inner comfort, is it any wonder most of us are unhappy? It’s a pretty tall order — to have all these various needs met at all times, under all circumstances, to our complete satisfaction.
Yet we demand that this is what should happen in order for us to be happy.

Where do all these needs and demands originate?
The one thing that separates us, the human race, from all the other species on this planet is our conscious awareness. We are aware of our sense of self — our body and our mind. We have a mind that thinks. It perceives, analyzes, reasons, rationalizes, and evaluates. We have a personality, and the driving force behind that personality is the ego. The ego is in the driver’s seat, and that’s where all of our problems start. The ego sees itself as your personal chauffeur and bodyguard. It wants to steer you through life by following its own outdated and obsolete roadmap. What was intended to be our servant has in many ways become our jailer. The ego has built up an emotional mechanism of defense that we will refer to throughout this course as the Fortress. It was meant to protect us from the world “out there,” but it has become a prison which keeps us from experiencing higher states of awareness.

A cave with a view
Initially the ego was created by us to look after our lower order needs. We needed something to look out for those predatory tigers and other threats to our survival. We were spiritual beings learning how to live in a physical world and we needed someone to watch our back. The ego did its job so well that we foolishly began to rely upon its judgment more and more. It told us that as very important beings we needed more than the basic lower order needs. What about a bigger cave, with no leaks and a better view of the volcanoes? No harm in wanting a few extra luxuries, right? And so it began. Ask not what your ego can do for your credit card, but what your credit card can do for your ego.

The lower levels of consciousness
Our conscious mind, our ego, operates on three lower levels of consciousness. These lower levels of consciousness are geared around the acquisition of what the ego suggests you need and should have if you are ever to be happy. These three carrots of illusionary happiness are based on the ego’s needs for Security, Sensations and Power.

Addictive programming
These wants and desires, masquerading as needs, were programmed into your consciousness way back in early childhood and have since become an habitual way of life for you. If you use a habit often enough it becomes an addiction.

The Security level
We talked earlier about lower order needs. These needs for food, shelter and freedom from threat are equated with your personal security. This level of awareness has you preoccupied with a continual struggle with the outside world in order to feel secure. Because the ego sees us as isolated and separated from the universe, we have constant feelings of insecurity and operate from this level of awareness whenever we feel threatened.

The Sensory level
This level has us believing happiness can be found in more and more pleasurable activities and sensations. For many people, sex appeals as the most pleasurable of all sensations. Others pursue the addictive sensations provided by alcohol, tobacco, food or drugs.

The Power level
When your consciousness is focused on this level, you are concerned with dominating people and circumstances to increase your prestige, wealth and pride. Manipulation and control of others is high on the list of priorities when you operate from the Power level.

Your right to choose
As a child you seemed to have no other choice but to operate from these lower levels of consciousness, but now as an adult, you stand empowered through a greater awareness of the world around you, to exercise your power of choice. The problems you encountered at aged two are in the past, yet you are addictively and unconsciously still playing out the methods you used back then. These obsolete solutions deprive you of the opportunity to fully experience and enjoy your life the way it was meant to be.

If there is no lack, there can be no need
For a need to exist it goes without saying that a lack of some sort exists. In other words a need emerges in re-sponse to a perceived lack — i.e. some sort of deprivation or deficiency. So if we could conceive of a situation in which there is no lack, it follows there would be no need.
In third-world countries and war-torn states, there are times when even lower order needs are difficult to meet. Sadly, a definite lack exists for people in these localities, but for most of us in the western world, fulfillment of man’s lower order needs are an accepted part of life. Think of a life of abundance, where needs are made redundant and obsolete. Enter happiness, for what you think is what you become.

A move to higher consciousness
The only real need you have right now is the need to learn how to redirect your energies from trying to change the world around you, to changing your inner programming. The more you learn to move away from these negatively addictive lower levels of thinking and accept people and life without imposing your ego demands, the sooner you will experience the freedom of a happier life.

Module Eight: Labels and Self-worth

HAVE you ever noticed how often we tend to label other people by their actions? A little girl throws a tantrum and Mum labels her “a naughty girl”. Little Johnny spills cordial on the carpet and Dad calls him a “clumsy idiot”. We label people as winners, losers, lucky, unlucky, achievers, failures, heroes, cowards, go-getters or bums. When something goes wrong in our lives, we’re only to ready to stick a label on ourselves, such as “I’m a bad father.” But such labels are illogical. There may be times when a father reacts with unskillful behaviour, such as yelling at a teenage daughter when she comes home late at night, but such behaviour cannot make a father “bad.” He simply hasn’t learned the skills needed to handle such a situation. The ego-mind with its critical self-talk is only too willing to exploit any emotional situation and convert it into an avenue for self-doubt. We pin labels to ourselves and even allow others to pin their labels upon us.

Labels are not facts—they’re only opinions
Name-calling labels are not facts. They’re simply opinions. Someone might say, “You’re always so clumsy.” You might even believe it yourself. But think about it. Always clumsy? It’s an illogical statement, because you can’t do clumsy things while you’re sound asleep at night, can you?

What you do can’t make you who you are!
Let’s say I hypnotize you into believing you are a duck. You can flap your arms, waddle around quacking loudly, but no matter how long you waddle and quack, your behaviour cannot possibly turn you into a duck!

What you do cannot turn you into a label
Failing cannot turn you into a failure, no matter how often you fail. You can’t be a failure, any more than you can be a duck. What you do is one thing, and who you are is another. Learn to become aware and alert to the ego’s illogical self-talk and it’s habitual practice of sticking labels on yourself and others. When you recognize a label, pause and ask yourself if it’s based on fact, or opinions and generalizations. When you look in a mirror, you see a human being. That is a fact. A “good” or “bad” human being is an opinion.

Raise your level of conscious awareness
All opinionated judgements or labels are products of the ego’s lower levels of consciousness.
The ego’s awareness is focused solely on its levels of security, sensory and power consciousness. If you feel afraid (security level), the ego will label you a coward. If you feel the need to habitually smoke (sensory level), the ego will label you weak-willed. If you yell at your teenage daughter (power level), the ego will label you a control-freak. It’s the addictive demands of the ego that has you reacting from these lower levels of consciousness, and it is also the ego that then berates you through its self-talk and labeling. According to the ego, you’re a loser whichever way you turn.

Beware the Scales of Worth
The Scales of Worth look like the Scales of Justice, but there’s no justice about them, because they are used to weigh up your worth as a person. Who operates the Scales of Worth? Our old sparring partner, the ego. And what does it use as a measuring weight? — labels! These scales have you sitting in one measuring pan, with the sum total of all your labels counterbalancing the other pan. The ego has many weapons of self destruction within its fortress of insecurity, and the Scales of Worth is one of its favorites.

Why let labels make you an emotional yo-yo?
Call yourself a name or let someone else do it for you and you’ll find yourself sitting on one pan of the Scales of Worth. On the other pan is your self-created, self-destructive labels and the labels others have piled upon you. Opinionated judgements galore. The more you allow the ego to control your thoughts, the more labels it eagerly weighs you down with. Do a good deed for someone, and you label yourself, or rather your ego labels yourself, “a good person,” and up you go in worth. You make a mistake, the ego lets you label yourself “stupid,” and down you go in worth. Make an error of judgement while playing sport on the weekend and a spectator calls you “an idiot” and down you go in worth. Your boss praises your work on Monday, and up you go again.

Insecurity is big business
Insecurity is big business — just ask the Insurance companies. And opinions are the tools of the Insecurity  Trade. If you were to believe your worth is to be found in your opinions, and those of others, then you’ll never find balance and peace of mind. Because according to opinions, one minute you’re worth more, the next minute you’re worth less.

Even “good” labels will make you insecure
If you should achieve praise and rewards from your peers, the Scales of Worth propels you skywards. You feel worthwhile. The trouble now is, you must keep on achieving and receiving praise, otherwise you don’t stay up on your “high.” Your ego fears the drop — you become insecure.
Do you strive to be seen as a “good” person — a worthwhile person? You may get assurances from others that you are, but its hard to be convinced. That’s because there is no real way of measuring a person’s “worth.”
The labels you seem so concerned about are imaginary. They’re only thoughts, and you can’t weigh thoughts. You can’t measure out 500 grams of self-worth. You can’t sit for an exam and get marks for your worth. There is no measure — there are only opinions!

Opinions play into the hands of the ego
Here’s where the ego rubs its hands in glee. Ego knows it’s impossible to prove your worth and the more you struggle to prove yourself, the more insecure, tense and anxious you become. It’s impossible to prove your worth, because labels and the Scales of Worth do not exist. Like every other imagined plaything of the ego, labels are illusions. Labels —“good” labels or “bad” labels — are opinions, and labels, especially the opinionated labels of an insecure ego, have no basis in fact.

The belief that worth must be earned
The endless merry-go-round of setting and reaching goals in order to make yourself worthy leaves you stressed, uneasy and dissatisfied. You set yourself goals that will bring you worth.
The moment you reach it, it loses its lustre and becomes worthless. You then need another high, and so you head off for the next goal, and the next and the next. The addictive demands of the ego will have you believing you must have the approval of others in order to feel worthy, that you must achieve to be deemed worthy.

Competition and the need to rate
Does your insecure ego have you forever demanding more good marks, more reassurance, and more success as evidence of your self worth? And do you find yourself feeling anxious if these things are not achieved? This is the ego’s Rating Game at work. It will have you believing your worth is rated by the things you’ve achieved or collected. This attitude takes the pleasure out of whatever it is you do and only makes you feel anxious.
Some people enjoy the fun and challenge of competition, but for some it becomes a serious matter of worth. These people can’t bear to lose or achieve less than others. When viewed from the ego’s lower level of consciousness, that means loss of self-worth!

The “need” for approval
Do you worry about what others think of you? Do you go out of your way to please people so they will like you? Do you strive for perfection so no one can criticize you? Or do you avoid doing something new in case you fail? If your life is ruled by your concerns of what others are thinking about you, you have fallen for another of the ego’s traps — the need for approval. Some people like themselves only if other people like them. Their need for approval has them depending on others for their good feelings about themselves. This is a very stressful way to live. For these people, life is great as long as there is someone there to pat them on the back and tell them what a wonderful person they are. But what happens when those people are no longer around? Circumstances change, people come and go.

The only person you can depend upon
Here’s the crunch! There is only one person who knows exactly the words you want to hear and when you want to hear them. There’s only one person you can always count on to be there for you, and that person is YOU!
The day you are able to peel off all the labels of insecurity you and others have used to limit your potential, is the day you find your real freedom. The only person walking this planet today upon whom you can safely and securely rely for total acceptance and approval is YOU. Show me a person who looks to the outside world to feel good about themselves and I’ll show you a person habitually hooked on the addictive programming of the ego.

Approval of others as a preferential bonus
Give yourself your own pats on the back, your own approval. Having accepted yourself, and feeling good about yourself, any approval received from others then become a bonus, not a need. You’ve put yourself in a more comfortable position. A position where you might prefer others approve of you, but you no longer have to demand and depend on their approval in order for you to feel good about yourself. Don’t be addictively hooked on gaining their approval — simply choose to make it a preference, something to be added on and enjoyed along with your own self-acceptance.

The “need” for love and acceptance
Some people need the love and acceptance of a partner to feel complete and worthwhile. At times, in their eagerness to be loved they bend over backwards to please their partner. They then begin to lose track of themselves as a person. They have yet to learn that by accepting and loving themselves first, they can give love freely without the urgent need of getting love back in return. Addictive demands for love can pressure partners into stressful reactions (cause and effect).  The stress which they feel and react to, defeats the purpose — which is for one partner to feel loved and the other to be loved in return.

When love walks out the door
Some people believe they are worthy only while being loved by another. Then when that love is taken away, their self-worth goes right along with it. They depended on their partner for their good feelings about themselves. There are two lots of faulty thinking here. The first is that you gain worth from another person’s love — and the second is you lose worth when they no longer love you. There is no need to suffer the perceived double loss of your partner and your self-image. When you learn the skills to identify the difference between self-worth and self-acceptance you are well on the way to a more enjoyable way of living — both with yourself and others.

The old “Carrot and Donkey Game”
Like the man on the donkey’s back dangling carrots on a string, the ego will have you have desiring and chasing labels that will proclaim you “worthy” in your eyes and those of others. The labels are “carrots” of self-worth. Don’t fall for the ego’s old trick of dangling “labels of worth” in front of your lower mind in order to manipulate and control your behaviour.
Choose freedom instead.

Module Nine: Levels of Lower Consciousness

THERE is nothing right or wrong, good or bad about any particular level of consciousness. In terms of awareness, where you are right now in your development is where you are meant to be at this point in time. However, the fact that you are undertaking this course in personal advancement, indicates the time is ripe for you to move forward into higher levels of awareness and understanding. To prepare yourself for where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been — for to know is to understand.
 
Insecurity and the fearful ego
To gain some insight into what makes you feel secure, you need to look at what makes you feel insecure. Insecurity is the foundation stone upon which the ego builds its Fortress of Fear. Insecurity is spelt  f-e-a-r.  This fear is a direct result of our ego’s feelings of isolation and separation from the outside world. Remember how secure you felt as a child when wrapped in the comforting arms of your mother? She cared for you. She engendered a sense of safety and security whenever she was close to you. Remember that traumatic first day at school?
Separation from mum had you feeling insecure and afraid. But then you found a bunch of kids to play with. No more isolation — you felt a little more secure.
The ego has made sure we have carried similar feelings of childhood insecurity right throughout our lives, because this allows it to dangle the carrot of security in front of us — which enables it to constantly maintain control.

“Give me the boy until he is seven,
  and I will give you the (programmed) man”
Your feelings of insecurity are due to your ego’s emotional programming which you picked up from addicted people before you were mentally and physically mature. Parents, relatives, teachers—each may have helped instill in you the emotional response of fearful insecurity when placed in any challenging situation.
Here are a few addictive programs you may be familiar with; “Hit first, ask questions later”. . . “It’s a dog eat dog world out there”. . . “It’s every man for himself”. . . “You’ve gotta look out for number one”. . . “The best form of defense is attack” . . .“All the world loves a winner.”

Futurizing or pasturizing
Insecurity has many of us killing off the enjoyment of living in the present by constantly worrying about the future. We worry about the future based on events that happened in the past. “I should build a nest egg for my future. Uncle Bill didn’t and look what happened to him.” We’re so caught up in looking forwards and backwards that we fail to recognize the enjoyment to be had right here, right now.

THE SECURITY LEVEL
The Security level is on the top floor of your ego fortress, and it’s a very lonely level of consciousness. When you get caught up with struggling to obtain what you feel to be your security needs, you are more isolated from people than on any other level. When you allow yourself to be preoccupied with security you’ll tend to unconsciously view other people as a means to help you become more secure. That special person you need to be with becomes your living security blanket. Other people are seen through the fearful eyes of the ego as protagonists with whom you must struggle and fight because they threaten your level of security.

THE SENSORY LEVEL
The next level down in the fortress is the Sensory level. Suppose your consciousness runs a program instigating a desire for sensuous sex. If your sexual desire is fulfilled, the effect on your consciousness is an experience of short-term pleasure. You have successfully fulfilled a lower order need, generated by the demands and programming of the Sensory level of lower consciousness.
However, if sexual pleasure is denied, the ego may trot out the emotions of discouragement and rejection — addictive emotions from the Security level. Or perhaps you experience resentment and anger — addictions from the Power level of lower consciousness.

THE POWER LEVEL
The third level in the fortress. When operating on the Power level of consciousness, the ego mind demands that there’s a special way the world should be and a special way that people should act. It furnishes reasons why you are “right” and the other person is “wrong.” At the Power level, the ego promotes and projects a “me versus them” mentality which it considers to be in your own best interest if you wish to maintain control.

The criticism trigger
Power level thinking prompts you to react angrily if someone should criticize you. When you are able to operate from a higher level of consciousness, the ego is stilled and you are able to choose a preferred response. It’s much more fulfilling to be loved and accepted than to be “right.” Arguing at every opportunity in order to convince people of your superiority simply means you are running the ego’s addictive programming from the Power level of lower consciousness.

The manipulator
When you can love a person only when he or she is able to act in a fashion that fits your addictive programming, you are treating that person as an object to be manipulated. You are operating from the Power level of consciousness.

Irritation and resentment
Irritation surfaces when we feel another person lets us down in one way or another — they’re running late and don’t phone, they overdress or underdress, or they don’t follow your rules of etiquette. Resentment surfaces when we try to explain our thoughts and feelings to someone and they don’t seem to be interested. Both irritation and resentment reactions are caused by addictive programming from the ego’s Power level of lower consciousness.

Module Ten: “Shoulds” are Addictive Demands

HER FACE was red with anger as she screamed at her son. “You shouldn’t talk to me like that. I’m your mother and demand a little more respect.”
Her son retorted just as angrily, “Well you shouldn’t blame me for everything that happens around here.”  The clash of egos has resulted in the old “should” game of offense and defense. We all play the Game of Shoulds from time to time — both against ourselves and against others, who “should” behave just as we want them to behave!

We believe things should be done our way
A should is an addictive demand. An addictive demand is an emotion driven expectation of how a person or situation “should” or “should not” be. It’s an attitude or belief that is deeply imbedded in the lower levels of our consciousness and is something the ego tells us we must have to be happy. We have been conditioned from a very early age to believe that any attack upon our fortress is ample justification for us to trot out our list of shoulds, should nots, musts, must nots, oughts and ought nots. And why wait for an attack? These addictions are so much a part of our mind-set that any little thing can trigger them off. Just like the person who reacts to stress by reaching for a cigarette, we react by digging into our bag of shoulds in an equally addictive manner, regardless of our emotional state.

Addictions of lower awareness
Shoulds, or addictive demands, have their source in any one of the lower three levels of our ego mind. These three levels of awareness comprise the Security level, the Sensory level and the Power level. These three lower levels of ego awareness were discussed in Module 9 of the course, so for the moment, let’s focus on the more readily recognizable “shoulds.” Not all shoulds are of a negative nature. We have the benefits of our instinctive shoulds such as, “I should not put my hand in the fire,” and “I should focus my attention on the road when driving,” etc. These are obviously useful shoulds that help us navigate our way through life.
It’s the negative shoulds that put pressure and anxiety into our lives that we need to address.

The pressure shoulds
Pressure shoulds are demands you place on yourself or on others demanding that they behave according to your rules. These rules on behaviour are the result of all your years of learned attitudes. They are tied to your personality type, and they are rigid and unbending. To your way of thinking, they are absolutely sensible, logical and fair. So fair in fact, its hard for you to believe anyone else can possibly live by a different set of rules! (Further discussions on personality types are covered in module 19 of this course).

A selective deafness
When other people don’t follow your rules, your ego mind is focused only on what should be happening rather than what is happening and how to come to grips with it. You are simply unable to hear another’s reasoning if it conflicts with your perception of how things should be done.
Whenever there is an obvious gap between your attitudes (or rules of your mind), and those of the world around you, you build pressure upon yourself. You create internal stress. The bigger the gap, the greater the stress. You get irritated, frustrated, uptight, bitter and sometimes downright angry.
You should, they should, and I should are demands of the ego — expectations created within your fortress and hurled out against the world outside. It really is a battle! Your inner perceptions of how things should be versus the reality of the world outside. If things don’t measure up to your ideas of how things should be, you battle all the harder. The strange thing is, your ego has you believing you can actually win!

The Method of Choice
Whenever a pressure should (the addictive demands of your ego) pops into your mind, you are free at all times to choose how you wish to let it affect you emotionally. You can habitually react just as you’ve always done in the past, which probably caused stress and conflict, or you can consciously choose to break the habits of your past by applying the Method of Choice.

How to take the pressure off
The Method of Choice is the most effective way to reduce the stress and pressure created by your addictive and demanding shoulds. You calmly choose to convert your addictions into preferences.
Let’s look at some examples;
“He shouldn’t yell at me like that.” This can be converted into a preference; “I would prefer he didn’t yell at me like that.” In this instance the person doing the yelling was running a program stored in his ego’s Power level of consciousness. The person being yelled at could have reacted through her Security level of consciousness. She might have let her ego tell her that he shouldn’t threaten her sense of security and she should yell right back. Instead, she raised her level of conscious awareness and thoughtfully responded with a logical preference. It’s logical to prefer people don’t yell at you. It’s illogical to expect that yelling back will change the way the person treats you. By accepting the way people are, and simply preferring they were different, diffuses the pressures of the should and helps you maintain a more peaceful outlook on life. We will expand on The Method of Choice later on with module fifteen in the course.

The power struggle
Here is another example; “My Mother should listen to me,” sobs the teenage daughter. This can be converted to; “It would be nice if Mum would listen me.” If both mother and daughter are of the same personality type, they are probably operating through their Power level of consciousness. Both trying to assert control. However, the daughter can choose to rise above the Game of Shoulds and relieve the pressure and anxiety by choosing a mediating preference. Anxious pressure or stress-free acceptance — the choice is always yours.

Module Eleven: Programmed Unhappiness

BEFORE we can create happiness in our lives we need to understand what causes unhappiness. We are now approaching that part of the course where we ask you to take one step back from the character you are playing in this stage play called Life. I would like you to allow yourself to become an observer of your thoughts and your subsequent behaviour. You do this by becoming a silent witness to the dictatorial role your ego plays in your life. It entails a subtle raising of your conscious awareness which enables you to identify the addictive demands (causes) that trigger the irrational thoughts and behaviors (effects) that result in your unhappiness.

Resistance to change
From here on in, new information will crop up that will seriously question the reliability of the ego, and you can expect it (ego) to put up some sort of a struggle as it tries to justify your current attitudes. And remember, your interest in this course indicates your current attitudes and beliefs have not proved to be effective in your endeavors to find happiness, and these are the very same attitudes that the ego will so vigorously defend. The ego fears change, and we are going to offer information that could result in a change of mind-set in connection with your past programming.
I am not saying you should follow all the advice in this course in order to be happy. That’s just asking you to replace one set of shoulds for another set of shoulds. What I’m offering is a series of sensible and workable alternatives to the current batch of addictive demands the ego has used to control and manipulate your life up until now.

What causes unhappiness?
A four months old baby is an expert at being happy. Being happy is a natural state for someone so young. Among the very few things that makes babies unhappy is a dirty nappy (diaper), an empty stomach, or a lack of nurturing from Mum. For a gurgling baby, happiness is a state of being. For an adult, happiness becomes a state of mind. What caused the difference? The formation of attitudes and beliefs. In a four-months old baby, very little attitudinal development has had time to take shape. We spoke earlier about Attitudes and Personality — Nature and Nurture — Cause and Effect. All have a direct bearing on our state of mind, and our subsequent levels of happiness.

GIGO — garbage in, garbage out
Computer buffs, and in particular, computer programmers, recognize the validity of the above sub-heading. Put a rubbish program into a computer and you’ll get rubbish results. The human mind can be compared to a computer — our very own biological computer. If we run faulty mental and emotional programming through our minds, we can expect faulty behaviour as a result.

It’s what we put in them that makes the difference
Put lead-free petrol in a car that requires leaded-petrol only, and you’ll end up being very unhappy with that car’s performance. There may be nothing wrong with the car, just as there may be nothing wrong with the computer or your mind. Poor output is simply the result of poor input.

How to identify faulty programming
Listen to your inner self-talk. Be alert to dialogue such as, “If only I could win the lottery, find the perfect partner, or lose some weight, then I would be happy.” What you are really saying is that unless these things happen to you in the future, you can never be happy. This sort of thinking is a form of self-hypnosis. Hypnotism is nothing more than suggestion, and the statement above suggests that until these objectives are achieved, you are destined to remain unhappy.

What’s wrong with hoping?
Your ego may lend credibility to “if only” statements by saying there is nothing wrong in wishing and hoping — but that’s its way of disguising another should. “We should be able to wish and hope — there’s no harm in it,” says ego. And thus by justifying this particular innocuous should, it becomes easier to justify every other should that is conceived in the lower levels of your ego consciousness.

Just another addictive demand
You need to realize that “if only” statements are addictive programs of the ego and it’s these very common and habitual patterns of thinking that have held you back from finding the elusive bluebird of happiness. Do you see how easy it is for the ego to justify these seemingly innocent patterns of thinking? When the ego is in charge, you are aware only of what the ego permits you to be aware of. By selective programming, your ego chooses exactly what will be projected on the screen of your conscious awareness. It’s time for a change. It’s time you made those programming choices from a higher state of consciousness than you have in the past.

Monitoring your thoughts
In earlier talks on stress and Cause and Effect, we emphasized how important it was to have a means of mediating between the natural progression of a cause and its effect. Every behaviour, and every emotion is preceded by a thought, and it’s the nature of these thoughts that we need to address. We know that stinkin’ thinkin’ results in stinkin’ type behaviour, and so we must come up with ways of monitoring our thoughts and interceding with a mediator in response to any trigger that may set off addictive programming. We can’t change deeply entrenched programming overnight, but we can change our immediate reaction to their habitual triggers.

Less reaction — more awareness
In time, modified responses, in the form of preferences, will lead to a lessening of addictive demands and you will find the need to modify your thoughts and attitudes becoming less and less. Eventually you will find the observer, your higher level of conscious awareness, will do more and more of your thinking and your ego will be doing less and less. Thought observation is covered next in module twelve.

Module Twelve: Observing your Thoughts

WHERE do negative thoughts come from? The same place as positive thoughts — our conscious mind. Unfortunately we have allowed our conscious mind to developed habits of undisciplined thinking, and very often whenever any discipline at all is present, it’s aimed at maintaining negative thinking. Our ego-mind plays with our emotions like a yo-yo. One minute we’re happy and entertaining happy thoughts—the next a shadow crosses the face of our sun and we wallow in a muddy pool of unhappy thoughts. Someone may pay us a compliment and we feel important and vain. Another castigates us and we entertain thoughts of resentment and bitterness. Always we wait for someone to pull our strings to determine what thoughts we will accept and which we will reject. We thus becomes victims of every wind that blows and every shower of rain that falls, and the tone of our lives is determined by countless sets of circumstances over which we appear to have no control.

The observer
Let’s get back to where thoughts come from. We have a conscious mind that is creating a never-ending stream of thoughts, but is it we who create the thoughts? Are we our conscious mind or are we something far greater? If you carefully analyze the process of thought, you will discover it is not you who thinks at all, but rather it is you who observes thoughts as they flit across the screen of your consciousness. It’s as if the real you occupied a still and detached position in the very recesses of your being, from which you observe a purely mental world that consists entirely of thoughts. These thoughts parade across your consciousness in a never ending procession, following one after another unceasingly. Some you select and add to, others you reject and send on their way. But the plain and honest fact is that it is not you who sets the stream of thoughts in motion. If you doubt this, try to stop them!

Demands of the mind
You will find that concerted effort may stem, but not completely stop your thinking, for the essence of being is observation, contemplation, and choice. In a state of meditation you may be able to slow down the stream of thoughts and examine each thought as it’s presented to you, but still they come, these thoughts from out of nowhere, exhibiting themselves upon your consciousness, demanding that you establish a position where you must accept some while rejecting others.

Exercising choice in a drama called life
Let’s look at a novelist who sits down behind a word processor to write a novel. By his actions he is putting himself in a position of someone who is going to write a story, then he observes the thoughts and ideas that flit across his consciousness. He rejects idea after idea until along comes an idea that appeals to him. He takes this idea and runs it on the screen of his awareness and decides to accept it. Let’s say the idea is of a man lost overboard at sea. How can he be saved? “Washed up on an island,” says one of many ideas. Now instead of just being in a position to write a novel, he is in a position of writing a story of a man who is washed up on a desert island. He wonders how the man will survive there, and so the stream of thoughts flow, and he accepts one. Now he’s writing about a man thought of as a god by a superstitious tribe of natives on the island.

Choosing from an assembly line of thoughts
And so the story grows as each new idea is added to the last. At no time does he “think them up.” His entire story, once assembled and written, is simply evidence of the thousands of choices he has made from the countless number of thoughts streaming through his mind. He has not thought up a thing. He has simply observed and exercised choice. His story tells you what he has accepted; nothing will ever tell you of the hundreds of thousands of ideas and thoughts he has rejected.

We are authors of our own life story
Like the novelist who writes a story, each of us write our own script to life by choosing which thoughts to accept and which thoughts to reject. Each of our lives is a scripted drama, penned by the silent contemplative author who dwells within the still point of our being, an author who does nothing more than make choices. And eventually, when the time is right, each of these choices is made manifest in our physical world.

We are what we believe we are
We are today living testimonies to the choices we have made from the thoughts that have streamed through our minds since we first saw the light of day. We are literally products of the thoughts we have chosen to accept. We are what we believe we are.

Observe from the still point
Find yourself some space for some quiet time with the Self. Relax and still your mind. Deliberately watch your thoughts as they cross your consciousness. Briefly examine and note them then let them go. Neither accept nor reject them. Notice how each thought follows one upon the other in an endless stream of traffic. Now ask yourself, “Who is it that observes this?” You’ll then realize that it’s not you who thinks at all; you’re the one who observes and decides, that’s all. At this still, centered point of consciousness, you reach a higher level of awareness where you become the observer, where even thoughts are things to be observed. It is a place of complete calm and quiet, a place of absolute sureness, a place of communion with the Universal Mind.

Who is the real you?
Don’t confuse what you seem to be with what you really are. What you seem to be is but the barest fraction of what you really are. Drop the labels. Refuse to think of yourself as a name, as an occupation, as a person with a history who lives in a certain town in a certain country at a certain point in time. Refuse to accept these limitations; they are illusions belonging only to the outer realities of this world. All this is what you seem to be. Instead, turn your thoughts within to the real you. Ask yourself, “Who is this that observes?” One day you will find the answer, and on that day you will set yourself free.

Module Thirteen: The Peaceful Pause

MODULE twelve told us how we selectively choose from the endless stream of thoughts projected by the conscious mind — the ego mind. Some of the various thoughts that flow through our consciousness include sad thoughts, happy thoughts, humorous thoughts, angry thoughts, degrading thoughts and hopefully one or two inspiring thoughts. At all times we’re responsible for which thoughts we choose to accept and act upon, and which thoughts we choose to reject. Thousands of thoughts each hour flit through the recesses of our mind, and upon examination, we will find that a large percentage of them are repetitive and habitual in nature.

Selective choices — one at a time
Our reactions and behaviour toward certain events and people, are influenced by the type of programs we choose to run through our consciousness. As mentioned previously, if our programming is not up to scratch, our reactions and behaviour will reflect these shortcomings. Until we are able to rectify all faulty programing that has a negative influence on our thoughts and behaviors, we must make a conscious effort to choose responsible mediating responses to each singular emotional event — as they arise, one at a time!

Are you a reactionary?
Free will and free mind provides the freedom for us to choose what we want to think and how we want to behave. When somebody insults you, you are solely responsible for how you choose to respond. If you decide to operate from the Power level of lower consciousness, you may choose to feel angry — you’ll then react and behave accordingly. The result will probably be an addictively programmed slanging match with insult after insult being hurled back and forth ad infinitum.

A reminder
Let’s revise our earlier discussions on the Fight or Flight syndrome. You may remember that our instinctual programming, inherited from our prehistorical past, conditioned us to react to threats in an automatic and habitual manner. Certain thoughts and emotions triggered the typical stressful reaction, which was a rush of adrenalin into the bloodstream, resulting in increased blood sugar, faster breathing and heart rate, with muscles tensed in preparation for a fight or to take flight. All happen in a split second. Instantaneous reactions to a perceived threat. To the ego, an insult is a perceived threat.

The Peaceful Pause—press the pause button
An insult is hurled in your direction. Let’s imagine it is recorded on your mind’s internal video tape. See the incident on the video screen of your consciousness. Press the pause button to stop the action just after the insult was delivered. Examine the feelings, i.e.— the emotions you feel in response to the insult. Use your faculties of higher awareness to recognize the addictive demands this emotion has triggered.

Program download
The ego may run an addictive response such as, “She shouldn’t call me stupid, because if she does it makes me (labels me) a bad parent.” You may then be able to identify from which level of lower consciousness this programmed addiction was downloaded. In this instance you’re reacting from a program in your Power level of consciousness and the feeling that triggered your Fight or Flight reaction was a perceived loss of prestige. Your programming demands that others see you as a “good parent.” According to the ego, being a “good parent” is a label of worth — a badge of prestige, and one the ego wears with pride! Anyone who attacks your label of worth is perceived as a threat by the ego and must be repelled or attacked in return.

The Three Steps of the Peaceful Pause

Step One: AWARENESS
An open awareness of the emotional content of the addictive programming is the first step in initiating the Peaceful Pause — our preferred mediating response. The simple, but important act of raising your awareness has instantly placed you into a higher level of consciousness.

Step Two: UNDERSTANDING
Awareness enables you to recognize which of the lower levels of consciousness the addiction has sprung from. You are now in a better position to understand why you are feeling the emotions you are feeling.

Step Three: ACCEPTANCE
From this elevated level of conscious awareness you are now able to witness the drama from the position of the observer. By taking one step back from the drama, you can calmly recognize the power struggle initiated by the faulty ego programming in play. You are able to compassionately accept the addictive programming of your provocateur, and at the same time accept your own ego’s emotional reaction. You are now in a position to calmly re-program your addictions into a preference. We will explore ways of doing this in the upcoming module on the Method of Choice.

Recognizing the error of your ways
To be a proficient keyboard operator you require speed, dexterity and spelling skills. An effective operator does not have to be perfect typesetter, few of us are, but occasionally an incorrect key is struck. A consciously aware typesetter is automatically able to recognize a mistake, momentarily pause, carry out a quick correction, and carry on with typesetting in a calm and peaceful manner.

Choose a preferred mediating response
So it is with effective mediating responses. Practice in applying the Peaceful Pause to any emotional situation will eventually result in automatic and positive responses instead of the previously negative and addictive reactions of the past.

Module Fourteen: Preferential Programming

WE’VE seen how, by practicing the three steps of the Peaceful Pause, we are able, from a level of higher awareness, to calmly choose a moderate mediating response in preference to an addictive reaction of the ego. In order to live a reasonably happy and stress-free life, we must be able to detach ourselves from the negative emotional reactions normally attached to the ego’s addictive programming.

Let’s get real
The world will never be, what we perceive our perfect world to be. If we continue to demand that it must be so, we will be forever chasing that elusive bluebird of happiness. Each time the world fails to fit neatly into our personal model of how things should be, each time someone or something triggers one of our demands, our minds automatically create some form of unhappiness — usually in the form of negative emotions.

Upgrade your programs
Personal growth involves some sort of upgrading of our programming so our addictive negative demands can be neutralized — not necessarily by positive demands, but by emotionally neutral programming — by preferences.

We can define a preference as:— “a desire that does not make us feel upset or unhappy even if it is not satisfied.” This upgrading to preferential choice is not all that difficult. In fact, over the course of your lifetime you have already converted many an addictive demand into a preference. Think of all the things in the past you would have liked things to be different, but have learnt to accept. Mum making you eat vegetables, pimply adolescence, a friend calling at late hours, your neighbor mowing his lawn, paying more taxes than you would like. You would obviously have preferred these things never came up, but when they did, you accepted their inevitability and moved on with your life.
A preference will never make you upset. Whenever you feel the need to say to someone, “You make me angry,” you have relinquished your power and placed it in the hands of someone else. You’ve let yourself become their victim. So the question is; how can you empower yourself to consciously create an inner happiness that doesn’t demand others be different from the way they are?  The answer: Convert an addictive demand to a preference, and you regain your power to feel good.

The serenity and acceptance of choice
Preferences helps you develop “the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
The Method of Choice teaches you to accept things and people exactly as they are. You don’t have to repress negative emotions, you simply accept your feelings, understand, then choose — anxiety or relaxed acceptance.

The feeling is the key
The key is to identify the feeling that causes the addictive reactions. Here is a list of just some of the negative feelings that can trigger your addictive behaviors.
You can feel . . .

guilty angry resentful frustrated humiliated
criticized betrayed threatened ashamed irritated
manipulated abandoned embarrassed anxious defensive
pressured insulted belittled inadequate jealous

Any one of the above feelings can be triggered by a label you pin on yourself or by labels pinned on you by others. For instance, if your partner labels you “selfish,” you may react addictively with feelings of guilt. The label has you relating to the lower level of Security consciousness. Your ego will have you agreeing with the label, and your thoughts will turn to learned memories of the past, where you were told you were selfish if you did not share with others. Up pops guilt!

Different personality “needs”
If you shift to a higher level of awareness, you will be able to neutralize such negative emotional reactions by noting that your partner is operating from their level of Power consciousness, where the ego’s need to manipulate others is demanding you conform to the other’s “should.”
In this case, your partner, because of their personality type, may need to have regular social outings, and so ego runs their addictive programming which demands you “should” go out together. If you have a different personality type, you may find quiet nights at home together more enjoyable.

Lack of understanding creates conflict
If you allow personality egos to clash here, nothing will be resolved, because its almost impossible for two differing personalities to understand each other when both are running different addictive demands from different levels of lower consciousness.

An opportunity presents itself
By labeling you as selfish, your partner has provided you with an opportunity for you to learn how to raise your level of awareness and introduce preferential programming that will neutralize your negative feeling of guilt, and create a more conducive environment for understanding. Your partner’s ego has attacked, and so the Fight or Flight syndrome has come into effect. This requires you to introduce effective measures that will neutralize the inner stress created by the insecure programming of the lower ego mind. You need to learn how to shake off the negative feelings that block you from seeing things from the perspective of others.

Exercising your mind
We now enter the practical phase of our course where we take up pen and paper and practice the step-by-step preferential Method of Choice. This is a practical exercise that teaches you how to perceive yourself and others from a higher level of awareness. Eventually you will no longer need pen and paper to apply the Method of Choice. It will become second nature to you. You’ll learn to mentally replace negative programs with preferential programming that leads you to higher levels of inner comfort and happiness.

Module Fifteen: The Method of Choice

WHENEVER you make yourself emotionally upset, take up the position of the observer—stand back from the situation and identify the negative emotion causing your discomfort. If you listen to your inner self-talk, you will recognize four distinct groups of addictive thinking, which, when linked together, form the faulty programming being down-loaded from the ego mind.

1. The Feeling:     What you’re emotionally feeling inside. Something’s happened that stirred up
                              certain thoughts and feelings (programs) from your subconscious
                              memory bank.

2. The Should:     The ego’s self-talk could be saying:—
                            “they shouldn’t say or do those things to me”,

3. The Because: “because if they do”,

4. The Label:     “it makes me (labels me). . . . . .”  (stupid, careless, guilty, etc.)

Reprogramming — Renewing your mind
Learning how to reprogram all your addictive demands is going to take a little time. After all, these programs that control your behaviour are the results of a lifetime of learning. The ego will tell you reprogramming is too complicated, but with a little persistence and deter-mination you can and will  master the process.

Introducing your own mediating response
To neutralize the negative feelings that surface, you (initially) write down the complete addictive sequence, then rewrite it from a more aware and less emotional aspect. What you are learning to do is to counsel yourself, and introduce a preferred mediating response to every negative reaction triggered by an addictive demand. Eventually you will be able to do away with the pen and paper and automatically mediate from a state of higher awareness.

Choose to be calm, rather than stressed
From a higher state of awareness you are now able to see things in their true perspective and the feeling is truly liberating. You may even smile to yourself when you realize how selectively blind you’ve been. Up until now, these addictions have severely restricted your enjoyment of life, but now you can revel in your newfound sense of freedom. In situations where you once felt stress, you now feel a sense of calm acceptance. You learn to break habits that have continuously kept you in a state of unhappy ignorance all these years, and boy, does it feel good!

You’ll see things from a higher perspective
The bigger picture comes together when you are able to stand back and take an unemotional look at things. Once you’ve shaken off the negative emotions that block your ability to see things clearly, you’ll know straight away the best thing to do. You become calm and relaxed — and in control. You’ll feel and experience an incredible sense of relief when you finally begin to understand. At that point you’ll know at once that your life will never be the same again.

Let’s see how it works
We’ll start with an example of a mother who has just had an argument with her teenage daughter. The conflict left the mother feeling criticized, hurt and angry, and she wants to neutralize these negative emotions and upgrade them to a more acceptable level of understanding. She removes herself from the scene and takes up pen and paper and completes the following exercise.

Step one: Identify the feelings:— e.g., criticized, hurt and angry.

Step two: Write out the addiction in sentence form:—
 (a) My daughter should not criticize me, (addictive should)
 (b) because if she does,
 (c) it makes me a poor parent and a failure. (label of insecurity)

Step three: Convert to preferential programming.
 (a) I would prefer she didn’t criticize me, (preferential choice)
 (b) but if she does,
 (c) it can’t make me a poor parent or a failure. (label is neutralized)

Step four: Explain why:—
 It simply means she’s going through a stage that will pass, and I don’t like being criticized,

Step five: What you will do or say:—
and I will patiently accept her behaviour, because I know this stage will pass.

Step six: Review and examine your renewed feelings:—
Relaxed, aware, understanding and accepting.

You will be quite surprised at how calm you can feel just by changing your attitude in such a constructive and undemanding way.

Summary of the Method of Choice
The first step is to be aware of the negative feelings that surfaced from somewhere in the ego’s lower levels of your security, sensory or power consciousness.
The second step is to recognize the addictive should and the label of insecurity your ego has triggered. Remember, it’s your own labels that create the hurt, not what someone else says or does to you.
The third step is to neutralize the should, the because and the label with a preferential choice. You convert this trio into a preference. “I would prefer—OR—it would be nice—if she didn’t criticize me”. This preference eases the pressure the addictive should and the insecure label has placed upon you.
The fourth step is to calmly explain to your more aware self what it really means. In this case the daughter wasn’t allowed out, and the mother felt insecure when criticized.
The fifth step, is a rational plan of action — what you will do or say, free of any emotional attachment whatsoever.
The sixth step is to experience the renewed feelings — relaxed, aware, understanding and accepting.

Method of Choice Worksheet
 

The left-hand column below shows an example of the six steps involved in the Method of Choice.

The right-hand column is for you to fill in whenever you experience negative feelings. Of course you can't be expected to fill in a form when you're involved in a face to face encounter with someone, but after the event, when you have had time to calm down and realise you could have handled the situation better, sit down and allow yourself to become aware of the feelings that surfaced, then complete the rest of the form. Print out a copy of this form and complete the exercise below.

 

1. Identify the Feelings. 

    e.g. embarrassed, angry

2. Write out the addictive programming. 

    a. She should not criticize me 
    b. because if she does, 
    c. it makes me a bad parent (the label)

3. Convert to Preferential Programming. 

    a. I prefer she did not criticize me, 
    b. but if she does, 
    c. it cannot make me a bad parent.

4. Explain what it really means. 

    It really means she's going through a stage that teenagers go through, and I dislike being criticized. 
     

 5. Your plan of action. 

    I will just ride it out until the stage passes. 
     

6. Review your new feelings. 

    Calm, relaxed, accepting. 
     

1. Identify the Feelings.  

    ........................................................

2. Write out the addictive programming. 

    a. ..................................................... 
    b. ..................................................... 
    c. .....................................................

3. Convert to Preferential Programming. 

    a. ...................................................... 
    b. ...................................................... 
    c. ......................................................

4. Explain what it really means. 

    It really means ................................ 
    .......................................................... 
    .......................................................... 
     

5. Your plan of action. 

    ...........................................................


    6. Review your new feelings.
     

    ..........................................................


 

Module Sixteen: Convert Demands to Preferences

WE’VE learnt that by converting your addictive demands into preferences, you can relieve the tension that builds up in your gut or solar plexus area. It’s this tension that manifests as those very familiar negative feelings we all know only too well.
All negative feelings or emotions are preceded by negative thoughts of lower consciousness.
The thoughts always create the feelings! Change the thoughts and you can change the feelings. Let’s repeat the list of negative feelings we itemised in Module 14:

guilty angry resentful frustrated humiliated
criticized betrayed threatened ashamed irritated
manipulated abandoned embarrassed anxious defensive
pressured insulted belittled inadequate jealous

Each of these emotions are effects caused or triggered by negative programming—your addictive shoulds. The downloading of these negative programs are caused by an outside event—possibly a squabble with a family member. Can you see the repetitive nature of cause and effect at work here? Unless you are able to convert your should into a preference you will find yourself involved in an ongoing chain reaction of cause and effect scenarios.
So working backwards from our negative feelings, we can locate the source or cause. We can then see it was the illogical self-criticizing label resulting from your addictive "should" that caused the reaction.

Labels of the insecure ego
Below is a list of just a few of the typical type of labels many people place upon themselves and others.
The ego will disdainfully proclaim I am:

a failure inadequate stupid unimportant dumb
incapeable worthless insensitive overbearing uncaring
immature hopeless irresponsible selfish disloyal
inferior unwanted incompetent a disgrace a drunk

We will now run through a few typical addictive demands and their conversion through preferential programming.

A wife with a husband who drinks . . .
1. (Feeling) Hurt, stressed, guilty.
2. (The should, because and label) He should not drink, because if he does, it makes me
    responsible for what he’s doing to himself.
3. (Preference) I prefer he didn’t drink, but if he does, it cannot make me responsible for what
    he’s doing to himself.
4. (Explanation) It really means that he’s made his choice. It’s his responsibility to make his
    own choices just like everyone else.
5. (Action plan—e.g. write an affirmation)  e.g. I am not responsible for his behaviour.
6. (Revised feeling) Self-acceptance. No more feelings of hurt, guilt or stress remain.

A nervous person speaking in front of a group . . .
1. (Feeling) Anxious, worried, vulnerable.
2. (The should, because and label) These people should like me, because if they don’t, it
    makes me inadequate, an idiot and a hopeless fool.
3. (Preference) I would prefer these people like me, but if they don’t, it can’t make me
    inadequate, an idiot, or a hopeless fool.
4. (Explanation) It really means that it’s difficult to please everyone.
5. (Action plan) Visualize a competent performance.
6. (Revised feeling) Relief. Self-acceptance. Less anxious.

If there is still some anxiety left, do some more re-programming . . .
1. (Feeling) Anxious.
2. (The should, because and label) I should live up to their expectations, because if I don’t,
    it makes me incompetent and inferior.
3. (Preference) I would like to live up to their expectations of me, but if I don’t, it can’t make
    me incompetent or inferior.
4. (Explanation) It really means I don’t know what they expect of me. Even if I did, I’ve still
     got to be me!
5. (Action plan) I will say what I want to say!
6. (Revised feeling) More comfortable with a lessening of inner anxiety. Self-acceptance.

Relationship conflict . . .
1. (Feeling) Putdown, resentful, angry.
2. (The should, because and label) He should listen and discuss the situation with me, because
    if he doesn’t, it makes me unimportant, incapable and ignored.
3. (Preference) I prefer he listened and discussed the situation with me, but if he doesn’t, it
    can’t make me unimportant, incapable or ignored.
4. (Explanation) It really means that his personality needs differ from mine and we both need
    to learn how to understand those differences.
5. (Action plan) I will learn the skills required to communicate with his personality type.
    (See module 19)
6. (Revised feeling) Accepting of self and partner, calmer outlook through higher awareness.

Annoyed when a neighbor neglects to return borrowed goods . . .
1. (Feeling) Annoyance.
2. (The should, because and label) She should return what she borrowed, because if she
    doesn’t, it makes me taken for granted.
3. (Preference) I prefer she returns what she borrows, but if she doesn’t, it can’t make me
    taken for granted.
4. (Explanation) It probably means that she is the forgetful type.
5. (Action plan) I want it back so I’ll just go and ask for it.
6. (Revised feelings) Her annoyance is converted to a “so what” acceptance, and a positive
    plan of action.

Module Seventeen:

Identifying Addictive Programming

These are some examples of the addictive programs stored in the subconscious. Each is triggered into activation by an insecure ego reacting through lower levels of consciousness.


Addictions of the Security Level

  The feelings                         The Addictive Programming — the Should and the Label
  1. embarrassed, belittled:—    He shouldn't say I'm too old, because if he does,
                                                it makes me old and useless.
  2. miserable, worthless:—       I shouldn't be fat, because if I am, it makes me unacceptable.
  3. harassed, inferior:—            They shouldn't laugh at me, because if they do,
                                                it makes me a dummy.
  4. alarmed, afraid:—               There should be less crime, because if there isn't,
                                                I'll be a victim.
  5. jealous, unimportant:—       She shouldn't flirt with men, because if she does,
                                                it makes me insufficient.
  6. useless, discredited:—        The boss shouldn't be impatient with me, because if he is,
                                                it makes me an unorganised person.
  7. inept, anxious:—                 I should save more money, because if I don't,
                                                it makes me be a spendthrift.
  8. small, irrelevant:—              He shouldn't talk down to me, because if he does,
                                                it makes me insignificant.
  9. unattractive, unwanted:—   I should be married by now, because if I'm not,
                                                it makes me an old maid.
10. afraid, imobilized:—           I shouldn't be afraid, because if I am, it makes me a coward.
11. envious, inadequate:—       I should have a better car than him, because if I don't
                                               it makes me second-rate and a failure.
12. empty, unfulfilled:—           I should have a baby by now, because if I don't,
                                                it makes me inadequate.
 


Addictions of the Sensory Level

  The feelings                        The Addictive Programming — the Should and the Label
  1. belittled, embarrassed:—   She should hug me more, because if she doesn't,
                                               it makes me unloveable.
  2. pressured, doubtful:—       I should have sex to please my partner, because if I don't,
                                               it makes me frigid.
  3. inadequate, invalidated:—  I should have a drink with the boys, because if I don't,
                                               it makes me an unmasculine wimp.
  4. guilty, devalued:—             He shouldn't tell me to eat less, because if he does,
                                               it makes me a glutton.
  5. rejected, unloved:—          The kids should kiss me goodnight, because if they don't,
                                               it makes me a bad parent.
  6. unworthy, inadequate:—    I should be able to maintain an erection, because if I can't,
                                               it makes me incomplete as a man.
  7. intimidated, ridiculed:—     They should enjoy my taste in music, because if they don't,
                                               it makes me a nerd.
  8. rejected, crushed:—          She should like me, because if she doesn't,
                                               it makes me unloveable.
  9. annoyed, defensive:—       She shouldn't mind me drinking, because if she does,
                                               it makes me a drunk.
10. guilty, shamed:—               I shouldn't buy more clothes, because if I do,
                                               it makes me an uncontrollable a shop-a-holic.


Addictions of the Power Level

  The feelings                          The Addictive Programming — the Should and the Label
  1. deficient, bitter:—                He shouldn't yell at me, because if he does,
                                                 it makes me an idiot.
  2. devastated, vulnerable:—    We should win the game, because if we don't,
                                                 it makes us losers.
  3. depressed, discouraged:—   I should pass the test, because if I don't,
                                                 it makes me a failure.
  4. dejected, useless:—             I should get a job, because if I don't, it makes me a bum.
  5. jealous, resentful:—             She shouldn't flaunt her success, because if she does,
                                                 it makes me unsuccessful.
  6. discredited, ignored:—        The kids should do as I say, because if they don't,
                                                 it makes me incapable.
  7. frustrated, indignant:—         She shouldn't cry when we argue, because if she does,
                                                 it makes me uncaring.
  8. flustered, irritated:—            They shouldn't beep their car horns at me, because if they do,
                                                 it makes me inadequate.
  9. offended, inadequate:—       I should be given a raise, because if I'm not,
                                                 it makes me unacceptable.
10. ashamed, belittled:—           The police shouldn't book me, because if they do,
                                                 it makes me a poor driver.
11. vanquished, mediocre:—      I shouldn't lose at chess, because if I do,
                                                  it makes me inferior.
12. invalidated, irrelevant:—       They should listen to me, because if they don't,
                                                  it makes me unimportant.

Whenever you pause to identify your feelings, you will have the opportunity to become aware of the attitude that created the feelings. Remember, emotional feelings always follow the thoughts that create them. By learning to associate which thoughts create which feelings, you will be in a better position to understand where your bouts of unhappiness spring from. Remember, you need only drop the thought, and the associated feeling will dissipate. Learn to manage your thoughts and you'll be better able to maintain control over your emotions, your feelings and your levels of happiness.

Module Eighteen: Looking behind the Mask


FREEDOM of choice is your most valuable traveling companion on your path to Higher Consciousness. Consider this. A year contains 31,536,000 seconds. Every second of every day the world around you offers you an opportunity to grow in consciousness. How you benefit from these thirty-one million opportunities is entirely up to you.

Let’s examine one such opportunity. Let’s suppose you choose to annoy yourself when someone asks you to repeat something you just said. Your ego jumps to the Power level by introducing the thought that if the person had given you enough of his attention and realised the importance of your words, he would have been able to hear you clearly the first time.

Be aware of your Inner talk
Your indignant inner talk will tell you that it is important that the other person learnt to respect you enough to pay attention when you speak. You then show your irritation in order to help him develop better habits of attention. Higher awareness will tell you that your irritation is a sure sign of an addiction from the Power Level of Consciousness. Such an addiction threatens to alienate yourself from the other person.

P
ractice Compassion
However, if you were honest with yourself, you would realise that all of us from time to time ask people to repeat what they have said, including yourself. If you were able to see this person in such a compassionate light, you would clearly see that this person is just like you. Understanding instead of irritation would surface as you accept the fact that you yourself have often asked people to repeat things. So by choosing to respond from the level of Unconditional Love you would feel no irritation, and simply repeat the information asked for. You love and serve an awakening being by doing what he or she asks of you. If someone asks you to repeat something, you repeat it. From a compassionate level, you are able to see him as someone who is here to help you become aware of your addictions and help you become free of them.

G
oing with the Flow
The individual with a higher consciousness is one who is most flexible to life’s predicaments. This is a person who avoids fixed, rigid patterns of behaviour. This is someone who flows with life’s situations rather than become bogged down by addictive irritations. It takes two people to have an ego battle, but it takes only one of them to create the peace and love that higher consciousness brings. It’s time once and for all, to admit that trying to manipulate people and events via the lower levels of Security, Sensation and Power just do not work for you. It’s time to let go of the old ways of thinking and behaving. It’s time to emotionally accept the unacceptable - to accept that which the ego perceives as unacceptable.

R
eview the day's "feelings"
Look back over the day’s happenings and reflect upon the feelings experienced during the course of your daily activities. Seek to identify those times in the day when your ego downloaded addictive programming. This is those times when separating emotions surfaced. Emotions such as anger, anxiety, resentment, envy, jealousy etc. Pinpoint and identify those addictive demands by using the Three Way Diagnostic Formula presented further on in this Module. Elsewhere on this site you'll find a Worksheet to Pinpoint your Addictive Demands. You may make alterations to the text by going to the File Menu and choosing "EDIT". Print out a few copies and fill them in whenever you have experienced a particularly emotional event earlier in the day. Be completely honest with yourself. Accept sole responsibility for all feelings created. They are, after all, YOUR feelings, brought on by YOUR thoughts. No one else is to blame.

A
ccept Responsibility
Completing the Worksheet on a regular basis will help remind you that’s your addictive demands that cause all your suffering - not other people, not outside event. It's YOU . . . your ego and your addictive demands.

Reviewing your Addictive Demands
1. Identify the Separating Emotion
Write down a short, concise description of the feeling/s your addictive programming created. These are your separating emotions . . . those emotions that reinforce the ego’s fearful beliefs that you are all alone in some great expanse of universal animosity.

I created the feeling of:


..................................(e.g.: embarrassment)................................

Here are just a few of the separating emotions you may have felt:

fear embarrassment anger
anxiety guilt sadness
frustration loneliness resentment
annoyance rage isolation
shame betrayal desperation
unworthiness disappointment hostility
irrelevance inferiority agitation
jealousy disgrace rejection
inferiority repulsion exploitation
outrage powerlessness abandonment


2. Identify the Addictive Demand:
(Your inner need - what your ego wanted at the time)

because my programming demands:

.......................(e.g.: that I am not belittled in front of others)................................

The Three Way Diagnostic Formula
How would you feel if your demand was satisfied?
How would you see yourself?
What sort of inner dialogue would you have about yourself?

Here’s how to identify your subconscious inner need:

1. “My inner need is to feel............(e.g.: respected).......................”

2. “My inner need is to see myself as...........(e.g.: competent)................”

3. “My inner need is to hear inside that I’m.........(e.g.: acceptable)..........”

"
Feel Good" Needs
Identifying these inner needs enables you to raise your awareness and see that your addictions are simply ineffective, unskillful ways of achieving those “feel good” needs your ego craves. Feelings such as security, self-esteem, approval etc, etc.

Here are a few examples:-
Your ego wants to feel, or see itself as, or think about itself as being . . .

confident competent intelligent
reliable acceptable complete
responsible confident happy
dependable safe respected
loveable sexy athletic
strong beautiful loyal
comfortable relaxed worthy
secure fulfilled handsome

It's important that you become consciously aware of your ego’s desire to simply “feel good” about itself. Behind everything you do is your subconscious wish to feel, see yourself, or think about yourself as “safe”, or “acceptable” or “good enough”. The purpose of this module is to help you become aware of what level of consciousness your ego was operating from when the emotional feelings such as anger, indignation, jealousy etc, surfaced from within.

R
eprogramming
Once you train yourself to become aware of each bout of addictive behaviour, you are in a position to reprogram your mind with more beneficial, positive programming.
For example, let’s say you make a mistake while carrying out your daily work activities. The ego, demanding to be seen as perfect, will come down on itself. You may hear inner talk that is self-denigrating. Because the ego desperately seeks self approval as well as approval from others, it will try its best to make you feel bad about yourself with “put-down” talk such as, “I’m stupid. I’m always making silly mistakes”. To counter its demand that you don’t make mistakes, simply rephrase negative inner talk with, “I’m OK. I’m human. We all make mistakes. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s how we learn and grow. I don’t have to reject myself if I make a mistake”. The idea is not to repress the various emotions from rising, but rather to accept that your current levels of faulty programming result from years of fearful, unskillful patterns of thought, and to then, in an act of compassion for self, simply let it go!

R
eprogram rather than Repress
Replay the “mistake scene” in your mind and really get in touch with the emotional suffering your addictive programming caused. Now generate the determination to rid yourself of such defeatist programming once and for all! The most effective means to do this is to reprogram faulty programs as and when you become aware of them.

The Three Steps to Reprogramming:

1. Explore the Emotional Suffering
Mentally recreate the event. Pause, take a deep breath, relax and tune in to the feelings you experienced at the moment the addictive programming downloaded. See who, and what is involved. When and where did it happen? In most instances, addictive demands are triggered by common events reoccurring over and over again. By anticipating these events and becoming aware of the circumstances that create the events, you are in a better position to undertake effective and skillful reprogramming.

So to continue with your insightful evaluation of a particular addiction . . . why did you react as you did? What emotions did you experience? What words were going through your mind? What is it, outside of yourself, that you blame for creating those emotions?

2. Pinpoint the Addiction.
How did you want things to be? What should have been done that wasn’t done? What demands of the ego were not being met? What should others have done? How do you feel about yourself as you review the event?

Pinpoint your principal addictive demand by asking yourself, “What am I addictively demanding? What do I think I need to have in order to feel good about myself?”

3. Accept that the only thing you can change is yourself.
Can you see how faulty programming has repeated itself time and time again throughout the pages of your life? Are you fed up with reacting like a preprogrammed robot? Have you had enough? Are you willing to let go of beliefs that anchor and hold you back from reaching your unlimited potential? A determined intention to change is required and this determination must come from the heart. Be courageous. Get in touch with the fear inside. Be brave enough and honest enough to identify the basic insecurity that underlies the addictive demand. Determine to change all that - not by effort and struggle, but by a release. Here is the “secret” path to peace - release. Demanding things be different didn’t work for you in the past, and most likely won’t work for you in the future. Decide for change NOW. Right here in the NOW moment. All you need do is to let go of all your demands of how things should be - how they should have been in the past, how they should be now, and how they should be in the future. It’s all a waste of energy. Just let people and things be.
Visualise yourself responding to similar future situations with a positive response. A response of acceptance. Accept the situation as a learning experience and let it go. The only thing you need to change is yourself. Allow yourself to respond to life’s sticky situations from a higher level of consciousness rather than the negative habitual reactions of the past.

Develop the ability to laugh at yourself whenever addictive programming makes its presence felt. Humour is a great leveller. It can transform previously unacceptable situations into events of learning and growth. Be compassionate with yourself. For instance, if you identify programming that demands others should approve of you, then simply affirm quietly to yourself, “I don’t need the approval of others - I’m perfectly OK as I am. Replay the scene, re-experience the emotions, and while in that emotional state, repeat the reprogramming phrase three times quietly to yourself.

L
ower Levels of Consciousness
Let’s remind ourselves once again of the ego’s lower levels of consciousness as outlined in an earlier module of this course.

1. The Security Level
This level has you focused on food, shelter or whatever you equate with personal security. This level of addictive programming forces your consciousness to be dominated by your continuous battle to get “enough” from the world in order to feel secure.

2. The Sensory Level
This level has you concerned with finding happiness in life by providing yourself with an ongoing supply of pleasurable sensations and activities via sex, food, chemicals, alcohol, food, music, clothes, etc.

3. The Power Level
When your consciousness is aligned with this level, you find yourself concerned with dominating people and circumstances in order to increase your prestige, wealth, and pride. This level involves countless other subtle forms of manipulation and control.

The Alternative
When you finally realise that adhering to the three lower levels of consciousness creates nothing but more suffering and more despair, it’s time to look seriously at the alternative... unconditional love.

T
he Level of Unconditional Love
We’re not talking about romantic love. Unconditional Love is the type of love that allows you to emotionally accept the unacceptable. Here is your ticket to a fulfilling and happy life . . . Acceptance. Unconditional love is the complete and utter acceptance of what is! It has nothing at all to do with doing - striving to do things and be all things for all people - it has everything to do with just being - being at one with all things.

The pathway to inner peace is so beautifully simple. Inner peace is yours when you totally and unconditionally accept the world of things and people as they are, and allow everything and everyone to be . . . to just be. The most loving thing you can do for another person is to unconditionally accept them as they are. And the best way to learn how to accept others is to learn how to love and accept yourself . . . totally and unconditionally.

It's easier to pinpoint addictive programming by identifying the specific emotional feelings that are tied in with the drama. You avoid focusing on your real pain when you simply generalise the feelings. Citing general terms such as feeling “unhappy”, “tense” or “insecure” keeps you from zeroing in on what is really happening inside you. This is where you must put aside your ego. Learn to delve deeper than a generality such as “feeling tense”, or “feeling insecure”. Which attitude stored in your program files caused you to feel tense? What belief is underpinning your feeling of insecurity? For example, could the tenseness be caused by a subconscious recall of a painful childhood incident? Or is it much closer to the surface? Is the tenseness caused by a threat to your position of power? Perhaps something happened at your place of employment that caused you to feel threatened? You must be brutally honest with yourself. Look for the ineffective programming that is the cause of your symptomatic feeling.

Who, What, When, Where and Why?
To help compile all the relevant facts about a news story, investigative journalists ask a series of who, what, when, where and why questions. You can do the same when investigating your addictive behaviour. Ask yourself who is involved? What did they do or say? When did this occur? Where was the drama played out? Why were you affected, etc, etc. Every addictive demand is fueled by an ego-driven want or inner need. If it’s a need for Security, the ego wants to feel safe. If it’s a Sensory need, it wants to be stroked, either literally or figuratively. If it’s a Power need it wants to be in control.

The answer is just below the surface

Let’s say your surface desire is to go to the movies with your partner. You might addictively demand that your partner see the benefits in going to the movies just as you do. Your partner declines and you might feel angry. From the Power Level your rational mind could have you reacting with blaming statements like, “You never want to go anywhere with me. You’re so boring”. The mask you are wearing says, “I’m not a stick-in-the-mud like you”, but under the surface, what your ego really needs is to feel close to your partner. Your ego interprets your partner’s decision as a rejection of you and your acceptability. You are running an addiction from your Security Level of Consciousness.

What are you REALLY after?
Ask yourself what emotional experience you think you could create for yourself by getting what you want? What is it that you are really after? How would you feel if you had your demand satisfied? How would you see yourself? What would you hear inside about yourself? Become your own psychoanalyst and scrape under the surface desire to uncover the inner ego need.

In regard to the movie scenario just mentioned, you might state honestly to yourself;

1. My inner need is to feel................(e.g.: Wanted).........................................

2. My inner need is to see myself as..........(e.g.: Attractive)......................

3. My inner need is to hear inside that I’m........(e.g.: Acceptable)......

Always remember that it is the Addictive Demand, the thoughts you download from your mind’s memory banks, that creates the emotion, not the event itself. Be aware also, that the logical mind will try its level best to divert your awareness away from your addictive programming. It will do this by protesting that you have the right to react with aggression towards anyone who would threaten your sense of “worthiness”. Please remember that although we wear the outer mask of confidence to the world at large, years and years of unskillful inner programming has the majority of us believing we are “not enough”. We spend the whole of our waking lives trying to earn the stamp of approval from our parents, siblings, teachers, partners and peers. The sad thing is that they spent their whole lives trying to do the very same thing, as did the generation before them and the generation before them.

Learning the life skills that enables you to identify the faulty programming of the ego mind, eventually leads you to the understanding that addictive demands are simply your ego’s ineffective and unskillful way of getting what we all seek in life, which is peace, security, abundance and acceptance - acceptance of ourselves - by ourselves - and by others.

 

An Exercise in
Pinpointing your Addictive Demands

Let’s use the example of a workplace drama. A co-worker points out to you that you failed to complete a particular job on time, causing a cancellation of the order and a loss of revenue. This all takes place in front of other co-workers. You react by raising your voice, blaming unacceptable work loads and time restrictions as the cause, and storm off in an angry rage.

In this scenario, you reacted unconsciously and downloaded disfunctional addictive programming rather than responding from a higher level of consciousness.

Identify the addictive programming and write down your answers on the dotted lines.

I created the feelings of

...........................................................................................................................................
(Identify and write down the emotional feeling.


when my co-worker

...........................................................................................................................................

...........................................................................................................................................
(Describe the ego’s interpretation of the drama and associated beliefs)


Because my programming demands

...........................................................................................................................................

...........................................................................................................................................
(Specify what your ego really wants)

What Level of Consciousness created this drama? Was it the Security Level, The Sensory Level, The Power Level or the Unconditional Love Level?

..........................................................................................................................................

Module Sixteen: Convert Demands to Preferences

WE’VE learnt that by converting your addictive demands into preferences, you can relieve the tension that builds up in your gut or solar plexus area. It’s this tension that manifests as those very familiar negative feelings we all know only too well.
All negative feelings or emotions are preceded by negative thoughts of lower consciousness.
The thoughts always create the feelings! Change the thoughts and you can change the feelings. Let’s repeat the list of negative feelings we itemised in Module 14:

guilty angry resentful frustrated humiliated
criticized betrayed threatened ashamed irritated
manipulated abandoned embarrassed anxious defensive
pressured insulted belittled inadequate jealous

Each of these emotions are effects caused or triggered by negative programming—your addictive shoulds. The downloading of these negative programs are caused by an outside event—possibly a squabble with a family member. Can you see the repetitive nature of cause and effect at work here? Unless you are able to convert your should into a preference you will find yourself involved in an ongoing chain reaction of cause and effect scenarios.
So working backwards from our negative feelings, we can locate the source or cause. We can then see it was the illogical self-criticizing label resulting from your addictive "should" that caused the reaction.

Labels of the insecure ego
Below is a list of just a few of the typical type of labels many people place upon themselves and others.
The ego will disdainfully proclaim I am:

a failure inadequate stupid unimportant dumb
incapeable worthless insensitive overbearing uncaring
immature hopeless irresponsible selfish disloyal
inferior unwanted incompetent a disgrace a drunk

We will now run through a few typical addictive demands and their conversion through preferential programming.

A wife with a husband who drinks . . .
1. (Feeling) Hurt, stressed, guilty.
2. (The should, because and label) He should not drink, because if he does, it makes me
    responsible for what he’s doing to himself.
3. (Preference) I prefer he didn’t drink, but if he does, it cannot make me responsible for what
    he’s doing to himself.
4. (Explanation) It really means that he’s made his choice. It’s his responsibility to make his
    own choices just like everyone else.
5. (Action plan—e.g. write an affirmation)  e.g. I am not responsible for his behaviour.
6. (Revised feeling) Self-acceptance. No more feelings of hurt, guilt or stress remain.

A nervous person speaking in front of a group . . .
1. (Feeling) Anxious, worried, vulnerable.
2. (The should, because and label) These people should like me, because if they don’t, it
    makes me inadequate, an idiot and a hopeless fool.
3. (Preference) I would prefer these people like me, but if they don’t, it can’t make me
    inadequate, an idiot, or a hopeless fool.
4. (Explanation) It really means that it’s difficult to please everyone.
5. (Action plan) Visualize a competent performance.
6. (Revised feeling) Relief. Self-acceptance. Less anxious.

If there is still some anxiety left, do some more re-programming . . .
1. (Feeling) Anxious.
2. (The should, because and label) I should live up to their expectations, because if I don’t,
    it makes me incompetent and inferior.
3. (Preference) I would like to live up to their expectations of me, but if I don’t, it can’t make
    me incompetent or inferior.
4. (Explanation) It really means I don’t know what they expect of me. Even if I did, I’ve still
     got to be me!
5. (Action plan) I will say what I want to say!
6. (Revised feeling) More comfortable with a lessening of inner anxiety. Self-acceptance.

Relationship conflict . . .
1. (Feeling) Putdown, resentful, angry.
2. (The should, because and label) He should listen and discuss the situation with me, because
    if he doesn’t, it makes me unimportant, incapable and ignored.
3. (Preference) I prefer he listened and discussed the situation with me, but if he doesn’t, it
    can’t make me unimportant, incapable or ignored.
4. (Explanation) It really means that his personality needs differ from mine and we both need
    to learn how to understand those differences.
5. (Action plan) I will learn the skills required to communicate with his personality type.
    (See module 19)
6. (Revised feeling) Accepting of self and partner, calmer outlook through higher awareness.

Annoyed when a neighbour neglects to return borrowed goods . . .
1. (Feeling) Annoyance.
2. (The should, because and label) She should return what she borrowed, because if she
    doesn’t, it makes me taken for granted.
3. (Preference) I prefer she returns what she borrows, but if she doesn’t, it can’t make me
    taken for granted.
4. (Explanation) It probably means that she is the forgetful type.
5. (Action plan) I want it back so I’ll just go and ask for it.
6. (Revised feelings) Her annoyance is converted to a “so what” acceptance, and a positive
    plan of action.

Module Seventeen:

Identifying Addictive Programming

These are some examples of the addictive programs stored in the subconscious. Each is triggered into activation by an insecure ego reacting through lower levels of consciousness.


Addictions of the Security Level

  The feelings                         The Addictive Programming — the Should and the Label
  1. embarrassed, belittled:—    He shouldn't say I'm too old, because if he does,
                                                it makes me old and useless.
  2. miserable, worthless:—       I shouldn't be fat, because if I am, it makes me unacceptable.
  3. harassed, inferior:—            They shouldn't laugh at me, because if they do,
                                                it makes me a dummy.
  4. alarmed, afraid:—               There should be less crime, because if there isn't,
                                                I'll be a victim.
  5. jealous, unimportant:—       She shouldn't flirt with men, because if she does,
                                                it makes me insufficient.
  6. useless, discredited:—        The boss shouldn't be impatient with me, because if he is,
                                                it makes me an unorganised person.
  7. inept, anxious:—                 I should save more money, because if I don't,
                                                it makes me be a spendthrift.
  8. small, irrelevant:—              He shouldn't talk down to me, because if he does,
                                                it makes me insignificant.
  9. unattractive, unwanted:—   I should be married by now, because if I'm not,
                                                it makes me an old maid.
10. afraid, imobilized:—           I shouldn't be afraid, because if I am, it makes me a coward.
11. envious, inadequate:—       I should have a better car than him, because if I don't
                                               it makes me second-rate and a failure.
12. empty, unfulfilled:—           I should have a baby by now, because if I don't,
                                                it makes me inadequate.
 


Addictions of the Sensory Level

  The feelings                        The Addictive Programming — the Should and the Label
  1. belittled, embarrassed:—   She should hug me more, because if she doesn't,
                                               it makes me unloveable.
  2. pressured, doubtful:—       I should have sex to please my partner, because if I don't,
                                               it makes me frigid.
  3. inadequate, invalidated:—  I should have a drink with the boys, because if I don't,
                                               it makes me an unmasculine wimp.
  4. guilty, devalued:—             He shouldn't tell me to eat less, because if he does,
                                               it makes me a glutton.
  5. rejected, unloved:—          The kids should kiss me goodnight, because if they don't,
                                               it makes me a bad parent.
  6. unworthy, inadequate:—    I should be able to maintain an erection, because if I can't,
                                               it makes me incomplete as a man.
  7. intimidated, ridiculed:—     They should enjoy my taste in music, because if they don't,
                                               it makes me a nerd.
  8. rejected, crushed:—          She should like me, because if she doesn't,
                                               it makes me unloveable.
  9. annoyed, defensive:—       She shouldn't mind me drinking, because if she does,
                                               it makes me a drunk.
10. guilty, shamed:—               I shouldn't buy more clothes, because if I do,
                                               it makes me an uncontrollable a shop-a-holic.


Addictions of the Power Level

  The feelings                          The Addictive Programming — the Should and the Label
  1. deficient, bitter:—                He shouldn't yell at me, because if he does,
                                                 it makes me an idiot.
  2. devastated, vulnerable:—    We should win the game, because if we don't,
                                                 it makes us losers.
  3. depressed, discouraged:—   I should pass the test, because if I don't,
                                                 it makes me a failure.
  4. dejected, useless:—             I should get a job, because if I don't, it makes me a bum.
  5. jealous, resentful:—             She shouldn't flaunt her success, because if she does,
                                                 it makes me unsuccessful.
  6. discredited, ignored:—        The kids should do as I say, because if they don't,
                                                 it makes me incapable.
  7. frustrated, indignant:—         She shouldn't cry when we argue, because if she does,
                                                 it makes me uncaring.
  8. flustered, irritated:—            They shouldn't beep their car horns at me, because if they do,
                                                 it makes me inadequate.
  9. offended, inadequate:—       I should be given a raise, because if I'm not,
                                                 it makes me unacceptable.
10. ashamed, belittled:—           The police shouldn't book me, because if they do,
                                                 it makes me a poor driver.
11. vanquished, mediocre:—      I shouldn't lose at chess, because if I do,
                                                  it makes me inferior.
12. invalidated, irrelevant:—       They should listen to me, because if they don't,
                                                  it makes me unimportant.

Whenever you pause to identify your feelings, you will have the opportunity to become aware of the attitude that created the feelings. Remember, emotional feelings always follow the thoughts that create them. By learning to associate which thoughts create which feelings, you will be in a better position to understand where your bouts of unhappiness spring from. Remember, you need only drop the thought, and the associated feeling will dissipate. Learn to manage your thoughts and you'll be better able to maintain control over your emotions, your feelings and your levels of happiness.

Module Eighteen: Looking behind the Mask


FREEDOM of choice is your most valuable traveling companion on your path to Higher Consciousness. Consider this. A year contains 31,536,000 seconds. Every second of every day the world around you offers you an opportunity to grow in consciousness. How you benefit from these thirty-one million opportunities is entirely up to you.

Let’s examine one such opportunity. Let’s suppose you choose to annoy yourself when someone asks you to repeat something you just said. Your ego jumps to the Power level by introducing the thought that if the person had given you enough of his attention and realised the importance of your words, he would have been able to hear you clearly the first time.

Be aware of your Inner talk
Your indignant inner talk will tell you that it is important that the other person learnt to respect you enough to pay attention when you speak. You then show your irritation in order to help him develop better habits of attention. Higher awareness will tell you that your irritation is a sure sign of an addiction from the Power Level of Consciousness. Such an addiction threatens to alienate yourself from the other person.

P
ractice Compassion
However, if you were honest with yourself, you would realise that all of us from time to time ask people to repeat what they have said, including yourself. If you were able to see this person in such a compassionate light, you would clearly see that this person is just like you. Understanding instead of irritation would surface as you accept the fact that you yourself have often asked people to repeat things. So by choosing to respond from the level of Unconditional Love you would feel no irritation, and simply repeat the information asked for. You love and serve an awakening being by doing what he or she asks of you. If someone asks you to repeat something, you repeat it. From a compassionate level, you are able to see him as someone who is here to help you become aware of your addictions and help you become free of them.

G
oing with the Flow
The individual with a higher consciousness is one who is most flexible to life’s predicaments. This is a person who avoids fixed, rigid patterns of behaviour. This is someone who flows with life’s situations rather than become bogged down by addictive irritations. It takes two people to have an ego battle, but it takes only one of them to create the peace and love that higher consciousness brings. It’s time once and for all, to admit that trying to manipulate people and events via the lower levels of Security, Sensation and Power just do not work for you. It’s time to let go of the old ways of thinking and behaving. It’s time to emotionally accept the unacceptable - to accept that which the ego perceives as unacceptable.

R
eview the day's "feelings"
Look back over the day’s happenings and reflect upon the feelings experienced during the course of your daily activities. Seek to identify those times in the day when your ego downloaded addictive programming. This is those times when separating emotions surfaced. Emotions such as anger, anxiety, resentment, envy, jealousy etc. Pinpoint and identify those addictive demands by using the Three Way Diagnostic Formula presented further on in this Module. Elsewhere on this site you'll find a Worksheet to Pinpoint your Addictive Demands. You may make alterations to the text by going to the File Menu and choosing "EDIT". Print out a few copies and fill them in whenever you have experienced a particularly emotional event earlier in the day. Be completely honest with yourself. Accept sole responsibility for all feelings created. They are, after all, YOUR feelings, brought on by YOUR thoughts. No one else is to blame.

A
ccept Responsibility
Completing the Worksheet on a regular basis will help remind you that’s your addictive demands that cause all your suffering - not other people, not outside event. It's YOU . . . your ego and your addictive demands.

Reviewing your Addictive Demands
1. Identify the Separating Emotion
Write down a short, concise description of the feeling/s your addictive programming created. These are your separating emotions . . . those emotions that reinforce the ego’s fearful beliefs that you are all alone in some great expanse of universal animosity.

I created the feeling of:


..................................(e.g.: embarrassment)................................

Here are just a few of the separating emotions you may have felt:

fear embarrassment anger
anxiety guilt sadness
frustration loneliness resentment
annoyance rage isolation
shame betrayal desperation
unworthiness disappointment hostility
irrelevance inferiority agitation
jealousy disgrace rejection
inferiority repulsion exploitation
outrage powerlessness abandonment


2. Identify the Addictive Demand:
(Your inner need - what your ego wanted at the time)

because my programming demands:

.......................(e.g.: that I am not belittled in front of others)................................

The Three Way Diagnostic Formula
How would you feel if your demand was satisfied?
How would you see yourself?
What sort of inner dialogue would you have about yourself?

Here’s how to identify your subconscious inner need:

1. “My inner need is to feel............(e.g.: respected).......................”

2. “My inner need is to see myself as...........(e.g.: competent)................”

3. “My inner need is to hear inside that I’m.........(e.g.: acceptable)..........”

"
Feel Good" Needs
Identifying these inner needs enables you to raise your awareness and see that your addictions are simply ineffective, unskillful ways of achieving those “feel good” needs your ego craves. Feelings such as security, self-esteem, approval etc, etc.

Here are a few examples:-
Your ego wants to feel, or see itself as, or think about itself as being . . .

confident competent intelligent
reliable acceptable complete
responsible confident happy
dependable safe respected
loveable sexy athletic
strong beautiful loyal
comfortable relaxed worthy
secure fulfilled handsome

It's important that you become consciously aware of your ego’s desire to simply “feel good” about itself. Behind everything you do is your subconscious wish to feel, see yourself, or think about yourself as “safe”, or “acceptable” or “good enough”. The purpose of this module is to help you become aware of what level of consciousness your ego was operating from when the emotional feelings such as anger, indignation, jealousy etc, surfaced from within.

R
eprogramming
Once you train yourself to become aware of each bout of addictive behaviour, you are in a position to reprogram your mind with more beneficial, positive programming.
For example, let’s say you make a mistake while carrying out your daily work activities. The ego, demanding to be seen as perfect, will come down on itself. You may hear inner talk that is self-denigrating. Because the ego desperately seeks self approval as well as approval from others, it will try its best to make you feel bad about yourself with “put-down” talk such as, “I’m stupid. I’m always making silly mistakes”. To counter its demand that you don’t make mistakes, simply rephrase negative inner talk with, “I’m OK. I’m human. We all make mistakes. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s how we learn and grow. I don’t have to reject myself if I make a mistake”. The idea is not to repress the various emotions from rising, but rather to accept that your current levels of faulty programming result from years of fearful, unskillful patterns of thought, and to then, in an act of compassion for self, simply let it go!

R
eprogram rather than Repress
Replay the “mistake scene” in your mind and really get in touch with the emotional suffering your addictive programming caused. Now generate the determination to rid yourself of such defeatist programming once and for all! The most effective means to do this is to reprogram faulty programs as and when you become aware of them.

The Three Steps to Reprogramming:

1. Explore the Emotional Suffering
Mentally recreate the event. Pause, take a deep breath, relax and tune in to the feelings you experienced at the moment the addictive programming downloaded. See who, and what is involved. When and where did it happen? In most instances, addictive demands are triggered by common events reoccurring over and over again. By anticipating these events and becoming aware of the circumstances that create the events, you are in a better position to undertake effective and skillful reprogramming.

So to continue with your insightful evaluation of a particular addiction . . . why did you react as you did? What emotions did you experience? What words were going through your mind? What is it, outside of yourself, that you blame for creating those emotions?

2. Pinpoint the Addiction.
How did you want things to be? What should have been done that wasn’t done? What demands of the ego were not being met? What should others have done? How do you feel about yourself as you review the event?

Pinpoint your principal addictive demand by asking yourself, “What am I addictively demanding? What do I think I need to have in order to feel good about myself?”

3. Accept that the only thing you can change is yourself.
Can you see how faulty programming has repeated itself time and time again throughout the pages of your life? Are you fed up with reacting like a preprogrammed robot? Have you had enough? Are you willing to let go of beliefs that anchor and hold you back from reaching your unlimited potential? A determined intention to change is required and this determination must come from the heart. Be courageous. Get in touch with the fear inside. Be brave enough and honest enough to identify the basic insecurity that underlies the addictive demand. Determine to change all that - not by effort and struggle, but by a release. Here is the “secret” path to peace - release. Demanding things be different didn’t work for you in the past, and most likely won’t work for you in the future. Decide for change NOW. Right here in the NOW moment. All you need do is to let go of all your demands of how things should be - how they should have been in the past, how they should be now, and how they should be in the future. It’s all a waste of energy. Just let people and things be.
Visualise yourself responding to similar future situations with a positive response. A response of acceptance. Accept the situation as a learning experience and let it go. The only thing you need to change is yourself. Allow yourself to respond to life’s sticky situations from a higher level of consciousness rather than the negative habitual reactions of the past.

Develop the ability to laugh at yourself whenever addictive programming makes its presence felt. Humour is a great leveller. It can transform previously unacceptable situations into events of learning and growth. Be compassionate with yourself. For instance, if you identify programming that demands others should approve of you, then simply affirm quietly to yourself, “I don’t need the approval of others - I’m perfectly OK as I am. Replay the scene, re-experience the emotions, and while in that emotional state, repeat the reprogramming phrase three times quietly to yourself.

L
ower Levels of Consciousness
Let’s remind ourselves once again of the ego’s lower levels of consciousness as outlined in an earlier module of this course.

1. The Security Level
This level has you focused on food, shelter or whatever you equate with personal security. This level of addictive programming forces your consciousness to be dominated by your continuous battle to get “enough” from the world in order to feel secure.

2. The Sensory Level
This level has you concerned with finding happiness in life by providing yourself with an ongoing supply of pleasurable sensations and activities via sex, food, chemicals, alcohol, food, music, clothes, etc.

3. The Power Level
When your consciousness is aligned with this level, you find yourself concerned with dominating people and circumstances in order to increase your prestige, wealth, and pride. This level involves countless other subtle forms of manipulation and control.

The Alternative
When you finally realise that adhering to the three lower levels of consciousness creates nothing but more suffering and more despair, it’s time to look seriously at the alternative... unconditional love.

T
he Level of Unconditional Love
We’re not talking about romantic love. Unconditional Love is the type of love that allows you to emotionally accept the unacceptable. Here is your ticket to a fulfilling and happy life . . . Acceptance. Unconditional love is the complete and utter acceptance of what is! It has nothing at all to do with doing - striving to do things and be all things for all people - it has everything to do with just being - being at one with all things.

The pathway to inner peace is so beautifully simple. Inner peace is yours when you totally and unconditionally accept the world of things and people as they are, and allow everything and everyone to be . . . to just be. The most loving thing you can do for another person is to unconditionally accept them as they are. And the best way to learn how to accept others is to learn how to love and accept yourself . . . totally and unconditionally.

It's easier to pinpoint addictive programming by identifying the specific emotional feelings that are tied in with the drama. You avoid focusing on your real pain when you simply generalise the feelings. Citing general terms such as feeling “unhappy”, “tense” or “insecure” keeps you from zeroing in on what is really happening inside you. This is where you must put aside your ego. Learn to delve deeper than a generality such as “feeling tense”, or “feeling insecure”. Which attitude stored in your program files caused you to feel tense? What belief is underpinning your feeling of insecurity? For example, could the tenseness be caused by a subconscious recall of a painful childhood incident? Or is it much closer to the surface? Is the tenseness caused by a threat to your position of power? Perhaps something happened at your place of employment that caused you to feel threatened? You must be brutally honest with yourself. Look for the ineffective programming that is the cause of your symptomatic feeling.

Who, What, When, Where and Why?
To help compile all the relevant facts about a news story, investigative journalists ask a series of who, what, when, where and why questions. You can do the same when investigating your addictive behaviour. Ask yourself who is involved? What did they do or say? When did this occur? Where was the drama played out? Why were you affected, etc, etc. Every addictive demand is fueled by an ego-driven want or inner need. If it’s a need for Security, the ego wants to feel safe. If it’s a Sensory need, it wants to be stroked, either literally or figuratively. If it’s a Power need it wants to be in control.

The answer is just below the surface

Let’s say your surface desire is to go to the movies with your partner. You might addictively demand that your partner see the benefits in going to the movies just as you do. Your partner declines and you might feel angry. From the Power Level your rational mind could have you reacting with blaming statements like, “You never want to go anywhere with me. You’re so boring”. The mask you are wearing says, “I’m not a stick-in-the-mud like you”, but under the surface, what your ego really needs is to feel close to your partner. Your ego interprets your partner’s decision as a rejection of you and your acceptability. You are running an addiction from your Security Level of Consciousness.

What are you REALLY after?
Ask yourself what emotional experience you think you could create for yourself by getting what you want? What is it that you are really after? How would you feel if you had your demand satisfied? How would you see yourself? What would you hear inside about yourself? Become your own psychoanalyst and scrape under the surface desire to uncover the inner ego need.

In regard to the movie scenario just mentioned, you might state honestly to yourself;

1. My inner need is to feel................(e.g.: Wanted).........................................

2. My inner need is to see myself as..........(e.g.: Attractive)......................

3. My inner need is to hear inside that I’m........(e.g.: Acceptable)......

Always remember that it is the Addictive Demand, the thoughts you download from your mind’s memory banks, that creates the emotion, not the event itself. Be aware also, that the logical mind will try its level best to divert your awareness away from your addictive programming. It will do this by protesting that you have the right to react with aggression towards anyone who would threaten your sense of “worthiness”. Please remember that although we wear the outer mask of confidence to the world at large, years and years of unskillful inner programming has the majority of us believing we are “not enough”. We spend the whole of our waking lives trying to earn the stamp of approval from our parents, siblings, teachers, partners and peers. The sad thing is that they spent their whole lives trying to do the very same thing, as did the generation before them and the generation before them.

Learning the life skills that enables you to identify the faulty programming of the ego mind, eventually leads you to the understanding that addictive demands are simply your ego’s ineffective and unskillful way of getting what we all seek in life, which is peace, security, abundance and acceptance - acceptance of ourselves - by ourselves - and by others.

 

An Exercise in
Pinpointing your Addictive Demands

Let’s use the example of a workplace drama. A co-worker points out to you that you failed to complete a particular job on time, causing a cancellation of the order and a loss of revenue. This all takes place in front of other co-workers. You react by raising your voice, blaming unacceptable work loads and time restrictions as the cause, and storm off in an angry rage.

In this scenario, you reacted unconsciously and downloaded disfunctional addictive programming rather than responding from a higher level of consciousness.

Identify the addictive programming and write down your answers on the dotted lines.

I created the feelings of

...........................................................................................................................................
(Identify and write down the emotional feeling.


when my co-worker

...........................................................................................................................................

...........................................................................................................................................
(Describe the ego’s interpretation of the drama and associated beliefs)


Because my programming demands

...........................................................................................................................................

...........................................................................................................................................
(Specify what your ego really wants)

What Level of Consciousness created this drama? Was it the Security Level, The Sensory Level, The Power Level or the Unconditional Love Level?

..........................................................................................................................................

Awareness of our addictive programming empowers us and helps us let it go. Don’t try to reject or suppress the programming. Simply Understand its level of origin, Accept it and let it go. Eventually the ego, as a result of a prolonged period of rehabilitation, will eventually release its demands and the addiction is able to be transformed into energy of a more productive nature.

I have prepared a full page Worksheet that you can print out and use to help you identify your addictive programming.

Worksheet: Identifying Addictive Demands

Awareness: Mentally recreate the event. Tune into the feelings. Who and what is involved? When and where did it happen? Why did you react as you did? What emotions did you experience? What words were going through your mind?
Understanding: How did you want things to be? What should have been done that wasn't done?
What ego demands were not being met? What should others have done? What do you feel, see and hear about yourself? What were you demanding in order to feel good about yourself?
Acceptance: Replay the scene and this time visualise yourself responding with an attitude of compassionate and passive detachment. You are not your ego and you are not your programming.
Compassionately accept the faulty programming of a frightened ego and choose to let it go.

Seek your own honest answers to these ego revealing questions:

Q1. How would I feel if my demand was satisfied?.......................................................

Q2. How would I see myself?.....................................................................................

Q3. What sort of inner dialogue would I have about myself?.................................


After analysing the answers to the above questions you may be able to reveal inner needs your subconscious has repressed and hidden behind your mask. Look behind the surface need. Dig deep to find the hidden need.

1. My inner need is to feel.......................................................

2. My inner need is to see myself as.......................................................3. My inner need is to hear inside that I am.......................................................................................................

You are responsible for what you think, what you feel, what you say and what you do. You create it all.


I created the feelings of

.......................................................................................
(Identify and write down the emotional feeling)

when

................................................................................................................
(Describe the ego’s interpretation of the drama and associated beliefs)

because my programming demands

........................................................................................................
(Specify what your ego really wants)

Q. What Level of Consciousness created this drama?

Was it the:  Box.gif (1004 bytes) Security Level   Box.gif (1004 bytes)  The Sensory Level   Box.gif (1004 bytes) The Power Level   Box.gif (1004 bytes) Unconditional Love Level?

Awareness of our addictive programming empowers us and helps us let it go. Don’t try to reject or suppress the programming. Simply Understand its level of origin, Accept it and let it go. Eventually the ego will release its demands and the addiction is able to be transformed into energy of a more positive and productive nature.

Module Nineteen: Emotional Clearance


WE BASE our sense of happiness on our feelings. If you feel good, you believe yourself to be happy. If you don't feel good, you believe yourself to be unhappy. We think we have to achieve something, acquire something, or be in a certain relationship in order to be happy. We don't need any of these things to be happy - we just need to understand the relationship between our feelings and our beliefs. With a higher level of awareness we can experience happiness and fulfillment completely unrelated to achievements, possessions, or relationships.

Believing that something or someone made us feel "bad" gives rise to the concept of victimization. To see yourself as a victim places the responsibility for our feelings onto someone or something other than yourself. The problem with this perception is that if we deny responsibility for creating our feelings, we are unable to change and create different feelings of a more positive nature.

Your ideas and beliefs about who you are, wrapped in the emotional charge of those ideas and beliefs, create your reality - your every day experience of life. Thoughts require a creative charge of emotion before they can affect your reality. So you may change your ideas of who you are, but until they are wrapped in the emotion of truth, you cannot change your perceived reality.

Feelings are heart driven, and it's in the heart centre where we will locate our compassion. Feelings of love are not held in the brain. We may think with our brain about how we feel, but the feeling itself is held within our heart. Therefore many of us are now going to have to learn to express ourselves in a completely different way, learning to open up to love and think with our heart - not our head. It's time to let go of the idea that logic holds the key to life and realize that without the ability to express our feelings, we are denying our humanness.  Logic is an extremely attractive attribute when one is trying to solve a problem, but logic should have nothing to do with personal expression. Therefore, when it comes to dealing with other human beings, logic has to be replaced by feelings. Emotions are what make us human, so we must learn to feel rather than think our way out of the third dimension.

An emotional adventure
You are here to have an emotional adventure - to learn to embrace all emotion without judging any of it.Your mind can grasp intellectual ideas, but it is in the FEELING where the transformation takes place.A lifetime of conditioning has us believing that events happen because we are powerless beings. If the event is perceived as "bad", we will be struck down with a barrage of negative emotions. The event is then blamed for causing the effects - negative feelings such as anger, resentment or depression.

These ongoing dilemmas (of our own creation), have us believing life is one never-ending struggle to survive. Although we may externally struggle with different circumstances and situations, the emotional feelings associated with them are always the same - frustration, resentment, anger, depression, etc., etc. It's like falling into quicksand, and the only way we know to extricate ourselves is to struggle. What we find is that the more we struggle to get out, the deeper we sink.

There is an inverse relationship between struggling with a problem and understanding the problem. To understand how the emotional system really works allows the resolution of problems without struggle.

Clearing emotional blocks
When you find yourself face to face with powerful emotions, such as anger, jealousy or fear, it takes courage to willingly experience them fully. However, these emotions need acknowledgment. They need to be felt and acknowledged; for in order to go beyond them we must go through them.

Emotional clearance requires people to find the courage to embrace their emotional blocks; dissolving them before they impact on the body and adversely affect physical well-being.

Be Guided by your Feelings
When you feel a negative emotion about any subject whatsoever, it indicates that you have a negative belief about it stored in your subconscious. Through listening to your feelings, you can bring into consciousness the belief connected to the feeling. Feelings and your intuition are your built-in guidance system. Trust what you FEEL. Your feelings are a better indicator of truth than your minds, which can be led off in many directions, pursuing this theory or that, but which are disconnected from the direct EXPERIENCE of truth. There are only two true emotions that you can experience and feel - the emotions of Love and/or Fear. All other emotions are satellite emotions gravitating towards love or fear.

When you combine the focus of your intellectual mind with the impulses that are given to you by your feelings, you cannot help but expand who you are. Feelings are the directions of your soul, and you can use your intellectual mind as a tool to focus your thought on your direction. If all your focussed thoughts followed your inner feelings, your life would be abundant and joyful beyond all imagining.

Challenging the emotion
Become aware of your fears. Beneath every fear is pain. It is easier to become angry with someone else, or yourself, or the world, than to feel this pain. Simply recognizing when you are angry is only half the story. You must go to the root of the emotion, which is a part of yourself that you do not know about, or a part of which you are too frightened or ashamed to acknowledge.

Learn to become aware of how your body feels when certain fears arise, and what thoughts fill your mind. You will then be able to see it as an old acquaintance with whom you have a disagreement. The disagreement being that you do not want to feel the way you are feeling, so you push it away. This is where challenging your emotion comes in.

Challenging an emotion – which is really challenging the part of yourself where the emotion originates, is not a declaration of war. It is a clear statement of your intention. For example, you may affirm, “I challenge this emotion. I no longer want it in my energy system” . Challenging an emotion is the decision to utilise your free will to change an aspect of yourself you no longer want in your life.

No matter how you do it, challenging the part of yourself that you want to change is at the heart of spiritual growth.You cannot be a spiritually evolved person and an emotionally unevolved person at the same time.

The first time you challenge your anger, fear, or jealously, it will not disappear.You must challenge it again, again and again. Eventually, it will loose its power over you, and you will regain your power.

Understanding duality
It's important to know why you do what you do. We live in a world of duality. Our experience of life is dualistic, meaning that we are unable to appreciate any particular quality without the knowledge of the opposite polarity. For example, up/down, in/out, coming/going, hot/cold, space/solid. Duality implies a world of happiness and unhappiness, tension and relaxation, pleasure and pain.

We need to acknowledge, in some effective way, the so-called negative component to any experience. Even with the person we love the most, we will experience periods of alienation and loneliness. But all too often we resist our experience of the negative. It's easy enough to see why we do this . . . pain hurts. So we push the negative feeling down and pretend it doesn't matter.

However, when we resist our inner experience of the negative . . . when we repress our emotions through fear of pain . . . we prevent that experience from reaching a balanced conclusion. By fully experiencing the feelings connected to an event, we complete the duality cycle. Having done so, the necessary lesson is learnt, and the energy that was the feeling is transmuted . . . that is, transformed into potential energy to be released back into the universe for other creative purposes.

We've become so adapt to resisting that we've lost the capacity to experience that which we came here to experience. Resistance means we are depriving ourselves of necessary lessons in life. Pushing away and struggling against emotive feelings causes inner imbalance, an imbalance that requires correction if we are to learn and progress. We need to openly experience each feeling as it surfaces, and then let it go without judgment. We have to consciously develop the capacity for feeling - and if resistance rises, we need to examine the reasons for the resistance. This is the essence of Emotional Clearance.

Identifying the demands of your ego
The never-ending needs of an insecure ego demands that certain events happen a certain way and that people behave in a certain manner. If events and people fail to meet these expectations the addictive programming of our mind causes the brain to send emotional impulses through the autonomous nervous system resulting in negative feelings such as anger, suspicion, resentment, jealousy etc, etc.

The Addictive Worksheet
: At times like these, you need to bring your addictive worksheet into play. (See Module 22 - Rehabilitating the Addictive Ego). You do this by first focusing on the incident that upset you. Then identify the emotion. This will allow you to pinpoint your specific addictive demand.
For instance, you may find yourself acting like a sullen spoilt brat - jealousy is the emotion that surfaces, because the addictive programming of your insecure ego demands that another person should not attract so much attention to themselves (e.g. - by dancing so much better than you on the dance floor).

So let's see how your worksheet looks with the above information filled in . . .
"I created the feeling of jealousy when Peter danced at the wedding because my ego programming demands that other people should not show off (their ability to dance better than me.)”


This can be followed by:
"I created the feeling of resentment when people applauded Peter because my ego programming demands that my father should have paid for dancing lessons when I was a younger.”


In the above examples, by being completely honest with yourself, you have been able to pinpoint each addictive demand that was downloaded from your subconscious. With this honesty comes the ability to accept the fact that you are human. Now, rather than berating yourself, you can let the emotion go, thanking it for the insight it has provided as to the addictive beliefs you hold within your subconscious mind. You can now understand yourself better. You are aware of the origins of your negative feelings. You can now see where your thinking needs to be modified . . . where certain beliefs need to be changed . . . where painful emotions need to be released.

Accepting responsibility
Once this higher awareness tunes in, you've made progress. You've been able to recognise, accept and embrace the negative feelings of jealousy and resentment rather than suppress them. If you are able to see that part of your negative reaction is due to repressed past memories concerning your father, you have made a giant leap forward in your development.


Furthermore, if you can accept that the feelings of resentment are of your own making, and accept sole responsibility for your self-created pain, you have become an alchemist of the soul, a self-healer. You have been able to transmute painful emotional energy from fear to love.

Always remember - fear that is not released, must manifest as an experience - for what we fear, we empower. The entire episode described above was made manifest because of the repressed painful memory of father not paying for dancing lessons. Sooner or later that resentment, stored as psycho-emotional energy within the body, must be released into the physical world in the form of a created experience. Had you not been able to do the clearing work, recognising and releasing the emotion through acceptance and understanding, you would have had to undergo a similar situation at some other time in your future. It would be re-created again and again until you learned to transmute the energy through loving acceptance and understanding.

To master the Alchemy of the Soul, you first need to to learn which thoughts and which beliefs produce which emotions. Doing this enables you to change your thoughts and beliefs, and if you desire, to change your emotions about any particular situation.

During times of discord, examine the pain, the negative feeling, and ask yourself, "What is it that I need to know?"
Be easy on yourself. When those feelings get stirred up inside of you and it seems as if they want to steam roller you, say to yourself, "These feelings are my teachers. I will not be afraid of them. They have something to show me, and I will learn. I will change. I am flexible. I am courageous. I am committed to myself." Be easy on yourself.

Avoid judging some emotions as bad, and others as good. They are all of the same energy, the same power; although you may prefer some more than others. A higher awareness enables you to choose which emotions to hold (loving) and which to let go (fearful). This awareness leads to a clarity of thinking and a better understanding of yourself, your loved ones, and the world around you.

Health problems of one kind or another suggest the person involved is not giving attention to some of their emotions. Physical dis-ease is an indication of a mind which is not at ease, which usually indicates suppressed feelings. Their body is trying to heal their mind by alerting them to this fact. Higher awareness will identify the beliefs and thoughts the person may prefer to change in order to produce perfect health.

A reason for everything
Everything that exists in this world does so for a reason. Each has a rightful place in the scheme of things. Humanity exists for a reason. Our thoughts exist for a reason . . . our emotions exist for a reason. To deny their validity is to deny our birthright. Like all living things, emotions need attention. Give your emotions the attention they deserve, then let them go. Feelings are created in order to be experienced, not suppressed. The energy that is the feeling will no go away. Energy cannot be destroyed - it can only be transformed. Your emotional energy needs to be addressed, expressed, and transformed. To deny the expression of your feelings will only cause dis-stress and dis-ease.

You cannot love yourself and hate your emotions. Your emotions reflect what you believe. Learn how to use emotions to create what you want instead of what you don't want. Emotion is essential to creative manifestation on the earth plane.

Understand how your emotions function. To do so will increase your understanding of yourself, your life, and how you manifest the reality of your own world.

You have the power to choose which emotions you want to experience. You do this by choosing your thoughts. You choose the events in your life in order to experience their associated emotions. Life is a game of learning. Each move you make on the gameboard creates selected experiences in order to feel then transmute the associated emotions. The trick is to remember to transmute the emotions - letting them go after the event has past and the lesson learnt.

Validating your Emotions
Choose an emotion: It can be negative or positive. For three minutes experience that emotion totally. Allow any thoughts that accompany that emotion to come forward. Speak them out aloud. Pay particular attention to the thoughts that accompany that emotion. Pay attention to the beliefs that are causing you to feel that emotion. Remember that beliefs are nothing more than habitual thoughts. They are nothing more than the pattern of how you have been choosing to think. For every thought there is an alternate thought - for every feeling there is an alternate feeling. As a free-will being you have the right to choose which thoughts and which beliefs you will allow to influence your life.

Watch the clock: At the end of three minutes switch to another emotion. The process involves experiencing three different emotions for three minutes each.

Conclude with a positive affirmation: At the end of the validation process, formulate a loving affirmation while focusing on a preferred emotion. Let's say you focus on Compassion. You may then affirm vocally, "From this moment on I choose to experience only positive thoughts of a loving and accepting nature".

Transmutation - Turning Fear into Love
1. Take responsibility
: Become aware of the fact that you created the situation you find yourself in. Nobody else. Be aware that the situation and the accompanying pain are your creations. Understand the feeling and you transmute the pain through accepting responsibility. In this fashion you are not striving for the change outside, but change through the acceptance and acknowledgment inside.

2. Align the Judgment: When everything is acknowledged without judgment - i.e., aligned - then you are in the knowledge of the greater self. Understand the role each person has played and bless them all for their part in creating the situation - a situation purposely created in order to find the pearl of wisdom within. You can identify the purpose for which spirit has created a situation by being aware of the feeling, the emotion it engenders. Working backwards from recognising the feeling, we get a picture of the thoughts that accompanied the feeling. The thoughts, the internal dialogue, will pinpoint the addictive program - the attitude, the belief that you need to understand and embrace and then let go. The lesson has been learned.

3. Feel the feeling and surrender: Admit the feelings are a part of yourself at the ego level. Then, as far as possible, communicate those feelings verbally in whatever way you choose. (Expressing your feelings is better than creating a thought-form out of all proportion to the event transpired). Accept the lesson in the situation and surrender. It is easier to let go when you understand the people involved with you have been part of the co-creation for their own reasons, their own lessons. When you surrender, the feeling, masked by the resistance of pain, is suddenly revealed as a neutral energy which is then allowed to move from the solar plexus (emotional body) to the heart (astral body - neutral zone) then to the crown for re-disbursement into the universe.

Module Twenty: Compassion

EACH SOUL in this universe is playing the Polarity Integration Game in order to achieve spiritual evolution and eventual reunion with the Divine Creator - the Source - All That Is. Compassion is the goal of the game. Compassion is the integration point, the middle point of the two opposites. When the soul reaches true compassion, it feels acceptance for both sides, judging nothing as inherently good or bad. Achieving compassion or integration means that a soul sees the value in both the Light and the Dark, and chooses to have both in balanced portions, as part of itself.

Honour the role others play for your benefit

Look beyond the behavior of abusive people to the higher perspective. Remember that they are simply a soul playing a role for you. You are in the controversy to learn how not to allow them to take your energy by being abusive. They are in the role to learn that abusive behavior will not get their need for attention met. Therefore, they must find a more balanced way to attain the attention they need and deserve. Compassion is experienced only when all judgments have been released.

Develop your capacity to Release others from blame
The normal third dimensional mind-set says that life is something over which we have no control. But this is not correct, because every single event that happens to us is of our own making. Therefore, when something happens that appears unexpected, or to be the result of someone else's actions, we have to give it careful attention, because consciously or unconsciously, we actually create our reality one hundred percent.

Nothing happens arbitrarily or without a reason and everything is a result of our own thought patterns. When we cast blame on any other person for what occurs to us, it shows that we are in denial about this. But nobody does anything to us; we do it to ourselves. And the reason that all those sometimes dreadful and horrific events take place in life, is because they support the lessons we have come here to learn.

Truly, there is no such thing as an accident and no one is to blame for anything. Once we accept this principle, then forgiveness can take place. Only then can we look at all those accidental happenings and acknowledge that not only did we create them, they actually had something to teach us.

It is time to take the blame off those members of our Soul Family who have contributed to these lessons, and instead thank them and bless them for giving us the opportunity to learn. Without these experiences we would never know how it feels to be hurt and therefore, never understand the compassion which comes finally as a direct result.

It is often difficult to accept that being on the receiving end of hurtful or traumatic circumstances is our own fault, but the issues is not of who is to blame, but rather of what lesson can we learn from the event itself. Each of us descends into this third dimension to experience certain things, and we take the decision on what these will be before we are born. And as obtuse as it may appear to be, we quite often agree to undergo traumatic situations.

Collectively, we are here to evaluate and experience negativity. On a Soul level, we want to understand what the opposite of love and compassion is all about, so we agree to set up situations from which we can learn the difference. The problem however, is that most of us have gone through so many painful experiences that we now carry enormous loads of trauma in the memory cells of our body. Trauma which is added upon with each subsequent lifetime. This traumatic memory is what we subconsciously fear we will have to encounter if we go too deeply within, and that thought leads us to suppress, at great cost, these painful memories. Therefore, it is completely understandable that when it comes time to let them go, which means allowing these memories to come into consciousness, we are terrified to do so.

This is where you need to release others from blame. When you wear the mask of an aggrieved victim, you are attempting to manipulate and control others through the Power Level of Lower Consciousness. By playing the role of victim, you seek to control other egos through an emotionally-charged guilt trip. An overload of excess baggage labeled “judgment” is meant to be carried by any person who accepts the role of “perpetrator” in this drama. By releasing from blame not only ourselves for past unkind acts, but all those many members of our Soul Family who have judged us, misunderstood us, abused and rejected us, we get free of the pain forever. When we release blame, the energy which was the pain is transmuted or transformed into compassion and love. These acts of release directly contribute to lifting our spirits and lightening the load of excess baggage accumulated over many lifetimes.

Happiness is a result of acceptance. Those who operate from a higher level of consciousness such as total acceptance of all things, sometimes seem to have an easier time accepting their circumstances, their environment, themselves and others. They are not given to long-winded inner dialogue of judgment and blame. They can shrug their shoulders and carry on, accepting what is. This is what creates the avenue for the experience of happiness.

This does not mean that if you accept a negative situation that you will be happy with that negative situation. However, when you accept a negative situation you then allow yourself the choice and the freedom to choose to experience an alternate reality.

Without acceptance you have a tendency to be in denial. If you are not accepting it, you are denying it. If you are denying it, there is nothing you can do about it. You are not in a place of empowerment. You are not in a position to choose anything else. When you come to a point of acceptance, that does not mean "I like this," it means, "I understand and accept that this is a negative situation and I choose love instead of this,"

Acceptance is an act of compassion. Developing compassion for yourself and others is a big part of your evolutionary progression towards enlightenment. How do you develop a habit of compassion? The following seven step Formula for Compassion will help.

The Formula for Compassion . . .

Step One: ASPECT
Q: “What is the aspect of myself this person is reflecting back to me?”
Try to see and understand the aspect of yourself that the other person is reflecting back to you. They are your mirror, reflecting an aspect of yourself through their behavior. This step calls for brutal self-honesty, but it's well worth the effort.
Sometimes, instead of reflecting an aspect of your behavior, they are reflecting something you judge. An example would be someone who steals from you. You may not be a thief, but you may be judging theft or people who are thieves.

Step Two: GIFT
Q: “What is the gift this person is giving me by playing their role?”
Ask for help so you can see and understand the gift the other person is giving you by playing their role.

Step Three: ACCEPTANCE
Q: “Can I accept the role that this person has played, along with their actions, to help me learn this lesson?”
Acceptance is one of the four elements of unconditional love. Acceptance is part of compassion and is unconditional love in action. This also includes acceptance of who the person is, without judgment. You will find that if you are having a hard time with this step you can clear it by remembering they are a soul in a body, just like you, and you are helping each other with a lesson.

Step Four: ALLOWANCE
Q: “Can I allow myself to let go of my anger towards this person who played the role to help me learn the lesson?”
Allowance is also one of the four elements of unconditional love. Allowance is part of compassion and is unconditional love in action. This includes allowing the person to be who they are and to follow their chosen path, regardless of how you feel about it.
By the time you’ve reached this step, you’ll find it very easy to let go of anger towards the person, because you are feeling the gratitude and compassion that comes from seeing the pain they suffered in playing their role for you.
On another note: Allowance is easier to do when we let go of needing to control someone's behavior or choices for their own good. We tend to control people out of fear that their actions will hurt them/and or us. If we understand that everything has a value, then we can begin to release our need to control because we understand that there will be a value in each and every outcome.

Step Five: RELEASE
Q: “Can I release this person from blame?”
This one is easy when you understand that you are not a victim. On the contrary, you are an active participant in a contract and lesson that you helped set up.
Taking responsibility for your part in the contract enables you to release the other person from blame for the role they played to help you learn the lesson you wanted to learn. You understand that just as you are not a victim, nor are they a villain. And remember, it is much harder to play the role of a villain than it is to play the role of a hero.
Releasing someone from blame is different to forgiving them. Forgiving someone is what we do when we feel they have sinned against us, as in being victimized. Release is the key element in the Formula. The release is created by your compassion for the other person.

Step Six: KINDNESS
Q: “Now that I have released this person, can I be kind to him/her, and if so, how can I do it and when will I do it?”
At this point you may be feeling the intensity of the release through the heart. The degree of the feeling differs according to the emotional intensity of the issue. The more emotionally charged the issue, the more intense the release.
By now you will be filled with gratitude and compassion after reaching this step and your only thought is how to make amends and thank the other person/s.
Now that you are feeling gratitude and compassion, by releasing the other person from blame and anger, you realize you can be kind to them. You are now ready for completion.

Step Seven: COMPLETION
The two parts of Completion are:
a) How will you show your kindness, and
b) When you will do it?
You will find this step to be quite emotional. Higher understanding fills you with gratitude and compassion and your only thought is how to make amends and thank them. This is quite an empowering feeling.
Having released the other person from blame you can now be kind and loving toward them, functioning as you are from a level of gratitude and compassion . . . otherwise known as a state of Grace. It's not necessary for the other person to understand how you reached this state of grace, all you need do is thank them. Let them know you have learnt a valuable lesson as a result of their interaction, and thank them for helping you to gain a better understanding of who and what you are.
Don't try to explain the above process of transformation. They have their own path to tread and may not yet be ready to understand your viewpoint. Those that are controlled by the demands of the ego usually become defensive when higher truths are presented without invitation. If there is distance between you, either physical or emotional, you could write to them or phone them. If they are in close contact you can thank them personally. All you need do is thank them for helping you understand more about yourself. This will suffice for the time being.
The energy that was the negative emotion is now transformed and available for redistribution to the universe for other creative purposes.

Live a life of Allowance
You are here to create a life of joy, nothing more, nothing less. Find that which gives you joy and do it - and allow all others to be exactly as they are, and give that gift to yourself too! Allow yourself to be who and what you are in each moment and allow others to be who and what they are.
Love is the total and complete acceptance of what is. Allowance via compassionate understanding is love in its simplest definition.

Module Twenty-one: Self-acceptance

REMEMBER our previous discussions in module eight about the Scales of Worth?
If you allow the ego to restrict your awareness to the lower levels of consciousness, you will find yourself constantly looking for messages of self-worth from exterior sources. If someone labels you “beautiful,” up goes your worth based on programming from your Security level of consciousness. During a clash of egos, someone operating from their Power level of consciousness may label you “fat” and down goes your worth based on programs of insecurity downloaded from your Security level of consciousness.

The temporary nature of self-esteem
People with high levels of self-esteem feel good about themselves, but so do people with ample self-acceptance. What is the difference between self-esteem and self-acceptance? The crucial difference is where the good feelings come from! Self-esteem is generated from outside influences. Your ego creates self-esteem from the approval you think you need from others. Self-acceptance comes from within. You manufacture and confirm your very own self-acceptance by giving yourself your very own seal of approval.

Co-dependancy
If you depend on outside influences for your supply of good feelings about yourself, you depend on others for approval. If the others are also seeking approval from you and other outside sources, you have a co-dependant relationship in progress. This type of approval is conditional. For others to approve of you, you should and must do well in school, sports, career and family enterprises. To keep your self-esteem up, your ego needs at least one person, preferably more, to constantly praise you, reassure you and give you encouragement.

The see-saw effect of the Scales of Worth
Gain the social approval so eagerly sought by the ego, and up goes your worth, and with it your so-called self-esteem. Lose that all-important social approval and your worth falls — and with it your self-esteem. You’re stuck on the Scales of Worth and at the mercy of the manipulative egos of others. The insecure personality who feels separate and alone in the universe desperately needs the approval of others in order to feel a sense of belonging.  Self-esteem is based on a sense of security the ego derives from unpredictable outside sources — a false sense of security. It’s so unpredictable that anxiety is generated whenever that oh-so-fickle approval is in short supply. Approval is gained only if your attitudes and behaviour match the addictive programming of the egos around you. Whenever you look within and generate your own good feelings about yourself you create your own inner security. The hopelessness many of our unemployed young people feel today is partly created by the lack of approval unemployment generates within the collective ego consciousness of a society programmed into believing “worthiness” is related to gainful employment.

Breaking free from lower consciousness
Once you are able to repeatedly break away from the addictive programming of the lower levels of consciousness, the need for approval from others will be replaced by the inner confidence that unconditional self-acceptance provides. With self-acceptance you’re free to enjoy the company of others without worrying what they may think of you. The inner strength self-acceptance affords, means you can be in the company of others as they run their addictive demands, and calmly accept them instead of being upset by them.

Others become your mirror
Once you achieve a higher awareness of the programming run by other personality types, acceptance of them and their addictive demands become a reflection of your acceptance of your own inner self. From a state of preferential choice, you can prefer that others like and respect you, but if they don’t it can’t label you worthless, because your own inner security is created by your acceptance of who and what you really are.

Solutions for our youth
Parents and teachers who are concerned about a youngster’s low self-esteem do what they can to raise it. They offer praise and encouragement, and recruit others to do the same. However, these outside sources leave the youngster still dependent on the outside world for feeling good about themselves — and we know from experience the outside world may not always be so obliging. Youngsters need to learn self-reliance — and self-reliance is derived from self-acceptance, which is directly created through a deliverance from the demanding shoulds of the addictively negative programming of the ego-mind.

Happiness is your birthright —
not a privilege to be granted or denied by the ego
Whilst in our mother’s womb we were happy and content. We brought happiness and contentment with us into this world, but we allowed the outside influences of an insecure society to delude and deny us our birthright. We were responsible for losing our grip on happiness, and it is we who are solely responsible for regaining our God-given gifts. That happy, secure and contented child stills remains. If you can learn to gently dismantle the fortress of insecurity that blocks your view of true perception, you can once more step into the lightness of being that is your rightful inheritance. The only thing that restrains you from liberation is your ego’s fear of change. It knows a sincere intent for change will created a shift in awareness that will forever free you of its control. Live your life as it was originally intended — joyful and free from fear. Throw of the ego’s shackles of shoulds. Reprogram its negative addictive demands into positive preferences for a happy and fulfilled tomorrow. "Be not conformed to the things of this world, but be transformed by a renewing of your mind!"


This is the final module of A Course in Happiness. I hope you have gained some insights that will be of assistance as you journey through this learning adventure called life.

Remember, what you think is what you will become. What you fill your mind with is what will fill your life. The choice, as always, is yours.

John Davies

Questions commonly asked by students
seeking Higher Awareness


Q. How can I overcome the ever present discontent I feel inside?

A. A strong intent for change is necessary. You must be willing to be still, to listen, to observe and learn something new.

Q. Why do so many people resist new ideas and settle for the life they have, no matter how miserable it may be?
A. They resist leaving their prison, their self-made fortress of insecurity. They resist because they subconsciously fear the new world outside may be even worse. For these people, there is a frightening gap between the old and the new. Like the ancients who thought the world was flat, their fearful, conditioned minds project anxious imaginings of what the new world is like. It takes courage to sail a course towards the edge of the known world. Sadly, for most people, a change in attitudes is, in their minds, just not worth the risk. For these it is safer to stay with the herd and ridicule the few who dare to seek their freedom in the new world.

Q. How can I find and cultivate truth?
A. Start with the right frame of mind. You must have an open mind and be receptive to new ideas. In this way you prepare the ground for the seeds of awareness. To sprout and reach maturity, each seed must fall on fertile, not rocky ground.

Q. I can’t seem to control my anger. What can I do about it?
A. You can understand it. Anger flares when something threatens our fortress — the pretentious image we have of ourselves. If you drop the image your ego has of yourself, you can’t feel threatened. You become indifferent.

Q. What are the meanings of heaven and hell?
A. Hell is not a place — it's a condition of ignorance — of being unaware. Hatred is hell. So is anger, jealousy, resentment and fear. Heaven is a condition of love. Love is heaven. So is peace, compassion and understanding.  By exercising the free will of the mind, you choose the conditions through which you experience life. Heaven or hell — it’s your call!

Q. How can I be happy?
A. The ache of loneliness, isolation and separation will disappear once you learn to shed your ego and perceive reality from the higher perspective of your true self.

Q. I suffer from a constant feeling of loneliness, even when I’m with a crowd of people.
    Why is that?
A. The insecure ego is attached to the false sense of security one temporarily gains by the noise and excitement of a crowd. But as the crowd and the excitement fades away, so too does one’s sense of security. The awakening person finds security in the inner world of their own true self, a place of serene strength where loneliness is unknown.

Q. I feel trapped. Is there any way out?
A. The way out of your emotional distress cannot be found by physical or intellectual means. Stop struggling and still the mind. Human thought frantically thrashes around in the jungle of despair in a vain attempt to find a way out. Higher awareness stands quietly on a hilltop overlooking the seemingly inescapable jungle, from where it always sees a clear and easy way out.

Q. I’m reasonable intelligent. Why can’t I see the truth more clearly?
A. A mentally mature person is not necessarily an aware person. Even someone on the lowest step of spiritual awareness is more advanced than someone on the highest step of intellectual maturity. For the mentally mature person to step into higher consciousness, he has to rid himself of limiting and addictive mental programming in order to make room for greater insight.

Q. What is it that prevents us from living lives of contentment?
A. Contentment is denied us by negative mind-sets resulting from inner insecurity. We must stop looking outside ourselves for a sense of security. Our insecurity fuels negative thinking, which then fosters even more insecurity. We need to become aware of negatively addictive thinking before we can break free from our state of unhappiness.

Q. Are you sure this mind renewal stuff is practical for this day and age?
A. Nothing else is more practical! Look at the condition of the world around you. It’s filled with anxiety, disillusionment, sorrow and illness of all sorts. Is this a practical way to live?

Q. With so much crime reported in the news, how can I feel anything but insecure?
A. Think back to our discussion on hypnosis and suggestion. The media tends to focus only on negative activities within society and all but ignores the positive. Constant suggestions of fear implanted into your subconscious by negative media attention has you believing in a world to be feared, a world gone crazy. Be aware of negative suggestion and negative mind-sets. Step back and observe how exposure to pessimistic thinking can severely limit your enjoyment of the here and now.

Q. I’m trying to change the limiting beliefs of the mind, but it’s difficult.
    Is there a quick way to achieve change?
A. The journey to self-discovery presents many challenges, each with its own set of lessons to be learned. The more you learn, the easier the journey becomes. Patience and persistence will reap their own rewards.

Q. What causes the pain we feel when we lose out in the game of love?
A. Such a loss brings us face to face with our own inner emptiness. The bare bones of your insecurity are exposed, leaving you feeling unloved, unwanted and unworthy. Awareness will tell you such a “love” was merely a bandage used to cover up the wound of insecurity you’ve carried for so long. Understanding this will heal you, acceptance will calm you, and awareness will re-direct you.

Q. I always seem to be in a state of constant anxiety. How can I change this?
A. A man may suffer anxiety while having a frightening nightmare, but when he wakes up, where is the anxiety? It was all illusionary — images of the mind. Try to see that anxious suffering in your daylight hours is also imaginary — faulty programming played out in the theatre of your lower ego mind. To escape the daily nightmare, wake up from your self induced hypnotic state.

Q. Whenever I lash out in anger I behave like a fool. I feel ashamed afterwards.
     What’s the answer?
A. A man hypnotized into believing he is a fool will act like one. What happens when he snaps out of the trance? Should he feel ashamed? No — not if he sees his foolish behaviour was caused by a false sense of identity. He doesn’t condemn his behaviour, he understands it.

Q. How will I know if I’m running an addictive program?
A. Take a note of what words or actions trigger feelings of anger, fear, resentment or jealousy. Your reactions will indicate which area of your fortress the ego is guarding. If you feel jealousy, your security level perceives a threat. If someone or something threatens to take away an object you’ve become attached to, addictive programming demands you jealousy guard your ego’s possession. Your lower mind downloads defensive thoughts, the “fight or flight” reflex kicks in, and you find yourself thinking and behaving in a totally irrational, but habitually predictable manner. Such is the limiting and insecure nature of the ego.

Q. I’m often annoyed by the senseless behaviour of my family and friends. The course tells me the problems stem from my annoyance, not their behaviour. How can I remind myself of this?
A. Don’t expect people to behave any better than they do given their present level of understanding. A child of five cannot be expected to behave live a child of ten. The same with adults. No one can possibly behave beyond their current level of understanding. Your problem is in assuming they should and could behave better. Accept them as they are and your annoyance will disappear.

Q. I’ve come this far in life with my present attitudes. Why should I change now? I’m happy enough.
A. Because you are not really happy — not if you are still manipulated by you ego mind. Beyond your pretenses and behind your mask you sense your own emptiness. You can kid yourself, but you can’t kid your irritability, your insecurity, your bouts of anger or depression. Be willing to accept the truth and settle for nothing less.

Q. I’ve tried to break my bad habits and failed. What went wrong?
A. Most people fail because the self trying to break the habit is the same self that’s trapped by it—the insecure false self—the ego. By raising your consciousness to a higher level of awareness, you are able to understand the insecurity that caused the habit to form in the first place. When man discovers his true self, the secure higher self, he also breaks the habit.

Q. How will I know when my ego is running an addictive program?
A. When something happens that automatically triggers feelings of anger, jealousy, embarrassment, fear and the like, you’ll know you’re in the grip of an addictive demand.

Q. Why do people wear masks?
A. It’s their way of hiding their pain underneath. The pain may be a fear of rejection, a fear of not being accepted by others, or a fear of feeling inadequately equipped to cope with life. It’s an unconscious act of self-deception acted out by the ego. It sets out to deceive others, but eventually it has us deceiving ourselves. Rather than preventing someone else from seeing your pain, you are actually hiding your own pain from yourself. Each mask serves a different purpose. For instance an angry mask says, “Don’t mess with me,” and is very effective in keeping people at arm’s length, but also keeps you from the very thing you long for; intimacy. Little children don’t feel a need to wear masks. They have yet to be conditioned by the collective ego of an insecure society. The number of masks you wear reflects the amount of conditioning and addictive programming to which your ego has subjected you over the years.

Q. My girlfriend broke off with me because she said I didn’t meet her needs.
    What does that mean?
A. It means she will flit from one relationship to another in a fruitless search for happiness, because the world outside of her, and that includes the entire male population, will never fully satisfy her ego’s list of addictive demands — that which she and others describe as “needs.”
The divorce courts are full of people blaming each other for “unmet needs.” When people realize what they really “need” in life is self awareness, self understanding and an unconditional acceptance of themselves and their partner, divorce lawyers will become redundant.

Q. My friends say I’m a fool to be taking all this stuff seriously. Am I?
A. Depends if you want to accept their attempt at labeling you. Notice how eager we are to reject, argue and deny any new idea that threatens our fortress — that illusionary structure of insecurity that represents our personal collection of opinions, beliefs and attitudes. We convince ourselves we argue because we already know the truth, although honest reflection will reveal the exact opposite. Because our artificiality's are threatened with exposure we ridicule and deny anyone who rocks the ego’s boat. Are your friends genuinely concerned for you, or are their negative comments a reflection of their own inner insecurities? The seeker of truth must often stand alone, persisting in spite of conflicting attitudes. To find freedom, one must prefer integrity to popularity, advancement to stagnation.

Q. Why shouldn’t we be entitled to our opinions?
A. Why settle for opinions? Why not seek the truth? People adopt certain opinions in an attempt to feel secure, but soon find defending their opinions only creates anxiety. Drop opinions and seek truth instead. What's the difference between opinions and truth? When you really see a truth about life, you feel an inner knowing and a sense of relief rather than anxiety.

Q. Why do people take drugs?
A. It’s impossible to know what goes on in the mind of an individual, but if a person strongly rejects an aspect of himself or the world outside him, he may wish to escape that aspect by the quickest means at his disposal — alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately he is escaping from one illusion into another. An unhappy person sees an unhappy world. By artificially altering their state of awareness, they temporarily leave unhappiness behind, only to find it’s still there waiting for them when they come out of it. Like the persona masks depicted on the cover sheet of this course, they exchange one mask for another, with neither mask representing their true self. The one sure way out is to alter one’s awareness by natural means — a renewing of the mind. Replacing old patterns of thinking with the new. Procedures in A Course in Happiness can assist in this process.

Q. How can a change of beliefs bring us happiness?
A. The current belief system, to which most of us still subscribe, encourages us to project what we’ve learned in the past onto the future, ensuring that our future will be just like our past. This insecure compulsion or need to control and predict the future, makes it virtually impossible for us to experience peace and happiness in the present moment. However, you can’t feel guilty about the past and fear the future if you concentrate your full attention on living completely in the present moment. Let go of all attachments to the past and any anticipation of the future. Live for the present.

Q. How can I break a habit?
A. Rebellion against lower levels of consciousness is a start. When you are finally fed up with the pain and struggles of lower level thinking, you decide not to live like that any more. If everything you have tried in the past fails to break the habit, you dare to try a new way. By learning to understand how and why habits are formed, your increased awareness breaks the habit.

Q. My constant companion is depression. What causes it?
A. Depression descends when you catch a sudden insight into the emptiness of your ego-controlled life. A fleeting glimpse that it’s all an act, and depression sets in. You must be willing to see through the ego’s pretensions of having a purposeful life. A business, a career, a modern home are all nice to have, but if you try to use exterior successes to find your true self, you will continually fail and fall into depression.

Q. Could you explain the main principle of Taoism?
A. Tao is an ancient Chinese philosophy that observes life as a series of natural and spontaneous events. Accept these changing events — don’t resist them or wish things were differen t— that only creates anxiety. Allow the natural flow of things. Let reality be as it is — reality. Be like a pebble carried effortlessly along in the stream of life. Tao points out, “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself."

Q. I keep trying to change my thinking, but I easily get discouraged. Is this normal?
A. Perfectly normal. The ego and those close to you will occasionally get you off track. Old doubts and feelings which you thought were far behind you, will suddenly loom up again. Discouragement fleetingly sets in as you silently dread that maybe this whole awareness thing is just an idealistic fantasy. Such periods are normal, so expect them to come. Watch and learn. Persistence is the name of the game.

Q. What causes so many people to be skeptical about change?
A. Many people fear that by giving up their habitual behaviour, beliefs and opinions, they will lose control of their lives. Their limiting attitude is, “Better the devil you know that the one you don’t.” People undergo transformation only when the time is right for them. Each of us are at different levels of development — accept them as they are and focus on your own development.

Q. Why is there so much injustice in the world?
A. Ego man’s idea of justice is getting what he wants. If his addictive demands are satisfied, that’s justice. If denied, he calls it injustice. Mankind has suffered endless conflict between people and nations and will continue to do so until addictive demands give way to higher levels of awareness.

Q. The Course often mentions detachment. Could you explain this process please?
A. Let’s suppose a woman pushes in front of you at the grocery check-out. Your conditioned ego will resent this intrusion and run programmed attitudes of “she shouldn’t be so rude” etc. Your anxiety levels rise as your addictive programming prompts you to react in a negative and habitual way. Now if you are unaware of this programmed demand, you will react from the power level of lower consciousness. You’ll either verbally lash out at the perpetrator, or suppress the urge and suffer stress instead. But let’s say you were able to pause and observe your stressful reaction. You’ll realize the stress is an effect caused by the ego’s programming. This is detached awareness in action. You were able to step back from the drama, see yourself acting out an habitual reaction, and observe the resentment objectively. You prefer she hadn’t pushed in, but from a level of higher awareness you calmly accept her behavior and silently thank her for the lesson in detachment and the opportunity it provided for your self-advancement. You learn to see the resentment as not being a part of your real self, but an addiction of the habitually conditioned ego self.

Q. Why do people say hurtful things?
A. What causes you to feel hurt? Your hurt feelings are not the result of what people say or do — you feel hurt because they have not behaved as your ego demands they should behave.
Let go of your demands, then people can behave in any way they like while you remain at peace.

Q. How would you explain the principles of detachment and observation?
A. When you go to the movies, you start out by sitting and watching as a passive, detached observer. You’re there just to watch the show. You can watch people laugh, cry and even die on screen, and it’s up to you whether you choose to become emotionally involved or not. If you choose to sympathize with any pain you witness, you’ve identified with a character you’re watching. This involvement suggests to your subconscious that the character’s pain is your pain and so memories of similar pain from your past is downloaded into your lower consciousness. Emotions rise up and you may even cry. You have allowed yourself to become involved in the drama rather than remain detached. That’s your choice. However, if you remind yourself that what you are witnessing is simply an act, higher awareness enables you to calmly watch and enjoy the performance without becoming an integral part of it. The ego may wish to judge the rights or wrongs portrayed on the screen, but higher awareness reminds you it’s all an act put on for your benefit — so observe and try to learn something from it. If you continue to apply these principles throughout the everyday performance we call “Life,” a peaceful acceptance of everything around you will result. The choice is up to you. How you exercise this freedom of choice every day of your life determines your level of peace and contentment within.

Q. What is the single, most productive step we can take in our search for happiness?
A. Self-awakening. To awaken, we must first suspect that we are part of a sleeping society — a society oblivious to the fact that there is another form of consciousness — a fully-awakened state. We cannot do anything for ourselves until we are awake to what we do against ourselves. However, be prepared for strong resistance from the ego in the form of doubt and discouragement. Observe your resistance. That in itself weakens it. This awareness then facilitates greater receptivity for higher truths.

Q. How can I adopt a peaceful pause when I’m worked up and ready to explode?
A. Keep reminding yourself that it’s all a soap opera. A script writer may want an actor to deliver his lines a certain way, but the actor may prefer to do it in a way that feels more comfortable for him. Why follow your ego’s script? Pause and question its validity. Perhaps your next line can be delivered in a more effective and acceptable manner. Remember — it’s supposed to be a melodrama. If it starts to feel too serious, re-write addictive lines into preferential throw-aways. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the emotional passion of the play. Keep reminding yourself that our interpersonal relationships are just parts we play on the cosmic stage of life.

Q. Like most people, I enjoy the pleasurable sensations of sex.
    Does that mean I have to give it up?
A. Enjoy it by all means, but don’t depend on sex to bring you happiness. Notice how fleeting feelings of pleasurable sensations are followed by longer periods of frustration and discontent. Sensing the impermanent nature of sensory pleasure, we know we must soon search around for another source of artificial stimulation. Sensory addictions are like starving junk-yard dogs, requiring constant feeding to keep them happy.

Q. As a businessman, I can’t see the sense in being indifferent to results, especially at the cash register. What’s wrong with being successful?
A. Enjoy your successes by all means. Be as active as you like in your business, but do it to earn a living, never for gratification of the ego. When you choose a preference instead of an ego-driven demand for a particular result, you’ll find yourself enjoying your business dealings free of stress and anxiety.

Q. I do feel anxious about the outcome of certain business deals, but that’s normal isn’t it?
A. So called success makes ego-man feel good, while so called failure achieves the opposite. A focused concern on results is what keeps you anxious, but with preferential programming, you don’t need exterior successes to make you feel good. You can enjoy your work and your life, regardless of results. Anxiety is in the mind, but so is peace. Which will you choose?

Q. Why aren’t more people adopting these methods of mind renewal?
A. No one can be convinced of anything new until they inwardly perceive that it is true. We can read, reflect and talk about it all we like, but the final proof is in living it — internal witness. Then we don’t just believe, we know it to be true. Once we know, really know, even if everyone on earth disagreed, we would still stand secure upon our foundation of internal illumination.

Q. I’m unhappy with my family. They’re inconsiderate. They don’t appreciate me.
    How can I change them?
A. Change yourself!

Q. No matter how hard I try to forget the past, I can’t. What’s the key?
A. Stop trying. If you’re struggling to escape past pain you’re using the wrong set of keys. Pushing painful memories away by suppression or denial is the ego’s way of doing things. Just allow the thoughts to be and observe them without emotional involvement, just like watching a movie. The ego’s demand that you should feel pain from past events is nullified as soon as you become aware of the habitual patterns of your thinking. A raised awareness facilitates an understanding of the lessons provided by past events, and a peaceful acceptance will follow.

Q. Isn’t it logical to assume everyone would prefer to be happy rather than sad?
    Surely there’s nothing new about having a preference.
A. There’s nothing unusual about preferring one thing over another, but having preferences apply to every part of your life is new. And learning to convert every demand to a preference requires persistent application of the Method of Choice and its preferential programming techniques. We learn to accept that in the game of life we win some and lose some, and so we adopt the attitude of, “let’s see how the game flows if we play it this way rather than the way we’ve always played it.”

Q. I suffer from regular bouts of depression. Can this course help me?
A. Medical science can treat the effects of depression but can do little about its main cause — your thoughts. Successful treatment of depression includes an understanding of the thoughts that cause depression. The Method of Choice offers a hands-on practical means of working on negative feelings and identifying the programming that created the feelings. With practice, thoughts that result in depression can be worked on and corrected by replacing addictive programming with preferential programming.

Q. What’s the difference between thinking about yourself and self-observation?
A. Self-observation involves passive detachment. Emotion is put to one side. You judge nothing as good or bad, pleasurable or painful. You simply watch the show without emotional involvement. Observe the addictive programming and let the fears, depression or passion pass through you without personalizing it — without owning it. Thinking about yourself and owning your emotions is like wrestling with a tiger. Self-observation is like quietly watching the tiger walk on by.

Q. I’m attracted to a person who doesn’t care for me. How can I relieve my inner pain?
A. Love is not attraction or craving. It may well be your craving is not based on the actual qualities of the person, but rather on your idealistic perception of them. They may represent something your ego says you “need,” such as strength, security or affection. So your attraction is a need in you which you mistakenly assume is a reality to be found in them. Look within yourself for these qualities. Once developed and nurtured, you’re free to open yourself to a love on which there are no strings attached.

Q. My life seems to be one of constant rejection, pain and frustration. How can I change it all around?
A. The greatest tool you have at your disposal, is the empowerment you feel when you really know and understand that you are free to choose the thoughts you put in your mind, and by changing these thoughts, you can change your experience of life. It’s not people or outside events that cause our pain, but rather the thoughts and attitudes we have towards people and the world outside of us. There are two ways of looking at the world, and each requires a totally different believe system.

Q. How can I help others wake up? What’s my responsibility?
A. Never take responsibility for another’s mistaken view of reality. All are at different levels of development and each is receptive only to the lessons they are ready to hear and to learn. If another person refuses to learn the lesson presented, that’s their responsibility. You may wish to pass on what knowledge you’ve learned, but remember this; never give more than they can understand and appreciate at their current level.

Q. It’s difficult to drop the mask. How can I stop pretending to be someone I’m not?
A. Put it down to maturity. A child might imitate Luke Skywalker or Batman, but at maturity he finds no pleasure in artificial roles. He yearns for his real self. With greater awareness and growing dissatisfaction, the awakened man drops the role of  dynamic-man, intellectual-man, or famous-man. As he loses interest in acting out these shallow roles, his inner frustrations begin to fade. Try to see that you are acting. This awareness causes the masks, and indeed the whole facade that is the fortress, to slowly crumble and fall away.

Q. What do you say to the pessimist who believes mankind will never change his ways?
A. Accept him as he is, shake the dust from your sandals and move on. A pessimist refuses to face the facts of mankind’s delusions, including his own, because he secretly fears there is no cure.

Q. How can I feel safe in what appears to be a very unsafe world?
A. Notice how constant negative media exposure has conditioned us as a society, to accept an unsafe world as being a relative truth. Every newspaper and television report in every country in the world reinforces the collective ego’s belief that we live in an unsafe world. Repetitive negative suggestion has made us a hypnotized society, with a collective insecure ego placing fear in the only place it can become real — our minds. How can you feel safe? Wake yourself from your ego-induced trance and regain your freedom of choice — choose to think for yourself.

Q. Some of the lyrics to songs carry negative messages. Can these be considered as subtle suggestions that influence our subconscious?
A. If reinforced by repetitious playing as they usually are, yes, they can have a subtle influence. Consider some of the restrictive messages we innocently allow the subconscious to take on board when we examine the lines of a few of our old favorites.
 “I can’t live if living is without you”
 “You are the sunshine of my life”
 “You’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you”
 “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world”
This is just a small sample of the mindless negativity we innocently submit ourselves to on a daily basis via addictive programming in musical lyrics.

Q. My Priority Need Profile points to strong ego needs for regular social contact. My involvement with social activities springs from a love of people, wanting to help them and be with them. but lately I feel burdened by all these various activities yet still feel a need to press on. Why?
A. Your frenetic involvement is your ego’s way of distracting you from your inner uncertainty. You simply don’t know what else to do with yourself. Step back from the social merry-go-round and ask yourself if you really want this hectic kind of life. An honest answer may produce a tremendous feeling of relief. By ridding yourself of such distractions, you will be free to accept yourself as you are, rather than depend on the approval of others to make you feel good about yourself. Driven demands of an insecure ego are a far cry from a genuine interest in other people.

Q. How can I find my true self?
A. When you look behind the mask of everything you imagine and believe yourself to be, there you will be.

Q. Can any real good come out of emotional pain and suffering?
A. It can if you don’t allow addictive programming to dull your awareness. You can begin by understanding that everything that happens to you — no matter how painful — can be turned into a positive learning experience, if you would but raise your level of awareness and seek the pearl of wisdom each experience presents. Live and learn as the saying goes.

Q. I resent what my partner did to me. I wont forgive and forget, because I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. Holding a grudge stops me from making the same mistakes doesn’t it?
A. Quite the opposite. Resentments cause you to place your focus on the past rather than on the present. You’ll make the same mistakes over and over again if you allow yourself to be distracted by your painful memories. You’ll continue to stumble into potholes because you’re thinking about your past problems instead of focusing on where you’re going in the present. Focus on pain and you create even more pain. Forget the past and start being happy today. Drop the thought and you’ll end the pain. Freedom from the burden of resentment is always just one dropped thought away.

Q. Why is so hard just to be myself?
A. Most of us spend a great deal of energy keeping our “act” together. We assume that if others like us with our masks on, they’ll stop liking us if we take the mask off. Our ego, because of it’s basic sense of insecurity, constantly prompts us to keep the act together, making it impossible for us to change. When you learn to understand your true nature and accept your true self, you’ll find that how other people respond to you has absolutely no influence over your own sense of mental and emotional well-being.

Q. Why do some people push themselves so hard?
A. It has to do with an imaginary picture they have of themselves. For instance the Driver identifies himself as a go-getter, an achiever, someone who gets things done. Having set himself up as being such a person, his ego frantically seeks to bring about exterior results to prove it. But whatever the results, it can never be proved, because this is not his real self at all — it’s only an artificial, imaginary mental picture. He can instantly break this driven, habitual pattern by dropping the false image he has of himself. An awakened man is not emotionally enmeshed with imaginings and exterior tasks. He handles his business life with ease and efficiency. Nothing bothers him, especially the addictive demands of his false ego self.

Q. But if you don’t set goals, how can your life have any sense of direction?
A. Maybe the purpose of life is something entirely different from what you think it is. Have you ever considered that possibility? Let’s say you set a goal. Many anxious moments follow as you struggle to achieve this goal. Let’s say you succeed. Result? A slap on the back, and a temporary “feel good” high. But what if you fail? The ego labels you a failure. Result? A “feel bad” low. No problems — the ego runs the program, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” You then mechanically repeat the same stressful process all over again. Ask yourself, “Does this make any sense? Is this the way to find happiness?”

Q. But you just can’t drift through life—can you?
A. Who says you can’t? Where is it written? Perhaps a confused society will say you can’t. A society riddled with stress, anxiety, high-blood pressure, heart attacks and suicide. This is the society that says you must, you should, and you ought to try to do better! A hypnotized society, mechanically obeying the deluded suggestions of a fearful, insecure collective ego.

Q. Why does my partner always have to disagree with my point of view?
A. Perception. Each person perceives the world of things and people through their ego’s filter of personal or relative truth. When they disagree they’re comparing what’s being said with all their old attitudinal programming and belief systems. If it doesn’t match their perception of what’s right and wrong, a closed and conditioned mind will simply shut it out. The opposite to a disagreeable attitude is an understanding attitude. An understanding attitude involves putting aside old demands of the ego and its past programming and look for the new in what is being said. If a person’s limited view from their fortress is under threat, a disagreeable or argumentative stance is adopted as a form of defense. The ego’s insecurity compels us to argue, whereas a view from higher awareness allows us to feel comfortable with opposing views. We can listen non-judgementally and accept other opinions with tolerance and understanding. Always look for the truth in what others are saying rather than what you are disagreeing with. Aim for a meeting of minds, rather than look for any perceived weakness in what the other is saying.

Q. Is there a purpose to life?
A. Investigate all varieties of spiritual and philosophical teachings, and although they may vary in interpretation and form, all agree on one essential truth; Man’s task in life is to awaken to his true identity. Full stop!

Q. What steps can I take to speed my self-acceptance and advancement?
A. (1) Constantly remind yourself that nothing stands in your way but your own conditioned mind. (2) Observe yourself with the intention of seeing yourself as you actually are, not as you imagine yourself to be. (3) Read books by authors who have themselves found the way. (4) Dare to think in new ways. (5) Learn to calm the mind by practicing meditation. (6) Apply these mind-renewing principles into your daily life and use every event as a source of self-understanding and self-development. Always remember that while changes in exterior behavior is commendable, they are not the same thing as inner transformation. (7) Approach all of the above with a sincere positive intent.

Q. After a very messy divorce, the person who vowed to love me forever now hates me.
    What went wrong?
A. When our “needs” are satisfied by another, we feel “love”— and when they are not satisfied, but actually denied, we are likely to feel hate. What we call love in relationships such as these, is really the ego’s illusion of love, which covers up the hate we feel about our own sense of incompleteness. Take away the band-aid that covered up our wounded self, and out pours the hate we hoped our “love” would suppress.



ENTRANCE