Chapter 1 –
Most of us have a list of ‘things’, achievements and relationships we think we need to be happy … in the future. It’s true for many of us that our thoughts churn with regular monotony through our perceived lack.
Bucket lists have become increasingly popular over the past 15 years or so.
As they prioritise all the things we would like to do before we are no longer able to do them, bucket lists presumably list the utmost desires we yearn to see one day fulfilled.
We are all familiar with the old saying Be careful what you wish for, as the realisation of that desire might yield unforeseen and unpleasant consequences
We could also say: beware what you allow in!
The thoughts we unconsciously, passively, allow in our mind too often ripple out as unpleasant consequences as well.
Serious questions: do we really need what we think we need to thrive and lead fulfilling lives?
Is it too harsh to think that, even as we do grudgingly accept that our life is the life we’ve been unfairly given, the perception of unfulfilled desires and adversity dry up our heart?
Let’s imagine an alien from planet X beamed down to assess our happiness index.
Should that being from outer space be explained the purpose of bucket lists, s/he might conclude that as we, humans, tick off one item at a time from that list, we are incrementally achieving satisfaction on the path to Happiness, our desire-rainbow.
Should that alien ask if the feelings derived from experiencing each of the events on our list means we have had a happy life, a life of contentment, a life worth living, what would we reply?
Chances are, many of us would reply, ‘Mmm …. No, not really. It was great being there, doing and feeling these moments, but there were times when even during these moments, and in-between these moments, life felt fairly unrewarding’.
Actually, it is not uncommon for people to encounter complications while ticking off yet another item on their list. Some more unfortunate ones come to unanticipated grief or suffer hardship.
We hear about such ‘incidents’ in the evening news.
So, if we were to express only one desire on what seems our essential bucket list, what would that most important desire be?
Many options might come to mind, but they probably all point to one desire; the desire to feel sustained Happiness.
To know inner contentment.
Understandably, that aha moment would fail to bring a necessary boost to the retail, hospitality and tourism industries, but priorities tend to often be a bit selfish – even those that, in this lifetime, are congruent with our higher purpose, here and now.
Reminder: in one form or another, everything is energy.
Everything is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
Energy, by definition, is always in movement.
Since energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only morph from one form to another.
Thoughts are energy.
They, too, can neither be intentionally created nor destroyed. But, when we are aware and willing to put in the effort, we are able to morph our thoughts into different thoughts.
It’s become well-known over the past decade that holding on to negative thoughts creates blockages which inflame our thoughts which inflame our organs. Our brains, too, it’s true.
When in a state of chronic inflammation, i.e., chronic emotional or physical pain, we are prone to experiencing more complications and setbacks than otherwise.
Heads up: if it’s true that many moments have become more and more challenging for all of us then, now, in this moment, is the time to create some solid ground to walk on – and prosper.
Reality check #1: our thoughts become our words.
They, too, are unnecessarily inflamed.
Reality check #2: maybe there is a grand reason behind so much of our earthly pain.
Reality check #3: when we endeavour to change our emotions and, therefore, change our thoughts, we also change our energy. That’s true, too.
Our 3-D body, our anchor point in the tangible world, runs on chemical energy derived from food. Our body converts it. A significant part of that energy feeds the brain.
But, in truth, beyond that, we are energy beings.
There is not a speck in the universe that is not energy.
Whether we refer to it as qi, prana, or life force, the flow or blockages of this invisible energy of our consciousness influence every aspect of our wellbeing.
So, a heartfelt desire could be to set up circumstances of a flowing dialogue between our gut, the seat of our intuition, our heart and our mind.
Surely Soul or God or the universe would be happy with that.
As individuals, we didn’t ‘come here’, on planet Earth just to survive. What would be the worthwhile intention in that?
If it’s true that the Big Bang created the universe, equally true is that we, humans, have not created ourselves.
Not millennia ago, and not today.
Having said that our brain forms new neural pathways and connections every time we commit to something new.
So, that’s up to us to ensure that whatever is ‘new’ is actually good for our brain and therefore good for us. The first step of living the life of our dreams, as the expression goes, is to pick healthy and enriching habits.
And, that, at least is entirely up to us.
And because this is good news, we smile 😊
Complication looming: millions of us have moved through life thinking or believing we were not good enough, not smart enough, not worthy enough to risk venturing into an ‘unknown’ objective.
We feared the embarrassment of failure even before we began our exploration.
Science tells us that our brain needs to register some 200 hundred repetitions or a few months or a year’s worth of that one new habit, depending. Our brain responds particularly well to habits that confirm through its wiring that we’re happy with that habit.
So, as our main desire is to develop a steadfast determination to make that new emotion, that new thought, that new behaviour stick in our neural pathways, we smile even more than usual. Even if it’s not a totally spontaneous smile.
Actually, when it comes to smiling, it’s definitely OK to fake it till we make it, as the expressions goes.
Said equally seriously, how about we add Healthy Determination To commit somewhere at the top of our bucket list?
“Excuse me? Dear Reader. Have I just now heard you say, ‘Oh, no! It’s too late for that! I’m too busy for that! I’m too old for that!’”?
Reality check: No-no-no! We can’t possibly be ‘too’ anything when it comes to showing up with the desire to generate a better future for ourselves. A better future, too, for those who have been cast as support crew in our karmic choreography – our loved ones – and those whom we should love.
As the American cartoonist, Bil Keane said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God [Soul or the universe], which is why we call it the present.”
Warning: Dear Reader, if you happen to be Soul-phobic, skip the section below 😊
In the absence of absolute knowledge, most people accept that we’ve been engineered either by the universe, by God or by whichever Higher entity in which we’ve put our faith.
Most people also accept that in this lifetime, we are a 3-D body housing a soul. Or that our soul is linked to us by a silver cord.
The function generally attributed to Soul is to guide us through the chaos of our emotions.
Either way, incarnated hundreds of times already, Soul is our dedicated reservoir of positive energy.
Soul gives our life its original singularity, here and now, for as long as she breathes us.
Presumably, then, we, as our ego-persona, exist to fulfil a purpose greater than merely ingesting food, busying ourselves, sleeping, playing and procreating before we die.
Reality check: these basic occupations were already taken up by every other every life form on the planet by the time Homo sapiens made its appearance some 250,000 years ago
So, what in-built, greater purpose and desire might we have as incarnated beings, if not that of contributing to the wellbeing of those who, near and far?
If not that of realising that each one of us is connected to all life on Earth by something akin a luminous mesh of apparent nothingness?
Seriously, dear Reader, the best way forward will always remain uncertain, but aren’t these propositions more satisfying than simply ‘doing life’ over-burdened by cravings and lacks?