I wanted to come back to a few ideas from last night, most especially about the concept of obsession. Words carry connotations, emotional impacts, as well shades of meaning, so I want to be clear about my intention.
When I speak of obsession, I think of it in the context of this true, deep motivation that drives us to act. This compelling drive will not settle, will not make or accept excuses, will not cast blame on anyone or anything else. When this sort of obsession compels us to action, we just find a way. We do it, get the job done, especially if we have a Heart-motivation.
Of course, that implies a whole host of other actions: planning, learning, team-building, creative imagination and/or a whole host of others. Those with an obsessive motivation engage others to attain their ends.
Such obsession needs to be definite. Once focus is fixed on the goal, once that envisioned goal is the drive to get up in the morning and fashion the work, activities, and associations of the day to that end, and once an individual knows they won’t quit till they get it, they will achieve their desire.
And this is where I wish to make a distinction, an important one. Let me start with the work of Napoleon Hill in his world famous book, Think and Grow Rich. He lays out principles of success, and they have worked for many people, thousands upon thousands. Do you know what principle he begins with? Desire, a “burning desire,” a desire that becomes “the dominating obsession” of life. Hill’s work focuses on the acquisition of riches and money, which for many represent their Happiness. The book also implies and is infused with a sense of frantic urgency, which I get. We all do things at different speeds.
Hill sought out and recorded principles of the law of attraction way before the current popular acceptance of it. It works. And this is the crux of my point about obsession, a compelling drive, an enthusiasm that carries one to attain their ends: the ideas and methods Napoleon Hill lays out so clearly in his book works whether one is motivated by Ego or Heart.
So, in terms of spiritual life, an awakened, Heart-centered life, riches do not equal success. Money doesn’t make one person superior to another. In fact, money does not even guarantee Happiness. It may signify one has achieved part of their Happiness. The difference becomes which dynamic force we operate through — Ego or Heart. People can be wealthy, appear self-assured, super competent, and be just a great person, but inside, oh, inside is the difference.
A continued thirst for more, unhealthy obsessions develop because many people who operate through Ego keep wanting more things, more control, more wealth and power in order to try and discover that which a misdirected obsession never can give them, answers to those two big questions of Who am I, and What is my Purpose (part of Happiness). Without those being settled first, obsession can become a problem; it can even become dangerous to the individual and to others who might get trampled in the thirst of pursuit. Remember, the laws work either way. So the defining question of personal Happiness isn’t an urgent grasping after riches.
The measure, focus, and goal of a quality pursuit of Happiness hinges on knowing core Self and creating a life Purpose consistent with revealing that portion of eternal Spirit we are. Everything else is ephemeral, unfulfilling, and insignificant without those being resolved. Once they are, we may engage with compelling, enthusiastic motivation. Get obsessed, and understand it is an obsession of persistence but not urgency, of continual discovery of new layers of our Happiness. We get to have a bit of it every day when we are living Heart-purpose, when we are seeking our Happiness, that which just gives us joy, makes us feel good because we are living core Self in love and blessing.
Maybe great wealth will come. But far greater is true Happiness, joy, love, connections and relationships with others, and so much more.
Tonight, I want to ensure anyone reading my work knows I value the principles of Hill and the realities of the law of attraction; however, they aren’t the basis or the end of Happiness. Materialism doesn’t provide the re-connection with Heart and personal truth we all come here to experience.
It’s amazing to me when I look back in Hill’s book. I made many margin annotations years ago. It seems like I’ve crystallized all the personal truths in the last year and a half. but seeing my notes reminds me that it has been decades of an evolutionary process with my Heart, a process that led to epiphany and now an ongoing process of fellowship with my Heart: evolution, epiphany, process. There is no urgency in this; however, I am obsessed with my Vision of discovery through writing. I am enthusiastic and motivated by an unwavering faith and love to keep moving forward with a fixed, steady, growing obsession — not urgent, just moving, not stagnant.
And I experience my Happiness in some form or fashion every day, many times unexpectedly, but always filled with love.
Quality control occupies a significant aspect in product manufacturing. Quality, high quality, affects business, affects outcomes, affects customer satisfaction. And it affects your life.
How? Obviously, I’m asking a convergent question, so I’m not making you guess. The last two evenings, I have written about Happiness, the capital H courtesy of the Declaration of Independence. Tonight, I want to focus on the three words leading to Happiness in that Declaration: “…the pursuit of… .” Do you think that’s weird? Nah! I knew you wouldn’t, as long as I link it back to the first paragraph and the idea of quality.
Let’s think about pursuit. Pursuit implies something or someone being chased, presumably to actually catch it for a reason. The connotation is positive. It’s something we would really, really, really want. If there is a very special someone with whom we would enjoy having a relationship, then we usually do things to pursue that: be in the same place at the same time; have friends arrange dates; communicate our feelings. Thousands of possibilities here, aren’t there?
What if, however, you claim you find that person attractive, you know where he or she is going to be, the kinds of things they like, and you check up on that one in social media, find out they will be at a friend’s party — to which you have been invited — hit a like button, and stay home and eat popcorn and drink beer? Yeah, that’s poor quality pursuit.
It would be akin to a hunter staking out deer runs and setting up a blind. Then, on opening day of deer season, the hunter builds a fire, roasts marshmallows, and blasts some Metallica. Once again, poor pursuit.
Pursuit starts with having a clear picture of exactly what it is one wants. Then, a passion is developed, one that leaves little room for any other thoughts, one so powerful it becomes an obsession, one so mesmerizing that nothing satisfies except for the pursuit of the goal — Happiness.
What is your Happiness? If you can’t answer that, the kind with a capital H, then you will probably be stumbling through life, half-ass trying one thing and then another until frustration builds, driving you to another lackluster chase, always wondering why this person or that one is so successful.
The people most others think are so successful are the ones who know what their Happiness is and make it part of their total being, part of their psyche, part of their everyday life. This usually begins when they have had to do other things on their way to Happiness, but the quality of their pursuit was so pure, so obsessive, that even a crappy job on the way to their Happiness couldn’t throw them off the trail.
If my Happiness, for instance, is to promote discovery through writing, then I should treat writing like a lover to be pursued, to be so highly valued that every waking effort and every sleeping dream make that writing part of my very being. It is, in fact, for me.
Ego will warn us off of this, telling us we’re becoming fanatics, obsessed. Sometimes this friendly advice comes through the “caring” observations of others who rarely could directly in a second’s response tell you what their Happiness is. If we set something as Happiness, especially as a result of coming to know core Self, Heart, and how that Self will be characterized in this Universe (Purpose) and how we want that Purpose to look in daily life (Vision), then obsession is the result, an unrelenting pursuit.
I want to make something clear here. In one sense, we will never be finished with this journey; we will be pursuing Happiness to the last breath if we know what it is. But here is the awesome thing about Happiness with a capital H: it keeps expanding, growing, yielding greater joys. We get a little bit of it every day. We experience magic and miracles because of the obsession. And even though it is an obsession, it requires no urgency, no one else’s input on a timeline of accomplishment. We simply pursue, gain, pursue, grow, pursue, love, pursue — and know immense joy while we have a freakin’ blast.
Pie in the sky? Can’t be like that? Get real — you’ve got to earn a living? All those offering that practical advice — Ego bullshit. No faith. Filled with fear. Unhappy with themselves. Easily diverted from their own visions, dreams, and passions in order to be practical. Little understanding of the power of who and what we are as human beings. Is that clear enough?
For this evening, I leave you with my love and blessings as you consider your Happiness and the quality of your pursuit. If You (why did I capitalize the Y?) know your Happiness, then feed on it, visualize it, make your daily actions about that. DO NOT freakin’ stop. Love it, make love to it, play it like a Stradivarius — -I need more cliches! Not really, just become obsessed.
And when I see you living life in that quality of pursuit, I know you are living your Heart. I know You are expressing your love to the Universe and to me. And you encourage me to redouble my obsession with my Happiness.
I will let this rest for tonight. I have some quotes I would like to address tomorrow, expanded versions of ones I used in my earlier writing today, and I will address those tomorrow. Maybe.
What is happiness for you? Do you know? There are no right or wrong answers here. In fact I imagine the responses would come tumbling forth.
What if I asked you what Happiness is for you? Any difference? I think probably so, even though there are still no right or wrong answers. Happiness. Capitalized. How is it different from happiness, lower case?
I would reference the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Notice the capitalized words in this sentence: Life, Liberty, Happiness. This seems to put them on an equal status, doesn’t it? How important is Life? Liberty? Now, I will ask again if Happiness is different from happiness.
On any given day, if someone asked me what my happiness looked like, I might tell them I would be very happy with a chocolate chip mint malt. Now, if I went into an ice cream parlor and walked out with my malt and dropped it, I would have lost it, lost my happiness. But that’s not quite the same as not being free to pursue my Happiness or losing that Happiness, is it?
Think about it. If Life and Liberty are our “unalienable rights,” is it the same if those are taken from us as it would be if a malted milk was? So, I ask again, what is your Happiness? Have you created it for yourself? Do you even know who the real You (capitalized) is?
I hope you do. We each have eternal Spirit in us; our core Self is divinity, our Heart. We have power to create. Because we have Ego, too, we need to work through that, shed, and dissolve Ego. That is part of the pursuit of Happiness. Notice, again, though, that pursuit is not capitalized. Happiness isn’t some carrot being dangled out in front of us, and the pursuit isn’t the end. Happiness is a real end, something we can create, acquire, and live. Without it, our lives will be the poorer in terms of significance and fulfillment and joy and love.
When we decide, declare, and create Happiness, whatever that looks like for each of us, living that and experiencing that daily becomes our personal truth. We create our own rationale and courses of action for living that. Those become our principles of life, our truth, the truth of how we use those factual things around us to weave into creating our reality, our Happiness.
This is why so many self-help philosophers and great people and brilliant thinkers speak of the requirement of a burning desire to drive us to succeed, whatever might be your definition of success. I would caution here that burning desire does not, for me, mean anything about an urgency or necessity, but then again, that’s part of my personal truth. We can’t, though, be focused and occupied with some vague, shimmering phantom of Happiness. We need to name it, create it, know it, bring it into existence and reality by living the truths to get to those ends every single day.
Heart-purpose, Heart-truth becomes our Happiness. What is it that You would deeply desire to do that would fill You with joy every single day — well, at least give you the experiences of satisfaction and significance, that would allow you to love Yourself and, by extension, others? For me, this means, too, that my everyday life should be enjoyable, and my Purpose, my Happiness, so natural, that it’s just plain old fun.
All of this boils down to answering those two questions of awakening: Who am I, and What do I choose as my Purpose? Having Life and Liberty to pursue answering these questions and creating our Happiness are basic human rights because they are the very reason we exist, the reason we choose to come into this realm of time and space.
Make it fun. Choose Happiness, true Heart-Happiness, and live that personal truth every day. So many stresses and problems created by Ego in opposing this will melt away. Oh, it is a journey of growth, but each day we live our truth, we materialize a bit more of our Happiness.
Blessings for a week of Happiness!
Hey, would you do something for me? I’d like a photo of the elusive pepprodocilicus. Whenever you capture the pic, assuming it is crystal clear and the one I’m looking for, I will pay you handsomely for it. Okay, go! Now!
Why are you still reading this? Don’t you want to be paid? Oh, you don’t know what you’re looking for? Well, I understand, so I’ll give you an easier assignment. Grab a photo of your personal truth. You know, your happiness. Of course, that will be much easier, won’t it? No?!
I have known and currently know many people who have no idea what happiness is for them. They could choose anything, but they can’t create the picture of it in their mind’s eye. Why?
Let’s back up for a bit. Some of the founder’s of the concept of America knew the importance and value of happiness. In their Declaration of Independence, they made sure that everyone knew how they felt about it. It is an unequivocal basis of a meaningful life: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If we are to pursue happiness, we damn well better know what that looks like — for us, personally. That’s where it starts.
And please notice that these are “truths.” They weren’t truth to the British throne at the time. So, if Jefferson et al. considered them truths, where’s the breakdown in logic?
Truth carries with it a weight of significance that is beyond fact. I think many people confuse facts — things that are the same anytime, anywhere — with truth. Truth is personal perception. Truth is appropriation and application of facts. Truth has much more character and texture than facts. It has woof and warp, and we are the weavers of our own truth.
The Declaration says its truth is we are created equal and we have rights, not the least of which is the right to pursue whatever happiness is for us. Not everyone agreed then or agrees now about that statement. Not everyone believes that all are created equal. In fact, those signing that document had varying degrees of belief about that: they created their own truth. The factin that statement is we are all created; the truth is what each believes about that creation.
Why make this distinction? Because it’s directly related to our pursuit of happiness, that’s why. And many people cannot answer that direct question: What is your happiness? There are reasons for that, many I have addressed in previous posts, the most significant being we can’t know where to even begin to pursue happiness until we come to know core Self.
And I will pause here for tonight — continue tomorrow. It’s late and I’m tired.
When things get tough, Ego reaction works through mind (thoughts) and soul (emotions) to discourage, give doubt, and create fear.
What is the issue? Relationships, careers, health? Doesn’t matter. Whether we have responded to Heart and come to know self or not, we can know beyond any doubt that Ego works when we entertain those thoughts and feel those emotions.
Becoming self-aware is, in a sense, a science and an art. We can learn to identify behaviors, words, and emotions in a methodical way, but dealing with them on a personal level is an art, an art of Heart. I value competent mental health professionals, and I especially value those who have insight into the spiritual truths of awakening and help patients come to face and deal with Ego and accept Heart. When dealing with discouragement, doubt, and fear, oftentimes professional help is needed. I mention this because if someone lands on this post through my #’s, I want them to know if they need deeper help, they should not hesitate to obtain it. In the meantime, at the very least, be aware of these emotions and the thoughts they spawn. They can become a vicious cycle; however, we can develop an awareness that we can deal with.
Ego will have us judging and evaluating others based on perceived motives. Ego considers the projected thoughts and then interprets actions of others. When Ego starts that shit, we either become defensive and indignant at perceived slights, or we feel shame because Ego tells us to feel stupid because “they” were right. When self-deprecation speaks, it’s Ego. When we entertain fear, doubt, and discouragement in our soul, they are Ego. Be aware of that and tell yourself, “Okay, Ego, I recognize you. Not this time.”
It’s not that easy, but there is a solution. I would like to explore it through a poem of Walt Whitman’s, one I’ve referred to before, but it is so appropriate.
O Me! O Life!
O Me! O Life!..of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faith less?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring, What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here, that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.In the poem, Whitman describes the discouragement, doubt, and fear that accompanies the workings of Ego in a soul. The ultimate Ego coup is self-deprecation. Whenever anyone begins slamming self, it serves no good purpose. There’s not a noble impulse about making everyone else better than you, about taking the lowest position because it’s somehow spiritual: “who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?” What effect does that have? It casts the narrator into discouragement, despair, maybe even depression.
Then, Ego questions the beauty and worth of other people and their works and society in general: “Of the poor results of all…” All is called into question: “Why does this happen to me? There’s no solution. O, what am I going to do? No one has any idea how to fix things, fix me!” What a crock of crap. But I would be sympathetic with anyone I was dealing with personally about this attitude.
In fact, I hope I would respond just like the last three lines, which sounds to me like Walt understood exactly how my Heart speaks to me — not emotional, mushy stuff, but honest, forthright, and helpful. The narrator asks the question, and Heart answers: “What good amid all these,” all the doubt, discouragement, and despair borne of fear of facing self. Those last three lines!
“Answer. That you are here. That life exists, and identity” This is Heart saying know me, know yourself. Each is here as a unique person, not “intertwined” with all the rest. Our own Heart identity is the real us. We came here to express that.
And that is the thrust of the very last line: “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” We have that unique identity to express and impact this world for good, making a difference and writing a verse in the play of life. The solution, then, to discouragement, doubt of self and all of life, and the fear that is stimulated by Ego is clear: know yourself and take action to express that unique self, core Self, Heart identity.
Let’s recap! If we have Ego-induced fears, doubts, discouragement, we can recognize them, identify them. Then, we can take action: address Heart directly, awaken to the voice and identity of Heart, our true Self, and do something to express who we really are. Simple, but not always easy. However, we can always turn to Heart.
Be aware. Be filled with love of Self and this wonderful creation. Know that you are an integral part of it, really, that it exists by and for you. Fill it with that wonderful You.
Blessings, my friend!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!