The Nativity Code for Authentic Happiness

by Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych

The Nativity story reveals a divine code of positive psychology that resonates with people from all ages, regardless of their religious persuasions. It reveals a radically different set of principles of authentic happiness that brings hope to all those who are disfranchised, oppressed and deprived.

  1. Happiness is not a right, not a product but a gift. It can not be demanded, purchased, or earned. It is a gift that comes to us when it is least expected but most needed. The heavenly message of great joy and peace came to the terrified shepherds in their nightly watch over their flocks. We cannot predict what will make us happy or when we will be happy, but we are more likely to be surprised by joy when we are spiritually attuned.
  2. Every negative can become positive through the transforming power of faith, meaning and self-transcendence. The brightest light can only be seen in the darkest night. The shepherds’ fears were turned into joy. The disgraced Mary became the most blessed woman. The outcast became the most influential person who ever walked on the face of this earth.
  3. The good life is not about the pursuit of personal happiness but about fulfilling one’s calling, which often entails self-sacrifice. Authentic happiness is primarily not about me (my strengths and my successes) but about others (meeting their needs and making a difference in their lives). Christ was born to suffer and die on the cross, but he changed the world through his death and resurrection.
  4. The essence of authentic happiness is spiritual. It has to do with the awakening of our spiritual nature. At the core of spirituality is our yearning for oneness with God and our compassion for people. Authentic happiness flows from our spiritual character and transcends circumstantial constraints. The path to the good life, according to both the Nativity story and the Beatitudes, is through spiritual transformation rather than earthly acquisitions.

A spiritually oriented authentic happiness is concerned with only one essential question: Am I fulfilling my purpose and my destiny in this needy world? To me, happiness means the positive feelings and thoughts associated with the experience of oneness with God, peace with myself and others, and the realization that I have lived a worthwhile life in spite of my limitations and external constraints.

FULL  ARTICLE

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How to Tell a Leap of Faith from a Stupid Decision

by Martha Beck
Some psychologists classify every emotion as either love (attraction) or fear (aversion). It’s not unusual for humans to base almost every decision on fear: fear of rejection, fear of poverty, fear of looking dumb, and so on. But after coaching thousands of people, I’ve seen that fear-based decisions lead to hollow victories at best, endless regret at worst. Only love-based decisions create lasting happiness. That’s why the accountant—oops, make that poet—Sara Teasdale advised, “Spend all you have for loveliness, / Buy it and never count the cost.” I’m with her all the way. Loveliness—emphasis on “love”—is the only thing worth buying.

Now, discriminating between fear-based and love-based decisions can be confusing, because leaps of faith are frightening even when the choice to make them is based on love. (Just because you really want to have a baby or run your own business doesn’t mean going into labor or launching a startup isn’t terrifying.) You can gain more clarity by getting into the habit of imagining the choices you’d make if you had no fear—of failing, of losing, of being alone, of disapproval. Take a minute now to practice: What clothes would you wear tomorrow if everyone were sure to approve? What music would you listen to today if nobody else were around—not even in your mind? What books, movies, or food would you enjoy if no one ever judged you?

Going to a fearless place in your imagination will show you clearly which decisions still have fire and energy, and which lose steam without anxiety as their fuel. The former are endogenous—meaning they arise from your inner essence, not from external pressures—and they’re the foundation of every great leap.

Love-based choices have one more quality their fear-based counterparts lack: They’re enduring. And in this way, they make us behave like heroes—at least the kind of heroes you find in epics like The Odyssey or The Lord of the Rings. Scholars have broken down the type of story known as the hero’s saga into standard parts, beginning with the hero’s feeling a “call to adventure.” The next step is the “refusal of the call,” wherein the hero says, “Excuse me? Do I look stupid?” and goes on with normal life. Or tries to, anyway. But the calls won’t stop. The same is true for any leap worth making. The calls keep coming, tapping us on the shoulder, chirping, “Hello! Me again!” until we either give in or start drinking cough syrup straight from the bottle.

In your case, the call may be a historic role model you can’t stop wanting to emulate. Or an “unattainable” purpose or profession that tugs at you like a magnet. Maybe you have weird premonitions of living in Sasquatch country (see you here soon!). If following your heart’s desire seems crazy but not following it is becoming more and more difficult with every passing week or month or year, your choices come down to taking a leap of faith or living with the regret of never having tried. Wouldn’t you rather jump?

FULL ARTICLE

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Great post on how your spiritual practice heals your physical body…

angperegrino.com


by Krisca Te

For some of us, spiritual nourishment means adhering to religious practices and their tenets. For others, it’s a feeling of a larger meaning, a sense of the sublime, a higher state of human consciousness.

In a surveys among physicians, more than half of them (56%) believed that spiritual nourishment, of any kind, has much or even very much effect on the physical health of patients.

The exact mechanism that connects body and soul is very difficult to find, and scientists have been pouring many research hours in an attempt to discover it. But research after research shows that people with deep spiritual beliefs fair better than those without a spiritual guideline. The theory behind the effect of spirituality on the body says that if a person feels stability and calm in their psychological approach to their lives, they fair better in the physical sense as well. This…

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Believe the Impossible

“There is no use in trying”, said Alice.”One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice”, said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

– Lewis Carroll

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

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