If you’re reading this, I can safely surmise that you have probably read self-help books and explored more than one religious doctrine in your effort to “wake up”.
Congratulations on your insight! Many people “sleep-walk” through their entire lives without ever facing the ever-present sense that there must be more to life than this.
Religions thrive because people are looking for answers, but most religions fail to provide relief from the nagging feeling that this life we live is somehow incomplete. Promising something better in the next life doesn’t help get us through this life! For many, that promise seems hollow. Others believe completely, but then live this life in quiet desperation while waiting for the time when they will finely be alive – after they die.
All the self-help books merely touch the surface. Yes, many of them contain much good advice, but until we alter our basic thinking – our most primitive conditioning – we cannot succeed in building a happy life.
The first thing you must understand, even though it is contrary to what most religions teach, is this: God created you to continue creating. There is no reason to feel guilty for creating a life that will bring you happiness.
Everything we do to find happiness can seem selfish. We gain an education in order to improve our ability to produce an income, but then ask; is this what God wants for us? We look for the perfect mate, someone who will make us feel complete and alive, but then ask; is it in accordance with “God’s Plan”? While we are doing things to make our lives and the lives of our loved ones better we are made to feel guilty, fearing that maybe we aren’t pleasing God enough. The basic assumption that pleasure is a sign of selfishness undermines our conscious efforts to direct our own lives.
This is because religion teaches us that the primary reason for our existence is to serve God.
This premise, that pleasing God is our ultimate responsibility in life, has its origins in primitive times. Before Man understood anything about the power of nature, he assumed that the gods controlled the wind, the rain, lightning, the growth of crops – everything Man could not control. And, when things didn’t go the way Man wanted things to go, the gods must be angry! Through fear and superstition, Man made sacrifices to his gods in order to win favor for his own meager endeavors.
Man was the slave and the gods were his masters.
Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly religious you have still been influenced by this premise all of your life. And yet, there is something instinctive in us that can contradict this line of thinking. It is called “parenthood”.
Ask yourself why you would have children. Would you create these new lives so that they would fall on their knees and worship you? I hope not! Do you want to nurture them and teach them? If you are a good parent, the answer must be a resounding yes! Do you hope they will become independent, responsible adults capable of making wise decisions and enjoying a healthy, prosperous and happy life? Of course you do! Do you make sacrifices to provide for them, or do you expect them to make sacrifices to you?
Why would you believe that the Creator thinks differently than you do?
We have a natural instinct to raise and protect our children until they are capable of directing their own lives. And we are not unique in this. It is quite common throughout the animal world. Doesn’t it seem logical to assume that this must come from God? When we act like good parents, we are emulating the Creator.
And, although we will love our children for all of our lives, we realize that our parenting job is to get them started on the right path. Eventually, we must let them live their own lives. Just as parents instinctively protect their children, children instinctively try to wrest control from their parents. It is natural for children to assume control of their own destinies. Reluctantly, we allow them to “leave the nest and fly solo” because we know that that is how it should be.
Why would you believe that the Creator would want something different from us?
God is not a slave owner! We are not here to serve Him. He has served us by giving us the gift of life!
And because of that, we should be grateful. It is appropriate to thank God, just as it is appropriate to thank our parents. It is also natural to live our lives in such a fashion as to make them proud of us. Are your parents proud of your accomplishments? If so, maybe God is, as well. It is very likely that your parents have not approved of every decision you have made, but they probably love you just the same. Probably, God does, too.
Live your life as you see fit, making your own decisions as only you can, and know this:
This is God’s Plan!
Once you realize your relationship with the Creator is not one of Master and Slave you can begin to control your life, in the same way that you would expect your grown children to take control of their lives.
The second thing you must learn, which is also contrary to religious teaching is: You were not born flawed, as a sinner.
An infinite God, capable of creating the entire universe, would not create faulty people! You are not a defective product, requiring “saving” by the very God who created you. Think about that for a moment…If only God has the ability to fix you, why wouldn’t he make you right in the first place?
God created you with the ability to reason, but religion asks you to accept a premise that is so illogical as to be laughable, if it weren’t for all the psychological damage it has done over the years! Why would God create religions that caused his children harm? He didn’t. God did not create religion, people did.
If you told your child he was “bad” every day of his life, pretty soon he would believe you and become a bad person! We are what we believe we are. You wouldn’t do that to your child and God wouldn’t do that to His children. You may not be perfect, but you are the children of a perfect God who gave you free will, allowing you to make decisions about your own life. You have the ability to become a good person, or a bad person. It is up to you. You were born with the potential to be either. You will create your own life. You can do it consciously and deliberately, or you can just “let it happen” and take your chances that it all turns out well. Remember, whatever you choose to make of your life, it is you who will have to live with the results!
The third thing to learn is: No one else but you can create your life. If you have been in the habit of blaming others for the things in your life that are not to your liking, stop! Everything that happens in your life is a result of how you act or react. It is what you think that determines how you act. If you think about doing something and then do it, you have acted. If something happens before you have had a chance to think about it, you have reacted.
Life moves at a rapid pace. Every event that occurs in our lives requires us to make quick decisions. When someone cuts you off in traffic, or when someone makes a comment that is not to your liking, how will you respond? Will you react defensively, or passively – or not at all? It all depends on your philosophy of life!
When faced with an unpleasant task, how will you proceed? Do you jump in and get it done as quickly as possible, or do you tend to procrastinate? Will you do the minimum necessary to get it out of the way, or will you take your time in an effort to do the best you possibly can? Again, it all depends on your philosophy of life.
Have you ever thought, after something has already happened, “I should have said….”? Of course, if you take the time to think about the kind of person you want to be you can always make better choices about such things. It is always easy to make the “right” decision once you’ve had time to think about it, but who has the time? We act before we think. There simply isn’t time to ponder our next action each and every time. Most of what we do happens on “auto-pilot”. We don’t consciously act – we react! We do what we have been programmed to do.
First, you react according to your programming, and then, when you have the luxury of time on your side, you think about how you would have preferred to act. The way to ensure that you will react in the same way as you would act if you had time to think it through, is to reprogram your thinking – now – before action is needed.
How did you get programmed? All of your reactions to all that happens in your life – the big events and the little things – depend upon your previous experiences. Today’s decisions are based on yesterday’s experiences. Someone once said, “good decisions are the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad decisions”. And, much of what makes us who we are came from others, who told us what to think.
You can overwrite that programming to create the person you want to be! In order to do that, you must first examine the programming that is dictating your actions. You must decipher the code that is your philosophy. Then, you can alter those habits that are not in line with who you want to be. As Walt Whitman said, “Re-examine all that you have been told and discard everything that insults your soul”.
Once you have consciously re-written your philosophy, you can be certain that you will always react in accordance with your true beliefs. You will never again have to regret your actions, because everything you do will be done as your “best self” would want it to be done.