Type: Books book notes Creator: Chris Prentiss Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/104HmIYEd_9X6R4kkmmFsDhWhw3rke3rj/view?usp=sharing Topic (tags): Happinessthe Universe is unfolding exactly as it should


Chapter  1   The Way

▪ Imagine that God appeared before you this instant and said: “I promise you that everything that happens to you from this moment forward will be of the greatest benefit to you and will bring you the utmost good fortune.” Suppose God went on to say: “Even though what happens will sometimes appear unfortunate or hurtful, in the end your life will be wonderfully blessed and hugely benefited by whatever happens.”

▪ I am not talking about the phrase we commonly hear, “Try to make the best of it,” which means “The situation or event really is bad and terribly unlucky, but do what you can to salvage some good out of it.” Nor do I mean that within even the worst event possible, there can be found a tiny bit of good. I am not thinking in terms of such limiting ideas. I am thinking in unlimited terms, where every event that befalls you is absolutely the best possible event that could occur—that there is no other event imaginable that could benefit you to any greater degree.

▪ As D. T. Suzuki, the Japanese scholar and leading spokes-man of Zen in mid-twentieth century America, said of Zen, “It merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.”

Happiness that is achieved through an essential understanding of Universal laws and of our relationship to the Universe is true happiness. That kind of happiness endures and does not decrease with the changing conditions of time. It sees us through every difficulty, every loss, every hardship, and it brightens even our best days.

Chapter  2   We Are the Authors of Every Next Moment

▪ If you believe that something that happens to you is bad, you will react to the events in a way that will cause you more unpleasantness, and the unpleasantness you experience then appears to confirm that what happened was truly unfortunate. Confirmation Bias However, it was your reaction to the event that caused the continuation of the unpleasantness. We are the ones who invest seemingly bad happenings with the power to seem bad at the time they occur and to continue to seem bad afterward. As William Shakespeare wisely observed, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”quotes

▪ Have you ever had anything happen to you that seemed really bad at the time but later turned out to be beneficial—experiences where days, weeks, or even years later, you said, “That was the best thing that could have happened to me!” Everyone I’ve ever posed that question to has been able to remember several events like that. It’s time to look at all events in the light of that information. Learn to see that perfect truth now, in every situation. Condition yourself to see it at the moment each event occurs, and happiness will become your constant companion.

◆ Chapter  3   The New Experience

▪ The best way for you to get that new experience is to change your response to what happens. By the natural law of cause and effect, that new response will create new results, which you will then experience as a new reality. To reach the goal of happiness, act as though the following statement is true: Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me. It is as simple and unerring as: 1 + 1 = 2.

▪ The most difficult part in creating new results in our life is maintaining our awareness that whatever happens to us is for our greatest benefit. We tend to get caught up in whatever is going on and forget that we’re supposed to be responding as though whatever is happening is the best possible thing that can happen to us. It takes work to remember, but it is the most rewarding work possible.

The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Everything is happening just as it should. It’s only our perception of difficulties that causes us the distress and the difficulty we experience. Not only that, but when we label events as “bad,” we fail to perceive the benefit that is waiting for us.

◆ Chapter  4   The Inner Road

▪ HAPPINESS COMES FROM WITHIN. IT IS A STATE that is produced by our minds. Although there are external objects and circumstances that can cause us to feel happy, the objects or circumstances themselves are not the cause of our happiness. The way we feel about those objects or circumstances—what our minds think about them—is the cause of our happiness.

▪ All the events of life work like that. It is the way you look at things and the way you relate to them that determines your state of happiness or unhappiness, not the things themselves.

▪ Your worst enemy cannot harm you As much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, No one can help you as much. —THE DHAMMAPADAquotes

◆ Chapter  5   Mindful Happiness

▪ The idea that you create yourself by what you think and feel is actually good news. Now that you know how your system functions, you can use your emotions and thoughts to create a body that’s more receptive to feel-good states. There’s only one way to do that—by feeling good. The way to create a body that’s more susceptible to happiness and less susceptible to sadness is to be happy.

◆ Chapter  6   What’s True in the Universe

▪ Just as our hands are part of us, we are part of the Universe—and just as we are aware of a touch on our hands, the Universe is aware of everything we experience, because we are part of it.

▪ There is but one Life, one World, one Existence. Everything is that One….Who can find any real difference between the wave and the sea?” Although the “whole universe is that one Existence,” he says, “name and form have created all these various differences.”

▪ Some of us have been unhappy for so long, with only rare moments of happiness, that unhappiness has become a habit, a natural condition. Based on the law of cause and effect, if you can discover the true cause of happiness, you can put that cause to work and, with absolute certainty, be happy. Just as importantly, if you can discover the cause of your unhappiness, you can learn ways to avoid bringing about that condition.

▪ Each incident in life, even a painful experience, basically provides you with only two choices: you can either curse it and call it an “accident” or you can call it “good fortune.” I’ve learned that there’s only one of those two choices that can bring us happiness—and help us bring happiness to others. I’ve learned that bad events simply do not happen. This was brought home to me as never before when one day I found myself lying face down in the mud at the bottom of a deep ravine.

▪ The Universe continues to be perfect at every moment and never permits even the first imperfect event to occur. It goes from perfect to perfect to perfect.

▪ Carrying further the thought that the Universe is constructed so that it will continue to exist, it can be said that the Universe wants to benefit itself to the maximum amount possible at all times. Since we are an integral, inseparable part of the Universe, the same thing applies to us. Everything that happens to us is for our complete benefit

▪ If I hadn’t viewed this event in a positive light, I would have been looking for all the bad outcomes, and in so doing I could have actually created problems for myself. My stress over what had happened could have led to sickness and further complications with my neck. I could have been depressed and cursed my bad luck. Yet none of those things happened.

◆ Chapter  7   Adapting to Change

▪ Change, explains the I Ching (literally “the Book of Changes”), is a constant—we can count on that. All of nature is in a state of growth and flux. Thus, another piece of wisdom about happiness that comes from the tradition of the I Ching is this: A situation only becomes favorable when one adapts to it.

▪ Again, all of life presents us with two basic ways to treat events. We can either label them “good for us” or “bad for us.” The event is only an event. It’s how we treat the event that determines what it becomes in our lives. The event doesn’t make that determination—we do.

▪ We want more of what we want and less of what we don’t want. To us, having and not having are the major causes of our happiness or unhappiness. Not having enough of the basic necessities such as food, clothing, or shelter can cause unhappiness. Poor health can be a cause of unhappiness. Unfulfilled desires—such as unrequited love, not being able to take a vacation, not having a good car, not having other possessions we desire, not having enough money to pay bills, not being able to do the things we want, or not having the time to do them—are major causes of unhappiness.

▪ “If you laugh at misfortune, you will not be overcome by it,” said the great Tamil poet-sage Valluvar. “Misfortune may rise like a flood; but bold thoughts will quell it. If you refuse to be grieved by grief, then grief itself will grieve.”

◆ Chapter  8   Stress and Your Imagination

▪ ONE OF THE GREATEST OBSTACLES BETWEEN YOU and happiness is stress. By stress I mean a feeling in your mind of fear, anxiety, distress, worry, unease, or foreboding caused by using your mind to imagine a bad outcome to a past, present, or future event or situation. Nothing else causes stress. The events or the situations do not contain stress, although they seem to. Stress comes from the way you relate to events or situations.

▪ Neither stress nor happiness is contained in things, events, or situations. Things are just things, events are merely events, situations are only situations. It’s up to you to supply your reaction to them. You get to choose.

You create your world by your expectations, and you can influence the future by how you respond to the presentquotes

▪ The Universe always strikes at your weakest point because that’s what most needs strengthening. Your challenges are, in effect, hand delivered by a loving Universe to make you stronger. In order to get the benefit from the obstacles, face and overcome them rather than turning away from them and giving up.

◆ Chapter  9   Healing Your Past

▪ Healing the past enables you to be happy in the present. How can you heal the past? You can shine the light of your new understanding on past events that have hurt you. You can open to the idea that whatever happened to you in the past eventually turned out or will turn out to be a benefit to you.

◆ Chapter  10   The Language of the Universe

▪ Most of the time, we respond to life without taking a moment to choose the way we want to think and feel about a particular event or situation. It takes work to make the choice. A deliberate mental effort is needed to pause, reflect on the situation, remember the goal to be happy, consider the other choices, then choose to feel happy about whatever the situation is, knowing it will ultimately be to our benefit

It’s as though you were out walking and lost a hundred dollar bill, but you knew you had a few million dollars in the bank. The loss of the hundred dollars is inconsequential in the face of the knowledge that you still have several million left. The loss doesn’t dim your happiness. In fact, the realization that the loss has not dimmed your happiness is by itself enough to make you happy—to know that you are past being bothered by things like that.

Don’t start with what’s most difficult—infant death, the tragic loss of a loved one, Hitler, or 9/11. Start with something small. When you have stubbed a toe, say, “Thank you for my stubbed toe. Right there is an acupuncture point that needed release. Now I’ll have more energy!” If you bump your head, say, “Ouch, I bumped my head! I must remember to pay attention and stay present in the moment. Thanks for the reminder.” Practice on little things, and what seemed impossible will soon be just as easy.