We are what we are because we have done what we've done. And we did what we did because we were what we were. To become what we want to become, we need to change what we do, say and think. And we also need time to just 'be'.
~ Gavin Hoole

Happiness Hub

Issue #12 - May 2010

To all new subscribers, a warm and friendly welcome to your first issue of the Happiness Hub E-zine, which is sent out more-or-less monthly.


In this issue...

Happiness Update
NEW: Happiness Tips - What you and other visitors have written
A new 21st century Age of Enlightenment?

Regular notes...
The Happiness Blog for website updates
Write YOUR own pages at Unlock Your Happiness.com
Happiness Tips - What you and other visitors have written
My random articles related to happiness and consciousness
Want to give feedback or make a suggestion?
Access back-issues of Happiness Hub
Change your e-mail address, etc.


Please note: If your e-mail program is set to view in plain text format and not in HTML, you may wish to read this online. Otherwise, select and copy any Website URL given here and paste it into your Web browser in order to visit the page concerned. To read Happiness Hub online, copy and paste this link to your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer/Firefox/Opera):
http://tinyurl.com/34kxrtt (On the Web page, click on the May issue)

Happiness Update

(The bold blue headings are links to the Web pages concerned)

Happiness Tips: Be one of the first to share yours

There's a new section on the website where you can share your own happiness tips. The two keys to happiness are the foundation stones for moving towards a happier and more joyful experience of day-to-day living. Yet there are other practical things people discover to trigger the happiness within. What are yours? What suggestions do you have that could help others?
Check out this new section and be one of the first to write an article - on your own Web page.

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A new 21st century Age of Enlightenment?

In this 21st century, I believe that Western society has shifted its interest towards a different understanding of the word enlightenment. It is an understanding that embraces a more 'spiritual' look at life, where enlightenment is understood more in terms of some state of consciousness that extends beyond our normal waking state and beyond things material.

Click here to read the full article online, and to add your own comments.
If you'd prefer to read it at the end of of this newsletter, click here.

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Regular notes...


Happiness Blog

To stay up to date daily with new content at my website, you can subscribe (free) to the Happiness Blog There is also a Site Search engine by Google which you can use to find something you're looking for on the site. (I use it myself too, whenever I've forgetten where I put what! LOL).

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Write YOUR own pages at Unlock Your Happiness.com

This is where you can have your say about happiness and how to be happy. Share your thoughts or experiences and read the responses from others.

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Happiness Tips - What you and other visitors have written

Have you found some ways to increase your happiness? Why not share them with others? Also, read what others have written, and add your comments to their pages.

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My random articles related to happiness and consciousness

This is where I write stuff on the spur of the moment, and where you get to agree or disagree by adding your comments. :-)

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Want to give feedback or make a suggestion?

If you have some ideas about what you'd like to see in this e-zine, on the website, or in the Visitors' Pages at the site, feel free to:

give feedback or make a suggestion.

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Sincerely,

Gavin Hoole Photo


Gavin Hoole
Cape Town, South Africa
Unlock Your Happiness.com

"The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness."

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Full article on The Age of Enlightenment:

The Age of Enlightenment - also called the Age of Reason - generally refers to a period in Western history beginning around the early 17th century and ending around the end of the 18th century, give or take a few decades.

Wikipedia describes this as an era "in which reason was advocated as the primary source and legitimacy for authority." There are many websites that go into this in quite some detail, and that is not my purpose here.

A new vision of 'enlightenment'

In this 21st century, I believe that Western society has shifted its interest towards a different understanding of the word enlightenment. It is an understanding that embraces a more 'spiritual' look at life, where enlightenment is understood more in terms of some state of consciousness that extends beyond our normal waking state and beyond things material.

Different states of consciousness

Some teachers describe such states in terms of a hierarchy of different 'levels' of consciousness. One such philosophy talks about the seven states of consciousness, starting with the three customary states of deep sleep, dreaming and the awake state. These states can be transcended (gone beyond) to four 'higher' or more refined states: transcendental consciousness, which transcends thinking; and cosmic consciousness which incorporates transcendental consciousness along with the first three states. Then there is God consciousness which is followed by Unity consciousness.

All these higher states of consciousness are said to be attainable through various forms or methods of yoga and meditation. (Perhaps on a Web page, or in a later blog article, I will try to clarify what all these terms try to describe, though this would really only be meaningful to those who have already experienced a glimpse of the fourth state, transcendental consciousness.)

The 21st Century Age of Enlightenment

I mention these states of consciousness only as a platform for sharing my views on the difference between the historical Age of Enlightenment which was intellectual in nature, and the modern interest in enlightenment, which is more a thirst for the experiential side of the concept.

A growing number of people these days want to become 'enlightened', or at the least they want to have some experiential glimpse of what the gurus and spiritual teachers talk about in their books, public lectures or You Tube videos.

Consciousness is 'bigger than' mind and intellect

Now here's the rub. An enlightened state of consciousness is just that - a state of being. Enlightenment is not an intellectual understanding of what enlightenment and bliss are. It is an experience, a reality that someone naturally and spontaneously has in his or her day-to-day life. It is how they are, not how we imagine them to be.

The modern-day spiritual teachers, gurus and masters are doing a good job of bringing about a renewal of the 17th/18th century's Age of Enlightenment, of that there is no doubt. More and more people are talking about things at a more conscious level. In Facebook, Twitter and all over the Internet we see a proliferation of 'wisdom quotes' and feel-good or feel-motivated sayings.

This is great. However, unless this intellectual understanding and motivational aspiration is backed up by some solid, practical means that actually takes one towards such a state, to really experience and live it, this all amounts to words of understanding, promise, hope and inspiration - much like the get-rich gurus sow seeds of desire and hope, perhaps belief, that you too can be as rich as they are, on auto-pilot without doing much about making it happen.

Understanding is one half of the tree of knowledge. The other half is experience. The two together give a person true knowledge. The fullness of both understanding and experience together give us wisdom, enlightenment, bliss.

Intellectual enlightenment

What prompted this article was a comment made to me recently by an Internet friend when we were exchanging text messages in Skype. She used the term 'intellectual enlightenment' to refer to that state of knowing about enlightenment with only the understanding half of the coin. I thought that was pretty good term. It described exactly how I see things in this arena of enlightenment, bliss and happiness.

The pursuit of happiness is like chasing rainbows. Likewise, unless one turns one's attention inwards and taps into the reservoir of bliss within, the pursuit of enlightenment and the thirst for it will never be fulfilled. It too will be like chasing rainbows if the energy one expends stays at the level of reason, intellectual understanding, mental affirmations, quoting what others have said, and so on. We need to get real if we really want to move towards such lofty ideals.

In some ways the gurus are performing an injustice by telling us all about enlightenment without showing us how to be it. The teacher talks about what is is like to be in that state. And the student tries to be that way. This is like a wannabe rock star trying to behave and dress and look like a real rock star, and then believing he is one or going to be one soon. It doesn't work that way.

Enlightenment is a progressive process of unfolding

The human nervous system is capable of experiencing and sustaining such higher states of consciousness as described by the gurus and spiritual teachers. Scientists and philosophers have been telling us for ages that we use only a very small percentage of our full mental potential. But talking about it, understanding it, being very well read about it, and quoting the sayings of others - these things of the mind and reason will not bring us to that state.

What is needed is to get rid of what is holding us back from simply being enlightened. We need to allow the creative consciousness - that in essence we already are - to seep into every aspect of our consciousness, our state of being. And we can do that in a step-by-daily-step way, by allowing our mind-body system to get the deep rest it needs as we disengage ourselves from the incessant activity of the mind and allow it to settle down towards the simplest state of awareness, just being.

This is a process of culturing the system, like a pearl is cultured in an oyster. It is allowing the stresses and blockages to dissolve. It takes time. It happens slowly. We change progressively. But the change is real, not just in the mind.

How?

The method I myself use for this is what I call Conscious Mental Rest (CMR). If you already know a different and an effective method, and are not using it daily, then perhaps it is time to pick up the routine again. If not, feel free to check out CMR and decide whether you want to try it out. (It's free, and you can learn the process from this website.)

So ... when next engaged in talking about the age of enlightenment, or becoming happier and more joyful, or saying, 'we are all one', it may be worthwhile to stop and think: Is this intellectual enlightenment I am engaged in and hoping for? Or is it the real thing - the experience of living it as my own reality? And will talking about it, and pontificating and quoting the pronouncements of others, actually bring me closer to that living reality; or is there something more effective I can do to enhance my life-experience?

~ Gavin

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