Friday, April 22, 2011

What Does Your Happiness Depend On?

If someone told you that you could be unconditionally happy, you would do whatever this took. Or, would you?

In Anthony De Mello’s book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, he wrote that it is challenging to be unconditionally happy because we fight it. Why do we fight it? We have expectations, some of which are realistic and some of which are not.

To be unconditionally happy (or even just happy most of the time), you have to let go of your dearly-held (or addiction to) expectations. That is not necessarily easy to do. Perhaps, without realizing it, you have, as De Mello wrote, a thought (belief) like, “You are my happiness. If I don’t get you, I refuse to be happy.”

That segment, “If I don’t get you,” is the clincher because the word YOU can represent anything. Think of what (or who) it is you desire and use the word or words in front of the word You that starts the quote. Example: (Wealth, love, success, power, control, etc.), you are my happiness. If I don’t get you, I refuse to be happy.”

It basically comes down to saying if you do not get what you want, expect, or demand, you REFUSE to be happy. You refuse to experience happiness amid What Is.

De Mello added that what we fight, we empower; that is, you give what you resist as much power as you use to fight it. And, you wonder why it does not shift; wonder why it or they do not change, rather than focus on changing yourself.

If you continue to consider anyone or anything the enemy or adversary, can you really expect your relationship with it (money, health, weight, life) or them to be anything other than an ongoing battle? You can do what you need to, to look after or protect yourself AND stop engaging the “enemy” in a fight.

When you resist What Is and insist it or they be the way you want, you bind yourself, in a negative way, to the lack of what you desire or demand, as though you put heavy shackles on your ankles. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you drag this weight, this result of your Insistence on Resistance, with you.

You can spring the lock on such shackles with a choice to let go of your attachment to this way of thinking and behaving, and pay attention to what YOU think, feel, say, and do that causes you to refuse to be happy until or unless what you are convinced must happen happens.

You behave this way because you were programmed to do so, because that was and still is the prevalent example all around you. It is the syndrome you have seen before, “I will be happy when…,” that keeps you miserable. You stay miserable because you continue to demand others and your material reality change rather than empower yourself to understand how reality truly operates, and then practice this.

When you let go of resistance and observe yourself, others, and the smaller and bigger picture, What Is shifts, and often without any more effort than what is described here. You often call this witnessing a miracle. This is a universal law: what you give you get more of. Give resistance, you get more to resist. Give fear, you get more to fear. Give trust to the universe in all things, you get more evidence of why that works.

You have been brainwashed to believe you have to control or take control of your reality, when what is required is for you to recognize you are in a synergistic relationship with reality.

De Mello wrote, “Come home to yourself. Observe yourself. That’s why I said earlier that self-observation is such a delightful and extraordinary thing. After a while you don’t have to make any effort, because, as illusions begin to crumble, you begin to know things that cannot be described. It’s called happiness. Everything changes and you become addicted to awareness.”

When you choose awareness over illusion, stress and strain diffuse, as will anger. The path to happiness requires you challenge your entire belief system . . . to seek the CURE, which may or may not be painful, rather than just relief from the painful result of your illusions.

You can call it Law of Attraction or call it common sense; what you call Awareness does not matter. That you call it into your life and way of being does matter.

You are what you practice.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, April 15, 2011

How Can Judgment Serve Us?

If you have ever attempted to shift from judgment to non-judgment, you may have found that challenging. It is because something important was missing.

There are two types of judgment: self-judgment and judgment of everything and everyone else. Judgment can serve us, if we know how to let it.

Judgment, in regard to laws, rules, and regulations, is in place in an effort to restore balance when an action creates too great a contrast; that is, exceeds an acceptable level of contrast and impacts others in a negative way or has the potential to do so. Nearly seven billion people on the planet have been exposed to different cultures and beliefs, as well as have unique personalities, so will, understandably, find it a challenge to behave as a homogenous society. Contrasts will happen.

The important missing aspect is that judgment of the self, others, or a situation is like a neon sign flashing the words “Contrast Exists Here” and, what that actually means for us. Whenever anything contrasts with our perception of how we, another, or a situation “should” be, we turn to our familiar “friend,” judgment. Being in a judgmental state about others or situations, lets us believe we are what we deeply want to feel: that we are in the right. We fear being in the wrong or incorrect.

In past writings I said it is important to release self-judgment. My thinking has shifted about this for a specific reason: it is a worthy goal, but there is a step that needs to be taken to get there. Plus, non-judgment may not mean what you think it does (keep reading for a different definition). When self-judgment is triggered, it alerts us to the fact that something we believe about ourselves needs exploration, that a truth or personal truth waits for us to discover it and understand how it fits, or doesn’t, into our PERCEPTION of reality, including how we perceive ourselves.

The next time you feel judgmental about yourself, another, or a situation, ask what the contrast is that you feel. Let the contrast reveal an important message to you. That is its purpose.

Contrasts can assist you to discern a perception vs. a truth or personal truth. Consider the not-enough-information syndrome. Have you ever jumped to an assumption and believed you were looking at the whole truth, only to discover or realize later that you were not? “Do I have enough information to justify my judgment” is a question you might write down and put where you can easily see it.

Anthony De Mello wrote in his book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, that we do not like to admit we are not always right. When we discover we are wrong, or know we are, it is uncomfortable because we (and others) hold a judgment that it is a form of failure to be wrong or incorrect, rather than a part of life and learning and growing. Contrasts are opportunities to expand our awareness.

So, I now modify my statement to release self-judgment and suggest you practice easing up about judging that you judge. Also ease up on your attachment to how you believe self-judgment is “supposed” to be experienced and processed. Allow any form of judgment you feel to communicate what it wants you to discover about YOU.

It is tempting (and programmed in us) to believe contrasts are about others or situations, and that the solution or resolution is for “them” to change. Action taken because of this belief is like nailing your shoe to the floor and turning in circles: you go nowhere and you repetitively cover the same ground, deepening the rut you are in as you go. You keep your focus on the shoe and miss the fact that you are the one keeping your foot in it, and that only you can remove your foot (discover and understand the message for you and about you in the contrast) from the shoe (the contrast, which is a manifested reflection of what is going on inside of you).

See if this different definition of non-judgment resonates for you: no old programs, tapes, or memories running. How do you do this? Ihaleakala Hew Len of Ho’oponopono fame and co-author of the book, Zero Limits, wrote, “Peace begins with me. My problems are memories replaying in my subconscious.” Think about this and see where it leads you; see what it reveals to you and for you. Dr. Hew Len describes how to do this in the book, if you are intrigued enough to learn more.

You are what you practice.
© Joyce Shafer

Friday, April 8, 2011

Is Your Focus on the Target or the Prize?

The article title asks an important question. The one you focus on has everything to do with not only your outcome but your experience reaching it.

In his book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, Anthony De Mello quotes Chinese sage Tranxu: “When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more of winning than of shooting, and the need to win drains him of power.”

This is a conundrum for many, though its presence usually escapes our awareness. This can happen in a variety of ways. Here are two examples.


Say you feel a financial pinch (or not) and decide to offer a product, service, or workshop. Maybe it is something you already created or you create something new. The Prize is how much money you might get; perhaps, even recognition and referrals. Your Target is to provide something that solves a problem for people or enhances their lives. Re-read Tranxu’s words and think about how this might affect your energy, attitude, actions, and ultimate results in such a situation.

Are you relaxed and confident about using your skills, talents, or knowledge to assist others, with serving them as one motivator and growing yourself as another? If so, whatever your initial results are, they will expand. You will expand.

If your eyes (emotional energies) are on the prize, you will contract instead of expand. Your potential clients or customers will contract away from you, and so will your desired results. You will focus on aspects that lead you away from your true path.

Let go of any tendency to compare yourself and your desired results to others and their results, as this is another form of Eyes on the Prize.


Consider the difference between having your target be a loving, joyful relationship with your right partner, and allowing that to arrive and unfold in your life vs. considering a specific individual as your prize. How will you think, feel, speak, and act in the first scenario vs. the second? Which scenario is imbued with ease and which with emotional upset and drama?

You could say a true target leads to expansion of your inner knowing and larger awareness. This type of focus results in not just some or many sought-after prizes coming to you, but inner and outer gifts from the Universe arrive, as well. These gifts are not rewards; they are results of Cause and Effect, according to the laws of the spiritual universe.

If your target is to BE more, which causes you to offer and contribute more, you will focus on what helps you create this. Results will come to you because this is how IT works.

You can certainly be aware your desired prize is out there and still put your primary focus on your true target. If your focus is primarily on the prize, you can bet you will experience one or more of these: worry, anxiety, jealousy, lack of confidence (or arrogance), overwork, loss of energy, depression, loss of sleep, money fears, harsh self-judgment, and the list goes on. Your results will be less than desired or none, because this is also according to the laws of the spiritual universe.

This Target or Prize focus can be applied to anything in your life. It is a good question to ask whenever you feel any emotions other than serenity, confidence, or happiness. But, it is also important to identify your True Target, which is always an inner one. Inner always creates outer. Outer always reflects inner.

You are what you practice.
© Joyce Shafer

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Joyce Shafer (, You Are More! Empowerment Coach, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say & other books/ebooks ( Benefit from empowering articles & Extras, and learn how Your Personality Blueprint can clear obstacles from your life, in her free weekly newsletter at