Excerpt from "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life"
Lessons from a Dramatic Life
by Barbara Berger
Barbara’s life has been pretty dramatic. Catapulted into intense “awakening” experiences by the tumultuous events of her early life, Barbara became a seeker. Her quest to find a way out of suffering led her to explore many different pathways and approaches – mental, physical, metaphysical, psychological and spiritual. After leaving the US in the mid-60s in protest against the Vietnam War and settling in Scandinavia, she continued her quest. In the early 1980s, Barbara began to study the science of the mind, the nature of consciousness, metaphysics, and finally traditional spirituality and psychology.
“In retrospect, I can see that because I didn’t understand how the mind works and how our thoughts are creating our experience of life, I used so much time and energy on thoughts that had nothing to do with reality. By this I mean things like worrying a lot about the future (which is just a thought in our minds about something that doesn’t exist) and/or thinking about the past (which again is just a thought and something you can do absolutely nothing about because it no longer exists). Like most people, I had so many thoughts and ideas that made me anxious or I worried about things (big and small) which were beyond my control. Things I could do absolutely nothing about. Things I had no influence over. So this is one of the big things life has taught me. Things are the way they are. And then there are our thoughts about how we think things ‘should’ be. And these are two different things. Life/reality is one thing – and our thoughts about life/reality are another thing. But you have to understand the nature of mind to understand this. I try to investigate this question in my new book.”
Life is a gift
”We have been given this great gift which is life – and what do we do?” continues Barbara. “We struggle against it because of our thoughts and waste a lot of time and energy, get stressed, and make ourselves sick just because we have some insane (confused) ideas/thoughts about how we believe things (life/reality) ‘should’ be. And when things and reality aren’t the way we think they ‘should’ be… we’re unhappy! But it’s we ourselves who are making ourselves unhappy – and not life! Life just is.”
”So if I ask you – what is preventing you from being happy right now – your answer will probably be because there is something or someone that is not the way you think it ‘should’ be. And this means that you are unhappy because of the thoughts you are having about this matter. It’s really interesting when we become aware of this mechanism and understand it. So I write a lot about this mechanism in my new book – to remind myself (and you) that it is just our own thoughts that are preventing from experiencing the happy life we so desperately are seeking right now.”
“I know this is a pretty radical statement, but it is true nevertheless. When you investigate the mechanism, you will discover it is true. You will discover that it is always – always – your thoughts that are preventing you from being happy now. How can this be? It’s because – as I say so many times in all my books – we live in a mental universe. So our thoughts are determining all our experiences. That is all that is going on! And this is good news because it means that nothing – absolutely nothing but our thoughts are preventing us from living a happy life right now. Nothing else. No outer event or circumstance can prevent us from being happy, it’s only our thoughts and the stories we are telling that can do this. But don’t believe what I say – find out for yourself if this is true or not.”
Here is Barbara’s reminder list – 10 ways to live a happy life
Accept what is
The number 1 cause of suffering and unhappiness is wanting life to be something it’s not.
Want what you have
The number 2 cause of suffering and unhappiness is wanting what you don’t have.
Be honest with yourself
The number 3 cause of suffering and unhappiness is not communicating honestly with yourself.
Investigate your stories
The number 4 cause of suffering and unhappiness are the scary stories you tell yourself about life and the world.
Mind your own business
The number 5 cause of suffering and unhappiness is minding other people’s business.
Follow your passion and accept the consequences
The number 6 cause of suffering and unhappiness is not doing what you want because you think people will disapprove.
Do the right thing and accept the consequences
The number 7 cause of suffering and unhappiness is not doing the right thing because you’re afraid of the consequences.
Deal with what is in front of you and forget the rest
The number 8 cause of suffering and unhappiness is shadowboxing with illusions instead of dealing with the reality in front of you.
Know what is what
The number 9 cause of suffering and unhappiness is wanting absolute satisfaction from relative experiences.
Learn to see beyond impermanence
The number 10 cause of suffering and unhappiness is believing we become nothing.
Barbara Berger has been a seeker all her life – and all Barbara’s books are based on her life work which has always been to try to find a way out of suffering. Her quest to ease suffering has led Barbara to explore many different pathways and approaches – mental, physical, metaphysical, psychological and spiritual. After leaving the US in the mid-60s in protest against the Vietnam War and settling in Scandinavia, Barbara continued her quest in the 1970s with a passionate interest in the role of food in our mental and physical well-being. When she discovered in the early 1980s that health foods and diet were not enough to ensure true wellbeing, she began to study the science of the mind, the nature of consciousness, metaphysics, and finally traditional spirituality and psychology.
“Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life” will be released in the UK and US on August 30, 2013 by O Books. Barbara Berger is also the author of “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind” and her international bestseller “The Road to Power – Fast Food for the Soul” (published in 30 languages). For more about Barbara Berger and her books see: www.beamteam.com
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