As is said, it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s the fun (and important.) Which is good – since each of us is on a journey, like it or not. Many people do not like their journey. Mischief ensues when they get the formula, the equation, for happiness backwards.
Emmet Fox summed it up: People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.
It is the essence of materialism that the environment - which means outer conditions. people around you, the “time” you live in, and such – is the major influence, or cause, of your degree of happiness or misery. Therefore, it is the environment (other people, situations, circumstances) that must change before you are able to experience relief and get on the journey to happiness. Much of history is the account of this effort. Most lives, sadly, are stories of the effort.
Materialism, as a formula, is flawed as a personal approach for joyful living. It simply does not work; it does not produce the desire result. Never has. Never will. Why? The materialism formula is based on controlling other people, events, situations, and circumstances. That’s way too many moving parts to succeed. And, it’s impossible.
No one can think your thoughts. You can, however, surrender your judgment to another’s thinking - which may or may not end well for you. Your thoughts, your thinking, ARE you. The only force, authority, power, energy (use your favorite descriptor) that can re-direct your thinking is you. Period. End of formula. At the end of the day (love that tired cliché) your manner of thinking (a.k.a. your beliefs) determines how you experience your life on this marvelous planet.
There is remarkable resistance in many, perhaps most, people to even grasp that they hold the key to their personal comfort and delight. Much of this resistance is learned behavior, pounded in from day one (if not before). Indeed, for the infant, his/her survival and well being is dependent on what others (mother especially) do. Childhood is a learning experience of family and social structures and “norms” that define approved behavior and behavior that is not approved (often labeled selfish.) Throw in contemporary technology and exposure to a theme of “you’re not important” and approval by others becomes a measure of success.
At some point many folks mentally step-back and assess their situation. Many times it is a variant of 1) Spending money I don’t have, to 2) buy things I don’t want, to 3) Impress people I don’t like. The aha moment for some is when they realize that they’ve been working very hard for other people, and very little for themselves. Fully institutionalized it’s called slavery, and it’s still practiced these days. Once a sense of freedom is grasped – freedom to think for oneself and hence to determine what is best for oneself – then begins the pursuit of happiness. There is a sequence: Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness. It’s a powerful formula that works and has been proven over and over.
And fought, over and over. Entrenched materialism (acceptable to substitute socialism and communism) is opposed to even the thought of individual freedom, since control is the soul materialism. Free thinking individuals are difficult to control. The history of Mankind is the record of this struggle of thinking.
This is not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad. Such definitions are relative. They are the same thing, measured by degrees. Consider prohibiting by law a person’s possession of a 32 ounce soft drink. Is this good? Bad? Right? Wrong? For the person desiring a big, cold drink, it’s clearly a bad law and definitely wrong in that it prohibits freedom of choice. From a materialists perspective limiting the “right” of a person to indulge in what is decreed an illegal act is both good and right. What kind of environment is likely to result in a greater sense of happiness?
The Law of Attraction is universal. That which is like unto itself is attracted. This applies to things great and small, upon every degree of energy from dispersed to condensed, and very much to thoughts and their creative process – thinking.
You know this. There are places where you simply have no interest in going – or when near you get a “feeling” or hunch, that you shouldn’t be there. And visa versa. That doesn’t mean that other people aren’t going there – they are comfortable in such circumstances. Comfort doesn’t mean happy, just familiar and of similar frequency.
Some people are very comfortable in their misery and are very resistant to alternatives. They aren’t happy, but they are unable or unwilling to begin changing their thinking in order to introduce in their experience an improved feeling. The resistance is the manifestation of a belief that their wellbeing is dependent on circumstances, environment, other people’s behaviors, etc. – materialism. As long as that belief is active, then their experience IS dependent on external forces. Like attracts like. Unfettered. Belief in powerlessness results in lack of power.
This is why changing thinking is so difficult. It’s a simple truth and process, but inertia, habit, and continual reinforcement of materialism weighs heavy. It can be subtle, however.
Years ago I met up with a high school pal living in another state. He was quite cheerful, as usual, and enjoying his life, wife, dog, and job. I inquired how he managed to remain so cheerful and he replied “I don’t watch the news, and don’t get involved in other people’s problems.” At the time I considered that to be selfish. (See, subtle!) Why was he avoiding his civic responsibility to keep up with the news and doing his part of make life better for others? He explained, in effect, that news (by this he meant newspapers and television – it was some time ago) was by design negative and depressing. Watching/reading about what’s wrong in the world, society, etc., made him feel bad. How could he be of any service to another (he was a social worker) if he felt miserable?
He had a point. It took a couple of years for his position to sink in – if I’m unhappy, how can I be of any assistance to another? I intellectually grasped the Law of Attraction but had yet to have it viscerally understood. The more I considered my friend’s decision, the more I understood its benefit. And the more sensitive I became to “news,” complaining, blaming and whining. Those frequencies on the scale of human feeling were a bit more distant and thus more discordant. The result was that unhappy people tended to recede in my experience and what I’d describe as more comfortable people showed up (or I engaged in activities that brought me near them.) That’s when Emmet Fox’s statement proved to be a formula, an equation.
Finding your point of attraction, the usual manner of thinking, is a good exercise. But, regardless, simply changing the focus of a thought will produce relief. I find using the Magic Word very helpful.