Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. 

A Course in Miracles

The first rule of politics: The only time you get hurt is when you forget it’s all a game. I just finished reading a novel – a political thriller – that finished with that statement. I’d like to change it slightly. The first rule of life: The only time you get hurt is when you forget it’s all a game.

Think about it. The only time you feel hurt by anything is when you take it seriously. As A Course in Miracles says at the beginning: Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.

Think about this. Life’s a game. It’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s clouded by our conditioned perceptions. What we think is real is not. It can’t be. Thinking created it. Reality lies behind thought.

Ever wondered why the happiest people are those doing what they love? We’re here to have fun. We went dancing at the Mangonui Céilí last night. The first dance we got all wrong. Everyone did. It was a riot. It was so much fun . . . and it set the tone for the evening. I love Céilís. They’re not about precision or perfection. They’re about playfulness. They’re perfect reminders about what this journey is really about. They’re reminders of why we’re here. We learn when we’re having fun. We have fun while we’re learning.

We only really understand the “bad” things when we can laugh at them. What makes a good comic? They make us laugh at the foibles of life; the things we tend to take seriously—relationships, mistakes, politicians, disasters, death . . . .

The next time you take something seriously pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Stop thinking and start feeling the reality behind the perception. Do it now. Take a moment. In this instant you are connected with everyone you’ve ever known who has played the game and graduated. They’re rooting for you and laughing. They’re waiting for you to get the joke. Nothing in this world lasts for more than a blink in the eye of eternity. Enjoy the game. Its everything and its nothing. Choose to do the things that make you laugh. Eventually it all does and you graduate summa cum laude—with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. It’s all a game. Don’t take it too seriously.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

 

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

 Love is the real glue that holds this world together. 

One of the reasons I love living in New Zealand’s lightly populated Far North is because I can pass a stranger on the beach or in the street and exchange a few pleasant words with them. We don’t distrust each other. I believe this attitude of trust is closer to the way things are in the spirit world from whence we come where all beings are greeted with acceptance and openness without suspicion. Where the old adage holds, ‘Strangers are friends I haven’t yet met.’

I suggest we turn our attention away from the negative messages of the media and reflect meditatively on the reality that exists behind this illusory world.

Face it. The fears and the distrust of this world are our creation. Love is the real glue that holds this world together. Perhaps its greatest expression is kindness to a stranger and its simplest expression is a smile. Smile at the next stranger you meet.

Affirmation:

I Am happy and I extend that happiness to everyone I meet.

 

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

I was cleaning out some old and redundant word documents when I came upon the following words I received in an email a few years ago. I have no idea who the author is but I am indebted to him or her. Life is simple, isn’t it?

Go in beauty and peace, John

 
On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, no matter how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:

I’ve learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents,

you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.

You need to be able to throw something back

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you

But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others,

your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide  something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews


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After a sojourn in the wilderness, Peace Pilgrim walked again in the streets of a city that had been her home for awhile. It was 1:00 p.m. She saw hundreds of neatly-dressed people with pale or painted faces hurrying in rather orderly lines to and from their places of employment. She walked amongst them in her faded shirt and well-worn slacks. The rubber soles of her soft canvas shoes moved noiselessly beside the clatter of trim, tight shoes with high heels. In the poorer sections of town she was tolerated. In the wealthier sections some glances seemed a bit startled, others disdainful.

On both sides of the walkers were displayed the things which could be bought if people were willing to stay in the orderly lines, day after day, year after year. Some of these things were more or less useful, others not – some had a claim to beauty, others were garishly ugly. Thousands of things were displayed – and yet the most valuable things were missing. Freedom was not displayed, nor health, nor happiness, nor peace of mind.

Peace Pilgrim was, of her choice, a penniless wanderer for 28 years. Her pilgrimage was her retirement project and she walked on the endless energy of inner peace. Earlier in life she realized making money was easy, but not necessarily satisfying.

In the nearly 30 years since she died the forms of the things we can buy if we decide to stay in the orderly lines year after year have changed. Still, some are more or less useful and others are not.

Is it time leave the orderly lines and risk being looked upon disdainfully? Is it time to march to a different drummer? Is it time to acknowledge that the most important things in life are free – health, peace and happiness – and readily available should we choose for them.

What will your choice be? I wish you freedom, peace, health and happiness.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Smiling Leper 060809

It isn’t in what we receive outwardly that we find happiness.

It is in knowing we are doing the right thing. 

Let’s examine the roots of happiness. The big house, the nice car and the successful career are merely the trappings of success. Once attained one finds they are not the source of happiness. What then is?

You can be rich and happy and you can be rich and unhappy. Likewise you can be poor and happy and you can be poor and unhappy. I recall the two lepers I passed each day in Mcleod Ganj in India over twenty years ago. In outward appearance there was little difference between these two beggars. Each demonstrated the ravages of his disease in their fingers and other extremities. Yet, every morning the one man greeted me with a genuine smile and the other displayed the look of a beaten man. Why? What had the one found which had eluded his friend?

May I suggest you search for something that transcends your individual wishes and desires? Find a cause bigger than yourself to hitch your wagon to.

There have been well known people who have done this. I’m thinking of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. Each of these three modern day saints worked tirelessly for the benefit of others. But we don’t need to become famous to be fulfilled. We just need to be ourselves and to undertake that which we came here to do; to use our unique gifts to complete our Divine Mission. Simple, isn’t it?

Vocation derives from the Latin vocare: meaning ‘to call’. I would venture to say we’ve for too long focused on career rather than on the vocations which are calling us. Find your vocation. Find your calling and right livelihood and a meaningful career will follow.

It isn’t in what we receive outwardly that we find happiness. It is in knowing we are doing the right thing. It is in the giving, in the service to others, that we find the supreme satisfaction which has eluded us in the trappings of success. Why was one leper happy and the other sad? Had the first discovered he could serve me and others who crossed his path with a real, heartfelt smile? His shrivelled body precluded gainful employment. Yet he found ways to give within the framework of his circumstances. He could have felt sorry for himself, just as his friend did. He didn’t. He glowed with the innocent joy of all those who give without expecting anything in return. He saw his challenging life script as an opportunity. He rose above his weaknesses. You can too.

Commit yourself to a cause greater than your desires. You too can serve and give at anytime and under any circumstance. Make your commitment to give, rather than to get. Avoid the desire for the trappings found on the surface of life. Dive deep and discover the gems hidden within your character. Find your unique gifts and apply them in service to your fellow man and to the other beings you share this beautiful planet with. You can always choose to smile at the circumstances of life. Rise above them. You are bigger than they are. Be happy. It is a choice. Will you make it?

Affirmation:

I Am here to serve and I do so wholeheartedly.

  

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Here’s a link to a related blog on Gross National Happiness.

 

Bhutan's New King

Bhutan's New King

I reprint the following article in full. Isn’t it interesting how some of the best ideas come from the smallest coutries. Bhutan demonstrates a concept, Gross National Happiness, we can all learn from. Is Keynesian economics dead?

John

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Report from Bhutan: Gross National Happiness (GNH) versus Gross National Product (GNP)
Written by Junko Edahiro

Following the reports on China in our November and December issues in 2008 as part of our evolution toward “Asia for Sustainability” (AFS), JFS co-founder Junko Edahiro reports on a meeting she attended in Bhutan, the Fourth International Conference on Gross National Happiness (GNH).  It was held in Thimphu, the national capital, from November 24 to 26, 2008.

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an index used to measure national strength and progress based on people’s happiness, rather than on levels of production as measured by gross national product (GNP) and gross domestic product (GDP). This concept was described in 1976 by Bhutan’s fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, as “more important than GNP,” and was chosen as the nation’s primary development philosophy and its ultimate goal of development.

See also: GPI, GNH, GCH: True Indicators of Progress http://www.japanfs.org/en/mailmagazine/newsletter/pages/027838.html

The first International Conference on GNH to promote the concept and creation of a GNH index was held in Bhutan in 2004, the second in Canada in 2005, and the third in Thailand in 2007.

The theme of the fourth International GNH Conference was “Practice and Measurement,” indicating a step forward into a new phase focusing more on how to reflect GNH in policies, and how to grasp the current situation and measure progress, rather than considering GNH as simply a principle or philosophy.

A total of 90 people from 25 countries attended the conference, with about 10 from Japan, which was the second highest number of attendees next to Bhutan. In the morning of the first day, the organizer gave opening remarks after a ceremony conducted by Bhutanese monks, then H. E. Jigmi Y. Thinley, the first prime minister of Bhutan following the country’s shift to a democratic parliamentary system, gave the keynote address.

The prime minister touched upon the words of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bhutan’s fifth king, who, in his coronation address the week before the conference, clearly said that the “promotion of GNH was his responsibility and priority.” The prime minister in his speech also repeatedly said that GNH lies at the foundation of Bhutan‘s national policies. He also noted that, while most believe economic growth is necessary in order to alleviate poverty, “to believe this is to believe in killing the patient in order to cure the disease. Even the justification for economic growth for poverty alleviation seems very shaky, unless we radically improve redistribution.”

After the opening ceremony, the general meeting began, and one of the highlights was the announcement of the GNH Index by the Centre for Bhutan Studies. The idea of GNH is well-known, but how can it be measured? This is what the world wants to know today.

Bhutan has made four pillars of GNH the basis of its major governance

principles: economic self-reliance, a pristine environment, the preservation and promotion of Bhutan’s culture, and good governance in the form of a democracy. Nine dimensions support the four pillars: living standards, health, psychological well-being, education, ecology, community vitality, time use, culture, and good governance.

This time, in order to gauge the progress of advancement with the four pillars of GNH, 72 variables were selected to correspond to the nine dimensions, and a national survey was carried out. At the conference, a researcher from the Centre for Bhutan Studies presented the types of variables selected and an overview of the survey findings. Participants from other countries also gave papers on their studies and practices to measure happiness, which led to some lively discussions.

(See also the Gross National Happiness website, operated by the Centre for Bhutan Studies, for the GNH Index and the survey results, at www.grossnationalhappiness.com ).

While the Bhutanese government actively promotes GNH, this does not mean that it guarantees the people’s happiness. It simply promises, as the nation and/or the government, that it will work to create the conditions under which individuals can seek GNH.

During the conference, one Bhutanese participant said, “Bhutan should build its own GNH-based economy, politics, and culture. Considering GNH, it is clear that even democracy is not an end. Democracy is a means of good governance necessary for GNH.” From such comments, I could sense a move to start considering GNH as a foundation of nation building, not just as a concept or an index, as many people think.

Obviously, Bhutan is not a utopia just because it advocates GNH. For example, in many areas of the country, infrastructure such as adequate water supply has yet to be developed well enough. The country also has many other problems related to modernization, particularly growing concern about an increase of juvenile crime and other social problems since the introduction of television.

In addition, even the term “GNH” is not specifically mentioned in Bhutan’s current tenth development plan. Later on, at the wrap-up session of the conference, a Bhutanese participant said that GNH should not be used to solve world issues but to solve national problems in Bhutan first.

The three-day conference was concluded with a strong message that putting GNH into the mainstream of Bhutanese politics will be a driving force in creating a more holistic society in the country. The next conference will be held in Brazil.

————————–

The fact that the prime minister gave the conference’s opening speech, with many ministers and cabinet officials in attendance, is an indication of the importance the government places on GNH. On the third day of the conference, I sensed the essence of GNH at an event at a luncheon hosted by the king, to which I was invited together with all the participants from outside Bhutan.

Prior to the lunch meeting, the newly coronated 28-year-old king stood in front of the entrance of the palace, shook hands with guests one by one, exchanged words for a while, and welcomed them all politely. I myself shook hands and talked with him for a while. There was no hurry with him at all to meet individually with the several dozens of guests.

He focused his entire attention on the here and now, serene like a calm lake. I sincerely felt that he cherished the time with me, and I was deeply impressed with this.

In regard to the character of the king, a person I interviewed who knows Bhutan well said, “At the coronation ceremony last week, citizens gathered from villages across the country to see him, even for just a glimpse, with many having made an overnight trip to get there. Tens of thousands of people stood in line. When people became impatient and were about to rush to him, the King took the microphone and said, ‘I promise to shake hands with the person at the end of the line. Please wait.’

When the time was almost running out, the King started walking and shook hands with everyone up to the last person and exchanged words, instead of standing in place and waiting to greet the people there.”

Also, as an example of the character of the former king, who established the basis of GNH, he administrated state affairs while living in a modest house, and when the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake hit Japan, he prayed for three days without eating.

When I talked with Bhutanese people, I felt that they sincerely admire and respect the fourth king. And also I could feel that the fifth king, just as his predecessor, wants to cherish his people in earnest.

After greeting the conference participants, the king entered the luncheon hall alone, and lined up for food just like the rest of us.

When he had his food, he seated himself at one of the tables and started talking with people around him while eating. Watching him, I realized in a true manner that the king embodies the essence of GNH as one that treasures his people one by one, as well as sensing the hearts of those who respect the king.

Setting the GNH Index itself is only a start. Creating an index and measuring progress is one thing, while the holistic idea that “there is something important in those unmeasurables” is another. The question is:

How do these ideas get incorporated into their principle goal of making the Index useful for Bhutan and the rest of the world?

This is a very important process unfolding. I would like to watch its progress and promote the idea with like-minded people and groups around the world who think there is something more important in life than GNP and GDP. If you too are trying to measure or visualize something along these lines and want to change society by communicating it, JFS would really like to hear from you.

Here’s a story that arrived in my inbox a while back. I have no idea of the original source. Do enjoy. It’s a wonderful story. 

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

 The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

 Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn and look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

 The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wondrous things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man had been blind and could not even see the wall, let alone the window or anything beyond it.  She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

 

Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own sometimes challenging situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy. “Today is a gift. That is why it is called The Present.”

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