By Salle Merrill Redfield
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SALLE MERRILL REDFIELD is the author of the bestseller
The Joy of Meditating. She also wrote and recorded the audio
programs The Joy of Meditating, The Celestine Meditations,
and Meditations for the Tenth Insight. Salle lectures
internationally on creating a joyful, purpose-filled life.
A native of Alabama, she resides in Florida
with her husband, James Redfield.
Salle writes a monthly column online in
The Celestine Journal.
It is accessible on her Web site:
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the following authors and publishers who have granted permission to use excerpts from the following works:
Information on the six human needs by Anthony Robbins © Anthony Robbins Companies. Reprinted by permission.
From Cancer as a Turning Point by Lawrence LeShawn. Copyright © 1989 by Lawrence LeShawn, Ph.D. Used by permission of Dutton, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.
Copyright information continued on page 143
Copyright © 1999 by Salle Merrill Redfield
All rights reserved.
Warner Books, Inc.
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com
First eBook Edition: November 2009
For my husband,
James Fulton Redfield,
a true friend and a real sweetheart
My heartfelt thanks to the following: John Winthrop Austin for never saying no all the times I asked for one more piece of research; my mother, Lulu Richardson, for her editing comments; my dear friend Savann Sherrill, whose ideas are intermingled with mine throughout this book; Larry Kirshbaum and Joann Davis for creating an avenue for my work; and most of all to my editor, Claire Zion, for her skillful editorial touch.
As we enter the new millennium, we seem to be doing so with a new sense of what life is about. If once we reduced our lives to a mere series of challenges—coming of age, finding a way to make a living, marrying and being good parents, getting our children through school, finding a way to retire, and facing death—we are now envisioning an existence almost unlimited in its possibilities for creativity and actualization. This new picture of "the good life" has been developing for many decades, arising out of the best of our religious traditions, the current research on highly creative individuals, and the recent interest in spirituality and prayer.
We know now that the idea of psychological growth—getting past all the things that hold us back and entering a state of mind that unleashes our best selves—is a real thing, and a step that everyone who wants to live fully must take.
Remarkable people have discernible traits in common, and it is no accident. At this point in history the process each of us must go through to recognize and cultivate these traits is clear. All that remains is for each of us to believe, to know that a better, more joyful life exists, and that such a life can be consciously created.
Key is the power of our own intention, that focus of mind that expects great things to happen. In the following pages, Salle explores how to use the mind to first understand our limiting habits and then to move through them, step by step, to find and actualize the personal dream that is our spiritual birthright.
When strong intention is combined with regular meditation, something magic begins to happen. We hear our inner voice, that intuitive faculty that serves to guide us through difficult times and toward our goals.
The fact is, we don't have to go through life alone, thinking we have to intellectually figure out every decision and course of action. There is within us, once we clear ourselves of the chatter in our lives, a higher knowing that helps us chart a truer course. All we have to do is decide to stop and listen, and to embrace this knowledge as our own.
Emerging is the secret of a joyous "good life." In the new millennium it will be common knowledge.
Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm
and our intelligence aglow.
Preparing for Joy
We are all capable of living lives characterized by great joy. Within each of us is an amazing human spirit that is strong enough to overcome pain and disappointment. And no matter what our current situation happens to be, or what beliefs we may currently harbor about ourselves, we can tap into that inner strength and wisdom and move forward to create more joy.
At times we diminish our ability to experience joy by being preoccupied with the past. When we do this, we allow what took place ten or twenty years ago to influence our lives more than what's currently happening. A disturbing childhood event can leave us frozen with doubt and fear. We may begin to believe consciously or unconsciously that we are either unable to have a happy life or are unworthy of having one. But these experiences can be transcended, opening us to a whole new level of joy.
Someone going through a divorce or a relationship breakup may think, "My life is ruined. I'll never be happy because she left me." He focuses more on his loss than on building a new life for himself. Anyone who has ever ended a relationship only to later enter into a better one knows that time heals this wound. The popular singer Garth Brooks expresses this idea beautifully in the song "Unanswered Prayers." In this song Brooks sings about running into his high school sweetheart and realizing how grateful he was that the relationship didn't work out. At the time it ended he felt pain about the loss. Since the breakup, however, he married a woman he truly loved, and because of all the love in this marriage he realized that the breakup was actually a blessing. The song serves as a reminder that sometimes when a prayer isn't answered, it is because there is something better in store for us. This is not to diminish the discomfort of a relationship ending. It can be painful and it takes time to heal. But it doesn't have to stop us from moving on and experiencing love again.
Financial strains and physical concerns can also leave us with little energy to create lives of joy. In such cases, the present situation can make us feel stuck and unable to move forward. Here it is very important to avoid the belief that our problems are somehow different from the problems other people have faced and are therefore unchangeable or special. Regardless of our situation, someone somewhere has already faced a similar set of circumstances and found a way to bring joy back into his or her life.
The fact is that none of us are entirely alone, facing insurmountable problems. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Most successful people have suffered disappointments and setbacks, if not utter failure. And everyone has had loss. It seems to come with the territory of being human. What also comes with the human condition is the ability to prevail over any challenge and to use our experiences for personal growth. For a while we may feel hopeless and unsure of what to do, but eventually we can find the strength and wisdom to use the experience for our highest good.
One person who has learned to use his experience to grow is a man I know named Jerry. To meet him, you would think he had lived a charmed life. He is strong, healthy, and always upbeat. Daily he concentrates on what he can do to make his dreams come true. Jerry faced the challenges of being a prisoner during the Korean War, having to learn to walk a second time after an injury, losing one home to an earthquake and another to a fire. He also lost a successful business due to a negligent business partner. Numerous tragedies have dotted his sixty-something years, yet Jerry still has a great belief in the miracle of life. His focus is on actualizing his goals and making others happy. When I call him and say, "Jerry, how are you?" his response is always, "If I were any better, I couldn't stand it."
I also know a woman named Gloria who has a deep love for life, even though she and her husband, Bob, lost their adult son to AIDS. They cared for him in their home the last two years of his life. It wasn't the first time she had faced tragedy. At another point in her life Gloria had been homeless and unable to care for her children because of her addiction to alcohol. She overcame her addiction and dedicated her life to helping others in similar situations. Gloria is a beautiful woman with an infectious laugh and a wonderful sense of humor. You never hear her lamenting her past. She is always focusing on her strong spiritual beliefs and how she can help someone in the present moment.
Neither Jerry nor Gloria has had an ideal life, yet both are purposeful and optimistic. They are good reminders that growing from painful experiences and living in the present moment are how we find joy and happiness.
There comes a point in each of our lives when we realize that we are responsible for our own joy. Long-lasting happiness can't come from another person or material possessions. We may enjoy being around people and developing rich relationships, and we can find short-term pleasure in a new car, house, or computer. After a while, though, we take things for granted. Our possessions don't shine as brightly as they did when we first acquired them. And the people we are closest to will sometimes disagree with us or need to focus their attention elsewhere.
Having the day-to-day joy we long for comes from understanding our basic human needs and developing ways to meet them. Abraham Maslow, a founder of modern humanistic psychology, has theorized that we have certain primary desires that must be satisfied in order for us to flourish. Maslow constructed a basic hierarchy of needs that many theorists have acknowledged and built upon. This hierarchy ranges from the basic need for food and shelter all the way to the higher need for purpose and self-actualization.
Anthony Robbins, author of Awaken the Giant Within, is a contemporary author who offers a classification of higher need that I find helpful. He talks about six human needs that people continuously seek to meet either consciously or unconsciously as they strive to survive and function at various levels of personal development in the world: certainty, uncertainty/variety, significance, connection, growth, and contribution.
In our need to have certainty in our lives, we pursue our basic physiological needs as well as a stable environment of peace, love, and joy. We pursue our need for uncertainty through variety, surprise, and small challenges. Our need for significance is met when we are recognized and appreciated by others and acknowledged for our contributions. Connection comes from loving others, being loved, and feeling a sense of belonging. This includes a connection to God or the divine source of all that is the universe. The need to grow is met by traditional education, individual exploration, and study, and most of all through life experiences. And the need to make a contribution and leave a legacy is fulfilled by finding work that has purpose, volunteering our time, tithing our money, and parenting our children.
Certain activities meet a variety of our needs. A man can take his family on a vacation and feel a sense of significance by paying for the vacation, connection from being with people he loves, variety or uncertainty because he is visiting a new place, and growth because he will learn about the local culture.
As simple as these needs are, the challenge comes when we try to find our unique style for meeting them in positive ways. The need for significance could be met by becoming the president of a major company or by joining a gang and carrying a gun. For some people, abusing alcohol and using drugs temporarily meets the need for connection with others. Someone might feel certainty because the drug makes him feel better, at least for a while. And he gains significance because being drunk or high enables him to delude himself into feeling more self-esteem. This is one of the challenges of these addictions. They can seem to meet so many of a person's needs. Often we are hooked before we realize that the alcohol or drug's ability to meet our needs is just an illusion.
The same idea applies to food. We can be certain that a little comfort food during times of stress will make us feel better, and there is an endless variety of foods to eat. Just look at all the ice cream flavors on the market. We get connection because we can be with friends while dining out. And significance comes in when someone eats only at the most popular restaurants or drinks only the best wines. We can also get significance by having the reputation of baking the best apple pie in our community. Food can be one of the greatest pleasures in life. It can also lead to obesity, disease, and various eating disorders if it becomes our only method of meeting our needs.
This is why learning to meet our needs consciously is so important. If we have a pattern of meeting our needs in destructive ways, we have to be wary. We need to learn to first understand which needs are being met by our destructive behavior and then look for another way to meet them. The same needs that we have seemed to satisfy through the abuse of food, alcohol, shopping, or sex can be met in a healthier, more productive manner.
Become an expert at recognizing how you are meeting your needs. If there is something you love to do, notice which needs are getting met. If there are activities you have to do but don't like, look closely at your reaction and notice which needs are not being met.
Beliefs About Life
- On Sale
- Nov 29, 2009
- Page Count
- 160 pages
- Grand Central Publishing