How to Be Happy: Trust the Heart as Your Compass

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We humans are funny creatures. We often run from the things we most desire and chase the things that don’t truly fulfill us. If we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that we all want to be truly seen, understood and loved for who we are inside. When we are appreciated for outer things like achievements or looks, it gives us fleeting fulfillment as well as pressure to continue to produce more in order to receive further recognition. It’s a tiring and endless cycle.

When we feel comfortable to open up to someone and they easily understand and enjoy the essence of who we are, we feel joy. What a relief it is to be appreciated by simply being ourselves and not having to “do” anything. This type of genuine connection may seem like pure luck. In fact, the key to experiencing it more is to open our hearts.

As children our hearts are fully open and often unprotected. After a few (or many) hurtful and often confusing experiences, the instinctual response is to shut the heart tightly, construct thick protective barriers and move into the security of the intellect. The intellect feels safe because there are clear rules and parameters. 1+2=3. Using the intellect, the formula for fulfillment appears simple: Just figure out which actions are needed to create which results. So we follow the formula and achieve our goals yet somehow it leaves us feeling empty.

We are unique beings.  Logic doesn’t unlock the door to what makes us special; only our heart knows what lights us up inside.  How could society’s cookie cut norms perfectly fit the one-of-a-kind puzzle piece that we are?  When we engage in life from our hearts, we will experience the cold world coming alive again.  We will reawaken our childhood wonderment.   We will realize that life is not uncaring; we had simply shut down the pathway to the love, joy and passion available through the heart.

The heart and the intellect aren’t adversaries.  Utilized together, they form a powerhouse for our success and fulfillment.  Let the heart be our compass and the intellect be the navigator.  The heart points the way to our happiness.

Dreams Are a Tool for Self Awareness

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“The dream is a series of images, which are apparently contradictory and nonsensical, but arise in reality from psychologic material which yields a clear meaning.” -Carl Jung

Perhaps you have little time to read books or attend workshops.  You find meditation to be a struggle.  Yet you have a strong desire to know your Self deeply, to uncover the blocks that stand in the way of your fulfillment.  Then why not explore dreamwork?

Dreams are a fascinating tool for examining your own psyche, for bypassing your critical conscious mind to discover hidden treasures in your subconscious and superconscious minds.  During the day you may be blocking the subtle inner feelings from your emotions and intuition and instead favor your logical conscious mind.  In this way you can accomplish a lot, yet have a nagging feeling that something you can’t seem to place is missing.  

Without the restriction of the analytical mind blocking it, all that you haven’t been willing or able to look at can come up through dreams.   This is a gift!  Dreams are the pathway to the deep wisdom that lies submerged under all the daily activities.  Don’t disregard dreams as nonsensical.  They simply speak to you in a different language than you’re used to, through abstract sensory expression, much like art.

Similar to art, you understand a dream’s meaning by how it makes you feel.  Your feelings are the clues to the insights hidden in a dream.  As you focus on the feelings evoked through the dream, contemplate on if that resonates with your everyday life.  Perhaps in your dream you were trapped in a cave.  In what area of your life do you currently feel trapped?  Have you been ignoring that feeling, telling yourself it’s not so bad?  What wisdom is your dream pointing you to realize?

Dreams are a wellspring of self knowledge, which can propel your healing and personal growth.  They happen automatically every night.  Why waste this precious resource? 

You might be one of those who think you don’t dream.  Scientific research shows that we all dream.  So it’s just a matter of improving your recollection.  The easiest way is to keep a pen and notebook by the bed to record your dreams.  Don’t get out of bed when you first wake up.  Instead, grab the pen an notebook and write down any impressions from the night, even if it’s just a feeling or one image.  By doing this consistently, you will train yourself to remember your dreams and see improvement over time.  Happy dreaming!