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Reclaiming Authentic Happiness
The Wisdom of Serenity
Reclaiming authentic happiness
Copyright © 2010 – Christopher Foster – All Rights Reserved
Introduction Facing our feelings Defeat is not a possibility You are not your role Life is so simple You are not really frail at all Creation loves to hear your voice Be still, and know The joy on the other side of despair Only Joy’s body died… The magic of your chuckle One of God’s greatest joys See the Angel in everyone Got a difficult decision to make? 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 15 15 16 The secret of resilience Face your fear A practical remedy for anxiety 17 18 19
You have no idea how much you are loved 20 Trailing clouds of glory The illusion of original sin Wisdom is born of stillness A gracious hand is on your life Your true name is bliss The indomitable spirit Thank You About the author Copyright info 20 21 21 21 21 22 23 24 25
ourage is something we all need in these difficult times when all that is dear to us can change – or even dissolve – with scarcely a moment’s notice.
I was brought up in London and was a child in London when the blitz began in World War II. Winston Churchill, who held England together in those dark days, said on one occasion: “Courage is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality that guarantees all the rest.”
But as important as courage is to our lives, I believe there is something else that is even more important. And that is to come to a place within ourselves where we know for ourselves the timeless serenity and happiness that already exists at the core of our being.
Everything changes when we touch this enduring peace in ourselves and realize this is who we truly are. I hope this little book will help you on your journey to increasing freedom and joy.
Facing our feelings
t’s rare for my wife JoAnn and me to get in a fight anymore, but we did the other morning. It wasn’t a big fight, and it didn’t last long, but it was intense while it
lasted. We worked through the situation as best we could and I retired to my office muttering to myself that I needed to get back to work.
But it didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t the first order of business. It was much more important just to be still, and let my connection with the core of myself be renewed.
And so I sat back in my chair and just let everything go. When thoughts about the argument rose up clamoring for attention – or any other thoughts – I let them all go. And as I did this I became more and more aware of the stillness and peace that is always with us at the core of our being.
It doesn’t come from some external source. It doesn’t come from a book, or from another person, or even from a belief. It is our own peace, and all we have to do to reconnect with it is surrender. Then there it is – bathing our mind and heart with bliss, washing away the tension in our body.
Defeat is not a possibility
s far as you are concerned, defeat is not even a possibility. You are a Child of Light, and the Light that is in you is the same Light that rules the universe and
shines in the stars and in the eye of the eagle and the deer.
So take heart. Just because things did not go so well today does not mean anything. Let stillness be your friend. Is your mind busy? Are your feelings churning away like an angry sea? That’s all right. At the core of your being is peace, a serene, timeless peace that cannot be shaken by anything that happens in this external world.
Turn to this place of peace deep within your own being. As often as your heart fills with dismay, or your mind rushes off like an angry terrier to grapple with this fear or that, bring your attention back to what is timeless and free and can never be defeated.
You are not your role
our role or position in this world is not who you are, and that is very good news. You are love and truth. You are already happy, and already free. The world may
say, “Ah, there goes the CEO of a company. Or a janitor, or doctor, or a homeless person. But none of it is true. You are eternal, and timeless, and free.
I was a child in London at the beginning of World War II when the urge to write suddenly rose up in me. Someone had given me a large scrapbook, and I began to write a story in it. I remember still the exhilaration I felt as I wrote that story – something to do with two children exploring the depths of an unknown river.
Writing has been my love all my life but it is not who I am. I am happiness and bliss, the same as you.
Life is so simple
ife is so simple, and our culture tries to make it so complicated. You have been given this little human vessel, frail and yet marvelously made, through
which to express the timeless qualities of Love and Truth, your own true character. And that’s it.
Why search desperately here, there and everywhere for fulfillment when it is already present within you, requiring merely the courage to let it be expressed and fulfilled in your living?
Do not believe it when your mind says you need to achieve something special in the world to find meaning. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But you already have meaning, just as the flowers and the stars and the earth itself have meaning.
You are Eternal Love, and what could have greater meaning than that? You can express it anytime too – in the poorest or finest of circumstances.
You are not really frail at all
es, your body has its limitations. It’s weak, and frail, at the mercy of sickness and adversity and death. But there is another part of you that is forever free. It’s not
frail at all.
It is changeless, and deathless. It does not have a name. It is who you truly are and it is untouched by any human troubles. Unborn, undying, it is the source of everything that is beautiful and true. Find rest in the pure peace of your own being.
Creation loves to hear your voice
ou are here to be a blessing to all creation, including your own body and mind. Sometimes in a difficult situation they long for the comfort and courage that only
the sound of your own voice can give… I first discovered this many years ago when I nearly started a major forest fire while burning brush on a ranch in British Columbia. As flames began spreading out in an ever widening circle, threatening a nearby haystack and surrounding forest, I became anxious and tried to beat out the flames with a shovel as quickly as I could. Unfortunately, when I looked back behind me I saw that the flames I thought I had extinguished were starting up again. It was a moment of truth. I realized that I simply must not panic or the fire would get away from me. I began saying softly to myself over and over again, “It’s all right, it’s all right.” The words flowed out from some source deep within and helped me stay calm as I worked my way slowly and deliberately around the circle of flames, making absolutely sure one little section of fire was out before I moved on to the next...
It took an eternity, or so it seemed. But finally I stood up straight and looked around – there was no fire to be seen anywhere and the meadow was at peace again.
Be still, and know
ne of my favorite quotes of all time is this one from Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Tomorrow, as they say, is another day. But this moment is also unlived as yet. How about letting it be used simply to be still? When you are willing to stop whatever it is you are doing for a moment, and honor the simple instruction of the Psalmist, you will make an extraordinary discovery.
You will realize the outer world is not quite as important as you thought. Success, failure, loss, achievement – how can they compare with the conscious awareness of our own eternal presence: the very source of all true courage, and wisdom, and happiness.
The joy on the other side of despair
espair has gripped me by the throat and tried to kill me a number of times. You may be living a happy and blessed life and despair may be a stranger to you and
if so that is wonderful. But just in case you or someone close to you is looking despair in the eye I want to say this: There is a light on the other side of despair.
A few years ago, without any warning, depression – or possibly a spiritual crisis – began sapping my spirit and eating away at my body. It lasted for nine months and reached a low point when I stepped on the scale in a therapist’s office and saw my weight was down from 150 pounds to 128 lbs.
I had seen an array of healers but not one of them had been able to heal me. I gave myself up for lost, and to be honest, would have been quite happy to leave this world. But then an interesting thing happened. For some mysterious reason no one could understand, particularly my primary care doctor, I began to put on weight and my energy began to return. I was made whole again – in fact I emerged from the whole terrifying ordeal in much better shape than I had been before.
How did it happen? I don’t know. It wasn’t medications, because I had stopped taking
them. Perhaps grace brought me through and opened my heart to the authentic happiness of my own being. Trust life. It does indeed work in mysterious ways its wonders to perform.
Only Joy’s body died …
et’s look at death for a moment, shall we? We’ve talked sex to death. We’ve talked money and politics and celebrities to death. Why not talk about death itself
– the big elephant in the room that everyone tries to ignore?
A long time ago – another lifetime it seems now – I lost my first wife, Joy, quite suddenly when she suffered a stroke on an airplane as we were returning to British Columbia from a holiday in the Caribbean.
Joy was taken to hospital in Vancouver in a coma. As I watched her quietly slipping away – I was absolutely numb with shock – Joy opened her eyes for a moment and looked at me. I had the feeling she wanted to say something, and as I bent my head close to hers, I heard her whisper a single word – “Home.”
It was a moment I shall never forget. I believe Joy wanted to give me strength for the journey ahead. She wanted me to know she was not “dying,” as we tend to think of death – but was simply releasing a physical form which no longer served her. We are Children of Light and death is very, very different than anything we have supposed.
The magic of your chuckle
rushing stream has a magical sound as it hurries down a mountain – but your chuckle is much more magical. It must be because you have a unique part to play
in letting the true character of Love and Truth be revealed through you in blessing to the rest of creation.
One of God’s greatest joys
ne of God’s greatest joys – hearing one of his children laugh.
See the Angel in everyone
ee the Angel in everyone – it raises the odds they will see the light that is burning in you.
Got a difficult decision to make?
o one but you knows what you should do with your life. You have to trust yourself – trust a source of wisdom within yourself even though its counsel may
seem totally outrageous to your family or others around you.
Many years ago I was a young man of 23 working as a reporter on a large London newspaper with a promising career ahead of me. The only trouble was that I was very, very unhappy. I was sure there was a deeper meaning and purpose in life than I saw reflected in the world around me – but what was it?
It was as if something was calling me. Then one day a wild and wonderful idea came to me: “Go to British Columbia and you’ll find what is calling to you.” I knew it was no use talking to my parents. They would be horrified. As I wrestled with the situation an inner voice spoke again: “Go and spend a day by the sea and you will know what to do.”
So I caught a train to the Sussex coast and walked along the spectacular cliffs called the Downs. As skylarks sang all around me my worries vanished and I knew deep in my heart that it was the right thing for me to go to British Columbia.
You are not alone. You have not been left bereft. Listen to the wisdom of the universe speaking to you in your heart and you will know what to do.
The secret of resilience
esilience is the very core of the divine character, as critical to our happiness and inner peace as water is to a healthy body.
Outside my front door there is a beautiful blue spruce tree that is probably about 30 feet high. Every day I sit on the porch and admire this noble tree and the impeccable grace with which it meets life. If it is calm, the tree is calm. If the wind blows up, the branches do not resist – they simply move gracefully back-and-forth – dancing with the wind as it blows.
Be like the blue spruce tree. Trust life. Dance with life. Bend, but do not break in the face of life’s challenges and tribulations…
Face your fear
he next time fear comes up don’t try to ignore it or fight it or run away from it. It doesn’t work. Turn and face the demon you may have been running from your
whole life. You don’t have to be aggressive, brandish a gun or a sword or anything like
Don’t do anything. Just let the fear be present, neither resisting it, nor embracing it. Be willing simply to feel it.
It’s uncomfortable to feel fear without reacting to it or trying to get rid of it. But when you meet fear in this way and stay with it something remarkable happens. You realize that the stillness of your own being hasn’t gone anywhere. It is with you now in the midst of fear just as it is at any other time.
Give thanks for this still presence of God – your own presence – and what was fear one minute will turn out to be something quite different. As Gangaji, a wonderful teacher, puts it: “When you stop and open to what you have resisted throughout time, you find that fear is not fear. Fear is energy. Fear is space. Fear is the Buddha. It is Christ’s heart knocking at your door.”
A practical remedy for anxiety
re you feeling anxious about something? Stressed out? Do you long to find more peace and well-being in your life?
Do this. I make it a regular practice every evening. Find a comfortable chair and a quiet corner, and begin breathing in and out with your abdomen. Make sure only your belly moves. Put a hand on your chest to help keep your chest still.
The idea is to time yourself and bring your breathing rate down to below ten breaths a minute. I find I settle in at a nice rhythm of six breaths a minute and I feel wonderful. This is called abdominal or therapeutic breathing. Again, only your belly moves. Before long you will begin to yawn, which is a good sign – it shows you are beginning to relax and more oxygen is flowing through your system.
You may find that regular therapeutic breathing along this line every evening sets you up for a marvelous sleep. It does me. I also believes it helps my blood pressure.
You have no idea how much you are loved
ou have no idea how much you are loved. You may think you are alone, but you are not. You part of an intelligent, exquisitely orchestrated Whole that is doing
everything everywhere simultaneously – in this universe and anywhere else.
It sees you, and loves you – and if you cut your finger, it is there in a flash to bring healing. You are part of the Whole, and the Whole is part of you, and you are not unimportant at all.
Trailing clouds of glory
o you think you have suffered a major trauma in your life? I know I have been quite proud of all my tragedies. But ultimately, it’s an illusion. We have all
suffered abuse in various ways in this world. But we are Children of Light manifest in human form – come to earth, as the poet Robert Browning beautifully said, “Trailing clouds of glory from afar…” The one who you truly are is untouched and unhurt by any of the dramas and tragedies of your life.
The illusion of original sin
isten to a child laughing and know that the idea of original sin is an illusion. Yes, we are all born into an unhappy situation on this planet, and it conditions us in
many ways. But back of your conditioning the truth of you is exemplary and divine, unspotted through time.
Wisdom is born of stillness
thought born of stillness will not only be a beautiful thought. It will also be wise –which is even more important.
A gracious hand is on your life
rust the goodness of life, and trust the wisdom of your own beautiful spirit. There is a gracious hand on your life which knows what is right for you and the direction
your life should take in any moment.
Your true name is bliss
our true name is not John, or Arthur, or Elizabeth. It is bliss. It is bliss. It is bliss.
The indomitable spirit
y father was 95 when he died, and the last time I saw him was at the railway station at Pevensey Bay in Sussex, England. I had been over to visit him and we
had a short holiday together. We said goodbye and I passed through the ticket barrier, but then I looked back to catch a last glimpse of him.
He was 6’ 3”. But he stood straight as a soldier on parade as he walked slowly and carefully toward the exit, using a stick to keep his balance each time he took a small step forward. How I cherish those last few moments and the memory of his indomitable spirit.
We will not fulfill our destiny or find the lasting happiness that is rightly ours on this planet without the indomitable spirit that is part of our true character.
My mentor used to say we are like a beautiful masterpiece that has been covered over by imitations and forgeries. It is time to let the conditionings that have obscured your true beauty and greatness be swept away – and the masterpiece revealed.
hank you for joining me on this journey. I wish you increasing freedom and joy, and I hope in one way or another we can stay in touch. I’d love to hear from you
anytime at email@example.com and of course I’d love to have you as a regular visitor to my blog.
Also, please know that I plan to offer some kind of online workshop or retreat to carry forward the message of this book.
If you enjoyed this free offering please support the book and my work.
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About the author
hristopher Foster started his blog, The Happy Seeker, in May 2009. He lives with his wife
JoAnn in a charming little townhome in south Denver, Colorado, where after 12 years he still can’t get used to the blue skies and sunshine. He has one son, Durwin, who lives in Vancouver with his wife Wendy and their three bright-as-buttons children.
Foster was born in London. He worked as a junior reporter on the South London Press, and then joined a business magazine in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). After traveling the world he joined the Daily Express in London, planning to settle down. But it didn’t work. An intense urge to find the truth of existence took him to British Columbia, where he was a weekly newspaper editor, author, and lived for many years in a spiritual community.
Foster is the author of five books. His last book, The Raven Who Spoke with God, a story of a remarkable young raven named Joshua, has been published in 11 languages.
All rights reserved. The copyright of this book belongs solely to the author. Cover image from istockphoto.com
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