This month, I’d like to return to one of my first western spiritual teachers Ken Keyes. He wrote the Handbook to Higher Consciousness and many other books. One of them was called “Three Prescriptions for Happiness.”
Here are his three prescriptions. They are perfect advice for breathworkers!
1. Ask for what you want—but don’t demand it.
When you are demanding instead of preferring, you lose insight, humor, enjoyment, the feeling of love, and you lose your peace of mind. Gently letting go of the demands and attachments of your mind represents the highest level of true strength and character in a human being.
Remember that a lot of suffering is caused by the mind that automatically takes offense at what’s happening. How long are you going to let your mind destroy your happiness? It’s your choice how you operate your mind and how you live your life. You can choose and change your internal emotional experience. You’ll be surprised how often things will change and give you what you want—without your having to demand, manipulate or force anything or anyone.
2. Accept whatever happens—for now.
The truth is we need to learn how to accept the unacceptable, forgive the unforgivable, tolerate the intolerable, get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and love the unlovable. We need to learn to take our finger off our internal emergency alarm button. We have to realize that most of our problems cannot be solved by triggering our primitive fight or flight response. Do you really think your survival is threatened by the stuff that you react to in your life? Tell your mind that what looks like a catastrophe just ain’t so! Make a list of things you could not stand a year ago or the year before last and see that you can now emotionally accept some of them. This is called growth.
“Accept whatever happens—for now” doesn’t mean you have to like what’s happening. It doesn’t mean you have to stop trying to change what’s happening. It doesn’t mean you have to think that whatever happens is right. It means that you stop making yourself afraid, angry, resentful, worried—and unhappy.
Wisely letting go conserves your energy, clears your mind, gives you sharper insights, enables you to enjoy the here–and–now moment in your life, and helps you increase your love for yourself and others.
3. Turn up your love—even if you don’t get what you want.
Love means tearing down the separateness and the boundaries between your heart feelings and another person. Love is just a feeling of togetherness and openness in your heart. When you love someone, it means that he or she is putting you in touch with a part of you that you love in yourself. Conversely, when you’re rejecting someone, he or she is only doing what you would strongly reject in yourself.
Love is a feeling of closeness, warmth, non-separateness, understanding, togetherness, of oneness. Love is not a matter of what happens in life. It’s a matter of what’s happening in your heart. You don’t love people because they desperately want your love. You don’t love people because they need it. You don’t love people because they deserve it. You don’t love people because you want them to love you (some may not allow themselves to love you). You just love them because they are there!
Loving more and demanding less are not only the nicest things you can do for yourself. They’re also the most caring things you can do for the whole world! Remember that you don’t turn up your love in order to be nice to others. You turn up your love to be nice to yourself! It takes skill and insight to use these Prescriptions for Happiness. They’re not as easy as taking a pill. You have to work with your desire systems, your ego, your selective memory, your mental habits, your emotions, and the illusions of pride and prestige.
Your mind will come up with lots of reasons for not doing your inner work. Your mind’s really good at this. Don’t let the mind that you’re trying to retrain talk you out of doing it!
I’ll end with one of my favorite Ken Keyes teachings:
“We’ve got to convince our egos and our minds that if we want to live long happy lives, love is more important than anything else.”
Good luck in your practice, and many blessings on your path!