Heavenly Here

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The purpose of this publication is to guide you on a path.  The path leads to a life that is more rewarding, magnificent, and blissful than many believe is possible.  If you choose to follow it, the path will bring incredible happiness, love, peace, and fulfillment to you... a life which is absolutely heavenly.  

 

The author personally believes there is an even better life after this one (i.e. "the" heaven). However, this guide is not religious, it's written for people of all faiths.  This guide's claim is that you can create a life here that is "a" heaven --a life that is nothing less than awesome!  This destination can be reached regardless of your current situation or the circumstances of those surrounding you.  By learning and adopting the practices and behaviors explained in this guide, you can begin seeing immediate, significant improvements to your life.  Of course, for this to work, you must truly want to have a heavenly existence; you must decide to have a magnificent life rather than a mediocre one.  Then you must do what is necessary to attain it.  This guide can help you get there.  So... if you'd like to start living a heavenly life as soon as possible, then read on....

 

 

THE FIRST STEP:  GAIN CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS

 

To attain a heavenly existence, it’s necessary to feel, nurture, and focus on positive thoughts and emotions; these promote happiness.  We also must learn to quickly let go of the negative thoughts and emotions which inhibit happiness (or, even better, replace them with positive ones). 

 

Positive emotions include love, feeling happy, joyful, grateful, peaceful, accepting, trusting, safe, etc.  You’ll notice that some of these emotions are inter-related. 

 

Negative emotions also tend to be inter-related.  Some negative emotions include fear, anger, hate, prejudice, frustrated, worried, greed, possessiveness, distrust, jealousy, etc.

 

We want to focus on having positive emotions.  Fortunately, mastering positive thoughts and emotions can automatically alleviate negative ones.  However, certain negative emotions such as anger and fear shouldn’t be eliminated completely because they can sometimes be necessary or helpful to us.  When anger is healthy, it can motivate us to resolve problems and bad situations.  Fear can be a life-saving instinct when danger is near.  However, when anger or fear is disproportionate, irrational, based on prejudice, motivated by misunderstanding, or results in harm to others or ourselves, then anger and fear are very destructive.

 

Now we’ll talk about thoughts.  They are incredibly powerful because thoughts create our reality.  For example, people can perceive themselves as prosperous or lacking.  No matter how much we have, if we don't think we have enough then we're poor.  A person can own a 1,700 square foot home and feel that it's too small, while a homeless person (i.e., has a 0 sf home) can feel he has everything he needs.  In this instance, the homeless person is richer than the homeowner. 

 

“Reality" is the result of perception.  Therefore, to feel as though you live in a heaven, you must perceive that you live in a heaven. Furthermore, thoughts generate our emotions.  Positive thoughts generate positive emotions.  Neutral thoughts can also generate positive emotions such as peacefulness and acceptance.  Negative thoughts generate negativity.

 

It’s very important to be aware that negativity reduces happiness.  Therefore, if you’re going to attain a heavenly existence, you must defeat negativity.  Negative thoughts keep us living in darkness (many past and present philosophers have associated negativity with evil).  In order to live in light --to live the ultimate heavenly existence-- one must cast off negativity.  Instead, we must perceive our environment, our circumstances, and other individuals either neutrally or in a positive light.

 

For ultimate happiness, it’s crucial to replace negativity with a sense of gratitude for our lives and our world, and to focus on what is good, not what is bad.

 

 

MARVELOUS THINGS SURROUND US

 

There is so much that is good in our world, so much to appreciate.  For example, we’re surrounded by marvelous things!  We own or have access to many, many things which enhance our lives in countless ways.  These things work and function almost all of the time.  In America, when we wake up each morning, most of us have all of the following terrific things:  A home, a bed with linens, an alarm clock, working electricity, running water, functioning toilet, operating sink, hot shower, toothbrush, hygiene supplies, sufficient clothing, shoes, a phone, a cold refrigerator containing food, a stove, a microwave, dishes, a TV, a comfortable seat for watching TV, and a vehicle available to us or public transportation.  Most of these work at least 99% of the time.  And many of us are blessed with other great things which enhance our lives, such as a cell phone, internet access, cable TV or satellite, computer, camera, electronic games and other things which entertain us, etc.  Aren't they all great?  They certainly help create a heavenly existence for us.

 

There are also countless wonderful things outside of our homes, such as:  grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, paved roads, working traffic lights, schools, daycare centers, video stores, movie theaters, skating rinks, bowling alleys, sports arenas, places to dance, live music venues, comedy houses, fine arts centers, museums, restaurants, coffee shops, lounges, ice cream parlors, playgrounds, youth and senior centers, restorative spiritual sanctuaries and churches.  There also are beautiful parks. Flowers. Trees.  Blue sky and  Sunny days. Impressive city skylines!  Stunning autumn colors, gorgeous mountains, aqua oceans, calming rivers, peaceful lakes, lush green forests, full moons, awe-inspiring sunsets, hiking trails and walkways with amazing scenery [in Arkansas, there are areas that are downright breathtaking!]

 

Additionally, there are countless delightful things to taste, smell, touch, and hear.

 

But definitely more precious than all of these things is…. PEOPLE!....

 

 

WONDERFUL PEOPLE SURROUND US

 

Our lives are blessed every day with so many wonderful people.  Every day, our paths intersect numerous people behaving with kindness, goodness, honesty, courteousness, and/or common decency.  Of course, each day, we’re likely to encounter someone behaving rudely (since everyone is rude occasionally, particularly when we're running late or under a lot of stress or pressure).  But overall, the number of good, honest, kind, courteous, and/or decent behaviors by people far outnumber their poor ones.  People are very good most of the time.

 

If you have difficulty believing in the goodness of people, then count the number of people who are mean or unkind to you today.  Compare that to the number of people who are not mean or unkind to you.  Also, observe all the people who act nicely or pleasantly toward you.  Try to notice every time that someone smiles at you, asks how you're doing, switches lanes or slows down for you to merge from an exit ramp, holds the elevator, or extends any of innumerable other nice gestures toward you during any single day.  If you haven't been perceiving the vast majority of people as good and decent, you can now see that they're much nicer than you've been giving them credit for.

 

Furthermore, people are noble and chivalrous.  Each and every day, people everywhere take care of their responsibilities.  They contribute to our society in so many ways to make it run smoothly.  People obey laws and traffic lights, they stand in lines without butting in front of others, they pay taxes, they feed their families (sometimes by working multiple jobs).  Convenience store employees report to work at 4 a.m., mail couriers deliver over a thousand pieces each day, nurses heal the sick, teachers teach our kids, police and fireman protect us, hardworking people fix our heaters and air conditioners, repair our toilets, build and maintain our roads, install traffic lights, work at grocery stores, sell us shoes and clothing…. the list goes on and on.  People everywhere are making contributions in their own ways.  People are so admirable.

 

Additionally, people often do favors for others.  People take care of their loved ones, participate in school PTA's, coach kids, visit friends in hospitals, and attend funerals of their friends' loved ones.  There are also many, many people who volunteer their time to good causes or who donate to charitable organizations.  

 

People do so much good.

 

But... that's not what we're told.....

 

 

THE WORLD IS MUCH SAFER THAN IT IS PORTRAYED TO BE

 

Instead of being told that people are wonderful, we're constantly receiving negative messages from society and the media, telling us to not trust others, telling us there are lots of bad people out there and that we don't live in a good and safe world.  It's so sad that we're fed this mis-information.  It can blind us from seeing how wonderful and trustworthy people actually are.  Many people live in fear that someone will take advantage of them, hurt them, or steal from them.  We fear that bad people, criminals and even potential murderers are relatively nearby.  Let's take a few minutes to ponder the actual likelihood of this: Compare the number of people who have taken advantage of you versus the number of people who haven't.  Compare the number of people who have physically harmed you during your lifetime to the number who haven't.  Compare the number who have stolen from you versus the number of people who haven't.  And how many murderers have you encountered?  Now think of the number of people you've encountered who protect others --law enforcement officers, security guards, teachers, parents, the many men with protective instincts for women and children.  Compare this to the number of bad people you just counted.  How unsafe can our world actually be when there are few criminals but so many watchers and protectors?

 

The analysis we just did reveals that thieves, thugs, bad people and murderers are actually very rare.  Many of us have been living in much more fear than is merited.  You've probably noticed that news programs, certain other media, and sometimes our government give far more airtime to the prevalence of violence, burglary, murder, tragedies, and "enemies" than their actual prevalence in our world.  When news programs spend the majority of their time focusing on what is bad, unfortunate, or tragic --when those types of occurrences are actually less than 1% of all events-- it's being advertised to us that we should live in fear.  We're being taught that we live in an unsafe, distressful, unpleasant world.  Fear is very concerning when applied to a mass population because it weakens them and makes it much easier to control and manipulate them politically and otherwise.  Collectively, many Americans now fear certain nations.  To keep this fear in perspective, we need to remind ourselves that the last time the U.S. was attacked by another country was at Pearl Harbor in World War II.  (Note that the Twin Tower buildings weren’t attacked by another country, they were attacked by the demented organization Al-Qaeda (and, contrary to rumor, the hijackers weren’t sponsored by Afghanistan or Iraq; none of the 19 hijackers were from Afghanistan or Iraq.) 

 

Try to be aware that we live in a culture that promotes excessive fear.  However, our world is not a scary one; the "facts" presented to us have been very, very skewed.  If fear has an irrational grip over you --if you feel as though you live in an unsafe world rather than one that is safe almost everywhere almost all of the time --then begin to unshackle yourself from that wicked grip of fear.  It’s impossible to live a heavenly existence if you live in fear and/or don’t trust other people enough.  Fear and distrust rule in a hell, not in a place which is heavenly.

 

Also, don’t let mis-information, prejudice, negative media and societal messages keep you from seeing how wonderful people are.  And recognize that people are wonderful everywhere, in every country across the globe. 

 

 

HOWEVER, THERE IS SUFFERING HERE, SO HOW CAN IT BE HEAVENLY?

 

It’s a fact that everywhere –our neighborhoods, our cities, our nation and our world –there are some bad people as well as tragedies and awful situations.  You might think it can’t possibly be heavenly here since terrible things do happen –and some of them can’t ever be eliminated.  Humans are flawed, people sometimes harm others, criminals exist, and our world does have locations with extreme poverty, wars, natural disasters, prejudice and hatred, exploitation, and some children and especially kind people suffer deadly illnesses.  Furthermore, we all personally experience terrible misfortunes from time-to-time.  Nonetheless, we must keep in mind that most of the time, for most people, things are good.  The number of minutes when we personally endure tragedy, significant misfortune, or other suffering are extremely miniscule relative to the number of minutes we experience a good life.  

 

We can also console ourselves that suffering and misfortunes do have a positive side because they enable us to appreciate when times are good.  If there weren't some awful things, we would probably take the wonderful, marvelous things and occurrences for granted.  One must feel gratitude in order to recognize that they're in a heaven.  Misfortunes and suffering make gratitude possible because they provide a comparative reference.  "Good" can't be comprehended unless "bad" has been experienced –and with the pain in recent enough memory.  Without a comparative reference, we would be unlikely to perceive or recognize when times and our surroundings are heavenly, rather than bad.  Thus, hardships can actually enable us to perceive and appreciate the times when life is heavenly.

 

There's another positive side of suffering.  Suffering causes us to become better, more evolved people.  From suffering comes personal growth, learning, greater wisdom, more compassion, and usually a stronger connection to God or our Higher Power.  When we become kinder, more compassionate, better people, we create a more heavenly world for ourselves as well as others.

 

The author personally believes wholeheartedly that we have a God, and that our God is infinitely compassionate and merciful. Thus, she does not believe that God ever wants us to suffer. She believes that hardships, diseases and tragedies are caused by various forces and phenomena --but not God.  However, God takes all of our lemons and turns them into lemonade. The author has faith that, no matter what happens, God will somehow enable a positive outcome or outcomes to eventually result. Again and again, we see good things come out of even the most terrible, atrocious experiences.

 

Thus, we can sometimes even feel gratitude for past hardships. 

 

 

THE NECESSITY OF GRATITUDE

 

And now we’ll talk more about gratitude, because gratitude is fundamental to happiness and having a heavenly life.

 

Regardless of our current situation, it’s essential to appreciate those countless blessings we have – and we have blessings all of the time, even during our hard times.  For example, when you’re in the middle of bad times, well at least you’re alive.  You were able to get out of bed that morning to experience another day of life, even if it’s not a good one.  And hard times always pass, at least eventually, and then things are good again ~ and they are for most of the days in your life.  Life is an amazing gift.  Furthermore, if you have at least fair health, then you're fortunate.  If you can use your arms and legs, then you're very fortunate (if you don’t think this is a big deal, just ask anyone who can’t get out of a wheelchair).  If you have hearing or are able to hear with hearing aids, then you're also very fortunate.  If you have sight, then you own a marvelous asset to be able to see all the wonderful people and things in our world.  Those of us with all of the above gifts can consider ourselves very lucky.

 

 

THE GIFT OF LOVE

 

The greatest gift of all, next to life itself, is: Love.  Love is the most potent ingredient of a heavenly life. 

 

Love is a blessing which you can have as much as you want.  There’s only so much you can do to improve your health, appearance and certain other aspects of your life, but you can experience limitless love.  Love is unlimited because you can create it by giving love to others.  When you give love to others, you personally feel and experience love. 

 

An intense and particularly fulfilling form of love usually accompanies our relationships with our children, spouse or partner, parents, siblings, and other relatives.  A very special love can also be felt with friends.  In fact, there are friends we care so deeply about --and who care so deeply about us-- that they become like family.  We sometimes choose certain people to "be" a parent, grandparent, sister, brother, or child to us.  In fact, we all know people who devotedly consider their pets to be their children!  The point is that you don’t have to have a spouse or partner, or living or emotionally close family members, to enjoy the amazing grace that comes from intense love. You might not have a “partner” but have an unattached single friend who you share many memorable times in your life with.  You might not have a family, but you can choose and create your own if you want to.

 

Of course, love doesn’t need to be limited to just family and friends.  In fact, it should not be.  In order to have a truly heavenly life, we must fill our lives with even more love than we can receive from those sources.  We must expand our love outside our inner circles.  Allow yourself to extend love very broadly -- don’t restrict it.  A heavenly world requires that we love many.  We can love our neighbors, co-workers, church members, customers, members of our social networks, teammates, classmates, students, patients, golf buddies, people who attend our gardening club, diving club or quilting circle, etc etc.  You can even feel love for strangers. When you reach that level of love, you begin to have a very profound effect on making the world a better place.

 

Love knows no bounds.  You might even consider Going Viral with your love by connecting to a much larger world.  With the World Wide Web, you can build relationships across the globe.  There are now so many mediums to do this: email, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, International Hospitality, CouchSurfer.com, and numerous international networking sites on the web.  It's no wonder that it’s called the World Wide Web.  The most fantastic thing about the internet is that it connects people.  We’re all part of one human race – we’re all ONE.  We’re all connected, like a Web.  And now we can be connected so easily!  (Thank God for the internet!)

 

Try to love as much and as many people and living beings as you can.  Your life will be incredibly enriched as a result.

 

(And, of course, if you believe in God, deeply love God, and allow an intimate connection with God, then you feel a very intense, constant, unconditional love from that source also.) 

 

 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LOVE AND FEEL LOVED?

 

Some people might want to know: what is the best way to love and feel loved?  The answer is: Give it!  Since we feel the emotion of love when we give it, then if we choose to give a whole lot, we'll feel very rich with love. 

 

Love is both intangible and tangible.  It can be seen tangibly through acts of generosity, caring, and kindness – these are how love is expressed.  There are some very quick, free, and easy ways to give and be kind to others.  One of the best and most effective ways to spread kindness is to SMILE. :)  Smiling is a wonderful way to extend friendliness, love and goodwill toward another. And it takes less than a second to move your face muscles into the smile position. :)  HUGS are another terrific way to share love and express caring.  Most people feel instantly warmed and more valued when they receive a hug.  Therefore, if someone feels comfortable with being hugged, then give them plenty.  Listening attentively to someone who needs to talk is another way to give; it shows that you care.  Strangers can also be given to, simply by waving, greeting them, or making light chat.  Extending friendliness and goodwill toward a stranger is a way of telling them that you're happy they're on this planet too.  That makes people feel good.

 

There are thousands and thousands of other ways to give and be kind to others.  Here are just a few possibilities: Give your mate a massage or back rub; bring him or her a cold drink or a mug of warm tea when they’re exhausted or stressed; play a game with your kid; take your kids to the park; send flowers to your Mom to let her know you appreciate her; share a funny email with friends; walk your dog; mail a card to someone you know is lonely; speak encouraging words to someone who needs to hear them; tip a few extra dollars; hold the door open for the person following a bit behind you; bake a birthday cake for a friend; volunteer at an animal shelter; volunteer at a women's shelter; serve meals at a homeless shelter; give $5 to a homeless person; donate clothing and blankets to a charity thrift shop; help an elderly person walk to a door; visit the infirm in a nursing home; deliver a valentine to an elderly widow on Val Day; visit a sick friend in the hospital; attend the funeral of a friends' loved one; sponsor a child from a third world country; donate to a food drive for Thanksgiving; contribute to Toys For Tots; organize a retirement farewell for a co-worker; bring donuts to work; straighten up the public restroom; carry a bag in your car or when walking so you can pick up litter near your path [note: this is one of the author's favorites since litter is so ugly.  If you know someone who litters, please urge them to stop. Ask them whether they want to leave the world an uglier place instead of a more beautiful one (or at least as nice as they found it).]  The above list could go on and on.  There's no shortage of ways to create a heaven here. :)

 

An additional benefit from giving is that we receive more from others when we give more to them. It’s always nice to be on the receiving end of gifts, too. :)

 

Thus, giving is Win-Win.  It feels terrific to give!  And as said before, when we express love, we feel love.  Therefore, the more you give, care, and are kind, the more heavenly your life will be.  Giving truly is a gift to the giver.

 

 

MAKE SURE YOU LOVE YOURSELF TOO!

 

We’ve now discussed the importance of loving others.  It’s very important to keep in mind that you must also love yourself.  Self-love is absolutely essential to happiness.

 

Self love comes from accepting yourself for who you are, and from treasuring yourself as an awesome, wonderful, amazing person.  Try to accept your flaws and weaknesses, and to focus on your many strengths and great qualities.  Of course, you can strive to overcome those traits you find undesirable.  It's especially good to defeat habits which are harmful to you.  However, if you're unable to change them, then just acknowledge that you're human and embrace the fact that you're still amazing, incredible, fantastic, and One Of A Kind. :)

 

 

ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS

 

The concept of acceptance involves acceptance of ourselves AND acceptance of others.  Just as we must accept ourselves for who we are, we must accept others for who they are.  We can’t change other people.  And everyone is imperfect, we’re all merely human. Thus, it’s best to just focus on a person’s good qualities and forgive their apparent shortcomings.  (Of course, if their shortcomings are detrimental to your own welfare, then you may need to distance yourself from them.)

 

Additionally, it’s impossible to accurately judge another person.  None of us has the omnipotent knowledge required to do that.  We're unable to stand in their shoes or read their minds.  We don't live their life, we haven’t lived their past, our minds don’t think alike, and we have different values.  Thus, let’s abandon our preconceptions and criteria for how we think others should be. People are who they are for reasons, and those reasons are beyond our mortal comprehension.

 

If we find ourselves making a negative judgment about someone, we can counter that by instantaneously making an allowance for them.  For example, let's say that John dislikes when a driver behind him quickly honks the horn after a traffic light turns green.  Because John considers that behavior to be rude, John thinks "What a jerk!" when someone does it.  Instead of thinking that a person is a jerk, John could make an allowance for the behavior.  He could instead think "Gosh, that person must be in a big hurry, I hope she makes it on time" or "That poor person must be under a lot of stress!"  Notice that these thoughts don’t color John's world negatively, but thinking "What a jerk!" does.  The fact is, there are a multitude of reasons why that driver honked her horn; there's no way for John to know why. We can counter a negative assumption by “making up” an excuse for the person’s behavior (such as “gosh, they’re in a hurry”) because that “reason” is just as likely to be true as any negative reason we could presume (such as “because they’re a jerk”).

 

Since we can't fully know the reasons behind others' behaviors, we can conclude that it’s good to Go Easy on people (including yourself).  People are so good so much of the time that they deserve to be given breaks.  Besides, we’re all just human.

 

 

"THE OPPOSITE OF ACCEPTANCE"

 

The opposite of acceptance is: Prejudice.  If we want to live in a more heavenly world, we must work together to abolish prejudice.  Prejudice results in feelings of hatred, disdain and distrust of others.  And, tragically, feelings of hatred, disdain and/or distrust can breed acts of violence --including war, the ultimate execution of violence.

 

Extensive research has proven that prejudice is irrational, and that when a stereotype or generalization is applied to any particular individual, it’s frequently wrong.  Charles Stangor Ph.D. is currently one of the most respected researchers and authors in that field of research.  In his highly respected book “Stereotypes and Prejudice” (2000), Stangor writes that “when we use beliefs about a group to judge an individual group member, there is a strong potential for inaccuracy.” The work by famous research psychologist Dr. Gordon Allport and many other research studies have revealed prejudice to be irrational, unwarranted, and not based on facts or reality.  Prejudice can be learned from parents, leaders, teachers and others of influence.  Prejudice can also result from a subconscious need for some individuals to feel they belong to a group that is superior to at least one other group, especially those with different skin color, ethnicity, nationality, language, or whose religious differences are evidenced by their visible practices and/or clothing (such as turbans, veils, gowns, etc.)

 

If you catch yourself having a prejudiced thought, there are strategies you can use.  For example, as soon as you recognize the thought, you can counter it by saying to yourself, “I shouldn't think that!  I don't know that person well enough to know that."  Another strategy for curbing stereotyping, criticizing, or generalizing another person is to mentally command yourself "Stop!" when you catch yourself doing it.  A third strategy is to counter a negative thought with a positive thought.  You could replace the thought "she’s overweight" with the thought "she’s beautiful."

 

However, the most effective way to avoid prejudice is to simply find and focus on the best in people instead of the worst.

 

 

THE ATTAINMENT OF WORLD PEACE

 

Containment of prejudice is one of merely five requirements to attain World Peace!  In order to halt violence and war, we simply need to:

 

(1) Place tremendous value on human life

(2) Suppress hate and prejudice

(3) Accept, permit and respect others' beliefs, values, and cultures

(4) Not allow any country to forcibly overtake the territory of another; and

(5) Not interfere with another people's choice of government

 

It's wrong to try to impose a different form of government upon a country.  The type of government should be whatever those people want it to be --even if they have chosen to tolerate one which is oppressive.  We can trust that if a population becomes unhappy enough under a dictator or horrible leadership, they will undertake the overthrow of their dictator or rulers, or require that certain demands be met.  When a population becomes disgruntled enough, the power of the masses is launched.  That power can't be overstated.  Look at history.  Again and again, military dictatorships and rulers have been defeated by the immense, awesome force of the masses when they unite and revolt.  Masses are so powerful that violence can actually be avoided by them (as proven by Gandhi).  Of course, that doesn't mean they aren't putting their lives at risk.  If a population chooses to revolt, they have chosen to take that risk.  However, an outside country has no right to decide it's fine for those people to lose their lives.  That is solely their prerogative.

 

Using the same principal as the power of the masses, nations of the world can collaborate against any particular country that’s behaving badly or assaulting another country.  There are various non-violent tactics such as Sincere negotiation efforts, but these days the most effective strategy is Economic warfare.  With today's global economy, nations can easily defeat an assaulting government simply by uniting against it economically (while ensuring that its civilians have sufficient food and other aid when sanctions are used).

 

Let’s choose to stop violence and aggression against all people and all nations.  After all, we have to accomplish only five things and we can have World Peace.  Let’s do it!  (And then we’ll have a VERY heavenly world. :)

 

 

FORGIVE OTHERS AND LET GO OF ANGER

 

A heavenly life requires that we let go of anger and that we forgive those who have harmed us.   Anger which is carried will eat you up inside.  To carry anger is to carry pain.  Whether your anger is at a person or a situation, you may feel more vindicated by holding onto your anger and allowing yourself to hate or resent someone or something.  However, you're not actually vindicated --you're simply allowing yourself to continue to suffer from something that occurred in the past or that you have no control over.  And you don't deserve to continue to hurt, just as you didn't deserve to be hurt in the first place.  Therefore, let go of any anger, and forgive those who have wronged you.  Try to accept the fact that the person or persons were flawed (as we all are) and made a very bad mistake or mistakes.  Then drop that baggage of hurt and resentment, and put the past in the past.  You can’t be in a heaven if you’re carrying grudges and anger inside.  You must free yourself from that emotional pain.

 

Of course, while it’s important to let go of anger rather than carry it, it is still necessary to acknowledge your anger and deal with it.  Therefore, recognize your anger and then take an appropriate course of action (ex: communicate with the individual who offended you to see if you can make things right; volunteer for an organization which strives to prevent occurrences like the one which distressed you; etc).  Once you’ve done what you can, then drop it.  Let it go.

 

A final note on anger and forgiveness:  In addition to forgiving others, it’s important to forgive yourself for past mistakes, and to also let go of self-anger.  You deserve forgiveness just as much as anyone else does.

 

 

HAVE FUN, RELAX, AND ENJOY!

 

Now that we have discussed the emotional aspects of having a heavenly life, such as love, forgiveness, being positive and accepting, feeling gratitude, etc., let’s talk about bringing more joy to your life to make it even more heavenly.

The first step to having a more joyful life is to have lots of fun and enjoyment. :)  Incorporate plenty of fun and enjoyable activities into your life.  And do it every day.  Even the busiest working parent needs to set aside at least half an hour each day to do something just for him or her which he or she finds enjoyable.

 

There are countless pleasures and things to enjoy here on earth.  They are gifts to us!  By taking advantage of opportunities for enjoyment, we're opening those gifts. Life is meant to be savored and celebrated.  So unwrap those gifts! Rejoice!  LIVE life!  Have plenty of fun, enjoy many pleasures, and indulge sufficiently in delightful rest and relaxation.

 

 

LAUGH!

 

You can add even more joy to your life with Humor and Laughter.  Laughter is one of life's wonderful --and free-- Simple Pleasures.  Humor is delightful and uplifting.  Try to see and laugh at all of the funny things out there.  Also try to develop a habit of finding the comical, amusing side of the Not So Funny things; that habit is a great strategy for reducing stress and lightening up difficult situations.  There’s truth to the saying “A joke-a-day will keep the psychiatrist away” LOL ;)  Find opportunities to laugh and to share that laughter with others.

 

  

MINIMIZE STRESS, WORRY, FRUSTRATION, AND FEAR

 

Humor is just one of the ways to reduce the stressors in our lives.  Our goal is to live a heavenly existence --and a heaven isn’t a place filled with a lot of stress.  To have a heavenly life, we need to minimize stress, worry, frustration, and fear to the extent that we can. There are ways to do that:

 

#1: Recognize the pointlessness of worrying.  Worry is a negative emotion.  During any moment that a person is worrying, they've used up time which could have been spent experiencing contentment, peace, and/or happiness.  Furthermore, worrying is generally useless.  It's true there are some things which must concern us, and there are responsibilities and things we must take care of in order to meet our needs (and possibly even to survive).  However, all we can do is what we can do.  Sometimes there's nothing we can do (ex: change someone else's decision, or avoid a traffic stall when there's no detour).  Therefore, just do what you rationally can and then set your worries aside.  If you continue worrying after you've already done all that you reasonably can (or when nothing can be done), then you're simply draining your energy, squashing your happiness, and hampering your ability to function optimally.

   

#2: Live in the present.  Living in the present is another way to control stress.  Living in the present means to not dwell on the past, and to also not dwell on the future.  The past is over, so there’s no sense in having regrets or spending much mental time there.  The future isn’t here yet and you can’t know what it will bring, so there’s no sense in worrying about it.  Of course, we can reflect on the past to learn from it, and we can think about the future to plan for it. However, research proves that excessive stress and worry are suffered if you spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or the future.  Therefore, try to just focus on the present moment.

 

#3: Keep things in perspective.  It's also helpful to recognize that sometimes we place more importance on things than we need to.  When we do this, we're causing ourselves unnecessary pressure.  It's good to take a Time Out to determine whether something is really all that important.  Most things are not all that important.  In fact, there are some things that you may think are important that actually aren't important at all.  Some things don’t need to be done right away –and some things don’t even actually need to be done. You can lift a lot of unnecessary pressure off yourself by trimming your TO DO list.

 

#4: Don't get worked up over trivial things. Try not to let trivial things upset or anger you.  Small things just aren’t worth letting yourself feel the stressful emotions of frustration and aggravation.  Follow the advice in Dr. Richard Carlson's book: "Don't sweat the small stuff".

 

#5: Defeat fear through trust and faith.  Another way to defeat worrying, stress and fear is to have trust and faith in God.  Obviously, not everyone can do this because not everyone believes in God.  But if you do, you're likely to find that "putting things in God's hands" is the most effective way to cast away worries, stress and fears.  Trust and faith in God can be extremely comforting.  It's very powerful.

 

#6: Live Simply.  "Living Simply" means to get rid of "The Garbage” --the excess stuff, excess time commitments, and other unnecessary burdens in our lives.  We can make certain choices to accomplish this.  For example, if we have a stressful job, we can search for a less stressful one.  If our finances are causing us stress, we can take measures to reduce our expenses by eliminating extras such as frequent dining out, paying for lawnmowing, paying for extra channels on TV, paying for special phone features, etc.  If our schedule is too busy, we can be more selective about which activities we continue.  If our commute to work is terrible, we can move nearer to our job.  Of course, making such changes can take time as well as effort.  It's not possible to re-locate overnight, it can take a while to sell a home, etcetera.  But we do have choices through which we have plenty of control (just not complete control) of our lives.  Take a look at your life to see if there are ways you can re-structure it into a less stressful one.  Next, design a plan.  And then start taking actions to trim down the "unnecessaries" in your life that are causing stress.  

 

Note that it's possible to have excessive stress in our lives from Maintaining Stuff (or working too hard to acquire Stuff).  Boats, large houses, motorcycles, race cars, investments and numerous other types of possessions can sometimes cause more stress and hassle than the amount of pleasure, leisure, and/or enjoyment they bring.  If your monthly payment on a beautiful house is creating more stress than the amount of enjoyment you're getting from it, then downsize.  If the high costs of maintaining, repairing, docking, and fueling a boat cause you more stress than the amount of pleasure you get from going out on the boat, then get rid of it.  If you have a large piece of land that requires an extensive amount of your time to maintain but you hate spending your time mowing and doing outdoor work, then consider selling it. Evaluate whether an expensive and/or high-maintenance possession is truly worth it to you.  It’s possible your Stuff is actually reducing your overall quality of life by taking time, effort and money away from enjoyable and fulfilling things such as spending more time with your family, reading a book, walking in the park, playing basketball with your buddies, donating to a favored charity, or doing volunteer work.

 

It's good to realize that if a person focuses too much on acquiring Stuff and/or money, their happiness will actually be impeded because a materialistic focus will distract them from those priorities which truly enhance happiness and create a genuinely heavenly life.

   

THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING PURPOSE(S)

 

People have a need to feel important.  Each of us needs to feel significant, valuable, and as though our life has meaning.  We can fill that need through having a sense of Purpose. A feeling of Purpose results from somehow contributing toward the welfare of society, your family, a particular group or person, other living beings, or even just your own well-being.  For some of us, this contribution is met through a job.  For homemakers, purpose can be found in maintaining their home and/or caring for their children. Many retirees find Purpose by helping take care of loved ones or by volunteering.  Students can find Purpose in working toward a degree.  Another way to feel Purpose is to undertake actions and/or activities that make the world an even better place (and when you make the world a better place for others, you also make it a more heavenly place for you. :)  Every day, try to feel Purpose in at least one thing that you do.  You'll feel more satisfied and fulfilled in your life as a result.

 

 

HAPPINESS EXISTS WITHIN YOU

 

We previously concluded that Stuff doesn't bring happiness.  Happiness also isn't delivered by another person or people --not your mate, your parents, your children, your boss, your minister, or anyone else.  It also isn't dependent on a certain situation occurring, such as having a better job, a bigger house, losing 30 pounds, meeting Mr. Right or Ms. Right, etc etc.  Happiness doesn't come from externals.  Happiness exists entirely within you.  It's dependent solely on your chosen thoughts, perceptions, emotional reactions and non-reactions, and current behaviors.  You can have control over those (and no one else can).   

 

If the people surrounding you don't behave well, if others aren't busy making the world a better place, if wars continue and violence grows worse than it is today, you can still have a heavenly existence.  You can live in "a" heaven regardless of what is happening around you -- because you create your own heaven (your own reality).

 

 

JUST ONE LAST THING BEFORE WE CONCLUDE

 

It's difficult to tie this section to the prior ones, so it's being added somewhat as an afterthought.  Nonetheless, it's very important to mention that we need to protect our planet because, obviously, it can't be heavenly here if the earth becomes unhabitable. Unfortunately, we have neglected and exploited earth's resources for a very long time.  As a result, extremely severe harm has been done.  Protecting our planet is no longer an option; it's now an urgently critical necessity.  Fortunately, there are things which can be done to prevent further damage.  Primarily, we must obtain more legislation for environmental protection.  For example, recycling needs to be generally mandatory in most places.  Ideally, every person should recycle.  If we also decrease use of non-recyclable non-biodegradables (such as styrofoam), reduce electric and gas consumption, conserve water (locations with excess can sell it to those in need), restrict pollutants, and maintain enough trees, then our great grandchildren should inherit a planet which they can live on. 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

This guide has proposed that each and every one of us can have a heavenly life on earth.  We simply must live in the ways which will get us there.  Achieving a heavenly existence does require some work, patience and time.  But being in a heaven is certainly worth the effort to get there.  So why not do it??  The next moment is the first moment of the rest of your life.  It presents an immediate opportunity to begin living in a better way --and to begin reaping the rewards of doing so.  Therefore --with no better time than the present-- let's get started! 

 

 


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About This Publication and Others By The Author: 

This publication was written by Dee Dee Boniecki, pastor of United Church of Peace (www.UnitedChurchOfPeace.com), with revisions made per generous proofreading by beloved friends Russell Black, Tom Fenix, Duana Welch, Steve Johnson, and Donna Skulman.  If you liked this publication, you might also enjoy "How To Become Happier" at www.BecomeHappier.Freevar.com.  How To Become Happier is a free, uplifting, and potentially life-changing booklet presenting 9 principles that can enhance all aspects of your life. The site also has fun articles, heartwarming stories, jokes, and other great stuff to put smiles on your face. Although H.T.B.H. and Heavenly Here are nonreligious publications, Dee Dee also has published a Christian (nontraditional) publication at www.OurWonderfulGod.com.

 


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