CR: During my own transformation, I came face-to-face with all my needs, wants, patterns and beliefs and I learned to see them all, to dissect them, to untangle their root causes, and to weed my garden of life. It was during this time that I also experienced the difference between Joy and Happiness.
A good deal of our lives is spent in the pursuit of happiness, and happiness seems to come and go with a complimentary alignment of what we want to happen in our lives. This might be a release from difficulty or pain in our experiences or it might be an attachment to something external happening in our lives.
Joy, on the other hand, seemed to be a very subtle slow awakening into the wonder of life and the joy of being alive. It was more a feeling of being connected to everything, experiencing life as a Holy vessel that holds us while we are in our pain and difficult moments.
A lot of our pain, bitterness, anger, shame and guilt has to do with our memories—even if those memories are about yesterday or this morning. If our memory was erased, we would not have any of those emotions. We experience them because we are allowing something that we are remembering, consciously or subconsciously, to stimulate our thoughts and feelings. Without a past, there can be no pain, anger, or guilt.
Anxiety and fear are the stuff of the mind about what might or might not happen in the future, even if the future is one hour from now. The present moment does not create such emotions and there is no other reality than the present moment. We cannot go to the store to buy something yesterday. Nor can we go now to buy something tomorrow.
We cannot act in the past or in the future. We can only act in the present. Only in the present can we make decisions or respond to events or challenges. Only in the present can we exercise our free will to change our lives. The only point of power to create and change our lives is the present moment. There never was a time that was not NOW. There is no other time.
Life is always simply and exactly what it is in each moment. It cannot be other than this. Wishing it were different cannot make it different. There are certain things you can do to make some moment in the future different than it might be. But the future is not now. You will never find happiness in the future—for it is the all that is right now, with things exactly the way they are right now that creates our future. If you love the way things are in this moment, or at least completely accept them the way they are, you will be happy. If you don’t, you will suffer, wishing things were different.
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Our senses are another point of reference in the present. The heart is beating, the lungs are breathing, as life keeps engaging us—the light of our soul is visible, real, and authentic—fully engaging in each moment without pretense or illusion. When our senses are stimulated, we can temporarily let go of focusing consciously on the past and future. Of course, the subconscious egoic mind will still be preoccupied with the past and future until it is healed of this habitual tendency.
For you see, when our mind is preoccupied with the past or future, we tend to lose the joy and creativity of the present. We have less energy and clarity with which to make decisions and to perform our tasks. If we feel that we have less power in the present, it is because we are lost in the mind stuff, lost in the past and future.
To be a soul, living in this world, we must practice and participate in the wisdom of our hearts while coming alive in a limitless journey of our human experiences. Living in the present is enhanced by focusing on the present, our Life Force Energy, our senses, and our consciousness. We can learn to cultivate our ability to be witnesses of our energy, senses, thoughts, emotions, and experiences. This state of Awareness allows our consciousness to experience a degree of detachment from our thoughts and feelings so that we can experience the peace and bliss that are behind and beyond the mind.
There is a place within each of us that has not been touched by pain. Awareness gives us access to this place.
Imagine how your life would be if you accepted every moment of your life as the absolute perfection that it is. Imagine if you stopped wishing any moment were different than what it is right now. If you stopped wishing you were in a relationship or a different relationship, wished you had more money, success or fame, wished your health were better, wished you were enlightened, wished anything were different from the way it is right now. What would happen if instead you simply accepted the great gift of this moment exactly as it is? Just imagine this for a moment.
I don’t think it will take long for you to see that the result of doing this will bring great joy, happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment because it will be in alignment with truth, with reality.
Shifting from happiness to joy is a state beyond even profound happiness. It is beyond happiness in the sense that it lives inside of us and has nothing to do with anything “out there.” Joy is a sensation that overcomes us as we experience Oneness. Sometimes in our search for happiness, we block the real joy of our placement in the Universe. It’s that place in our center where we live lightly and securely, in the present moment, embracing and welcoming the nature of all things as they are. Such humility awakens a heightened sensitivity of our heart space and returns us to the experience of Joy, of living Heaven on Earth.
We often hear stories of being present and entering the moment of Joy and this has been explored from many vantage points. I feel it has something to do with the action of slowing down long enough to align the pace of our thinking mind with the pace of our feeling heart. When aligned, these in turn align our ability to see and hear with clarity giving way to a fresh perception.
Feeling into our experiences is the process of insight giving way to presence, matching us to the rhythm and the pace of creation itself. Insight is the awakening of spirit and presence—not the other way around. In fact, perhaps too much time is wasted in pursuing happiness over simply experiencing JOY.
Joy is always found in the present moment, and in order to experience it, we will need to learn to live in the present without the pain, bitterness, anger or guilt of the past or the anxiety or fear concerning the future. If we examine our unpleasant emotions, we will discover that they are always based on the past or future.
Although our minds can wander at times, creativity is another way to experience the present. When creating, usually such activities engage our mind in the present as we enjoy the creative process. Creativity also leads to states of inspiration that bring excitement and happiness.
Another anchor to the present is the Awareness of our energy body. We can also focus on the Life Force Energy in and around our bodies while in a state of relaxation, so that even while moving, we are aware of that energy. Being aware of this energy in and around our body allows us to be fully present, and it is also a window to purer higher levels of consciousness that lay behind and beyond our mind.
As we begin to access our pure consciousness, which is Awareness without an object of Awareness, we begin to feel peace in the present. Our higher level of consciousness is pure, immutable, and blissful. In the present moment of Awareness, of inner bliss, lies our true lasting JOY.
Pure consciousness is our essence and is always in a state of peace and bliss, but it is usually masked by disturbances of the mind. However, the peace of JOY exists even when there is disturbance in the mind. It is always there, just as the white light behind the film of the projector remains white and formless no matter what is appearing on the screen.
The mind will need to be silenced in order to experience that peace. In order to experience a steady form of JOY, we will need to let go of the past and future and develop Awareness of the present and of ourselves as consciousness rather than as bodies and minds.
DS: It is so true that our mind is guided by the past and keeps contemplating the future. Essentially our mind is on constant interpretation of the past and in survival mode towards the future. However, when we rise above our thoughts and emotions, we begin to realize that between the perception of the past and wonderful dreams of the future, lay the magnificence of the present. This is the most important moment of our life, one that resonates with our soul-spirit experienced in our body.
Ask yourself the following:
How important is freedom from the constantly thinking mind?
Would you like your life to move like the flow of water currents on a smooth river along the rhythms of nature and beauty?
Do you want to live life with passion?
If your answer is yes to the above, then let life unfold within the present moment.
Falling in love with life means falling in love with the present moment. It is experiencing the Life Force Energy of your breath— listening to your heart beating and filling your mind and heart with lovely rhythms, pitches, and harmonies.
Our five senses are here to inspire and vitalize our ability to stay in the present moment and to receive pleasure from everywhere and everyone. Our sight embraces the variation of light. Our sound that of creativity. Our touch explores every feeling and our smell picks up the sweetest nectar from every flower.
Being in the present feels like an eternally flowing river of trust and Just like the water is the carrier of each and every rhythm of life, we allow our body and mind to experience the eternal flow of the present moment.
©2018 by Christina Reeves and Dimitrios Spanos.
Reprinted with permission. All Rights Reserved.
The Mind is the Map: Awareness is the Compass, and Emotional Intelligence is the Key to Living Mindfully from the Heart
by Christina Reeves and Dimitrios Spanos
In an enjoyable dialog format, the authors guide us to higher levels of understanding who we are. The book is enhanced by beautifully designed graphics illustrating the topics discussed. At the end of each chapter is a self-help section with tips and tools for self-discovery, self-reflection, journaling and meditation that enable readers to understand the workings of their mind and emotions. These questions help identify our patterns and provide a pathway to resolve depression, anxiety, stress and unproductive habits while simultaneously building self-esteem and confidence. For business and industry leaders, the ideas and processes within these pages will help you achieve top performance capacity, leading to business success as well as personal success.
About the Authors
Christina Reeves is a Holistic Life Coach and Energy Psychologist. She is also an accomplished author, speaker, and facilitator, hosting workshops, seminars and lectures in North America and Internationally. Over the past fifteen years she has developed her own programs for assisting others in the process of self-discovery and personal transformation. Working from her clinic and training facility, she continues to share her methodologies and techniques mentoring and supporting others to take responsibility in reaching their full potential while guiding them towards enjoying a joyful and happy life. For more info visit https://themindisthemap.com/
Dimitrios Spanos, CEQP, was born in Athens, Greece and has lived in New York for the past 45 years. With Christina Reeves, he co-founded the Eudaimonia Center, a learning center for offering transformational change, facilitating core healing and personal development, while empowering others to live extraordinary, healthy and productive lives. He is a Certified Practitioner of Six Seconds EQ -- the largest global organization focused on the growth and research of emotional intelligence (EQ). Certified in Heart Initiation, he works with Heart Interiority and Alignment and methods of sustaining heart-consciousness.