Overcoming Your (N)Ego Without Struggling
The feeling of identity
Once upon a time there was a land where laughing, dancing, and singing were forbidden. One day a visitor appeared. When he saw that all the people were sad, he began to sing. “Shhh!” the people whispered, “don’t sing!” Then the visitor began to dance. “Forbidden, forbidden!” the people called and took hold of him. “You’re not allowed to sing or dance,” the people proclaimed. When the visitor wanted to know why, the people said, “The king has outlawed those things.” The visitor then went to see the king and asked him why it was forbidden to sing and dance. The king answered, “I’ve forbidden them because I cannot sing and dance myself. My pages aren’t allowed to do things that I can’t do.” “Well, if that’s all it is!” the visitor said. “It’s quite simple to sing and dance. I’ll show you.” He took the king by the hand, and danced and sang with him. “Oh yes, it really is very easy!” the king said happily. “Beginning today it is no longer forbidden to sing and dance.”
But you still live in this land where dancing and singing are forbidden. You are not allowed to be happy. And the king who has forbidden things is your ego. What is the ego? The word comes from Latin and means “I.” The ego is the feeling of self, the feeling of identity. It is said that the ego stands between you and God. In order to be happy, you have to get rid of your ego. But that is not so easy. The curtain that hangs between you and God, separating you from him, cannot be lifted this way.
What does it actually mean when I say the ego should be released? First, you need to know what exactly the ego is. In Sanskrit there are two words for ego. One is Ahamkara. That is the feeling of self. It is the part of the brain that gives you an identity – the conscious “I’m different from you.” When I see an apple, I know that I am “I” and am seeing the apple, and that I am not the apple and am not seeing myself. I make a distinction between the apple and me.
The other word for the ego is Asmita. That means “I am.” It is the feeling of being.
Which ego should we then get rid of? Patanjali said that we have to control our thinking processes. Some of our thoughts lead to God, others away from him. In modern English we would say these are positive and negative thoughts. There are positive thoughts that lead to God, and there are negative thoughts that keep us from God. Vedavyasa, who wrote the first commentary on the yogasutras from Patanjali, said that you have to replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
“Nego” and “posego”
Negative and positive thoughts are part of our ego. Now it is clear what the Holy Scriptures say: the negative ego, the nego, should be replaced by the positive ego, the posego. Then you can unleash the positive ego, if you want. But you have plenty of time for that. First, you have to build it up. Christ and Buddha gave us clear instructions on how to do that. With the positive ego, you will be happy, and that is our goal in life. Then the curtain – which is not comprised of the entire feeling of self, but rather only from the part of you that comprises sorrow, anger, and unhappiness – between you and God disappears.
We want to seek God. Is there a recipe for that? Christ has already said it, but we have not recognized it as a recipe. Christ said, “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.”
Everyone wants to be happy. How do you gain happiness? When you have the right outlook, you have inner peace. You sleep without worries. You wake up happy. A happy person also has a good relationship with her partner. You can have a lot of money and success, but for most people a happy relationship is the greatest happiness and success you can have. Of course, you also have to have money to be happy. For example, you would like to buy your own house. After all, you have come into this world to fulfill your wishes, not to learn to give them up! But when you invite a girl to dinner in the most expensive restaurant only to impress her and as a result create debt, then you will not be happy. Instead of being impressed, the girl will go out and marry another. The development of a positive outlook goes hand-in-hand with building up your self-esteem. If you are not content with yourself, you cannot be happy. A happy person also has a goal. She is not like a leaf that gets blown to and fro by the wind. She is like a big ship that, even in a storm, does not get blown off course. Your goal is like a compass that keeps you on the right course. Everything I have said is not contrary to not having an ego, of which the Holy Scriptures speak. But you will understand that later.
When does a person feel good about himself and is happy? When he has the feeling that he is in control of his life. The more control he has over his life, the happier he is. Control can be two things: you can have an inner control that gives you the feeling that everything is all right and you are reaching your goals – that you are responsible for your own life. Or the control comes from outside. You have no direction in life and do not know what you should do. Perhaps someone will come along and tell you, because you yourself have no idea. But you are unhappy, because you do not have any control over your own life.
The nego says control has to be completely turned off, the inner control and the control from the outside. You may not make any plans or think about the future. You should rely solely on your spontaneous thoughts. But spontaneity is a touchy subject! Are you with God when you are thrown back and forth by every inner impulse? And where do your impulses come from? Are you certain that everything is a grand institution of the Holy Spirit?
Participant: In the very moment a person gives up responsibility for himself and hopes that someone else will take on his worries, he’s no longer in control of his own life.
de Souza: And therefore he’s gotten rid of his positive ego? But you only need to get rid of your negative ego. A hippie doesn’t have an ego, but he’s also given up his positive ego. If we want to come closer to God, we only have to get rid of our negative ego. The positive ego should stay. In fact, we should let it unfold in order to reach a higher conscious. The word “ego” is problematic. It has so many meanings, like to the word “love” has so many meanings. We use the same word for many things. You believe the highest goal in life is to be without an ego. That’s right, but the negative ego, the nego, is meant. At the same time, you should be completely posego and let the positive ego unfold.
What can be and what cannot
What you believe often has little to do with reality. You have many beliefs, but only a few are based on reality. You have your beliefs from your environment, school, parents and the culture, and these beliefs are real to you even if they are not based on reality. They are reality for you, because you believe them. All your beliefs together make up your ego. It is your view of the world, your interpretations of the world, which create the “truth” for you. That is the ego. Now it is clear what our task is: we have to separate the wrong beliefs from the right ones. Only in this way can we make our life happy, because only in this way can we genuinely take responsibility for our decisions. But when everyone is convinced that his beliefs are right, what are the wrong beliefs? Everyone is armed with a “club” in order to enforce his beliefs and eliminate those of others. And as a result, everyone makes war.
The positive ego makes us happy and the negative ego unhappy. Our ego is like a filter. All your beliefs that come from the outside and are integrated with your perspective of the world are let in. Those which disagree with your beliefs are dismissed and have to stay outside. The ego creates an automatic censure. What is your ego telling you when I speak? “Correct!” when my remarks agree with your perspectives. When not, your ego says, “That’s so stupid! You’ve got it all wrong!”
It does not work without an alarm clock
Of course, you can do something for your positive ego. There are so many techniques that could help you come closer to God. Laotse said, however, that there are not any techniques. “Do nothing,” he said. But he spoke from the spiritual level. Looking at things from the highest level, God has always been there, and thus you do not need to do anything. No techniques are necessary. In the same way you do not need techniques to make the sun rise. That happens on its own. But despite that you need techniques to ensure you are awake when the sun rises. You are indeed a child of god, but are sleeping and are not aware of that. But every day you have a new chance to wake up and see the sun rise.
de Souza: There’s a law for our expectations: We receive what we expect. When our expectations are positive, the result is positive. When we expect something negative, we’ll receive something negative.
Participant: But expectations set too high will lead to disappointment.
de Souza: Not high expectations, but rather negative ones lead to disappointment. Helen Keller had been blind and deaf since birth. Were her expectations that she could lead a normal life set too high? Was she disappointed? No. Of course, the expectations have to agree with reality. But do you know what the reality was in this case? The woman could neither see nor hear. But in spite of that she managed to lead a normal life within the given framework.
Participant: If she’d expected to be able to see and hear again, she would’ve certainly been disappointed.
Participant: No, it would’ve been possible had she really believed in it. God has built every cell in our bodies. He can also heal every cell in our bodies.
de Souza: That’s right. There once was an autistic child in America. He could neither speak nor do anything. He didn’t react to outside stimuli. He didn’t seem to be intelligent. Today, this man is at a university and gets the best grades. There’s the law of attraction. Every person is like a “magnet.” Everyone attracts the events that correspond to his or her outlook.
What does “honor your parents” mean?
Take, for instance, the parents you get. Many complain about their parents today. It has become a trend. You sit in a group and tell each other your sad stories: how untalented your mother was and that your father had no idea how to raise children. Now you are sad and feel bad, because your parents were so “bad.” If you had only had better parents, your life would have been so much better. But as it is, you are disadvantaged in life and frustrated. – But the Bible tells us that we should honor our parents. Not merely to follow some old-fashioned law or because your parents like it, but because it is to your advantage and helps you to be happy! Your parents brought you into the world. Perhaps they have not raised you ideally, but you do not have to concentrate on the negative things. Concentrate on the positive ones.
Christ said you have to view the world as children would, because you create your world according to your imagination and interpretations. The Bible teaches us that it is to your advantage to forgive your parents and honor them. By doing this you free yourself from a blockade. Back then they did not have any experience raising children and were younger than you are now. Your parents did their best and did not know any better. Perhaps you accuse your father of only taking care of the family business and not making time for the kids. Is it bad when he takes care of the business? It depends on your interpretations. If you believe it was a disadvantage then it is so. Because you create your own reality. You only concentrate on complaining and your life is full of complaining. That is the wrong outlook. Of course, there are real complaints, but you can decide if they have a special meaning to you or if the joyful aspect is more important to you.
There is only one true purpose in life – to love. Do not concentrate on your sad stories day and night and then speak about them at seminars. Your experiences are already over. And your parents have not remained the same. They, too, have grown and have other opinions today than they did in the past. Think, rather, on the good things your parents have done for you. Perhaps you have to strain yourself in order to discover the good things, because you have only concentrated on the negative ones up until now.
The love you have experienced is genuine and true. It has a deep and intensive meaning. Everything else is not so important.
But you see the difficulties as more important than the love, and in this way you do not honor your parents. How do you then want to honor your children? A path runs from generation to generation. It is not a one-way street. You cannot love children and not love the parents. You have to go back further on the path: your love for the parents spills over into love for the children. You will then also love the children. Otherwise the path would be cut off. When there is no longer any love, the family breaks up and then society follows. That does not happen only when the parents do not love the children, but also when the children do not love the parents.
If you believe that the wounds from your childhood are genuine and true, then they are. The nego says, “You poor thing! It’s not your fault that you’re so sad. Your parents are to blame. If you had had better parents, then you would’ve been happier.” You blame your parents in order to heal yourself. “They’re responsible for everything,” your nego says. Watch out for your nego and listen to what your posego says, “My parents have given me love so often. I feel entirely fulfilled and thankful.” Honoring your parents means concentrating on their positive deeds.
Do not use your parents as an escape-goat for your problems. They are not responsible for them. Thus, do not let suffering control your life, but rather switch on your positive ego – think loving and wise thoughts and act accordingly.
Return to the posego
Until now you have tried to rid yourself of your ego by renouncing your wishes. Consequently, a struggle has developed between you and your true nature which longs to be happy and fulfilled. The way to overcome your nego without struggling is to re-program your thought process. Christ’s words are still valid today: atonement. That word, however, has not been translated correctly. It should be called “return” – to the posego. We suffer on account of the nego. Therefore, we have to return to the posego and let its positive power unfold.
Overcoming your nego without struggling
The right outlook frees you from guilty feelings. So, please, forgive your parents! And forgive yourself, too! In the next chapter I will explain what forgiveness means and how you can learn it. You can change your negative thoughts. Why am I saying, “Overcoming your nego without struggling?” Your wrong thoughts live within you. You are unhappy. Have you fought for your unhappiness? You are depressed. Have you fought for this outlook? You have not! And in exactly the same way you can also be happy – without struggling! First, you have to know how you have made yourself unhappy – without struggling. You have learned to have a long face without training. You have learned to be angry and jealous and to have feelings of guilt without lessons. When did you practice that? Did you fight for them? You did it unconsciously! I will show you how you can consciously prevent yourself from being unhappy in order to automatically be happy – and in the same way: without struggling. God, help us to be happy. We can program ourselves in the same way we program a computer. The computer prints, no matter what is entered. Whatever we program in our subconscious will be printed.
There are two hurdles that work against being happy: the first is your dislike of change. But in this world everything is constantly changing. The nego says, “Stay where you are and fight against changes. These changes are bad.” You resist everything that is new, because you automatically feel it is backwards. Why? Only because it goes against your habits and beliefs. Are you ready to accept changes and to change yourself whenever the chance arises? Of course, there are also eternal laws which do not change, for example, that you are a child of God and that God is love. The law of cause and affect also always exists. “But there are changes for the worse,” the nego argues. “I can’t just change myself like that!” Think just once, however, about how you differentiate positive and negative changes. How open are you to positive changes? Or how often do you abstain from changes which could bring positive results only because there are also negative changes, and therefore you avoid changes out of principal?
You can overcome your nego without struggling once you are aware of its nature. It is essential, however, that you are willing to learn. That means you cannot be dogmatic or fanatic. Dogmatism is the second hurdle, and the nego is dogmatic. You can get rid of your dogmatism and be open-minded – so that you can change your opinion after critical examination at any time. Otherwise you cannot change your life!
You can cleanse your thoughts. You can re-program your nego’s wrong thoughts. Just as you have filled your head with negative thoughts, you can fill it with positive thoughts. But this time you can do it consciously. Previously, you had not paid any attention to the types of thoughts you let in to your head. Every thought which knocked to get in to your head was allowed to come in—every single one—without examining if it was good or bad. Now you control the entering thoughts! Thoughts full of fear are not allowed to enter anymore—only loving thoughts are allowed to come in. Just like you previously invited the frustrating thoughts, now you invite only the thoughts which bring happiness.
There are always going to be good and bad thoughts, and you decide which ones you want to let in. Both are at the door.
Instead of inviting bad thoughts, invite good thoughts. You can, for example, read something inspiring or constructive, like Joseph Murphy or Norman Vincent Peale, for a half-hour every day. Or read Goethe or Shakespeare or comics. Just as you have let in bad thoughts till now, let in good thoughts now. You are not struggling, but rather reading a good book for 30 minutes every day. You can spend your time in the company of great people. Invite Mozart or Bach to your home. Everyone is welcome who fills you with positive energy. Say to yourself positive affirmations, too. Until now you have said in your subconscious, “I’m bad and ugly and can’t do anything.” The nego believed that. Now the posego comes along and replaces these bad thought, for example, with “I’m God’s child. I can do anything with God’s help.” Feed your mind with such thoughts. Then the other thoughts will go away automatically. Even if the nego complains at first.
You are what you think! The world is steered by thoughts. Do you know of a machine that is steered by thoughts? The human is this “machine.” Write positive affirmations down on a piece of paper and repeat them every day. For example, you can write, “I’m thankful,” “I’m beautiful.” Many people say, “I can’t believe that.” They are letting the nego speak. When you say, “I’m intelligent, I can do that,” then the nego says, “You’re lying!” When you say, “I’m happy and successful,” then the nego says, “You’re not being honest!” If you cannot believe that, then say to yourself, “You’re beautiful, you’re happy.” But think of your positive affirmations every day and make them more powerful. Convince yourself by living them!
Participant: Which function, then, does thinking have on being negative and wanting to understand where the negativity comes from? Does that strengthen the nego?
de Souza: No. But you can recognize which thoughts have led you to the negative condition. It’s important, though, that you yourself don’t fall into the negative thoughts again when thinking. Try simply to observe. It helps to concentrate on your breathing. Then you can decide to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. To aid you, you can create a list of moments that have brought you joy in the past. When you’re sad, you can’t think of happy moments. Therefore, use the list. Sadness will indeed return, but the frequency of the waves will be longer.—Thoughts determine your future. Therefore, change your negative thoughts, because you want to change your future.
What can you do to develop your posego?
You create your own life. Every day you have ideas and take actions. These actions and ideas form your future.
Sometimes your actions reward you by letting you enjoy life. Sometimes not. But happiness and success are not a question of coincidence. There are certain rules. And everyone can follow these rules. Christ revealed the secret: atonement – the return to our original nature. And by gaining the right outlook, you are taking the path to it.
There are expectations from parents, supervisors, teachers, and bosses, and we try to meet these expectations. On the other hand, we ourselves place expectations on our children, employees, spouses – and we also place expectations on ourselves. All of these expectations determine how we will value a result. We get from others that what our outlook makes of it. However, we can control our outlook. Our outlook affects, for example, the familial atmosphere. It can be loving or full of tension. Our outlook determines how we form our lives. When we are happy, the world reflects our happiness. The quality of our lives is also determined by our outlook. We can determine our outlook ourselves. We can control our thoughts. No one but us ourselves has control over our own thoughts.
One day a traveler came into a city. He asked a man, “What kind of people live here?” “Please, have a seat first,” the man said, “and tell me where you come from and how the people are there.” “I come from X and the people there are brash, rude, and often commit terrible acts.” “The people here are also like that,” the man said. Then another traveler came and asked how the people are in the city. Again, the man invited the guest to sit and tell where he comes from and how the people are there. “Oh, the people in my city are all nice, friendly, and very courteous.” And the man replied, “The people here are also like that.”
The world is a mirror. In the fairy tale it goes, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” The mirror tells the truth, even if it may hurt. And the quality of life we lead mirrors our outlook. When you switch your outlook from nego to posego, then a miracle occurs, and it is as if you have come out of a cave into the light.
People react to provocation. People mostly have a neutral outlook. Only when they are provoked positively do they react positively. When someone is negative, others will mostly react negatively toward him. But we do not need to let ourselves be controlled by provocations. Our outlook influences us. When you have the outlook, “I don’t have any desire to study. I can’t do it,” then you really cannot learn anything and manage it. If you want to learn something, you have to practice a lot and do it with love. You cannot learn without love. If you love the material to be learned, you will remember it quicker. If you have the outlook that it is uninteresting, how are you going to love it? Wake up every morning with the thought of thankfulness. Create the feeling, too, that you are happy and expect that everything will go well. The world gives back to you what you – through your outlook – give.
When people feel they are being attacked and defend themselves, then they have the wrong outlook. If you have a depressing outlook, then you have a depressing life. If you have a wonderful outlook, then you have a wonderful life. You are a magnet and, on account of your outlook, attract good or bad events.
Your outlook is a brush with which you paint the picture of your life. You can paint joyful or frustrated pictures.
People do not understand, though, that their outlook determines the world. Most people say, “I’ll be loving when others are loving. The others have attacked me and were mean, and therefore I will treat them the same way.” The world gives to you what you give the world.
Some people go from happiness to happiness, from success to success. When they fall down, they stand up and go unremittingly further. Because they believe that success, happiness, and love are essential elements of the universe, they attract success, happiness, and love. People who attract those elements do not have to be especially talented or skilled. They are happy, because they have the right outlook and take advantage of opportunities.
You often complain that it is exactly these great opportunities that you do not have. But the opportunities are always there. It is the right outlook that is missing. You can be an expert and achieve everything wonderfully, but still not be happy. A robot does everything efficiently, but only a person can bring in love and do something wonderful. The right outlook is the secret to overcoming the nego without struggling.
All the people who do not have a nego have something in common: they expect the best. They expect more good things than bad things, more success than failure. They see more love and good in other people than hate and aggression. And the things they want, they get, too. Therefore be positive! You can have everything. God wants that you have everything and are happy. Your environment reflects your outlook. The people you meet and attract reflect your outlook. So, have the courage to expect the best and you will get everything you desire. God does not have a favorite. He is happy when you are happy. But when you choose to be unhappy, sad, and depressed, God cannot do anything to change that.
Our own outlook influences us more than our environment and other people.
So many people do not enjoy life. So many people are suffering. So many marriages break apart. So many relationships are unhappy – and all due to the wrong outlook. But all the people say that the world has to change first. That is not true. Change yourself. Laugh when someone is upset at you. Laugh instead of cursing. Try to be loving.
Do not say, “Those are bad people and I have to protect myself from them. That’s why I’ll attack them.” If you are angry and argue with these people, you will become sick. If someone can make you flip out, it means you have given your happiness to this person. She has the key to your happiness or sadness in her hands. You no longer have any control over your life, because you have given it to this person. To be happy, you yourself have to take control of your life into your own hands and make yourself happy. Say “yes” to life!
Every person is a very important person
A businessman was once asked how he became so successful. He said he has always been happy, even when he did not have a single cent. And he knew exactly what he wanted.
If you want to be happy, if you want to develop your posego and rid yourself of your nego, if you want to be grand, if you want a positive outlook, if you want to enjoy life, if you want to be loving, if you want harmony and happiness – here is the secret: treat every man, woman and child like a god or goddess. Begin now! Treat your wife or husband, your children, your neighbor, your boss as very important people. Why? That is love. Everyone is a child of God. Therefore, you should treat them so. Make it a habit! Then you will attract happiness. This is how you can gain happiness without struggling. But you would rather lye on a “bed of nails” (be unhappy) than say “good morning” to your neighbor. The latter is more difficult.
When you acknowledge people, you attract serendipity. Serendip is a town in Sri Lanka. The princes of Serendip always found things that they were not searching for. You, too, will find what you need, even when you are not searching for it. That is the gift of serendipity. Then you will attract the right people. You do not need any other secret techniques to come closer to God. Just always practice treating every human as a very important person. That is the secret. If you have the right outlook, you will be strong and no longer flee from problems. You will not let negativity determine your life.
Love begins with yourself. Say, “I’m God’s child. I’m wonderful.” How can you love others when you do not love yourself and always torment yourself when you can? Treat yourself, too, like a very important person. Develop a healthy posego. When you are happy, you are posegotistical. Then do something. Many think, when they do not have an ego, they cannot do anything. Was Mother Theresa not also egotistical? But she was not negotistical; she was posegotistical.
When there are difficulties, do not let yourself be discouraged. People with a good outlook continue to go on. They expect something positive and it is realized. If you have changed your outlook, it does not mean that you cannot fall or be unsuccessful. But the purer you become, the less often you will fall. And when something happens, do not let yourself be overwhelmed – because you expect the best. Many people break down when little things do not work out. Other people also do not let themselves be brought down by large catastrophes.
In India I met a very sad, young man. I wanted to know why he had this weltschmerz – the weight of the world on his shoulders. “Oh, the world is so bad,” he complained. “Everywhere there is war, hunger, and rot.” And he counted all the crisis areas in the world. “Doomsday is before us,” he said. “No,” I replied, “there is no such thing as doomsday.” That’s nothing new. In the past they climbed to the top of a mountain and expected the end of the world. But nothing happened. God governs the world. You do not need to have any fear. You believe things will not work out. But read only the negative news. You should read something positive every day. The world reflects your outlook. If you expect catastrophes, then you see them everywhere.
The next time you are home, treat your family members like gods until it becomes a habit. Do not let yourself be drawn into negativity. There is negativity all over the world, and you can be infected.
Of course, you cannot avoid it when your family members or work colleagues are negative. But you alone control your own thoughts, not the others! You can always keep calm, even when others curse and flip out. Do not remain in your negative thoughts. Praise everyone.
Try to behave like a loving person. Always remember: you are God’s child. Visualize the loving and happy person you want to be. Say to yourself that you are a loving person who is full of confidence. This is how you can re-program yourself. Your expectations have to be right. Your affirmations should always say, “I am . . . ,” not “I will be . . .” Always use the present tense. “I’m happy, I’m loving, I’m beautiful, I’m full of harmony, I’m strong, I’m courageous, I’m important, I’m grand, I’m a child of God. Everything is fine. God protects me.”
If you have difficulty doing this, you can also say, “You are happy. You are . . . ,” etc.
Do not use any negatives, for example, “I don’t want to be sick any more,” or “I don’t want to be poor any more.” Formulate positive statements. Incorporate positive feelings into these positive thoughts. Go on a search for good feelings. How do you feel when you are happy, when you are secure, when you are loved, etc.? In addition to the thoughts, collect experiences of these feelings within you, too!
Together, thoughts and feelings build your beliefs, and your ego is a reflection of your beliefs. Therefore, change your beliefs and create for yourself positive thoughts and feelings. Then your ego is positive. The positive ego leads you to God. When the Holy Scripture states that we should release our ego, what did it mean? The negative ego has to go, because you are what you think. Your thoughts determine the conditions in your life. And you alone determine what you think.
You can say positive affirmations to support your positive ego. A sentence may be, “I’m happy.” You can also write affirmations. Write everything down that you would like to be. Or write a sentence on a card, then relax (go into the alpha state), and read the card many times. Then it will go into your subconscious. Whenever you have a difficult task to complete, visualize beforehand how everything will go well. When you visualize your fears, you are only inviting them in. Of course, we are always bound to reality and should only have realistic expectations. When a tiger is in front of my eyes, then I cannot say, “Hi tiger. It says in my travel guide that there are not any tigers here.” The tiger replies, “I haven’t read your book, though!”
How can I set goals?
Many ask themselves what they should do. How can we set goals? Think about it. There are many values. Values are things for which you are willing to stick up for. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which five values are most important to you? Everyone has his or her own system of values.
- If the genie from Aladdin’s lamp were to grant you five wishes, what would they be?
- Ask yourself what has brought you the most joy in the past, when you felt good, and what increased your self-esteem.
Once you have answered these questions, it will be clear to you where your wishes are taking you.
de Souza: What do you do once you have a goal? Think of a good way to reach it.
Participant: But there’s also the expression in esoteric circles: The means is the goal.
de Souza: The means is the goal, yes. You’re already God’s child, but you can always do something. The joy is immediate and not in the future. “The means is the goal,” means that you never reach the goal because God is infinite. You can always discover new things. You’ve learned a musical instrument. Now learn the next one. There’s an infinite number of new things to learn and experience. God has so many sides; God is unlimited.
Whenever you behave lovingly, that is the means. But it is also the goal. The goal is love, and God is love. You won’t begin being loving in the future, but rather beginning today. That’s the means. Maybe you’ll say, “That’s a disguise, because it’s not sincere.” But it’s your nego saying that. Practice and try to be loving. Then you can change the frequency of the negative waves and thoughts. Do it! It’s not being hypocritical. If you don’t do it you won’t grow into love, but rather the opposite, into hate. Hate begets more hate, and anger begets more anger. You cannot come to love by hating – it’s impossible! That’s the law. Love begets love, and hate can only be overcome by loving. The means is the goal, because you come to where the means leads you – to God.
Believe in your goals. If you do not believe in them, you will not be able to reach them. You do not get what you wish; you get what you believe. Do you know what it means to believe? Believing is not the same as thinking. Your beliefs are associated with deep feelings. Thinking turns into believing when it is constantly held on to and, as a result, becomes enriched with experiences and feelings. If you only have a thought once, it will not immediately become a part of your beliefs. It takes time.
Furthermore, the goal has to be challenging. Calling a friend, baking a cake, or writing a letter are not challenging in this sense. The goal has to push the limits of your abilities. But first – after you have suffered so much, have been depressed and had a low self-esteem – build yourself up slowly by having small goals; doable, short-term goals (try out recipes, clean up the house, visit someone). Once you have accomplished one goal, you can choose more and more challenging goals. And remember that there are phases. There may be days when you could fly, and others when you are not so strong. Adapt to these days, but always remain active, then your joy of living will increase step by step. Being active does not mean you always have to give a top performance. Being active means you decide for yourself what you do.
Decide to take a break or decide to do a lot. Decide to take it slow today or to give it your all. Take control of your life. Only do what you yourself decide to do.
At first, write down your goals thoroughly. Imagine the advantages you will have once you have reached your goals. The more advantages you can think of, the more courage and motivation you will have. Then take a look at your current life so you can see your progress. Set a time for yourself by when you want to have reached your goal. Take into account the hurdles, too, and write them down. If there are not any hurdles, can you then speak of goals? Then it is not a challenging goal. If there are not any barriers, then you will not be doing anything. Then you are only dreaming and wishing, and not setting goals. Buddha said, “Do not have any wishes, rather push yourself!” But what are wishes? You say that not having any wishes leads to happiness. In reality, however, you are empty and have no direction; you do not have a posego.
When Buddha spoke of not having wishes, he meant goals which do not have any hurdles and which can easily be reached without pushing yourself – because goals which do not challenge us are just dreams.
To reach your goals you need special knowledge. Write down what you need to know. Then think about the help you may need to reach your goal. – Also think about the law of serving. If your goal is to serve others then it is a good goal. It is not about earning money but serving others. If you do not think of money but rather serving, then the money will come automatically. However, do not be too strict with yourself. It is all right if you think of money – as long as you do not harm others by your actions! Make a plan for yourself and consider the knowledge and help needed and the hurdles you may encounter. Write everything down! Imagine that you have already reached your goals. And be persistent! Do not give up so quickly!
A man wanted to build a water-well. He dug a little, but no water came. Then he tried it at another spot. And here, too, no water came up. So he began again at still another spot. A friend suggested, “If you want water, then you have to stay at one spot.” – That is the right way. If you only stay at the surface, you will not reach anything important.
I would like to summarize again: We now know what the secret to happiness is. It is your outlook. Treat all people like very important people. Give it your best to be loving. The world reflects back to you your love or hate. Laugh a lot! The nego cannot stand that. This is the easiest way to get rid of your nego.
The Holy Spirit helps you
We want to talk about how you can solve everyday problems. Which is the right outlook to solve problems and how can we tap into the super-conscious? – The super-conscious, the cosmic intelligence, the Holy Spirit all penetrate the world. The whole universe is penetrated by the godly intelligence. It permeates the boulders, the plants, the animals, and the people. It cannot be taken in by the boulders. But plants, animals, and people can absorb it in respectively increasing amounts. People can accept it completely. Our possibilities are limitless.
We can tap into the super-conscious. To do that, though, we first need to know what we can do and learn on a normal level of consciousness.
Kekule, the German chemist, tried to discover the formula for benzene. He worked and thought a lot, but he could not come up with it. Then one day he had a dream. After he had interpreted it correctly, he discovered the long sought-after formula. If you had had the same dream, it would have been meaningless to you.
Receiving the Holy Spirit’s spirit
Our minds can take in the godly intelligence. Unfortunately, we do not use our ability very often.
An airplane had been found in a village in India. The natives, however, did not understand what it was and used it as an ox-cart. Later, someone examined the engine and discovered that the thing could go on its own. Then they used the airplane as a car. That continued until someone discovered the thing could fly. From that time on they used it correctly.
It is up to you how you use the possibilities of your intelligence. You can, for example, laugh. Then your consciousness is raised. Whenever you talk with friendly people, many ideas come to you. You can also tap into the super-conscious by listening to Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart. Or when you go for a walk in the forest or sit at the ocean and listen to the waves – that means, in general, when you have contact to nature or harmony, you can tap into the super-conscious. It also works by meditating. You can count, for example, your breathing – or be alone with yourself for about 10 to 15 minutes daily, go into your inner self, and open yourself up to the super-conscious. At first it is difficult to sit still and do nothing. The thoughts flow and want to pull you into all possible activities. Try, however, to concentrate solely on your breathing. Try it out. After a short time ideas come from the super-conscious. Likewise, the moment you completely sink into an activity with concentrated interest, you do not have a negative feeling. When you love what you do, then it is not stressful, and you can have contact to the Holy Spirit.
Standing still goes against the mind which constantly wants to move. But when you say, “I want to concentrate,” it does not work! Because your will is not strong enough. The imagination is stronger. If you say, for example, “I don’t want to smoke any more.” Then from the old habit you immediately imagine how nice it would be to have a cigarette now. So your imagination wins and you smoke again. Say instead, “I’m a non-smoker,” and imagine that you have a short, stinky rubber hose in your mouth, whose smoke you breathe in. Yuck!
There is the rule that the subconscious does not record any negative terms. They will automatically be deleted out of any affirmations. Thus, if you say, “I don’t want to be a smoker,” the subconscious hears, “I want to be a smoker.” Therefore, use positive affirmations and images. Think about what you want and not about what you do not want.
The outlook’s pair of glasses
Both people with positive and negative outlooks have problems. The difference is how they confront them. A person with a positive outlook thinks differently than a person with a negative outlook. He does not view a problem as a problem. “Problem” is a negative word which is connected to tension, nervousness, and fear. For a positive person it is not a problem, but a situation, an opportunity – an adventure. And he asks himself how he will want to cope with the situation. That makes quite a difference. The godly person thinks of a solution and talks about it. A negative person thinks and talks only about the problem, “That could only happen to me. It happens to me all the time.” A positive person believes that everything will turn out fine.
Henry K. was looking for a job and applied at several companies. At the first three he was turned down for a job. What happened to his self-esteem? After every rejection he became more and more dispirited. On Friday he called his wife and told her that until now everything had gone wrong. He still had a few interviews, but things did not look good. “No problem,” his wife replied, “we’ve just won $500,000 in the lottery.”
What happened to the husband’s self-esteem? He got more energy, more power, more enthusiasm. Because he already had the other job interviews lined up, he decided to go through with them. Now his chances of getting a job will be better, because he expects something good. And, in fact, he did get a job. He came home and his wife said to him, “I lied about winning the lottery.” “Really?” he asked. “That doesn’t matter to me now.”
Was his enthusiasm genuine or not? Although it was based on false facts, it was genuine. A happy person wins his own “lottery” in this way. He thinks of the result of his efforts. He expects the best. Your chances of solving a problem are greater when you have a positive outlook and believe that every problem has a solution.
Step by step
A happy person has a positive outlook, and so solves all his problems: he describes them in detail. He looks for the causes and writes down all possible solutions. Then he decides on one and follows through with it immediately. A depressed person does not have the energy to decide. He always postpones his decision to the next day. The happy person makes decisions as quickly as possible. Sometimes that is not possible because he first needs more information or because he cannot make the decision alone. Then he makes an appointment to get the help for the date when he wants to decide. But it is not enough to have the solution. Now the people who are responsible for the task have to be assigned, and the implementation has to be organized. Next, an appointment has to be made for the date the task should be completed.
Have patience with yourself, because you are creating new habits. The old nego is, however, still there. Even though it has caused you suffering, you are used to it and comfortable. You are not used to happiness. You feel uncomfortable in the presence of happy people, because their behavior is not normal to you.
de Souza: What do you want to have in this world? What do you wish for yourself? What would make you happy?
Participant: Harmony, good health, joy, good behavior, a good marriage, contentness, a large house, patience, love, wealth.
de Souza: Why do you need these things? To be happy! A lot of people say you’re first happy when you have these things. You have to fulfill your wishes first. Then you’ll be happy. But you can be happy now – not first in the future. And that’s possible: now! Immediately!
The secret is to be loving – now! Love is strong. Everything else is small compared to love. But for many, love is meaningless. You don’t think it’s genuine when someone is loving. You believe their anger and sadness are genuine. But you can be happy and loving in the eternal now.
Nothing and no one can make you unhappy. You do not need to make your happiness dependant upon reaching a goal. You can always be positive, and strive for a goal. Maybe you will reach it and maybe not. Even positive people do not always reach all their goals. But because they are always positive, they are free to continually strive for new goals. The first thing, though, is to be happy! Decide to be happy! This is how you can overcome your nego without struggling, and not let yourself get down when you experience sorrow at some point.
How can I be happy?
How can you be happy? It is your decision! You say, “This person, this event cannot get me down. Therefore, I’m happy. I won’t let my precious peacefulness be bothered.” You decide that. And it is not only possible with small occurances, but also with large catastrophes. You remain strong when you have decided to be happy. It depends on your interpretation if you break down or not. You decide if the event may make you happy or unhappy. People with the worst diseases have overcome their diseases, because they believed they could be happy despite the illness. Other people break down when they get the common cold. You can be happy no matter what the outside circumstances may be. If your outlook is positive, it is not necessary to take on others’ negative outlooks. You keep your outlook. When you are happy, you can make plans and strive for your goals. Because you are happy, you do not have any wishes – just goals!
The club up your sleeve
To have wishes means to want to reach goals without making any effort. You simply wish, “I would like to seek God,” and go home and are angry with family members, because they have their own opinions. You gossip about the neighbors, but you seek God. You throw stones at a dog to chase him away, but you seek God. You always keep a club handy and then speak of the Bible, of the Bhagavadgita and all the Holy Scriptures.
When someone steps on your toes, then out comes the club! But you are seeking God. When someone does not do what you want them to – out comes the club again! But you are seeking God. The nego is very clever. You continue to be aggressive, but insist that you are seeking God. That is a mask, and you do not notice what you are doing. Christ was hung on the cross, because he said that, in order to come closer to God, we should put the club aside. “There isn’t any technique,” he said, “only to be loving.” But that is difficult. The nego does not want to get rid of the suffering, because it is the nego’s identity. And you are keeping the nego. It is your land and you do not want to give it up.
Many people have problems, but they do not want any advice, “Oh, that’s not so important. Just a small thing,” they say. They do not want anything to change. They want to keep the club – if anything to hit themselves with it every now and then. Christ said, “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.” That is the highest law of esoteric teachings and leads you to God. Christ called it perfection.
The nego—our false identity
It is the nego that is dogmatic and fanatic. When someone attacks the nego’s beliefs, then there is war. Why does the nego start war? Because it feels threatened. Why does it feel threatened? Because it identifies with its beliefs and interpretations. The nego is your false identity. It has been created out of fear and false beliefs. The mind does not differentiate between an attack on its nego and an attack on its life. That is why you take an attack on your beliefs to be an attack on your life.
Participant: At the moment, I don’t identify with my nego’s beliefs, and so I don’t feel I’m being attacked.
de Souza: Yes, that’s your goal. We don’t want to identify with the nego anymore. For example, the nego would feel threatened if you were to come forward and say a few positive words to the others. Your nego says, “Don’t do it. You’ll only make a fool of yourself and people will laugh. Stay seated.” If you no longer want to obey your nego, simply say to yourself, “Everything will be fine. The people will like me just as much.” Who wants to try this? (Three participants have the courage to come forward and say something. And nothing happens to them!) Scientists have a new name for this phenomena: psychoneuroimmunity. They used to say “psychosomatic” (the mind’s influence on the body.) Today the same thing has a fear-inducing name: psychoneuroimmunity. That means, when you are happy, when you laugh, your immune system produces anti-bodies and you become resistant against diseases. So it is more important to laugh. We have scientific reasons for it.
Participant: There are many sorts of laughing: ironically, sarcastically, at others’ expense. Does it also apply to those sorts?
de Souza: No. They’re destructive. To laugh means to laugh out of joy or at least to create joy. And don’t forget at the same time to view people as gods. Christ said, “If you aren’t like children, then you won’t go to heaven.” What does it mean to be like a child? Children are happy. They are full of trust, because they don’t know deceit and they’re very loving. They’re innocent. But an adult can be just as innocent, although he has traveled the world and knows its dark side. If he’s loving, despite that, then that is even nicer than when a child is so. Children are open and don’t have any scruples about it. But when they are adults, they think about everything they say. They don’t want to come across as being stupid. You can’t be happy when you try to pull the wool over others’ eyes. One of the secrets to being a child is to be open and honest.
Participant: Sometimes you’re in a bad mood and aggressive. How is it when you are open and honest and accept your negative feelings?
de Souza: Then you’re listening to your negative thoughts instead of replacing them with positive ones and being loving. The nego says, “You poor thing. You don’t have any love. Where should you get it from?” You’ve allowed yourself to have these negative thoughts. But you can make another decision at any time and replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. It’s your decision. You’ve learned and gotten use to letting in the unloving and frustrating thoughts and giving them the upper hand. You’ve never tried to let in the good-thought fairies. When you are full of happiness, then everything you say is loving. But when you say with honesty, “You have an ugly nose!” then your honesty is not coming from your love and true soul, but from your nego. Your nego then says, “I’m better off than you. You’re an idiot. I mean that honestly.” The nego applauds you because you are so “true.” The nego has struck with its club and is proud, because it was “true.” “Bravo!” says the nego.
Honesty doesn’t mean, though, that you have to hurt others. Honesty actually comes from your posego.
Participant: The nego thoughts have to be chased out. Who chases them out?
de Souza: It’s not necessary to chase out the negative thoughts if you let in the positive ones. Then the negative thoughts will get lost on their own. They don’t like joy.
Participant: In reality it’s feelings like anger, hate, sadness, etc., that come as natural catastrophes, and you are powerless against them. Where are the positive thoughts suppose to come from?
de Souza: You have to practice. You don’t understand how these “natural catastrophes” happen. You’ve done nothing. Your negative thoughts can come in because you weren’t conscious of them. You decided to look the other way and so the “natural catastrophes” were able to take their course. How you react depends on the pattern the neurons in your brain have built. Now, all someone has to do is press the right “button” and you react according to the pattern. Certain stimuli cause certain reactions. You’ve learned that. When a certain stimuli takes place, you react, for example, with anger. That’s how you’ve always done it. Your wife, for example, only needs to say a certain word and you hit the roof. It comes like a “natural catastrophe.” Your nego has created this configuration, this pattern, in your mind. Now you react automatically to all stimuli in a certain way. What you can do though is change this pattern! That means you have to make the thoughts conscious which cause this reaction. Then you can decide to practice another reaction.
Participant: So I have to decide if I want to be angry or if I want to deal with a situation in a constructive way, and for example, go for a walk.
de Souza: Yes, the stress goes away when you go for a walk. Also you have to decide, “I’ll stay happy. I won’t let myself be bothered by this. I’ll react differently and change the configuration of the neurons.” The key lies in your thoughts.
Participant: Emotions sometimes come crashing down so that you can’t intercede in the moment even if you wanted to.
de Souza: That’s how you’ve always reacted. Now you want to change that. Even if you fall back into your old emotions every now and then, it doesn’t matter. By consciously changing your thought pattern, you’ll become angry ever more seldom and it won’t be as intensive as before. It takes some time until you learn a new pattern. Once you’ve installed the new pattern, it will be exactly as easy and self-evident to be happy and loving as it was easy and self-evident to be angry and miserable.
Laying new cable in your switchboard
The neurons are the switching mechanisms in our brains. Until now you have reacted with anger every time someone has insulted you. When you have been rejected, you have reacted with sadness. When you have been criticized, you have flipped out and defended yourself. And that has happened automatically. The stimuli—to be insulted or criticized—operate the switching mechanisms in your neurons which then react according to a pre-programmed pattern. That takes place via the dendrites. They are like billions of fingers in the brain. They are neuro-transmitters. They send an impulse as the answer to a stimulus. The answer has always come to you as a natural catastrophe—which means you have reacted to the stimulus with anger, sadness or have flipped out. Now you want to react with love and understanding. Every time you react with peace, the dendrites build a new pattern. Then it will be easy to react with joy, peace and love. It will be just as easy as it was to be angry. The stimuli now lead you to a harmonious reaction. The old pattern has been re-built and now you react amazingly positive. And all that without struggling!
“Have the right insight,” Buddha said. Insight means to do everything consciously. And how can you make your thoughts clear again when you are distraught? By completely concentrating on one thing and becoming so deeply involved with it that you forget yourself and time – that is insight. Insight means you do something and know what you are doing. That does not only apply to work, but also to your feelings. You are, for example, angry and know that you are angry. When we breathe in, we know that we are breathing in. When we breathe out, we know we are breathing out. Sometimes we breathe slowly, other times quickly. When we are breathing slowly, we know we are breathing slowly. When we are breathing quickly, we know we are breathing quickly. That is the meaning of “insight.” If you do not have insight, you cannot change yourself, because you do not know what you are doing.
If you fail to see your positive outlook then you cannot develop a self-esteem. If you fail to see your negative outlook then you cannot change it. If you fail to see that you react to insults with anger or disagreements with sadness, then you cannot change that.
You are all God’s children. Stay so. You can do it because now you know the way. If you have done something wrong, then do not to beat down on yourself. If you have regretted it, if you have acknowledged it, then it is over. God has forgotten it. Everyone makes mistakes. You are not allowed to resent mistakes. Always expect the best – what you expect is what you attract to yourself through cosmic energy.
go on reading Chapter IV