Dare to Be Happy
By Daniel Tipton*
MY PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
[as it appeared in the October 2011 Newsletter]
My philosophy on life is to continue to develop my philosophy on life. By this I mean that I am constantly assessing the meaning behind my actions and the life that they manifest. If I were to describe my current philosophy, it would be an image of how I feel about how I have progressed and where I am going. However, when I get to the self most centrally mine, there are a couple underlying themes which drive me and which I doubt will ever change. One is to be my most authentic self and the other is to make the best use of this lifetime. These philosophies are based on, firstly, a desire to find the path that brings me the most peace and joy. If I feel steady peace and joy, I know that I am being true to myself. Right now, I am training myself to be an attentive internal listener so that I may be guided by higher wisdom from within to fully reveal myself. Secondly, I have a desire to not waste a lifetime. I believe that any progress not made in this life will need to be made up in successive lives. Essentially, I want to make the most of my life.
In striving to be my most authentic self, I find that it is also a calling to live a life that brings me the most love. It is important for me to know that my actions are serving my higher purpose. When I am giving or receiving love in all of its forms, whether it be an act of charity or fully enjoying whatever I am doing, I am being true to my nature. I also believe that my most authentic self is one who is kind and giving to everyone. I closely watch my behavior toward people and ask myself if I am behaving toward that person how I would enjoy being treated. This is cliché but I find that if one can truly empathize with another person’s position, they will act in a loving way toward them. This keeps me, most of the time, from attacking people because I can feel what it would be like to be attacked the way I am thinking about doing so.
In following this pursuit of authenticity and efficiency, I have found little use for religious dogma. Catholic dogma used to be a part of my philosophy on life but I no longer find it useful. I was without a religion, per se, for over a decade until I discovered a work call “A Course in Miracles”. It is not so much a religion as it is a guide to looking at ourselves and removing fear-based obstacles to love and serenity. I have been studying this course for over two years and it is the centerpiece of my “religious” study. It says that there is a God and I believe that there is a divine creator. It also speaks of the afterlife as a return to our true essence, which is some sort of oneness with the creator. The afterlife is not spoken of as a reward to the righteous but a state every person will return to where the suffering and materialism we experience here mean nothing. I find that modern religions can be helpful in some ways but I trust my inner voice to guide me to a fulfilling life.
As I have mentioned before, I trust myself to be able to find the truth in any situation based on intuition. When something feels right and it increases love or a feeling of connectedness with each other or ourselves, I consider it truth. When there is untruth, I experience discomfort to some degree. The tricky part about following intuition is …
…that we have a louder ego that guides us away from truth. I am ever learning how to decipher between the destructive callings of ego and the blessed callings of intuition. One example of a truth that I know and have experienced is that when I am doing what I love, I have an overall happier outlook on my entire life. I quit a well-paying job recently to go back to school to be a counselor. After doing that, my outlook and attitude toward everything in my life instantly improved. I now look at my life and am invigorated instead of feeling restless and unsure like I had before.
In order to live out my philosophies, I must be able to act on free will. When we make a loving choice, we benefit in some way from it. When an unloving choice is made, we experience unhappiness to some degree, thus we always have the choice between increasing or decreasing love (peace, happiness, joy, connectedness).The power to do either, is the power to dictate the quality of our lives. Furthermore, my conception of free will means that all humans have the right to make whichever choice they feel is best for them that doesn’t take away from another person’s freedom. I believe we were created to practice free will, and anyone that imposes on the free will of another is creating suffering and going against the laws of nature. Therefor, I find it just to reprimand violators. In a society where all are not evolved enough to see that crimes toward humanity are unnecessary, law is needed.
I find that beauty and love go hand in hand and that like love, beauty can give us a mystical experience. In keeping love in my life and making the most of it, I think it is important to enjoy beautiful things. Whether something gives us a mystical experience or not, depends on the person, but I also believe that there are some things that are considered beautiful to the mass consciousness. I have read that there are many ways to have a mystical experience and some are through art. I believe that a mystical experience is a feeling of wonder or awe. So if I look at a painting with wonder and/or awe, that makes it beautiful to me. Similarly, when I hear a quotation that rings with truth, I will say that it is beautiful because it gives me a mystical experience that I can feel inside.
One thing I have found helpful on my path is to take complete responsibility for everything I experience. I feel it is important that we awaken to the fact that we are completely responsible for everything that occurs in our lives. Whether we feel we are a victim or not is beside the point; we are still responsible. I think that if we would stop thinking that our lives are happening to us and see that we are creating it with every thought and action, we would have a healthier and happier society. I think that it would be extraordinarily helpful to have more people among us who empower others and help them see that they are the only ones standing in the way of their own happiness. That is why I am becoming a counselor. I want to help awaken the dormant creative power in our society and at the same time, be my greatest self.
*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center, attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling. Daniel will be attending the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here