This book is a Get Out of Jail Free card and a passport back into the playground.

The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.

The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.

But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :

1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.

2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.

Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.

This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.

How to Be Free is available as a free ebook from Smashwords, iBooks in some countries, Kobo and Barnes & Noble

It is also available in paperback from Lulu or Amazon for $10 US, plus postage.

The ebook version currently has received 593 ***** out of ***** ratings on U.S. iBooks.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Selfishness is Self-Denial

The key problem in human societies has always been selfishness. It puts us in the position of competing with each other when cooperation is the way to maximise our creativity and make sure that the needs of all are provided for.

But how well do we actually understand selfishness?

Selfishness is the natural self-directedness of the suffering or insecure individual. If you hit your thumb with a hammer you find it hard to think of anything else. It is a natural process that our attention focuses where there is a need or a threat.

Sometimes we are encouraged to feel guilty about being selfish. This doesn’t help. Guilt is a source of pain and pain makes us more selfish. It’s a negative feedback loop.

We may think that we have to chose between selfishness or self-denial. This is a false dichotomy. Selfishness is self-denial.

The fact that we want pleasure for ourselves is not a problem. It may very well be the solution. Selfishness consists less in the seeking of personal pleasure than it does in lacking the courage to truly maximise that pleasure.

Copyright: melnyk58 / 123RF Stock Photo

Think of the society within which we live as a garden. Each of us lives in a hut within that garden. The garden has run to seed. It is a tangle of weeds.

We can hide away in our huts most of the time. We can spend our time and resources putting up new wall-paper, shag-pile carpet, decorating with fancy adornments, buying a new 4K television… Our hut provides us with a place to hide from other people and from looking at the weeds. Sure we have our pleasures, but they are meagre.

With more courage we could learn to spend more time outside of our hut. Instead of decorating it we could be pulling weeds and planting flowers and fruit trees. Instead of being alone we could be doing this with others - talking and joking.

The more we transform the garden and the closer bonds we form with our fellow garden-dwellers, the longer we will want to spend outside.

Eventually we won’t want to return to our huts unless it is cold or rainy. We will wander around tending to the plants, eating the fruit, smelling the flowers, singing and dancing and making love with our neighbours.

And finally we realise that our selfishness was really a perverse form of asceticism. All we were doing was shutting ourselves out from paradise.