Inquire Within

“Nothing in the world can ever make you happy, because happiness comes from within.” – David Hawkins

I’ve been listening to Healing by Dr. David Hawkins on CD in my car. He presents a scenario: you are sitting in a chair, and someone comes in and hands you a bag of money. You immediately feel happier. But nothing in your life has really changed. You feel happier because you have a thought that reflects the belief that money can make you happy.

Likewise, your thoughts can make you unhappy. And they can be a reflection of limiting beliefs you hold about yourself and the world around you. So, thoughts generate feelings which create and color experiences in life.

Happiness is an inside job.


It may seem like it’s not true at first, but it is. Oh sure, life is easier (and arguably better) when you have good friends, a nice place to live, and a great job.

But true happiness isn’t a feeling state, it’s a being state.

Feelings are reactive, and transitory. If you spend your life chasing a happy feeling, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Think of some of the happiest people you know. I mean the ones who are always up. The ones you feel good just being around. Are they happy because of circumstances? Or because of an attitude and approach to life that reflects an unshakeable inner quality?

Want to start an inner journey towards greater happiness and well-being? Meditation is a good first step. Why? Because a meditation practice makes you more aware of your thoughts, and your thoughts shape your experience of the world. How do you change your thoughts? Start by watching them – the act of observation itself is powerful because it makes you less reactive.

The big picture? Change your thoughts, and you will change your life.

Love in Disguise?

“People should worry about each other. Because worry is just love in its worst form. But it’s still love.” – Simon Gray

As a follow up to my previous entry on worry, I found this quote, which I read in a magazine years ago. I remember reading it over and over, thinking about it for a long time. I couldn’t decide whether I agreed with him or not. I think worry is something misguided people do to show their love. But does that mean worry is love?

Someone told me recently, “Cruelty is the closest thing to love.” I was truly stunned. My first inclination was to disagree vehemently. But I had to consider it further. Maybe it’s true that some things are close to love, but not love exactly. I have an easier time believing that worry is close to love. But cruelty?

I think the difficulty in determining whether or not worry and cruelty are at all equivalent to love is related to the difficulty people have in defining love. (See The Power of Love for more on this topic, and for a discussion of David Hawkins’ scale of consciousness.)

If love is an energy (or an action that carries an energy), is the energy of worry (or cruelty, for that matter) on the same level as that of love? Hawkins would answer with a resounding no on both counts. Worry calibrates close to fear, and cruelty would be close to anger. Both are well below the love vibration.

So if love is an energy, then the energy of love is much different from the energy of worry. A Course in Miracles says the opposite of love is fear. On the other hand, if love is an action, does cruelty in some way demonstrate love? It takes energy to be cruel (just as it takes energy to worry). To be cruel means to be calculating. Maybe by that token the opposite of love is not fear, or even hatred, but rather indifference.

It’s only if love is a “feeling” that we can say that worry or cruelty might be a little bit close to love. If love is a feeling that we get caught up in, a feeling that we’re powerless to control, then we might behave in ways that are cruel.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that love is a feeling. Are we powerless in the face of our feelings? Simply under their control? If so, we’re little better than a two year old throwing a temper tantrum.

One of the benefits of meditation (and spiritual practice in general) is that it tends to move people from a state of reaction to a state of contemplation. In other words, it allows us to live in the gap. In the gap, we can make choices about who we want to be in the world. This means that it’s possible to choose words and actions that reflect our true values and priorities. It also means that we can choose how to direct our energy.

If we choose to direct our energy and intent toward being love in action then worry and cruelty will have no home in the same neighborhood as love.

The Power of Love

Earlier this week I attended the workshop “What is Love?” offered by Diane Winn and Tom Searcy of Through Eagles Eyes at the Center for Spiritual Growth in South Bend. Tom Searcy opened by identifying love as one of the most practical, powerful, and useful energies that there is. He noted that having a loving relationship with self and others makes one happier, healthier, and more abundant. And that love is more than an energy, it’s a verb. In other words, we demonstrate the energy of our love through our actions.

It’s an interesting perspective because I think most people, if asked to define love, would identify it first as a feeling. But if love is just a feeling, what happens when we don’t feel it? What do we do when the baby’s crying, and we’ve been up all night? When our significant other doesn’t seem so love-able? Where does action arise? From the feelings of the moment? From our commitment to our values? In the moments when we are most challenged by our circumstances, it becomes more important than ever to act from (and indeed, to act on) our internal commitment to the ideals (and to the people) that we hold most dear.

Pose the question “What is Love?” to someone of my generation and you’re likely to be met with a rendition of the Haddaway song featured on the popular Saturday Night Live skit starring Will Ferrell and Kris Kattan.  “Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more.” All kidding aside, those words are a strong indicator of popular fears about love. It’s a strange phrase, isn’t it? Aren’t fear and love antithetical?

Emotional states have vibratory energy. According to Dr. David Hawkins, different emotional states vibrate along a scale of consciousness. On Hawkins’ scale which is (1-1000), love has a vibration of 500, while fear vibrates at 100. A few key points on the Hawkins scale of consciousness look something like this:

  • 600 peace
  • 540 unconditional love
  • 500 love
  • 400 reason
  • 200 courage
  • 100 fear
  • 50 apathy

In the Hawkins paradigm, one must move beyond science, beyond reason, to achieve a love vibration. He draws a distinction between Love and Unconditional Love: mainly that love encompasses a set of demonstrable qualities (goodness, purity, humble-ness), while unconditional love signals more of an overall paradigm shift. Hawkins specifically associates unconditional love with compassion and devotion as a way of life that facilitates healing on many levels.

Now, whether you subscribe to the Hawkins paradigm or not, it’s worth considering the ways emotions affect our personal energy levels, as well as how they impact those around us. In terms of personal development, it’s well-understood that we must love ourselves before we can begin to love others. But how do we truly love ourselves? I think it goes back to svadhyaya, or self-study, which I discussed in an earlier post. In that sense, love is a process.

Hawkins asserts that movement along the scale of consciousness can be facilitated by exposure to different energy vibrations. If you want to move up the scale, say for example from reason to love, exposure to a higher vibratory energy can precipitate a shift. Thus, it would seem that we each have, to some degree, an opportunity: Have you ever noticed that some people can make you feel good, really good, just by their mere presence? And that spending just a few short minutes with certain other individuals can leave you feeling really lousy?

I think it comes down to this question: “What kind of world do you want to live in?” There’s a reason people so often quote Gandhi, who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It’s easier said than done, but well worth the effort.

Recommended reading:

Power vs. Force, by David Hawkins