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They explored the subject from the perspectives of anthropology, biology, moral philosophy, psychology, and theology, drawing on their own research and examining the evidence that an attitude of gratitude creates blessings. In his article, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Dr Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, details many of those blessings, including a strengthened immune system, lowered blood pressure, higher levels of positive emotions, more joy, and increased optimism and self-esteem. Emmons, who was present at that original Temple Foundation meeting, is considered one of the foremost authorities on the topic of gratitude in North America. He looks at gratitude as receiving and accepting all of life as a gift. Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished, Emmons says. Gratitude enriches human life. When the visitors returned home, they told their people, These men and women on planet earth are really quite remarkable. They have a certain power that will allow them to achieve any goal they desire. But the strange thing is, the majority of them keep putting obstacles to their happiness in their way, sort of like self-sabotage. And one of the greatest observed was the excuse of being too old. <a href=''>You're</a> only too old if you think you're too old, and there's nothing more to it than that. <a href=''>But,</a> you might reply, you don't know my situation. <a href=''>Excuses,</a> excuses. <a href=''>They</a> never stop. <a href=''>First,</a> it was that you were too young. <a href=''>Then</a> it was that you didn't have enough money. <a href=''>The</a> storm would blow over but I would remain traumatized from all the turmoil. <a href=''>A</a> family is a group of people committed to caring for one another, loving one another, supporting one another, and protecting one another. <a href=''>The</a> cohesiveness of that group relies on an implicit promise of honesty, trust, loyalty, dependability, and altruism among its members. <br /><br /><a href=''>Some</a> families function well in that regard, some do not. <a href=''>Those</a> that do not are said to be dysfunctional. <a href=''>The</a> fact that a family has problems or argues from time to time does not make it dysfunctional. <a href=''>It</a> is perfectly normal for families to encounter obstacles and for its members to have conflicts. <a href=''>Families</a> are characterized as dysfunctional because of the emotional pain, mistrust, and confusion that prevails among its members. <a href=''>Every</a> family ruled by a narcissistic parent is dysfunctional. <a href=''>The</a> home life of a child living in this type of environment is loveless, chaotic, confusing, volatile and unpredictable. <a href=''>I</a> want an amazing wedding. <a href=''>When</a> I ask people to write down their goals, they often give answers describing what most people think of as success. <a href=''>We</a> think that success equals happiness, but this idea is an illusion. <a href=''>The</a> Sanskrit word for illusion is maya, which means believing in that which is not. <a href=''>When</a> we let achievements and acquisitions determine our course, we're living in the illusion that happiness comes from external measures of success, but all too often we find that when we finally get what we want, when we find success, it doesn't lead to happiness. <a href=''>Jim</a> Carrey once said, I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it's not the answer. <a href=''>The</a> illusion of success is tied not just to income and acquisitions but to achievements like becoming a doctor or getting a promotion or. <a href=''>My</a> desire in the story above--to be able to recite every verse from the scripture--is the monk's version of material desire. <a href=''>Like</a> all of these wants, my ambition was centered around an external outcome--being as impressively learned as that other monk. <a href=''>American</a> spiritual luminary Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC, writes, As long as we keep attaching our happiness to the external events of our lives, which are ever changing, we'll always be left waiting for it. <a href=''>It</a> elevates, energizes, inspires, and transforms. <a href=''>People</a> are moved, opened, and humbled through expressions of gratitude. <a href=''>His</a> definition of gratitude has two components. <br /><br /><a href=''>The</a> first is an affirmation of goodness: affirming there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we have received. <a href=''>This</a> doesn't mean ignoring the complaints and burdens we carry, but looking at life as a whole and identifying some amount of goodness in our life. <a href=''>The</a> second part is figuring out where that goodness comes from, acknowledging that it is outside of ourselves. <a href=''>For</a> me, that is part and parcel of faith: affirming that life is a gift and that goodness comes not because of something we do but from grace. <a href=''>My</a> ability to see the good in circumstances likely derives from the humbling experience of having had goodness bestowed upon me by others during David's cancer and after his death. <a href=''>Dr</a> Emmons views gratitude as a choice. <a href=''>Pete</a> Sulack, America's leading stress reduction expert and founder of StressRX, agrees. <a href=''>Then</a> came the excuse of not having enough time because you were working so much to make the money you told yourself you needed. <a href=''>Then,</a> when you had the money, you wanted to preserve it and not take any chances on losing it. <a href=''>Then</a> you had the money and had relieved any fears that you would lose it, but you felt it was too late to make anything of yourself or do the things you'd always wanted. <a href=''>But</a> I have one more excuse for you and it's going to be the final one. <a href=''>Your</a> life's meter has expired and it's time for you to go. <a href=''>My</a> friend, you're never too old to do whatever it is you want. <a href=''>It</a> truly is never too late to be what you might have been. <a href=''>Courage</a> and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. <a href=''>DESIRE</a> IS THE FORCE BEHIND ALL THINGS AND MOVES THE WORLD <a href=''>Be</a> choosy, therefore, about what you set your heart on; <a href=''>The</a> mind games narcissistic parents play with their children cause a lifetime of damage. <a href=''>Children</a> in narcissistic families are deprived of the essential building blocks needed for healthy self-esteem, autonomy, and individuality. <a href=''>Those</a> losses impair their ability to adjust to life in a healthy way. <br /><br /><a href=''>Children</a> growing up in these chaotic, drama laden households become saddled with a lifetime of emotional struggles. <a href=''>That</a> is why adult recovery from this abuse is so difficult. <a href=''>From</a> the outside looking in, the narcissistic family appears to be like any other normal family. <a href=''>That</a> is not an accident. <a href=''>It</a> is purposefully designed by the narcissistic parent to appear that way so no one will interfere with his reign of terror. <a href='</a>'>What</a> goes on behind closed doors and what friends, relatives, and neighbors see are entirely different. <a href=''>Children</a> in these families are conditioned to believe that the way the family functions is normal and that there is nothing unusual about the behavior of the narcissistic parent. <a href=''>Once,</a> as a monk, I visited a temple in Srirangam, one of the three major holy cities in South India. <a href=''>I</a> came upon a worker high up on a scaffold applying gold powder to the intricate details on the temple's ceiling. <a href=''>I'd</a> never seen anything like it, and I stopped to watch. <a href=''>As</a> I gazed upward, a dusting of gold floated down into my eyes. <a href=''>I</a> hurried from the temple to rinse my eyes, then returned, keeping a safe distance this time. <a href=''>This</a> episode felt like a lesson torn from the scriptures: Gold dust is beautiful, but come too close, and it will blur your vision. <a href=''>The</a> gilt that is used on temples isn't solid gold--it's mixed into a solution. <a href=''>And,</a> as we know, it is used to cover up stone, to make it look like solid gold. <a href=''>It's</a> maya, an illusion. <a href=''>In</a> the same way, money and fame are only a facade. <a href=''>It's</a> our go-to response in a stressful world. <a href=''>We</a> tend to remember the bad while forgetting the good. <a href=''>Now</a> we must learn a new way of seeing the world and interacting with it if we are to become resilient to the stress of living in a post-modern world, he continues before explaining that our brain is neuroplastic, with the ability to rewire itself by practicing a habit repeatedly--in this case, the habit of gratitude. <br /><br /><a href=''>It</a> is a choice to look around and take in the beauty that surrounds us instead of seeing the ugly. <a href=''>It's</a> a choice to remember the good and let go of the bad. <a href=''>It's</a> a conscious decision to find things for which to be grateful each and every day. <a href=''>It's</a> difficult, but it's worth it. <a href=''>Choosing</a> thankfulness under all sorts of circumstances isn't always easy, but it's a practice well worth cultivating for a more creative and innovative life. <a href=''>When</a> we are stressed, we revert to behaviors that are routine, time-tested, and familiar--ourgo to' plan of action, Sulack is quoted in an Inc. We do this because we are in survival mode. Everywhere you go, people have interests and lots of them. is, after all, the spice of life. Wouldn't our lives be boring if we didn't have myriad interests? But interests are one thing; world moves and is changed by desire. Desires--whether they be wise or unwise, positive or negative--are the things that become reality. Desire fulfills a human need, a craving if you will, for something in each us that hungers to experience it. Yet what most don't realize is that many of our desires come from past programming and emotion-backed demands that keep telling you that in order to feel happy, fulfilled, excited or complete, you must have these things or a person(s) who will give them to you. And depending on how you look at it, the trouble is--or the great thing is--desire never stops. Whatever you desire can help you or hurt you. They know no other way for a family to operate. Their home life may feel off-kilter and they may be unhappy, but they do not know why because they have either been brainwashed into thinking the way they do, or are so in fear that they could think no other way. It is constantly reinforced to the children not to do anything that may potentially make the family look bad.