Instead she must adapt a false self in order to cope with her world. This is a coping mechanism or facade. The compulsive drive to feel whole, complete, adequate, and euphoric in any form comes from the innate emptiness or void inside. The pursuit of inner peace or wholeness takes any possible substance or process in order to: I call them imperatives because I don't really think we can change the world without changing ourselves. You have an internal technology within you now, along with all of the apps you need in your heart, mind, and body to elicit a personal renaissance, but you need to upload this knowledge and begin to use it. This is a direct program to empower you to access the inner knowledge and the power you possess but which lies dormant. And you can begin today. We have forgotten that we are meant to be more like lighthouses, luminous and sharing our light with the world, but we have encased our bright lamp within a metal cage and then covered it with concrete. Once darkened, we feel lonely and isolated, and so we compensate by hanging what amounts to tinsel and Christmas lights around the tower. training himself to stop and think before he tells a joke shows that this is doable, whereas trying to train yourself to stop and think before you speak at all is probably too big and beyond our capacity. The urge to tell a joke is the red flag for him. I mentioned that my wife asked me to take out an offensive story. This is a good example of how our significant other can be helpful to us. She was right, but I wouldn't have seen it myself. She also asked me to take out another story that was a great example of my blurting out and the harm it can cause. The reason for omitting this one was because it's still painful to her, even after a long time. So we'll have to get by without it. Our blurting out can cause real and lasting harm. Reflect on the following two questions and jot down your responses in your journal. Think about the last moral decision you had to make that created significant stress.

What did you do to disturb yourself about making and acting on a decision? For example, did you perceive it as a self-critical moral dilemma and wallow in it? Make a list of whatever you recall that you did to disturb yourself. Recall the situation you described in Exercise 6.1 in which you experienced guilt about a perceived wrongdoing. List whatever you recall that you did to sustain your guilt. For example, did you continue to blame yourself and tell yourself what a bad person you are? What Would the Sages Tell You to Do Differently? The adrenaline and cortisol levels are high enough that your non-verbal brain filters are now offline and your verbal filters are beginning to collapse. You may notice yourself speaking faster than your mind can keep up. You may begin complaining to yourself or lecturing or venting to those around you. You may tend to feel powerless and are strongly tempted to blame the people around you or your circumstances for being too difficult to manage. You may find that you are always busy but never getting anything done because of an inability to focus properly. This is the first stage when most people are willing to admit to themselves that they are stressed or feeling anxious, because at this point it becomes unavoidable. Parenting is one of the most important roles a person can fulfill as an adult in our society. For the most part, we parent the way we were parented. "They did the best they could, and it seemed to work out okay so I'll follow in their footsteps" is one approach. Or, conversely, "They did everything wrong, so I'm going to do the exact opposite, because they really messed me up!" Either way the child is acting out of reaction mode, and not from a place of choice. The problem is that when you have learned how to parent, the child is grown and the good as well as the damage is already done. The legacy has been passed on to the next generation. And so the cycle repeats itself, again.

The proper function of the family is to provide a healthy and supportive environment in which the members are encouraged to grow and develop individually and interpersonally into healthy, productive, and fully functional adults. A dysfunctional family fails to fulfill its function. There are seven conditions that characterize a dysfunctional family. In other words, we cut ourselves off from each other, encasing our emotions in scar tissue from past traumas and heartbreak, diminishing our natural power and inner beauty. In our self-made isolation, we then overcompensate by taking desperate measures to grasp at some semblance of intimacy. The tinsel and Christmas lights take many forms, such as social power, enhanced sexual beauty, material wealth, and so on, but it is all nothing compared to the inner light that we already posses but have hidden from the world and sometimes even from ourselves. In a dysfunctional home, a measurement is established against which each member of the household is compared. The measurement can be different for each child. It could be academic achievement, malleability, obedience, and compliance. Love is then given or withheld depending upon how each person measures up to the standard that has been set for him/her. The "shoulds, musts, ought to's, supposed to's, and have to's" are the standards that have been established by the parents and are the conditions under which love is dispensed or withheld. We tend to be impulsive, to blurt out, and to lack patience. We can be inappropriate. By recognizing these problems, we can do something about them. We can identify in what circumstances they tend to happen; sometimes we can catch it on the tip of our tongue before we say it or catch ourselves before we do something inappropriate. We can learn to be on watch for it. Sometimes there is that little warning voice, if we train ourselves to listen to it. We can notice ourselves being irritable, and use strategies to control it. Identify your behavioral responses. In Exercise 6.5, you created two lists of the things you did to disturb yourself when you faced making a moral decision or had made one you thought was wrong.

What would each of our great thinkers tell you to do differently? Create your plan of action. Based on these insights, make another creative to-do list of those things. This new list will be your plan of action! You are now ready to start working toward your guiding virtues: unconditional self-acceptance, courage, and prudence! You'll be putting your best foot forward to apply the wisdom of the sages. Chapter Fourteen will help you continue building your new skills in making peace with being morally imperfect. In demanding moral perfection, you are demanding more of yourself than even the most famous pillars of morality in history were capable of achieving. Your respectability and deservingness as a human being do not depend on your being perfect--not even near-perfect. Moral decision-making is inherently uncertain and ambiguous. There's simply no mathematical formula for always doing the morally right thing. Unfortunately, once your temperature is at this point, you may be too stressed to do anything except ride it out. With practice, some people can consciously bring their temperatures down at this stage, but this is an acquired skill. If you have not been practicing, chances are you do not have the ability to consciously self-regulate at this level. You will have to escape the situation (or let it pass) in order to calm down. Topics such as sex, religion, politics, money, relatives, addictions, illnesses, feelings, interpersonal relationships, plans or activities, or the condition of a specific family member, are arbitrarily designated off-limits. Family members get the message either verbally or nonverbally that "We just don't talk about such things." Problems can pertain to the entire family, to two or more family members, or to one member's nonfunctioning as it relates to the rest of the system. These situations are rarely discussed, are intentionally avoided, and dismissed when approached. Issues might involve such things as an illness, an addiction, eccentricities, sibling rivalry, incest, abuse, financial matters, psychological malfunctioning, or learning disabilities. There is a common pact between all family members to honor the code of silence regarding all family secrets, which include abuse, addictions, drinking, drugs, eccentricities, domestic violence, incest, lying, mental illness, money issues, scandals, or suicides.

Your body is beginning to overdose on adrenaline and cortisol. Your verbal filters have completely collapsed and your physical filters are under attack. You may start talking in circles and/or find it difficult to focus. You feel fearful and overwhelmed. You are almost entirely focused on escaping your situation rather than figuring out how to deal with it more effectively. You just want this moment to end. You may feel your mind going blank. You may also begin suffering from physical signs of stress such as muscle tightness, body aches, feeling flushed, mild dizziness, or stomach/bowel problems. You may also be experiencing mild shortness of breath, as if you were physically exerting yourself. Feelings are perceived as dangerous. The expression of feelings is regarded as threatening and disruptive to the family system. They are met with disdain, rejection or, at best tolerance; Strong emotions are often the impetus for action. Suppressing feelings preserves the situation, the status quo, and simultaneously creates an environment that is riddled with lies. The capacity for meaningful transformation or even a complete renaissance is present in each of us; we simply need to activate the innate internal technology that we already have, and have had, by learning some simple yet powerful skills that are currently not being taught on a wide scale. This work is for people from all walks of life and levels of fitness, whether or not they have a stiff body or a rigid schedule. It is my mission to help people remember who they are and what they are capable of, and to provide tools for them to empower themselves and live a more meaningful life. I have distilled the technology of happiness into three primary disciplines. The reason this knowledge is not being taught on a wide scale is not because of a global conspiracy, but because, from a monetary point of view, it is not profitable to empower people to find happiness within, and what is not profitable is not advertised, and what is not advertised ceases to exist on our flat screens. No advertiser is going to tell you that his or her product will not contribute to your happiness whatsoever and that you would be far better to ignore this product and instead switch off your television and spend more time with your family. Quite the opposite, a marketing campaign exists to convince you that if you purchase a particular product, even if it is dish soap, your happiness will be enhanced.