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How's Your Inner Beggar?

October 30, 2009

beggar cup.jpg
by Henry Makow Ph.D.

This being the weekend I am reflecting on the timeless question of human happiness. What do people want?

Simple creatures, we want to feel good.

If you can make other people feel good, they'll love you. But how many of us bother? We are too busy trying to make them make us feel good.

We are feel good addicts, hoping to wring our happiness from the world. Food, drink, drugs, sex, money, power, love.

In The Power of Now, Eckhard Tolle speaks of a beggar who asks a stranger for money. The stranger tells the beggar to look under his seat. Turns out there was gold there all along.

The message is "the kingdom of heaven lies within" i.e. in the soul. Tolle's theory, based on Raja Yoga, is that we are souls, not minds. But we falsely identify with the mind (ego), the beggar voice in our head,  saying, "I want."    

I want corrupt politicians to be punished. I want the world to be just. I want my stocks to go up. I want to be noticed. I want my boss to praise me. I want to make a big sale. I want my spouse to be sweet. I want people to write on my Facebook wall. I want someone to put something in my cup.

Tolle's theory is that the ego has no permanent existence. After all, we die. But throughout our lives, our ego tries in vain to assert its existence. In order to feel good, everyday, it needs a cocktail of money, love, sex, recognition and power, or you name it.

This is why so many rich people are so stingy. They are their money. If they give it away, they are diminished. This is why people cling to discredited ideas. They are their opinions. 

The ego can never be satisfied. No matter how much is stuffed into its cup, it wants more.
"Enough is a little more than what one has," Samuel Butler said. (How much better if we could focus on our blessings and have an attitude of gratitude!) 

So the deal is: we should identify with what is eternal and permanent, i.e. our souls which unite us with the universal soul, "God" or "Being", infusing all life.

According to the mystics, we can access this spiritual dimension, where truth and love are self evident, by meditation and prayer. By switching our identity to the observer, which witnesses thought as something foreign to our real spiritual identity, we bring the power of God into our hearts. The ego-mind becomes a calculator at best, a boorish intruder at worst. 

Tolle teaches his followers to be still and live in the present; empty their minds and unwrap the lollipop at the core of their being.


Because of Eckhard Tolle, a lot of people are walking around with a blissed out expression. They see themselves as channeling God. They view Christ in these terms. Some people can be in the world but not of it. Others tune out the world completely.

I favor a balance between ego and spirit. Mystics speaking of acedia , a spiritual dryness or boredom that comes from detaching from the world but not being able to connect to God. It's a kind of limbo. Waiting for Grace.

The ego has legitimate needs (they are our needs) and often it is easier to satisfy them than starve them and hope they will go away. Love, sex, respect, money are examples. 

The ego also has legitimate satisfactions. For example, a job well done. A well deserved promotion. Figuring out a difficult problem. Cleaning out the garage. Making someone else's day. A good run or work out.

Lucky is the person who can enjoy himself; the person who has many private pleasures: Jazz, Victorian literature, bird watching, knitting, sports, (add yours here) ....

I'd like to hear what makes you happy? Is the beggar-ego-mind analogy useful? Please be concise.


I've said to my wife, "Nobody ever calls unless they want something."

Of course, this isn't true of everyone. But recently, I was having a nap on a lazy Saturday afternoon when my fax line rang. No fax came in but every few minutes ... a nagging ring. Finally my phone line rang. I answered it.

It was a politician I had supported financially 20 years ago. Hadn't spoken to him since. Haven't been involved in mainstream politics either. Well, it seems that he had incurred a large campaign debt in the interim. The lender was going to forgive it but had died first. Now his estate was suing the politician for his house.

At this time, the politician somehow remembered a large cheque I had written in 1988, when I was flush with Scruples money. Could I find it in my heart?

The audacity!  I would have told him to go to hell but I felt sorry for him. His judgment was impaired. So I let him down politely.


Known as the "Newton of Sociology,"  the "Father of Socio Dynamics" is a real cynic. Here are his four laws:  

1. We are attracted/nice to people who can offer us something. 2. We are repelled by people who want something from us. 3. We are indifferent to people from whom we want nothing and vice-versa. 4. Sometimes, we are nice to people from whom we might benefit in the future.

Is there any truth to these laws?

I have a friend who is on cordial terms with his ex-wife. She had the audacity to ask him to co-sign a mortgage for $250,000 on an condo investment she had made. She was going to lose her down payment.  "Could he find it in his heart?"

Like the politician, she was desperate. She didn't consult my friend when making this investment, or offer to cut him in. But she expected him to bail her out.

Chutzpah- you don't have to be Jewish. Panhandlers -- they appeal to our compassion but they don't give a damn about us.

To end on a less cynical note, it's a blessing to find a pure and worthy cause.  Sometimes we happen upon someone who is genuinely good, and take a shine to him or her. (If we are lucky, they might be our own children.) There is nothing in it for us but the satisfaction of being able to give.

PS. I am the "Father of Socio Dynamics." Father of Hygiene was taken (by Louis Pasteur.)

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "How's Your Inner Beggar?"

Tom said (November 1, 2009):

You say, "In order to feel good, everyday, it needs a cocktail of money, love, sex, recognition and power, or you name it.". I would also name vicarious and real violence and death.
This summarizes the cosmopolitan flavour of life portrayed and glamourized in the media as the one to which people should aspire.

Why is it that people outside large metropolitan areas are "typically" friendlier ?

What makes me happy is singing alone at home or with a choir. Your everyday thinking gets replaced with words and melodies for more important thoughts.

Steven said (November 1, 2009):

Tolle and Raja Yoga may have worded the ideas so that folks like me can understand them, but these are the very spiritual ideals that Christ spoke of in the 4 Gospels. No matter how you regard him, great mystic and prophet or Son of God and Savior of the world, you must admit that Jesus was someone who had the answers to life’s mysteries and what he laid out, while borrowing from both the Eastern religions and Judaism, was nothing short of revolutionary. So great was His understanding of these things, He was able to boil down his entire ministry (and as such, all-things spiritual) into 8 basic principles which are widely known today as the Beatitudes, and when asked by His disciples on how to pray, He gave them the Lord’s prayer which condensed everything that mankind should pray for every day into 7 small, easy-to-understand chunks. He was the first: to refer to God and mankind as being in a Father and son/daughter relationship (rather than the widely thought moody tyrant/groveling servant relationship); to explain the very nature of God and of mankind (since we were sons and daughters of God, it follows naturally that we must have the same qualities that God has right here within us); to state that merely doing (or not doing) some action or actions isn’t enough, but that we need to look at what and how we think; and to explain that people first need to forgive their “brothers and sisters” for anything they may have done wrong, before they can even think about asking to be forgiven by God. Now that’s an impressive and wholly new way to see our existence, indeed!

While delivering the Sermon on the Mount, where he unveiled the Beatitudes, He said, in no uncertain terms, that life itself is an inside job. You and I are a manifestation of God - He thought us into existence and experiences life on this plane through us - and the world that we each experience individually is a manifestation of how we see ourselves, and how we relate to others and Him. In other words, there can exist in my little world nothing of which I, myself, did not first think into existence; the outside world is merely a mirror of my own consciousness. And the “self-will” that God has endowed us with is the ability to choose what kind of existence we want to manifest and then experience. As such, I came to understand that my problems were really twofold: first, I am an infinite spiritual being that lives a finite life here on this planet and I need a spiritual connection with my Creator to make any sense whatsoever out of things, including myself; and second, that anything that happens to or around me, whether good or bad, is really only a manifestation of my own thoughts and words. To put it in much simpler terms, I (and I suspect most of mankind) have a spiritual sickness that can only be cured by spiritual treatment, and I have a major thinking problem (my ego, which is all about me-me-me) I need to get a hold of. Luckily, I don’t have to rely on my own feeble skills to get myself out of the hole; God is there to help, if I am only humble enough, and willing, to ask Him. It’s a daily reprieve based solely on my willingness to maintain my spiritual fitness. Pretty simple stuff…no wonder I made such a mess of it for most of my life.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen

Bonnie said (November 1, 2009):

"This being the weekend I am reflecting on the timeless question of human happiness. What do people want?"

I can't speak for whatever anyone else wants, but I want to be left alone. I want to be able to raise my family in a clean, logical, free environment without worrying about them being stolen from their front yards. To be able to see them grow up in a world that isn't so distorted by people like Echhard Tolle who is merely a modern day version of Elsworth Tooey out of "The Fountainhead" laughing secretly about all the fools who follow him into oblivion and the destruction of their own souls whilst slavishly trying to make everyone "happy."

Raising food makes me happy. Watching my turkeys graze makes me happy. Riding my horse. Teaching my kids. Making food for my husband. Teaching someone to trim their horses hoofs, and rescuing horses with hoof problems and restoring them to health makes me happy. Teaching my kids about values/politics/justice/and what sharing really means makes me happy. In our household, kids are not MADE to share. Sharing comes from one's heart, not because one's mother forced it upon their children. Now, I praise when the little ones take it upon themselves to share, but it is never forced upon them either with "logic", guilt or bribery. Listening my children's own logic and take upon the world and it's political people makes me very happy, just knowing I have set up a stable foundation where by they can function using logic and creating of their own path and well being to make them happy and not to use Eckhard Tolle and his like as a barometer of their happiness. I guess if you have become a government automaton, happiness IS hard to come by...To me there are so many things, it is hard to imagine people who think this way. But then again, I was raised to be self sufficient and to admire self sufficiency...not beggars nor makes ones own one life a slave to anothers needs. We have a saying in our house. "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride...." It is an old saying, but does quite well no matter what era.

My daughter wants to grow up and be a wife and mother. My son wants to grow up and be an ice cream man and raise 10 kids in my home. At first he was going to give me free ice cream but my daughter explained that as a business owner he had to make money in order to support himself, so he is now going to charge me for it. He has also decided not to raise his kids in my home, but is branching out and moving in his own house.

These little things make me very happy seeing the progression and expansion of their outlook and grasp upon life. The progression, instead of regression.

I do not give beggars money. They are generally drug/alcohol addicts. I did happen upon a little old lady who touched my heart,,,she was a true homeless lady. I gave her everything I had every time I saw her..because I wanted to help her. Not because Obama said so, or Eckhard said so. Because I saw someone who was not grasping or acting as though she deserved anything from another who had more. Because her eyes were shining, and she was kind and she was in a big world all alone...and my heart was touched. I will never forget her. I don't know that it made me happy to give her money. I just know she touched my heart and I wanted to help her any way I could.

I don't know if this answers your question about the beggar-ego-mind analogy, this is just what in thought about after reading your article. I think the people running the show have decided to create slaves that focus upon everyone else's needs, thereby demolishing individualism and basic human survival skills all in one fell swoop. It is a call to duty and the domino's are all in the place. It took a very long time to get them in place and they are ready to push them down now.

It looks as though it shall get very scary, very soon.

Martin said (November 1, 2009):

think you are exactly on target with the ego/self article.
Funny, but lately I have been right there with you; that is, I am beginning to
recognize the "me" that is programmed to self replicate, and self-preserve.
But (however weakly) I am aware of my gradual mastery of the "flesh," and
the move to live in the "spirit/Spirit." Something/Someone moved into me
when I experienced the "New Birth/Born from Above."
Discipline and self-control should not be confused with spirituality.
The apostle mentioned "all that is in the world, the lust of flesh, the lust of the mind,
and the pride of life." So it is as we move through this earthly realm. With
spiritual discernment, we see the fallenness of man-our "sin" nature, or the
lust to fulfill desires of the ego/self. There will be no eradication of this, as the
"spirit lusted against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit" as Paul writes.
So, all the days of our lives, we will need to "walk in the spirit, that we do not
fulfill the lusts of the flesh," as the bible states.


So, as difficult as it is, I do sense the difference between what I am, a biological computer, and who is at the core of my being. I am a spirit being imprisoned in a physical
vessel. I am a house of flesh and blood and bones and organs, and electrical senses which broadcast
and receive-emotions. But, I can lift my spirit to God in prayer and praise and worship, and
meditation upon the scriptures, and at those times I sense the part of me that is so different from the carnal part of me. Yes, I use the voice/mind/soul-ego, to worship; and in so doing, my spirit somehow comes into union with the Holy Spirit. Marvel of marvels! How this all works in unison is a mystery; nevertheless, the "ego me" and the "spirit me" do work together to worship God in spirit, to love him, and seek to please him.

So, just some thoughts on your topic, poor and confusing as they may seem.

Dr. QS said (November 1, 2009):

A Recipe for Happiness

Happiness is a construct (personal construct) that happens to exist because of its opposite, the sadness.

A sense of perceived loss of personal possessions in the past is the cause of sadness and anticipation of the loss of personal possessions in future is the cause of fear/anxiety. Personal possessions are not harmful but what is more important is the sense of possession. To make my point clear, take the example that someone stole your car. Certainly, it will make you sad but if the same car is stolen but you don’t have the sense of ownership of the car will never make you unhappy.

A common belief in all the Semitic religions is that G-d is the creator of everything but most of us do not attribute to Him the virtue of ownership of everything which may be the cause of our sadness and anxiety. A good thing about Islam is the fundamental belief that G-d is the owner of everything. Attributing the so-called personal possession to be His possessions will certainly eliminates the sense of possession, an idea that has the potential to open the door of happiness.

Barry said (November 1, 2009):

"Worship" for me is gratitude, for which there are endless daily possibilities FOR EVERYONE if they are paying attention. Few are, as they go through life as zombies. Simple pleasures: Coffee, sunrises, heat from the wood stove, greetings from the dogs, the feel of a dog's fur, warmth of the sun, cool shade, cloud shapes, cool breezes on hot days, cool water, a warm shower, all colors, birds, trees, fire in the fireplace, candle light, good food, laughter, children, a deep breath of fresh air, naps, pleasant dreams, starry nights, moonlight, fragrance of newly cut grass or meadow, flowers, music, a good crap, rainbows, good company. Pleasure is free, everywhere. Taking pleasure is an attitude and remembering to do it.

Tolle is more correct than not. While the ego babbles away incessantly with self-talk, we miss the beauty and pleasures that surround us.

David (from China) said (November 1, 2009):

.a cigar called 'Hamlet'. No seriously, I believe that we follow the ebb and flow, some days are diamonds some are stones. Happiness creeps up on us unawares, often when we least expect it, but certainly not to order. Recently, I've found a lot of pleasure in rediscovering photography after a 30-year hiatus ( It's given me new eyes to see the world: there really is so much gift and wonder in every moment if we have eyes, a la Little Prince, to see.

Regarding Tolle: discernment Henry, discernment - Voluntary simplicity, kindness, flipping the switch from grasping to giving, availing one's self of the grace of God specifically but not exclusively as a kind of spiritual anti-virus and anti-malware to clean up the soul on a daily basis, saying 'thank you', 'I'm sorry', 'I love you' often. Knowing that enough is enough and counting our days. Find people to serve. (I used to write a blog but the Great Firewall of China blocks it here in China:

May God surprise anew everyone by his amazing grace,

JRG said (November 1, 2009):

Some wisdom from down under....
Happiness on its own is an illusive dream, its always a bi-product of something else, its not found in the accumulation of "things" Kim Hubbard said this "It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed." Jesus gave us a recipe for happiness in the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-12 each start with "Blessed" or Happy...If you want to be happy avoid using "I" as much as possible, never be sensitive about slights, get rid of jealous and envious and suspicious thoughts, stop thinking about yourself too much, learn to trust more, don't worry if you're not appreciated by everyone, do as much as you can for others beside yourself and if you get a thank you well and good, if not move on and don't dwell on it. Learn to live unselfishly, realize your not the center of the universe, except another's point of view, don't go to sleep with a grudge.

Russell said (November 1, 2009):

Henry, you wanted to know what helps people to be happy,... what helps me to be happy is to simply appreciate the simple things in life like having enough food/drink when i need it, to be cool when hot, warm when cold, to be left in peace when I want to be alone, to tend to the garden, just to simply be. I do not love material goods or the unworkable system known as money. I know I am passing through this physical life, I am not here to stay forever, so I choose to be moderate in all things & to think for myself. One more thing, I like to cuddle up to my cat.

Brian said (November 1, 2009):

I'm feeling the timeless force of Creation more and more in every waking moment. Especially when engaging in various forms of the creative arts. Whether it's writing or making music, there's this transcendent dance that moves through me in joyous waves. It's amazing Henry. I feel as though the NWO will quickly run its course and become an old paradigm, the ever-distancing memory of it dissipating like a bad dream, our truth being revealed.

I say,"Whose imagination is it anyway?" My sense is that we, as 'man', are verbs before we are nouns. I mean, if we have 'all of eternity' for self-discovery, then would it be too far-fetched to say that who 'we' really are, in a spiritually advanced state, are the man-ifestors of Creation? The verb would be, 'to man'.

God(love) enables existence to be. Imagination(ours, as God's individual expressions of itself) manifests Creation into Being.

Bernie said (October 31, 2009):

What makes me less unhappy is when other people obey the Laws of God, Truth and Love and refuse to work at a job that has an immoral income or a job that requires one to violate and forcibly interfere in others' pursuit of happiness.

Jon (In Lanc UK) said (October 31, 2009):

I've been reading your stuff for quite a number of years and just want to say thanks for opening my eyes to the deep political ponerology of our times. As a semi-lapsed Catholic it comes as quite a shock to the inner sheep!

RE: Happiness. For me happiness is a product of
other things and in reality (royalty?) unpursuable. Happiness is happenstance. It's a mood not a goal IMO.

I'm happiest when playing music, studying or
socialising with family and friends.

FACT: The universe is negentropic and electrical in nature.

I've had lucid dreams, kundalini experiences and
epiphanies that confirm the non linear nature
of existence. It's big and I know it now.
Contemplating that kind of thing makes me
happy too because it expands rather than
contracts the mind.

Tony said (October 31, 2009):

There is another way. I've never pursued happiness, never even thought of life that way. I simply live because I was born. Some things I enjoy, some I don't. For the average individual, major life circumstances, "education" propaganda not withstanding, are relatively unchangeable. So be it. We are not guaranteed happiness in this life.

That said, I have "been around" (all in the U.S.) and done a wide variety of things for my living while always learning at each job's particular social and economic level, because I much enjoy learning new things. The most important knowledge is in life itself, not formal schooling. Perhaps I enjoy most offering worthwhile knowledge gained (that which refutes establishment agenda lies) to others. Whether or not such knowledge is accepted is immaterial to me.

Over the years I have found that such simple things bring the most enjoyment. Small IS beautiful and small and simple go well together. It gives satisfaction to take someone else's throw-aways and make them useful again even though it is often not "economical" of either time or money. Living simply means not needing much in the way of "toys" or the money necessary to buy them. This computer I am using to communicate is often more bother than worth to me. Even raising a family does not require but a tiny fraction of what advertising tries to force on people as "necessities," always at a price which is much more costly than just the money.

Gardening is satisfying to man's appetites even when nature's weather takes away most of an expected harvest. Raising and tending animals also. As your responders in general have learned, the closer to nature one gets the more satisfaction one gains from those simple things which were almost everyone's everyday life until just a few centuries ago.

Even though I could never stand Tom T. Hall's politics in his songs, his chorus of "old dogs and children and watermelon wine" is endearing to me.

Alan said (October 31, 2009):

Well the Canadian Human Rights Commission must really have you under some stress if you are finding comfort from this guy Tolle. I have not read any of his work but based only on a little philosophical detective work I think I might agree with the poster Cathy in the comments section that he's a shill for someone. She's right, Oprah does promote him. From his Wiki entry, he was suicidally depressed for 15 years--yeah that's someone whose advice I would follow. It reminds me of back in college. Over half of the students who where pursuing psychology degrees said they were doing it to figure themselves out and cure their own problems. How many of them became psychologists/psychiatrists I don't know but I resolved to never go to one since most are probably screwed up themselves which is why they went into the profession in the first place. Also from the Wiki article, he was a student of Barry Long whose claim to fame seem to be the creation of a cassette tape on making love, Sexual Love the Divine Way.

From your article you wrote, "In The Power of Now, Eckhard Tolle has a story about a beggar who asks a stranger for money. The stranger tells the beggar to look under his seat. Turns out there was gold there all along.

If you like catchy little anecdotes like that where hopefully one can glean a little wisdom, check out a song by the American rock group The Eagles where they say, "so often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key." I have found that one quite valuable over the years but the Eagles are not promoted on Oprah so most will never hear it. They had another one in there that said, "you can look up in the sky and see the stars and still not see the light." Not bad huh? Little bits of wisdom like that are everywhere around us, you just have to want to see them. If this is Tolle's message, then he is relatively benign. But since he is getting the attention and promotion that he is, my God Henry, you of all people should see he's a shill for the powers that be.



Tolle's message is centuries old. he did not originate it. With your own brand of political correctness, you sound like the Communists you supposedly oppose.


Phil said (October 31, 2009):

When I read the article I was thinking of this excerpt of an email I sent my sister regarding our step-father who, at 85, has only a few months to live due to a very aggressive brain tumor. I think it is quite on point, and reasonably concise. Also, I had not heard of Tolle. I learned of this tradition from Krishnamurti.

"It's been occurring to me time and again how I've gotten this far along without having face these issues, and now that they had popped up rather suddenly, I've gone back yet another series of an exercises I learned many years ago. I found that when I silenced the chatterbox in my head, the void would be filled with subtle intimations from nature. That may sound a bit pompous, but it is really only a variation on ancient, mostly Eastern, spiritual traditions. It can be a bit difficult to master, not that I have, and almost impossible in the midst of the hubris of the modern world, as they say. I've always thought that an odd phrase because it is not the world that has changed, other than passively as a result of our modern culture. And it is likely that when one values concepts like meditation and a silent mind, there will not be much of a chance that we will embrace this new culture. At bottom, there is the best summation of the difficulties I have had, because they all have to do with my inability to interface with this culture which makes no sense to me. Unfortunately, you seem only to get to witness that phase of my life. But I can assure you, the joy in my life far outweighs this outer friction. They are quite invisible, my delights; a new song, or story, a long walk with the dog, eye-opening revelations about history or economics..."

Edward said (October 31, 2009):

When Baptist girls in their flower sack dresses and wire rim glasses knock on my door, they usually ask, "If you were to die today, would you rather go to heaven or hell?" My answer: "I'm already in heaven because when the phone rings it's usually someone who wants me to come over to their place and do what I really love, aaaannnnd they offer to pay me!!" I'm a carpenter.

Bruce said (October 31, 2009):

I have followed your work for a long time, including your most recent book. I was intrigued to see you chose to address Eckhart Tolle's work, in particular his writing on the nature of the (fictitious) ego.

However, I don't think that you've understood what he's said clearly. First, he's not saying that we are "souls," but that we are formless consciousness that is beyond being accurately labeled by our minds. The ego is literally an imaginary creation, fabricated from thousands, perhaps millions, of understandable yet mistaken assumptions due to misperception of our experience, generally while under some kind of stress.

This imaginary character takes on a highly hypnotic, "multimedia" phantasmic existence in our minds, and obscures our direct experience of our highly energetic and alive awareness, that is none-the-less always present. Waking up to what some teachers have called our "natural state," which Eckhart calls "presence," is not a loss of clarity or ability to think or function. It's precisely the opposite. When we understand our tendencies to be lulled into trance-like states by our emotional defenses of our imagined fictional identity, we can act more skillfully and enter into a simpler relationship with the present moment. The now is then not clouded by an addictive stream of mental activity we experience as "our" thoughts and related emotional reactivity.

This is not to believe any alternative dogma about who we, other people, or life in general, are. It is the release of any belief in the face of a "self-authenticating" recognition.

I would be glad to correspond or discuss these subjects with you. In my opinion, this is part of a mass-awakening going on now, which Eckhart Tolle has been instrumental in facilitating, and which is key to the often mentioned "paradigm shift" which offers the potential of more skillful behavior on the part of much of humanity, perhaps in the foreseeable future.

Thanks for your work,

ABE said (October 31, 2009):

Helping out with the youngin's makes me happy. Nothing can compare to the rewards of fatherhood. I also wanted to note that it's interesting you wrote this near Halloween - America's official handout holiday. This year it seems to be turning heavier towards tricks than treats, most delivered via Wall Street and its infamous front, the US government. All dads and endangered males - keep your kids safe this Halloween.

Julian said (October 31, 2009):

What makes me happy....hmm, first and foremost having time for myself (unemployed right now, but otherwise my jobs; postman, janitor, train
conductor; reflect the Job=Cash equation) to do simple things like cooking, drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, bird-watching, woodwork,
(I'm a real DIY semi-disaster-master because I'm a stubborn chap who is not impressed by professionals or experts unless I myself find them
to be so) my wife, my two daughters, (much harder to love because they fight back unlike the inanimate objects of my passion) and saving the
best for last - music. Making music is what keeps me sane. Amateur to the extreme and it may drive others crazy but I don't play it so loud
that the neighbours complain.

Lots of other things make me happy... but the above is the general scope and I hope... enough all ready!

The XtraUltraEgo greedily devours any praise with little or no thanks and also has the ability to transform criticism into praise, too - so
please do not feed that pathetic critter unless you insist... reading your articles is so much more satisfying and I for one vouch that your
time is better spent writing them.

Jim said (October 31, 2009):

I like to create things, visual things--paintings, concrete-block walls, secret rooms in attics, wood carvings, wooden decks, etc.

I have just finished turning an old garage door opener into a "Halloween Machine" that moves ghosts and skeletons in both circular and straight-line motions, at the same time!

I think you finished out Tolle's thoughts quite nicely!

Doug said (October 31, 2009):

For me it used to be exercise and learning mathematics. I used to swim every day for a hard 2 miles and I wanted to self study math for the rest of my life as well as continue doing programming/consulting. But now that this conspiracy has hit us, I want to understand the economic/law/banking system on a deep level. There is a lot of information out there, some of it conflicting. I believe that the system is ultimately based on justice and a complete understanding will lead to cracking the code.

Now I read and think about ethics and economics, mostly as in the science of redemption. My old desires for learning more about math and becoming more athletic have practically disappeared. Happiness comes from gaining understanding and testing my own hypothesis.

James said (October 31, 2009):

Neat article on the subject of happiness & spiritual seeking. i have learned not to look, it finds you. you have to clean out the ego, the status, the vanity, the world, etc. so the good of God can come in. the fruits of the spirit the scriptures say. this is how Christ says that the kingdom of heaven is within you.

how can it come in if you are still full of the worlds' junk? you become as an open bowl as Lao Tzu says. you must become empty & the flow will start. it's called being humble that so many people have a hard time with. they just can't part with that proud attitude & all those things.

i live mostly as a homeless person & have found it to be a bit of an enhancement to this understanding of simplicity. i own the clothes on my back & a pack to keep them in. i'm happy with it. tell Cathy [below] i don't look it!

Ty said (October 31, 2009):

It has been a while and hope you are well. Wanted to respond to your ego piece. I have found that nothing actually makes me happy except giving,helping,loving. When I allow my nature to want for myself beyond what is natural (food, water,shelter), I end up unhappy. If and when I act in the spirit of God/Jesus,then all I do is for others (work/play). This gives me happiness. If I take no account of what I am doing, I am in the spirit of God even if outwardly people take notice of my good deeds.

If I take account,then my ego/flesh is at work and this brings about dissatisfaction and unhappiness. If I do out of love,selflessly,and seek not mans approval and notice (like giving anonymously,I can witness,as you spoke of.This is where secret observation is and God and myself are truly at one taking pleasure in the good fortune of others.

Cathy said (October 31, 2009):

Eckhard Tolle is some sort of illuminati shill/liar/mind controlled puppet. He claims that he was homeless in Germany for 15 years just wandering around becoming enlightened. If that were true he would be dead by now. Then he moved to canada. Where did he get the money for the plane ticket? No job, no money unless you get it from your handler. Also, he looks too good to have been homeless for 15 years. Those people look like hell. In his latest book he says that in the new world people who can't adjust will "be helped over to the other side until they are evolved enough to live in society." That means murdering dissidents, those who won't go along. The new agers are the stupidist, most brainless, most mindless poeple who have ever lived. Have you noticed that Oprah promotes him? i think she is in the illuminati too.

Joe said (October 31, 2009):

You have opened my eyes once again. What a simple question: "What makes you happy?"

I thought about it and have to struggle to come up with an answer...isn't that sad. I could list a mile long a list of things that make me unhappy but not one that I can truly say makes me happy. That is sad!

Robert said (October 31, 2009):

i have read much of your writing but this piece really hit home.i have lead a life that has taken me from poor to rich and back,country to city and back .i have found as much as i love my Mercedes i have spent enough time in Philadelphia to know the man made trappings of architecture and pavement and the distractions of our lifeblood here(sports teams) offer so much less than a country walk to my little village just outside santa fe.i can tell the path there goes so much deeper into the soul than anything i can do here in the big city.distractions i can find here, although fewer and fewer interest me. a good article on the net,an outdoor workout and yoga session followed by watching the humming birds makes me closer to where "I WANT" to go.

thanks for making me more conscious of it for the god and Christ part i am anti 'theist so i do not know if thats what i look for but there is something that makes us reach our potential no doubt,lets hope the search is not fruitless.

Marianne said (October 31, 2009):

Spending time with my horses - just being with them - not asking them to do anything

Waking in the countryside with my dog - just me and him

Feeling really connected to another person

Watching animals/birds in their natural environment

Warm sunshine on my skin

Telling people whom I love that I love them

Anthony (Netherlands) said (October 31, 2009):

I feel happy, when I'm in the flow and working. But this lasts shortly, I usually crash. Get stressed, because doing work generates more work always.

I know exactly what is necessary for me: more relaxation, meditation and prayer, DURING the work. A continuous balance between going inside and outside.

I try to look for 'karma yoga', which is described in the Bagavat Gita: surrendering your work to God. Only working for the work itself and detaching from its goals.

In this way, I believe, one is in the world, but not from it. It is 'ora et labora'.

I have not yet learned to balance this. But have practised enough to know it works and is the goal to strive for.

Michael said (October 31, 2009):

I'll try to be brief. Attaining goals,
accomplishing things you set to do...doing a job and able to say "well done"...satisfied with the work of ones hands...simple, need
more, but definitely not one motivated so much by it...BUT, your last line said it all, greatest joy..(deeper than happiness) is to do for someone with no thought of a payback, and when they cannot pay you back. I helped with my
dad, who had Parkinson's, among other things, simply putting eye drops in his eyes when they were dry. He could not, his hands too unsteady, but I was so glad to be able to take time to do for him. I think some giving is given out of the givers need ( to feel good, be thanked..or even indebted to...given from selfish motivation)...but to be free from that and really enjoy making another's day and leaving yourself in God's hands is real happiness and joy.

Doug said (October 31, 2009):

I build things. I just built a really nice greenhouse. I used to build stuff and I would make mistakes or it wouldn't turn out just the way I wanted it to. Most anything I did was just a half assed mess.

At 53 years of age, I have finally found the truth of life. There is a GOD right here, right now, within us. I have learned to ask for guidance. I have learned to let that infinate knowledge channel through me in everything I do. Things always turn out just the way it should be. All you have to do is just pause and ask. Formulate the outcome and ask for guidance to complete it. When you get stumped, be still, be quite, and let it flow again. The answer will always come and you just know what to do.
I don't care about the economy collapse. It will be better for us in the end. I don't want shiny, flashy, plastic crap made in China. I already have everything I want, which is all I need. What I really want to is to wake up tomorrow and put my faith to work again.

After banging my head against the wall for all these years, it makes me so happy to have a little help. And all I have to pay my helper is a thank you.

Deb said (October 31, 2009):

Wellbeing consists in the exercise of capacity.

E.g. :
Musicians like to play music.
Athletes like to compete.
Writers like to write.
Mothers like to mother.
Fishermen like to fish . . .

Naila said (October 31, 2009):

Yes, Tolle only tells half of the story. Side by side with the peaceful identification with God, there's the joy of deep embodiment within the physical/cellular body, emotions, mind, etc. -- not to mention the liberating revelations that come when we transcend the boundaries between them.

I like hard crossword puzzles, spacey New Age music, succulents, good Shakespeare, Sufi poetry, and connecting spiritually through songs.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at