In a way, intelligence is measured by the intensity with which we can enjoy ourselves.
Khooba is the intention to have complete openness to seeing, and giving attention, to the good – in oneself, others, and in Life. It is a “glass half-full” attitude to the world. To exercise Khooba is challenging – we are more accustomed to gripe about the minor irritations in life than focus on the great blessings. My father got pneumonia when I was 16 and from that until he died 25 years later, he wheezed every time he drew breath. How often do you think about how blessed you are being able to breathe freely? Loving ourselves, counting our blessings, focusing on people’s good points (especially when they don’t do it back!), and to, as Monty Python have it, “always look on the bright side of life” opens up the channels for love to flow. The notion of Khooba includes the use of the will to practice Khooba independently of the behaviour of others, which means basically that no matter how much they slag you off, you stay focused on the positive.
So when we practice Khooba we choose and will to look for – and recount – the good in others, and to own the good in us. There are times when it’s easy to find the good in things but Khooba challenges us to go beyond our reactions to “bad things”, to look for the good in ourselves even when we mess up; to look for the good in others even when they hurt us; to look for the good in life even when we are suffering. To find the blessing in illnesses and hardship and disappointment is no easy challenge to face. Khooba calls us to work with such experiences by looking for the needed lessons that are being learned, the potential growth that can emerge.
Finding the good in ourselves
- introducing Angel cards
Illness is the most heeded of doctors. To goodness and wisdom we make only promises. Pain we obey.
My oldest, most established and possibly favourite spiritual practice is picking angel cards. I use the pack from the transformation game two very dear friends brought me back from their experience week in Findhorn and I love the fact that I’ve used the same pack of angel cards in every circle I’ve held since. They are just little cards with words on them like Love, Beauty, Transformation, Healing, Integrity, Play. There are loads of variations on a theme out there or you can always make your own. You don’t have to believe in angels as a reality for this to help, although I happen to know they exist, because they’ve been saving my bacon for years!
Light a candle and sit quietly looking into the flame for a few minutes. Think of a difficulty you are facing; hurt you are holding; anything that worries you; or that you don’t like about your own behaviour; whatever focus feels right to you is the right focus. Allow yourself to open to the idea that when you choose a card from the angel pack it will be one that you find relevant and helpful. When you feel the presence of your angel (or if you’re not in the right space for that, or think “feeling the presence of angels” is a load of baloney, just when you feel like it) choose one of the angel cards.
Look at the word and just let it in. Think of a story that for you illustrates that word. If you’re in a circle, share your stories; if you’re alone, write it down. Then spend some time thinking about how that quality applies to your chosen focus. Again spend some time exploring this. I have found that I am sometimes quite resistant to seeing the relationship between the angel and my focus but when I find it, I also find the reason I am blocking it.
This is a cast-iron cure for depression. Every single person I have known who has actually done this practice has found that it works. Every day for a month (it works best to set aside a period – at least ½ hour – at the same time every day) write a blessings list. Anything that gives you pleasure or comfort or in anyway enhances your experience of life counts as a blessing. Gifts from people, food you enjoy, flowers you like the smell of, jokes that made you laugh, activities you enjoy, people in your life, any event from your past that makes you feel good to think about, the most trivial incidents of the day, the cat that said “hello”, absolutely anything. On the first day you list 100 blessings and you build it up from there until you are completing an A4 page of blessings every day. Yeap, it takes time but you get faster and it really shifts consciousness.
Developing a Good Rumour
(by Edith Stauffer)
Even with people that are really difficult, identifying something that you can respect or like about them really changes how you experience them. The “good rumour” seems something of a misnomer to me but it takes the focus on the positive in others a stage further. It’s absolutely brilliant at transforming conflict with teenagers. You just have to find ONE thing that they are doing that doesn’t absolutely drive you up the walls and keep talking about it. This is also really good for those awful work situations where everyone bitches behind everyone else’s back.
- Decide if you are willing to improve the atmosphere in your workplace, home, or other environment.
- Decide that you will put some effort into creating this beneficial change. Decide to do this as your own personal project. Tell no one what you are doing – then you won’t have to explain anything to anyone, nor can you be sabotaged.
- Make a list of the positive qualities you can see in another person and keep it to yourself. You may see and hear plenty of negative ones, but you are choosing not to focus on them for this period of time, in order to concentrate upon the positive qualities.
- Once you have this Appreciations List, select one item with which to start the first rumour. Whenever it is appropriate, say to a fellow-worker, family member, or whoever, “Did you know how well Mary looks after her children (dog or whatever)?”, or “I appreciate John’s always being first here in the morning.” This must be a true feeling. Even if the response is negative, do not comment, just let it be. Even though you may agree, you are looking for and have found something good, and are concentrating solely upon it.
- You may repeat this truthful rumour if you wish, or in a day or so, select another quality you appreciate and share with another person. Continue this process and observe how the atmosphere begins to change, subtly at first, then more obviously.
My own experience of Khooba
Of all the goodwill patterns this is the one I’m most familiar with and find easiest. I got here through being ill for several years and learning that I could either (as I so often did) feel hard done by and that nobody understood or cared what I went through or I could recognise that however difficult I was finding things, joys exist when I can be open to them. I did blessings lists for months (but I am that sort!) and over time it helped me to change, not how ill I was, but what I filled my head with and through that, how much I enjoyed being alive.
When I did the original training with Guy, one exercise was to look for the good in a tragic event and I worked on the bombing of Omagh. Looking for the good does not involve ANY denial of how terrible an event is but to find the good does make the things that happen more bearable. I wouldn’t want to have been anywhere else on the planet on 15th August 1998. I was blessed to have the skills and experience that lead to my inclusion on the trauma team working with the people affected by the bomb. I am grateful that I could do it. I then left a job I detested on the basis that life was too short and uncertain for me to waste another moment doing something I didn’t believe in and that was a good move. No matter what happens, from the right perspective it is possible to find the good in it.