"Every great achievement is the victory of a flaming heart."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Often times, our dissatisfaction, frustration and unhappiness are actually messages from our inner signaling system. This signal system is rooted in a wise intelligence. But we usually miss its messages because they’re coded. And because they point us toward something that seems so unthinkable: we’re living at the wrong psychological address.

The "I" or "me" that we imagine ourselves to be is based on the conviction that we are a single identity who is the person named on our driver’s license. It seems this way and so we believe it. And most everyone around us does too. But we shouldn’t be fooled. Not long ago everyone was convinced that the earth was flat—because it seemed that way.

This "I" or "me", upon careful inspection, turns out to be a surface identity that is conditioned by both family and culture. Identification with this conditioned identity causes more suffering than war. Unrecognized for what it is, this identity can become like a spider’s web that keeps us stuck in a limited experience of life lived as a waking dream, which is just like a nighttime dream—only it lasts longer.

Who are we really then?

We are none other than the Heart— and the Heart is our true address. Not the heart that pumps blood, but the imaginal Heart, which is the essence and center of things, as in “the heart of the matter.” It’s where meaning and truth come together in a dance of fire that can make our life deep and real—and worth all of its unavoidable pain.

When we finally recognize our Heart, our true home, it feels like a person lost at sea does when she is at last located and seen by a rescue helicopter.

The journey from our wrong address, our conditioned identity, to our true address—the Heart—is the Way of the Good Life. Actually the journey is itself The Good Life. The Good Life is not dependent on things or on some smiley faced spiritual bypass of life’s difficulties and challenges.

Sometimes even the Good Life is like a kick in the head. The question is whether or not life’s unavoidable kicks just leave us bitter and resentful—or wise and kind toward ourselves and others. I’m working hard on this piece right now and I can tell you—it’s a big one. I am working to locate myself in the Heart and simply be available to myself with friendship and generosity—instead of flopping around in my conditioning trying to figure things out or make them different.

So our task is to relocate to the Heart, and Craft the Good Life, a life of adventure, meaning, loving relationship and accomplishment—from there. Once we connect to our Heart and begin to live from there with love, courage and awareness, then we are no longer like thieves, who by the darkness of night try to steal what they already own by the light of clear day.

Dr. Jim Manganiello is an award winning depth psychologist, coach, author, teacher and meditation instructor. He has written a new groundbreaking book: Crafting the Good Life: The Keys to Creating a Life of Depth and Meaning. The book features a potent inner work practice, The Good Life Process™, a practice that Jim created after 30 years of study and deep work in the best of the Western and Eastern personal growth and spiritual traditions. You can learn more about Jim, his revolutionary work, and his new book at: www.craftingthegoodlife.com

Author's Bio: 

Jim Manganiello is:
• An award winning licensed depth psychologist, coach, seminar leader, teacher, meditation instructor, writer and speaker
• The director of Crafting The Good Life and www.craftingthegoodlife.com
• A Nationally Registered Health Service Provider in Psychology
• A Nationally Registered Diplomate Level Medical Psychotherapist
• The former founder and director of The New England Mindbody Institute
• The former director of the Center for East-West Psychology and Contemplative Healing
• A former university professor with an academic rank of associate professor
• An authorized meditation and contemplative practice teacher and a longtime student of His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, the Head of the indigenous Tibetan Bon-Buddhist spiritual tradition