Review of Ragini’s book, Unflappable – 6 Steps to Staying Happy, Centered, Peaceful No Matter What
Ragini (Elizabeth Michaels) found out about Osho in 1977 and traveled to India in 1979. She says that it took her nine more years to understand the notion that “sannyas is a love affair,” and with that awakening she discovered her heart and the work that consumed and guided her life every since. She taught the skills she learned at the Osho International Commune in Pune between1988 and 1991 and received Osho’s blessings on the work now available in her third book, the subject of this review.
Ragini is an acclaimed international trainer of NLP and Hypnosis, as well as the originator of the Facticity 6-Step Process and Paradox Management, both dedicated to sharing practical wisdom for how to integrate spiritual values into daily life. Ragini ran her Facticity Wisdom School in Seattle, Washington for 10 years, as well as holding Paradox Salons for new and advanced students. She has now expanded her work to include on-line trainings available at her website. Her other books are ‘Facticity® – A Door to Mental Health and Beyond’, and ‘Lions In Wait – A Road to Personal Courage’. www.RaginiMichaels.com
This is an unusual self-help book since unlike many other books in the genre, it is personal.
Ragini experienced a remarkable epiphany outside the ashram gate in Pune sitting on a stone wall, a place many of our readers know well. Feeling a tremendous sadness within about not having found out how to be happy or what happiness really is in spite of all her efforts, she notices a familiar old beggar approaching, beaming at her with a bright toothless smile and shining eyes. She recalls, “As our eyes met, I realized – large, loud, and in neon letters – that for my beggar friend, happiness was obviously not the absence of unhappiness.” And with that realization she understood that until this moment she had defined love as being without hate, joy without sorrow, and security without risk: “I realized my way of defining happiness was at the root of my unhappiness.”
One of the most vital points Ragini makes is that we can observe any experience that we want to change either with our mind’s eyes or with what she calls the mystic’s eyes. Necessarily the ways of perceiving are very different: “Your mind’s eye takes what’s there and colors it in a particular way according to your life story. Your mystic’s eye sees through what your mind’s eye has created and glimpses the essence of what is there behind it. Suddenly, magically, you can see right through what you thought was completely solid and absolutely, unquestionably real – your story. When you see with your own eyes that there is more to life than your story, it’s not just like magic. It is magic.”
And the next very significant point is that in order to become whole and happy, it is absolutely essential to embrace also the dark side of things and not only clutch at love, light and pleasure. To embrace discontent means being able to receive wisdom that will lead to further revelations and ultimately to inner peace.
With reference to the work and insights of Dr. Bruce Lipton (creator of ‘The Biology of Perception’ video), Ragini lines out how the unconscious mind follows the patterns of our physical cells. Yet, ”this does not work so well for emotional and psychological survival: only being able to move toward the positive and away from the negative isn’t a successful strategy for happiness, peace of mind, and a healthy sense of who you really are. This makes your poor old unconscious mind quite confused…although your cells may not be designed to both grow and protect simultaneously, you are. This is the magic of human consciousness. And the essence of mystic psychology.”
Moving beyond the mind, opposites do not present a problem. Nor does impermanence. In fact, Ragini points out that balance is not necessarily a place to find and then settle into, it is not a destination but rather a process. The book is about finding the flow towards balance, the very formula for harmony; which brings us to the flow of change – like a river, forever moving, shifting: impermanence as a permanent fixture in life’s journey.
I remember hearing Osho say that happiness is everybody’s birthright, the right of our inherent nature. This book can be of excellent help to discover that the very pursuit of happiness won’t work because unhappiness is usually buried or avoided. It will help to look at the issues that have been neglected and to learn how to embrace all aspects of the emotional roller coaster. Osho says, “Happiness is always there, but if you seek it you will find unhappiness, because by seeking you will miss happiness. That’s what unhappiness is: missing happiness. So with pursuit, unhappiness has a certain relationship, a partnership. If you pursue, you will find unhappiness.”
Ragini doesn’t shy away from portraying her own path of discovery with all its ups and downs, and by having Maggie and Max – two of her clients – demonstrate their development in the 6-step process, the reader can easily follow the profundity of practice and coaching.
I discovered step by step what an excellent teacher Ragini is; she has an extraordinary ability explaining the rather difficult mind and emotional processes with empathy and lucidity.
Bhagawati, Osho News