Monday, December 11, 2023

Inner Heaven by Berjik Kurkjian, Articles No. 11-20


Art by Melody Khachikian

Articles by Berjik Kurkjian

Translation from Farsi into English by Karine Armen

No. 11-20

No. 11  Communication

 Human beings have the privilege of talking and expressing their thoughts and emotions. Animals do not have this gift. They have feelings, yet they can not talk. The ability to talk and listen is a great blessing that many people take for granted.

We are born with many talents that stay untapped and not stimulated. Kids listen for a while before they can speak. They use the vocabulary that they hear at home and in their environment. Therefore, we need to be good role models and use positive thinking. How we talk will be transferred to our kids and the next generation. We need to learn how to be good listeners, to be patient, and to speak in a timely manner.

We need to let the kids talk and express their thoughts. In many cultures, people don’t allow children to express their opinions about different issues. “You are still too young to talk.” they are told when they ask questions out of curiosity. Kids get confused about when and how to ask questions. They learn to suppress their curiosity and not talk at all. Later, as adults, they feel anxious about speaking in public and expressing their opinions.

For our inner peace, it is essential to learn to talk positively and be a good listener.

September 19, 1987

No.12  Choice of Words

The choice of words and use of vocabulary in our daily lives can affect poor mental health.

Certain words can change us from feeling happy to having a sad state of mind. Negative sentences and negative words can create negative thoughts and, in turn, sad emotions.

One of the mood-destructing words is “difficult.” We say, “My job is difficult,” or,

“Life is so difficult.” We use these words not with awareness but out of habit.

Knowing how the choice of words can affect us can help us be in control and

change our attitude toward work and life.

Children learn negative attitudes and repeat our sentences as well as the manner in which we talk.

They grow up with pessimism and avoiding difficulty.

We look at daily chores differently and enjoy the benefits of living in a clean home with clean clothes.

Instead of nagging about the problems of parenthood, we can enjoy our kids and their childhood.

When we change our attitude towards life’s difficulties and problems,

we can be good role models for kids. They will grow up with optimism.

September 26, 1987

No. 13  “I don’t feel like it.”

“I don’t feel like it” is a typical expression used in our lives.

Sometimes, we give negative energy to people we deal with by saying,

“Oh, you have energy for that,” or, “I don’t have energy for that kind of stuff.” 

We kill their excitement and enthusiasm. Using these kinds of expressions is habitual,

and many of us are not aware of its effect on our mental and physical well-being.

Suddenly, we realize we have less energy. We need enthusiasm for our daily

tasks and chores to continue life happily. Let’s look at the reason we use these negative expressions.

In the past, people were very superstitious and believed in bad-eye karma. If they were always successful, others would find bad karma. Many of us are still victims of these superstitions and always look sad and angry. Somebody has to change this. We need to be positive role models by sharing our happy

moments and accomplishments. If we all focus on sharing our happiness, we will have a better and healthier society. By freeing ourselves from superstition and negativity, we will get more energy. Remember, we cannot buy energy; we need to create it. Instead of saying, “I don’t feel like it,” we can say, “I am not ready now,” or, “I don’t have time now.” Then, we can plan our time and be more organized instead of relying on our mood to finish projects and work. 

Let’s be aware of our choice of words. Let’s create a positive language for us and the future generations.

October 3, 1987

No. 14 Gratitude

Having a sense of gratitude and gratitude and appreciation for our blessings is one of our healthy feelings.

Despite having health, beauty, and good families, many of us feel dissatisfied with our lives. Our friends or neighbors have happier lives. We are not able to appreciate all the blessings we already have. It is a habit not to feel satisfied. It’s a learned behavior that can be changed. Our emotions are connected to each other like a chain.
Here is a technique (suggestion) to use for feeling thankful for our blessings. As soon as you sense dissatisfaction and frustration, jot down the positive factors of your life in a journal or paper. Write down both good and bad parts and compare them.
This way, you will see all the amazing good things in your life that you might have been taking for granted or had forgotten. This exercise will bring them to your attention.
You will then be energized and can handle difficulties with a sense of control and enthusiasm.
You might say, “Who has time for all these activities?” but remember, by spending a few minutes to bring the positive up, you can save lots of time that was wasted on negative thoughts and feelings of being drained.
October 10, 1987

No. 15 Hope, the Inner Light

Hope is also known as inner light. Hope’s source is our inner Positive and Negative Channels. The two Positive and Negative Channels always function and are directly related to our thoughts. Knowing this, we can improve our positive thinking process and feel happy and energized.
Let’s see how we can improve our positive and be hopeful. We lose hope every time we are faced with little disappointments and letdowns. First of all, we need to distinguish between reality and an ideal. We have to be realistic and set realistic goals. When our expectations are not realistic, we get angry and start blaming bad luck or fall into negative, hopeless thoughts. We need to stop and say, “It was meant to be. There must be reason for this.” There is a success in each defeat. We may not see it at that moment, but later, we realize the reason our wish did not come true.
We can practice this thought process daily to fuel our hopes and not get disappointed over unimportant stuff.
October 24, 1987

No.16 Guilt

Guilt and regret are related. Negative thinking is due to a lack of self-awareness. We need to recognize the roots of feeling guilty.
Many of our negative thoughts are the same put-downs that we heard in our childhood. If parents’ negativity compared us to our siblings or other kids, we felt powerless to become as good as others. This leads to fear of failure. We don’t want to do anything because we are not “as good as” others. Fear of failure changes to a feeling of incompetence and, in return, guilt.
Guilt makes us restless and angry. We project our negativity to our kids. We become overprotective and do not allow them to experience life.
We have inherited guilt from previous generations. It is a learned behavior. We can refocus our attention by recognizing its roots.
Instead of comparing ourselves and our kids to others, we can affirm them and find the good in each person.
Criticism is the base for regret and guilt. The only remedy to be free from guilt is self-awareness and self-help.

No. 17 Contradiction
We grow up listening to contradictions and hypocrisy. As kids, we are told to be kind and polite to people who do not practice it themselves.
Every day, we see people preaching what they do not practice. This creates a moral dilemma. We know it’s better to be honest and kind, and then we see people get financially ahead by not being honest.
We want to be like the dishonest person but we are not able. We feel guilty and shameful.
These contradictions and dilemmas are exaggerated when we seal them with our cultural issues and identity. We feel neither American nor Iranian. We want to keep the old culture, yet we see particular challenges. These contradictions drain our energy.
The way to deal with it is self-awareness and self-help. We need to recognize the positive and the negative, the function of each. We can not live only with daylight. We need night, too. It is best to live with a clear conscience and to preach to your own kids. Then, they will not have to deal with hypocrisy.
We can live with the good memories of the past and an optimistic image of the future. However, we need to live in the present.
November 7, 1987

No. 18 Seeking Negativity or Positivity

Sometimes, we can see all the problems and shortcomings instead of the beauty. The pessimist view vs. the optimistic.
We learn pessimism and blaming from childhood. As children, we listen to many expressions such as, “Don’t touch it,” “Shame on you,” or “Don’t interfere, you are too young to understand.” This negativity is given to us while we are forming our personality. We grow up with a habit of blaming everyone, especially ourselves. This creates a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Because this is a learned habit, it is harder to get rid of it. It makes it very difficult to see the good in things and in ourselves.
We need an inner revolution. We can improve our positive thinking and strengthen our optimism in ourselves. People need reconstruction of their inner world. Many spend more time reconstructing their outer beauty with makeup and clothing. We need and can rebuild our emotional and spiritual well-being.
We can start by counting our blessings, starting with our health, “I have legs, hands, eyes, ears,” and then make a note of the inner resources that we never use. Tap into all that potential by increasing our belief in ourselves.
Of course, we need to be careful not to be narcissistic while we are appreciating our inner resources and potential to live fulfilling lives.
We need to express and talk about our inner talents and say that these are exercises to become more self-confident. In time, this will become habitual, and we will see the good in everything instead of looking to blame and excuses.
This good habit can create an inner heaven. We will transfer this to our kids, who will be future adults.

November 14, 1987

No. 19 Smile and Laughter

Laughter is a healthy activity. It is the symbol of happiness and inner peace. We all crave to have more laughter and smiling faces. In many cultures, people look at laughter differently. Some say, “I am laughing, but my heart is sad,” or, “I am too distressed to laugh.” One of the best expressions about laughter is, “Smile, and the world will smile back.”
There are different kinds of laughter. Sometimes, we laugh at something amusing. Other times, we laugh to be polite or sarcastic. When we laugh from the bottom of our hearts, we feel content. We express our happiness through laughter. However, if we are with someone sad, our laughter can have a harmful effect.
If we are laughing and smiling because of social pressure, it is not sincere, and we do not enjoy it. Sometimes, when we are hurt by someone’s actions, we show our anger with sarcasm. Another problematic laughter is when we make fun of someone.
As I have mentioned before, we have both Positive and Negative channels. We are constantly informed by these two factors. We cannot always be happy. We need to know the elements and factors that affect our emotions. By self-awareness, we can use laughter to feel happy and not put down others' sarcasm.
I am ending this article with the quotation, “If your inner and outer self is the same, you are closer to God.” We can reach that point and see a peaceful world.

November 21, 1987

No. 20 Having Expectation

Having expectations of others is a learned habit. In our culture, emotional dependency causes us to have expectations of each other.
I am starting this article with the quotation, “Less expectation means better life.

Expectations between friends and family members can create a sense of responsibility, which is good. However, we need to consider our time and abilities so we do not feel resentment.

We will feel resentment if we do not know the reason we do favors. As soon as you do a favor for someone, do not expect a favor back. It was the right thing to do.
One destructive expectation is expecting our kids to fulfill our needs. We want them to take care of our emotional needs. We tell them that we have sacrificed our lives for them and create guilt in them.
When we do this, the value of our kindness diminishes. We become restless and sad. We grow older with resentment for spending our lives with our kids.
We need to realize that it was our choice to have kids. We need to do our job with satisfaction and not expect our children to fulfill our needs.

November 28, 1987

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Inner Heaven by Berjik Kurkjian, (Hasmik) Articles No. 1-10


Art by Liam Turner

Articles by Berjik Kurkjian.
She used the pen name Hasmik in memory of her sister.

The original articles were published in Persian at Fogholadeh Magazine

Translation from Farsi into English by Karine Armen

No. 1 Happiness and Sadness


“Happiness and kindness make people more human, and sadness and hatred burn the roots of humanity.” I heard these words on the Radio Iran on a Friday. It’s a quotation by Simin Dareshvan. These words remind me of my life, back to the old days when I felt that my whole essence was filled from my head to my toe with sadness, despair, and bad luck. I had no hope to continue my life.

      I asked myself why people love sadness and pain. We are so fascinated by pain that we make a big deal out of all the small stuff. We transfer this terrible habit of negativity to our innocent children, burn the roots of their existence, and create a painful body and a confused and restless soul. With all the learned pain, we still expect them to be successful.  This despair and sadness can trap the body like a spider web and keep them from seeing the blessings that others enjoy. They become negative and dead inside. They move and live but have no life inside. Why? People live like that because they grew up with the habit of loving pain and sadness. Fortunately, with the help of God and my own efforts, I got out of depression. I walked into a beautiful world of light. I have inner peace and a clear mind. I feel fully alive. I don’t deny that sadness exists, but why get so preoccupied with negativity and despair that we can’t see any light and happiness?

      Let us help each other to get rid of negativity and replace it with positive thoughts and kindness. Smiles can be the spice of life. We can see happiness in small events in our lives. We can enjoy life and be alive. Live life fully and show life to our children.

Don’t forget: “It’s not important to be alive; it’s essential to live life.”


July 4, 1987


No. 2 Happiness and Despair


“Kindness makes us more humane, and hatred destroys humanity.” After reading this quotation, we think about becoming kinder to feel happier.

         Happiness and despair are two different emotions that exist as Positive and Negative Channels. They are like lightness and darkness. Recognizing the difference between the two emotions, how to use them, and in what context will help us deal with them appropriately.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of self-awareness and a wrong cultural upbringing, many of us are deprived of happiness. We are used to negative thinking. With today’s knowledge, we can become self-aware and distinguish between positive and negative thoughts and emotions.

     Statistics show that 5% of the world population feels happy, another 5% are emotionally damaged, and 90% need self-awareness and spiritual awakening.

                  July 11, 1987

                     No. 3 Positive and Negative Words

To be healthy, we need to have a peaceful soul. We can have inner peace by self-talk and by listening to our thoughts. Half of one's self is the outside appearance, a frame for the other half of our existence, our soul. When we have a physical injury, it is visible, and we heal it with medication and treatment. However, when we are hurt emotionally, nobody can notice it except ourselves. We feel hurt by listening to hurtful thoughts.

     Usually, we are the creators of the harmful and hurtful words. We express our pessimistic thoughts and create anxiety and restlessness that can cause physical illness. We communicate our pain to others without resolving anything. We just transfer negativity to the people around us. Instead, by using phrases with hopeful messages, we can feel loved. A sense of security is essential for a healthy existence.

     We have two inner emotional channels, one positive and one negative. A sense of fear is a destructive feeling we carry from childhood.

     Unaware actions of parents and adults can cause children to grow up fearful. A sense of fear is good when it is meant to prevent harm, but when it prevents healthy growth and maturity, it can be paralyzing. We need to learn to tell ourselves encouraging words to be aware of our own inner voice.


 July 18, 1987


No. 4 Positive and Negative Channels


As I have mentioned before, we have two emotional channels, positive and negative. Our emotions are the product of our thoughts, which are connected to these two channels.     

We express our thoughts by language. Healthy, positive, and valuable thoughts come from the positive channel. These hopeful thoughts create a positive environment and a healthy society. If everybody uses their positive channels, we will have healthy, happy, and sympathetic people.

     We can use negative channels and allow unhealthy thoughts in our lives. The negative sentences can hurt us and the people around us. This leads to dysfunctional families and societies.

Negative people are victims of their own thought processes. They lack self-awareness and self-control. When one finds out the root of the problem and thoughts that affect our emotions, they can change them. Pride is an important feeling and helps us to stay moral and healthy. Pride and arrogance are different. Nobody likes an arrogant person. Arrogance makes us isolated and depressed. Self-awareness and recognition of our emotions can help us to be healthy and happy.


July 25, 1987

No. 5 We Create Our World


We can create a happy and fulfilling life by focusing on the positive aspects of our lives.

Even though our lives might have many shortcomings and problems, we can still see a beautiful picture if we get energy from the positive channel of our thoughts. On the other hand, if we let the negative channel give us energy, we would feel drained and sad. Life would be unbearable.

  We need to be aware of these two positive and negative channels. We can let the negative thoughts come forward. Then, by awareness, we can turn that switch off and turn the positive thinking switch on. This is a self-awareness and positive approach. By verbalizing our positive thoughts and happy feelings, we can make others happy, too. Happiness can be contagious.


August 1, 1987

No. 6 Worry

If we cannot control our worrisome thoughts, they can destroy our inner peace. Worry can change to anxiety and become self-destructive.

     We have two kinds of worries. The thoughts that come from Positive Channels are there to prevent problems. The worrying thoughts that come from our Negative Channel can be problematic.

     We get energy from food and our thoughts. Half of the energy is physical, and the other half is mental and spiritual. If we let the negative channel in control us, we lose our spiritual energy and feel tired and drained.

   Many people eat healthy food and take their vitamins and minerals, and still feel drained. There can be a false sense of tiredness due to unnecessary worrying, and emotional and mental activity.  Being aware of the negative can help to protect against worrying.

     Some scientists claim life events and problems are contributing factors. We are in control of 60% of our life events, 30% of our lives are affected by others, and 10% by nature. If we believe this, then we can begin to feel a sense of control.

     We can accept the disasters caused by nature, know that we did not cause them, and be at peace with that. Then we can focus on the 60% so the events that we can control.  We have the ability to be grateful for blessings. We are able to learn and strengthen this sense of gratitude. We can minimize our worries and maximize our positive thoughts.

     By using these strategies, we will be able to deal with 30% of social and family pressures. Using positive thinking techniques will give us inner peace and a sense of happiness.


August 8, 1987

No. 7 Work and Cooperation


Work, physical activity, and cooperation are our health needs. Human beings who subscribe to this sense of helpfulness and teamwork have improved our civilization.

     There is a saying, “Work is the bride of life, and cooperation is the flower of life.”  Life should have a purpose to be sweet and meaningful. Work and cooperation give meaning to life.

Everybody has general talents. These talents are ready to sprout with inner energy. If we don’t use our inner energy with work and productive activities, it will change into negative energy. That can cause inner restlessness. Also, by working, we can take care of our financial needs, and we will use our time productively.

    There are two kinds of work, physical and mental; they are complementary. We use our minds and body in different jobs.

       Our body and good are connected. We need to find work that is enjoyable. If we are forced to get a job that is not what we really like, but we need it for financial reasons, we can still do it with pleasure. Listen to soft music during work. Remind yourself of the benefits of working and change your attitude.

     Cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork give us satisfaction too. We need to change our attitude and focus on the benefits of work. Then, we can enjoy any task we need to complete with pleasure.


August 15, 1987


No.8 Fatigue


Feeling tired can become contagious. In many cultures, people say, “Don’t work so hard, you will get tired,” or, “I am tired,” or “Don’t get too tired.” Many people use “I don’t feel like it.” All of these sentences reflect our attitude towards work, energy, and tiredness.

     Not many people are aware of their patterns of when and why they feel tired. They just complain that they are tired. The negative attitude towards work is contagious. We know that working and being active gives us more energy. Our negative attitude towards work is a learned behavior.

     Feeling tired can be due to a lack of physical energy, which can be regained by sleep and rest. Most of the time, fatigue is due to our negative attitude and lack of knowledge about it. Awareness of our thoughts and attitudes can help us change them and feel more energized.

     The signs of emotional tiredness are restlessness, sleeplessness, and lack of energy (aptitude). With self-help and self-awareness, we can become calmer. We need the support and understanding of our family members. Open discussions about a change of attitudes can be helpful. We can accept the problems and difficulties in our lives and not be angry about them. Using the Positive Channels, we can see the good in every problem.

     Feeling calm and peaceful will give us energy, and we will not feel tired and drained. We need to feel satisfied with our lives to survive and continue life with pleasure.


August 22. 1987     


No. 9 Inner Peace


Human beings have been looking for inner peace for centuries. After the invention of electric power and many electrical appliances, people have more comfort but still feel an inner emptiness.

     People look for inner peace and satisfaction in different places. Some go for higher education, and others pursue physical beauty or sex. Some people set high goals for their financial futures and spend many years making money, yet they don’t feel satisfied.

     Life is like a car with four wheels. We need to take care of all four wheels to function and move forward. The first wheel is the ability to love, self-love, showing love and affection to others, love of life, work, and people. The second wheel of life is the ability to earn a living, knowing how to spend and save money. Earning money is a means of life, not the primary goal. The third wheel is treating us and others with love and respect. How one treats children is very important. Your own or other’s kids are all tomorrow’s adults. Careless treatment of children will affect our lives, their future, and our well-being, too, as individuals and as a society. The fourth wheel of life is work, the completion of our daily tasks and chores. Feeling tired and procrastination causes distress and discontent.

     Many people live with flat tires, meaning dysfunctional and unfulfilled lives. By being aware of these four factors of life, self-awareness, and self-help, we can have fulfilled lives.

                         August 29, 1987

No.10 To Cry    

Crying is a natural phenomenon. From the first moment of birth, babies cry.

     The cause of crying can be sourced to our negative and positive channels. When we feel sad, we cry and let out our pain. However, we also cry out of joy and happiness. This kind of crying is our positive channel.

   Unfortunately, in our culture, we use negativity for manipulation, or we look at it as a form of weakness. Usually, we do not allow people to cry. We need to know the reason for the crying; if it is a good reason, we should let the person cry and let the sad emotions out.

     We need to learn not to be affected by the crying of others and not to let it make us feel distressed. When we accept crying as a natural part of life and let it take place for us and others, then we can feel better. Controlling our natural feelings and not allowing our tears to come out can transform them into anxiety and depression.

     Of course, unnecessary crying is due to depression and may call for professional care, but the release of emotions due to sad events or happy moments is totally acceptable. 


September 5, 1987