Even roses eventually become garbage. To last longer they would have to be made of plastic and not as beautiful. Real beauty fades. The desirable is always temporary, the briefness is what makes it beautiful. Why hold on to the fleeting moment? What has a beginning will have an end. Too much attachment to things and people deprives them of their true beauty.
To have a positive mind and happy feelings are great. By allowing joy into your world you attract a chain of positive events.
It sounds simple enough: Everybody wants to be happy and if I change my thoughts to more positive thoughts I will have a great life. Or: If I practice loving kindness and focus on positive feelings, I will become compassionate, the world will be a better place and I will be a happier person.
But what nobody tells you is what to do with the angry, hateful, fearful feelings that life is so good at presenting us with. We are just told to focus on the positive and “letting go” of anger etc. Sure, that’s good. If you can do it.
If you can’t, and most people can’t, the result will be suppression and repression of your difficult feelings. Then nothing is accomplished. Nil. Nada. Zilch. Rien.
You just threw a blanket over the messy stuff. You just swept it under the rug and now admire your pretty room. But the dirt is still there. Under a shiny layer of goodness the dirt goes on accumulating. You might even forget about it.
You are now living a lie. It’s a pretty lie but it’s still a lie. You and everyone around you are the victims.
This happens very often for people inspired by New Age where the belief is that our low “vibration” (bad feelings) will attract bad stuff. To remedy this New Age offers several techniques to “raise your vibration”. (This is basically what the famous Law of Attraction is all about.)
Those techniques often make people feel really good. For a while. Then it wears off and another technique is required. And another. And another. Ad infinitum.
And all you’ve been doing is running away from yourself. Some people get addicted to this cycle.
So, what to do with all those difficult emotions? Fear, anger, rage, anxiety etc. What to do if you are really, REALLY, pissed at someone or something? If you are terrified? Worried? Desperate?
Send out loving thoughts? Immerse yourself in light?
Well, around 99.9% of the population will not be able to do this without suppressing their emotions at the same time. To send out loving thoughts without emotional suppression takes tremendous spiritual maturity. Buddha was sitting under that tree for a really long time until he had it all figured out.
I want to make one thing clear: There is nothing wrong or dangerous about having so called negative feelings.
(Note: I’m not talking about mental disorders or destitution here, just normal human behavior in more or less normal situations).
What is bad, though, is entertaining negative thoughts that you keep repeating over and over again. But on the other hand that is really easy to change. It’s just a matter of changing your thinking habit. Most people who try report dramatic and lasting positive change. Your thoughts don’t own you anymore.
But our emotions are not as straightforward as our thoughts.
In my experience, the only way to deal with difficult emotions is, paradoxically, to accept them and feel them, over and over again. Every little feeling has to be accepted and embraced. Then, eventually, they will disappear on their own. This can take a really long time. Often years.
I know. You don’t want that. Nobody does. You want it NOW. Because we live in a society where waiting just one second for a web page to load is insufferable.
Once you have gotten over that this might take longer than one second, one of the biggest pitfalls is trying to understand and make sense of your emotions. Please don’t try. They simply don’t make sense on the level of the mind. Just feel and accept, feel and accept. If you try to attach stories and explanations to your difficult emotions you might be stuck in their net for real. That’s like having ten pages up that never load.Or sweeping yourself completely under the rug.
But don’t despair. There is one other way – and it can be instant: Surrender.
This means that you give up trying to control or understand. It means to even invite your difficult emotions when they rear their ugly heads, to welcome them lovingly because that is the way you are feeling right now and everything about you is holy and therefore these feelings are holy too. This takes a lot of courage.
Surrender is, as you see, also a form of acceptance. The deepest acceptance: acceptance through the heart. You don’t even try to understand what is happening to you. You have accepted that these feelings are within you and you don’t even try to change anything. You have surrendered your desire to be free of them.
For this trust is required, deep trust in yourself, in life or God,
Surrender goes against the grain of our society. We have been taught to never give up, to keep fighting. But sometimes never giving up means that all you do is banging your head against the wall or knocking on doors that never open.
Sometimes it’s good to give up. (Don’t tell anyone I said that!)
You are your own teacher. No one can tell you what will happen or how long it will take for your emotions to be freed. If you are really ripe it can be instant. Or you can surrender gradually over months or even years. Whatever you are ready for it will be a beautiful process, divine in its purity.
In the end, you will find yourself in the unique, unfathomable youness of you, the deepest love imaginable. You’ll be living in grace and wonder. And time won’t matter. Not even in waiting for a web page to load.
This time of year many people think about the past and the future.
Wait a minute.
People always think about the past and the future. That’s where we live. As if the present moment doesn’t exist.
In reality it’s the ONLY thing that exists. The past and the future are only in our minds. We can never experience it outside our minds. The past is gone and the future never comes. We exist in the now but unaware.
A few years ago we took our kids to Disney World’s Epcot Center. Before we had even entered the premises there were signs that said: Let the memories begin.
Seriously. We hadn’t even had the experience yet!
And they were already talking about the memories we would have in the future. As if we lived in some kind of future past. What a terrible trap!
That’s not how I want to live my life. I want to live it NOW. I want to experience every moment fully, just as it is. What else is there?
We are trained since birth to live for the future. A child naturally lives in the now so it’s a very systematic training to take that out of us. We are taught that we have to do and have certain things to be able to enjoy life in the future. Then what happens to the now?
It shrinks and shrivels up like a dried tomato. It loses its juice.
We are trained to think that we are insufficient as we are since we always need to be better for the future. We learn that our natural inclinations are not good enough and we feel ashamed for who we are. Or we inflate ourselves to avoid that sinking feeling of worthlessness.
None of that would happen if parents and teachers had encouraged our inborn ability to live in the now. But of course they can’t. They themselves have the same training and perhaps they still buy into the system. But you don’t have to. You are free to choose.
Welcome to your own private beautiful NOW! Treat it with love.
In the present you are always good enough. In the present any relationship problems resolve automatically. If you don’t bring in the past, where is the problem?
The present gives you a chance to respond differently every time. It makes you free to be who you truly are.
In the present you can make new choices. And you get endless chances to start over. In the present there is no judgment. Every moment you are reborn.
You are completely free in this moment. Close your eyes and feel it. Right now you are exactly the way you are supposed to be. Stay there!
Don’t make any promises to the future this year. Just remember to be in the present.
In my life I have chosen not to juggle things around. I have chosen not to multi-task.
I have to chosen to do one thing at a time and to do it the best I can.
I have also chosen, and it was a choice, to have large chunks of time with no activities at all. Time for meditation or just being. Time to listen to the birds, to feel, to see, to hear.
I try to stay in the feeling of non-activity while I’m busy. I get a lot of practice now when the preparations for our move are flooding my to do list.
How to stay still in the middle of chaos? During my time in stillness I learned something important. I learned that you don’t really have to put in that much effort to accomplish things. I saw that I had done too much earlier in life.
I discovered that if I waited and only acted when it was time to act I saved myself a lot of trouble.
I use that insight all the time. I wait. If I need information before I speak to someone I wait until I have that information. I do things when they are ready to be done.
I also carry the stillness with me into the whirlwind of activity. It’s enough to just breathe. I take a conscious breath and the stillness is right there. I take time to look at people and to connect with them
In this way I get much more done and I never have to stress. I learned that I control time. Time doesn’t control me.
So in the middle of it all I breathe, see, feel. I do the essential. Some things I leave for the next day. I don’t have to do it all. I don’t have to be perfect. What a relief!
So I take my dog out for a walk. I watch her and enjoy her. Here she is in the middle of a hunting game! Look at the focus, the intention, the JOY. So much to learn from animals!
Charlotte Brady about love, life, God, poetry, writing and abiding in the heart at every moment. This is where flesh is spirit and spirit flesh in raw unadulterated devotion. Life is worship!