We’re not going to live forever; we all know that. It might not be the most pleasant of thoughts and choosing not to focus on it doesn’t make it any less real.
How long are we here for? Just 70, 80 or 90 years perhaps? So doesn’t it make sense to make every effort to be as happy as we can instead of wasting even one minute otherwise?
Yes, I know this is extremely difficult to do given that we’re human and all. The majority of us are living in subconscious autopilot mode, experiencing a roller-coaster of thoughts and emotions daily. Is there a way we can be more consistent with how we feel? More deliberate when it comes to the thoughts that are trickling their way into our consciousness?
You’re the Pilot
Before any physical action is performed, we set the intention to do it, and then it happens, like raising your hand for example. These are motor/kinesthetic actions but what about emotional actions? We have organs which we have some sort of control over directly like our eyes, tongues etc. and others which we don’t control like our kidneys and livers. Our brains amazingly fall into both categories simultaneously. There are the conscious processes that we have some sort of direct control over; we can direct our focus on the thoughts we choose for example. Then there are the subconscious processes that we don’t have direct control over; these are influenced by repetitive conscious thoughts.
You have the choice to surrender to things that are outside of your control. Our brains simply can’t handle the burden of trying to control everything. We can merely influence a very few external situations. However, we have total control over how we react to these situations. During this pandemic for example, you may find yourself getting worried about you or a loved one contracting COVID-19. You may be worried about your job or have already lost it, and are wondering what you are going to do to pay your bills and sustain yourself and your dependents.
I can tell you right away that worrying is not going to get you anywhere. On the contrary, it’s going to hinder you and cause you to get into a frazzled state of fight or flight, and not be able to think straight and put together a proper plan to adapt to the inevitable and move forward.
Adapt and Live On
You have to understand that everything is in constant change. This whole universe is constantly changing. The only constant is that change is inevitable.
Relax with that and get used to the idea that the world isn't going to go according to how you want it to go. Your reactions, on the other hand, can go where you want them to go. How you see the world can go where you want it to go, with the proper practice and the use of helpful tools and tactics.
You Ego Lies
Many will say something like: but I can't control the worry, it just happens. Well, that's the subconscious mind at work here. It takes time. You have to keep at it. Surrender yourself and don’t identify with default thoughts and feelings associated with whatever situation is presenting itself and unfolding in front of you.
Be more attentive to the present moment, the past does not exist, neither does the future. Only this moment exists. The other two exist only in our minds.
Accept and acknowledge the situation as it is and prevent your ego from fooling you into thinking that things should be a certain way, because they very rarely will be exactly how you want them to be.
Can you think of any examples where a seemingly negative situation propelled someone in a certain direction, and that turned out to be just what they needed to put them in a state of greatness? If you ask those people, they would definitely go through these negative situations again to be where they are today.
Bad situations are blessings in disguise, life lessons that will lead to your eventual success and greatness, if you patiently and diligently do the work and uncover the disguise.
Disconnect the Negativity
No matter how much of a bad of a situation you think you're in, you can always put yourself in a better one. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. Just the thought that you can become better today than you were yesterday should excite and motivate you to keep on keeping on.
A way to do that is to open yourself to the thoughts and feelings that are working you up. Be conscious of them churning inside of you and let them be no matter how strong they are. Go through with them and understand that you have to because this is what was pre-programmed. You cannot expect a program to run something else, other than what it was programmed to do. The same thing is true with your mind. It is programmed to trigger certain thoughts and emotions that you will actually feel physically in your body, when certain situations take place.
Let’s say a situation takes place which evokes a strong negative emotion. What you have to do is not identify with the thoughts causing this emotion. They are just thoughts that aren’t necessarily true, no matter how intense they make you feel. Don't give these thoughts the fuel they need to keep going. Instead, try to replace them with more helpful ones.
Set a goal to surrender and not get caught up with what's going on in your head.
Do something every day that will get you closer to this goal. Every time you feel something unpleasant. Let it be. Watch it happening.
Don't try to force it out, that will cause you to think even more about it, and will have an opposite effect. Don’t intensify it by ruminating.
Let it go away at its own pace, no matter how long it takes, trust that it will go away at some point if you release it.
Watch your breathing and do it more deliberately and deeply.
Fruits of Labor
“You are a ghost, driving and meat-coated skeleton made from stardust, riding a rock, hurtling through space. Fear nothing.”
Happiness is a choice. You can find joy in things usually taken for granted and considered mundane. Happify yourself, even with the smallest of things. Listen to the birds, look at the colors and textures, smell the flowers. Be in absolute awe of this world. Just because you are used to it doesn't make it less of a miracle. Little acts of gratitude can go a very long way.
Your mind is like a canvas, your thoughts and feelings are a reflection of what you choose to paint on it.
The first thing anyone does when they put on a pair of VR glasses, is look around and consciously examine their virtual environment. They look at the textures and colors, they're in awe of the realism and three-dimensional nature of the simulation. Well guess what? You are in a real simulation. Everything you experience is a result of a projection your brain creates for you based on feedback from your input organs. Let’s call it AR which stands for Actual Reality.
With time and practice tranquility will be your default. How much time it takes will depend on how deeply ingrained a certain thought habit is in your mind and how much practice you put into changing this habit.
“Before you heal someone, ask them if they are willing to give up the things that made them sick.”
Remember that the dodge balls of life are supposed to prompt you to do something great, so get prompted already!