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“Harvey woke up and complained to his mom that he felt a headache coming on.

His breakfast was overdone.

He couldn’t find his favorite gloves.

He heard something outside: Thunder rolled and cracked.

Oh no! There’s a storm! Now we won’t be able to play Kick and Cover! He muttered to himself.

He did not like the way his day was starting.”

From Kevin the Complainer

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Subtraction, Not Addition

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You’re bored. You’re anxious. You’re angry or you’re sad.

You think you’ll be happy if…you get that new job, a raise, new clothes, a new car…

But actually, you already have everything you need to be happy.

Any sign of discontent means you need to SUBTRACT something: stress, work load, self-expectations, junk food, social engagements…THOUGHTS. 

Thoughts can be our enemy. Thoughts can drive you crazy. As Mickey Singer (The Surrender Experiment) points out, “anyone who has ever committed suicide did so through thoughts.”

So if you’re anything less than happy right now, consider subtracting something in your life.

 

 

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Less is Truly More

I was driving on the freeway and a man next to me cut me off so closely, I thought he was going to hit me.

My adrenaline raced and I had thoughts that no teacher-of-young-children should ever have.  I was angry. What a *$#@&! I cursed him and his family. I wished him ill will in every way. He was a jerk, a self-centered @#&$ and…and then I stopped. I was judging him and the situation. As soon as I stopped judging and taking the incident personally, I felt calm. It was a choice: I could be angry or I could be happy. I chose to be happy.

I’ve been trying to secure a grant. It was turned down a few months ago. A great despair and sadness overcame me. I really wanted it. Badly. And then I realized I was too attached. I was suffering and I needed to let it go. Of course, I can re-apply. I can keep re-applying. But if I do, I need to do my best on the application and LET IT GO. No attachment. I’m fine whether I get it or not.This process is really challenging, but definitely possible.

Finally, I find myself in this situation often: I want to get to my writing/workout/GNO, but I have to (fill in the blank = drive my girls to violin lessons or teach summer school).  Because I have my mind on what I want to do and because I can’t do it right then, I am resisting reality. And it’s painful. I feel stressed and resentful when I am not doing what I want to do right when I want to do it. This is resisting reality and the only thing that can come of it is unhappiness and suffering. I’m still working on this!

Thus, JAR: Judging, Attaching and Resisting. Eckhart Tolle says that in order to gain complete freedom (and peace of mind) you need to master these mentalities: non-judgment, non-attachment and non-resistance. Do not judge others OR yourself. Do not attach to your desires. And do not resist the present moment.  This is really hard to do in our competitive, judgmental world. But, it can be done. Start by paying attention throughout your day. Are you judging? Are you (needlessly) attached to something or someone? Are you resisting the moment? There is great freedom in letting go.