“Nothing is extraneous in Life. Everything serves a purpose for Life to be what it is. Accept that everything serves a purpose and treat everything as if it belongs, because if it didn’t belong it wouldn’t exist.”—
“Challenges are not accidents. They are what you have chosen in order to create certain types of experiences. Mistakes and obstacles are also chosen for this purpose. So own your challenges. Joyfully embrace them and play with them. Don’t treat them as if they are some burden thrust upon you from without. Lighten up and enjoy them!”—
Forget about all the concepts about your life experience for a second. Let’s just talk about your actual experience. Are you happy with your experience?
I have observed that most people don’t ask themselves that question. Most are caught up in the concepts about their experience in order to justify or rationalize it. Concepts can make decision making very difficult. They can add unnecessary complexity and confusion to what is ultimately a simple decision: do we like our experience?
Experience is the ultimate teacher, but we allow concepts- usually others’ concepts at that- to cloud its teachings, which then causes us to experience suffering without the ability to relieve that suffering ourselves. I was having this discussion with my brother and my wife earlier this week. It started off about my family’s culture- I am East Indian, living in Canada- and how Indian culture can cause suffering for many people. It started with us talking about people we know who have had unpleasant experiences in their arranged marriages to their cousins and how they find it difficult to change their life experience because of pressure from our culture and the couple’s family. The family itself is rigid in its concepts of what it expects of the couple because of its attachment to the concepts of culture. In my culture it is normal and quite common to have arranged marriages to cousins. In fact, at one point my parents had a chat with me about arranging my marriage to a cousin or to another girl I didn’t know, but I squashed that idea right away. It just didn’t feel right. Instead, I married the love of my life, who- to my parents’ initial horror- is Mexican. I chose to stray from my culture by marrying my wife because I enjoyed the experience of being with her more than I enjoyed the idea of experiencing an arranged marriage to someone I barely knew. I am happy I listened to my experience rather than the mere words and concepts of my parents and my culture. My wife and I share a relationship that is beyond what I could have ever hoped for, and yet I would have thrown it away if I had listened to words and concepts like so many others. Moreover, because my wife and I chose our own experience of marriage, we hold the key to creating solutions to any problems that may arise in our marriage. We are not bound to customs and others’ opinions about what our experience of marriage should be about.
The discussion with my brother and my wife then led into other areas of East Indian culture in which concepts cloud experience, such as when poor families in India kill their infant daughters because they cannot afford to pay the dowry at their daughter’s future arranged marriage. It never occurs to the families that the concept of dowry and arranged marriages are made up and that they can improve the actual experience of their lives by letting go of those old ideas. Instead, they are hopelessly bound to a culture created by others. Until they take back the power to create their own culture and their own experience they will not experience the relief that comes with the ability to create their own solutions in life.
In the West, we are shocked by how people such as those in India can be so blind to what they are doing because of the weight of tradition, but we are not that different. In our end of the world we create and perpetuate systems that destroy the environment, which has the potential to turn into an experience of slow suicide. We commit this slow suicide because we say we want the concept of economic growth, even if that economic growth causes suffering to ourselves and others. Our concept of economic growth clouds our actual experience of destroying the very system that sustains us. Some of us may say that it is not us destroying the environment but rather that it is giant corporations doing the majority of the polluting, but we must ask ourselves how corporations came to be in the first place. Corporations are just concepts, just as arranged marriage and dowry are concepts. They can all be changed in order to create a more pleasurable experience for all of us, if we choose to do so. The fact that we didn’t pay attention to our experience as corporations grew larger and more destructive, and instead chose to listen to the concepts we were told by those very same corporations is what has created this increasingly negative experience now.
Yet there is nothing “wrong” with our experience now. I don’t want people to think of a concept of “positive” experience and think they must strive to create it. There is no authority figure out there dictating what we choose to experience. This isn’t about letting go of one concept and attaching to another; this time the concept of “positive” experience. Everything is chosen by us, including what we say is positive and negative, just because we say so. If we like the experience of destroying the planet, we will (continue to) do so. If we like the experience of going into debt to banks in order to simply live our lives we will continue to do so. If we like the experience of living in ignorance of our experience and suffering the consequences of that ignorance, we will continue to do so. If we like the experience of going back to living off the land in small colonies we will do so. There is nothing “wrong” with any of it. Life is meaningless. Life is where we get to play out whatever type of experience we desire to play out. We are the infinite awareness in which all experiences happen, just because they can. There is no need to justify our experience. There is no need to rationalize it. There are no expectations for us to meet. It’s up to us. Just pay attention to the experience itself and ask yourself: do I like this? Or don’t pay attention to it, and ask yourself if you enjoy the experience of living in ignorance. If not, create the experience of changing your experience in whatever way you find enjoyable. Do it because you enjoy it, not because it is the “right” thing to do.
So if you like the experience of treating others and yourself with respect, choose it. If you like the experience of being creative, choose it and be creative in whatever way you desire to be. If you enjoy the experience of exploration, explore. If you enjoy being fearless, be fearless. Choose the experience you enjoy and seek to change the rest. But seek to change it in an enjoyable way. There is no point in being miserable because you have chosen to change your experience. Be happy with your choice because ultimately it is you who is responsible for your choices and for coming up with the reasons for your choices. That is the joy of living your life. Take back the power to create your experience rather than being attached to the concepts of what your experience must be like. Start being a creative being rather than a reactive one because at this point, all our lives depend on our ability to be creative.
“Make your primary effort to let go and go within. Without going within you will never be a whole being. You will always feel as if something is missing from your life. On the other hand, go within and you will always feel complete. You will be whole regardless of your outer circumstance.”—
“Connect with being and there will be no question of your infinite and eternal nature. There will be no question of your connection to all, because you will know all emanates from being. There will be no question of your abundance because being is true abundance- it is the source of all forms, including all forms of abundance. Connect with being and you will not need to grasp at forms in order to feel complete. You will know there is always more where the forms come from. You will enjoy forms and recognize them as parts of yourself but you will not lose yourself in form, taking them to be your whole identity. You will no longer be the prisoner of forms, and so you will be joyful. Connect with being and you will be in this world but not of it.”—
“Coming from being always opens up choices that the mind tries to deny. Ask yourself: how would I like to respond to this situation? Being allows for any response. It is free and creative, not reactive like the mind.”—
“Circumstances don’t matter. By the time you’re dealing with a circumstance it has already happened, so there is no reason to resist it or base your happiness on it changing. The only thing that matters is your state of being. Your state of being determines how you interact with the circumstance that has already happened.”—
“God is completely still. It is infinite, and is therefore already everywhere it could be. So it could be said that it moves at infinite speed. The sensation of moving at infinite speed is experienced as stillness. Your silent inner experience of stillness is your experience of God.”—
“The phrase “everything is possible” is alien to the mind. The mind cannot conceive of “anything” or “everything”. Only Being can. Being knows everything is possible because it knows it is All-That-Is.”—
“All searching is a search for the source of all. The source of all is within, so all searching eventually leads within. Once this source is realized Life becomes an expression of this realization. Life then becomes an expression of wholeness rather than an expression of a search for wholeness.”—
“The source of everything is within you. What could you possibly need that you do not already contain? Ironically, the thought that you need something is the only thing stopping you from realizing the source of everything you think you need is within you.”—
“The spiritual path is the path to freedom. Freedom isn’t about compulsively trying to overcome external circumstances; it is about giving yourself the ability to choose your response to those circumstances. Freedom is moving from unconscious reactions to conscious responses. It is moving from being who you think you are to creating who you choose to be, moment by moment. Spirituality is about giving yourself the freedom to choose by accepting the totality of your being rather than denying it through the compulsive thinking of the fragmented mind you thought you were.”—
“What is the nature of your being? What would happen if you let go of your limited plans and surrendered to the unknown? What do you think would happen if you didn’t know what you were going to do until you were doing it? Do you believe there would be chaos? Do you see misery in that type of existence? What would happen if you expressed yourself from your being rather than your mind? Is it your mind that determines your positive behaviour or is it something deeper? Do you have to think about treating others well or do you simply feel it? Is our violence against others and ourselves caused by excessive mind or no mind? Is our existence based solely on our ability to think or is there something more to it? What if you trusted the unknown rather than always striving to know? Do we act our best when we think things through or when we let go in trust? Or is it a combination of the two?”—
“All changes in circumstances and situations stem from a change in perspective coupled with a change in behavior. Too many people get it backwards by getting caught up in trying to change the situation rather than concentrating on changing their perspective and their behavior. This focus on the situation tends to cause a sense of powerlessness and despondency because most of the time we cannot change the situation directly. We can, however, change our perspective and our behavior. This then, always changes the situation, if we stick with the change in perspective and behavior. The trick is to focus on what we can do and forget about what we can’t.”—
Let’s say you’re shy and you want to be outgoing. What’s stopping you? Or let’s say you’re suffering from some sort of mental disorder and you want to feel happy. What’s stopping you? Or let’s say you’re physically weak and you want to be stronger. What’s stopping you?
The only thing that is stopping you is your attachment to a story. You are attached to the story of yourself as a shy person, or a person suffering from a mental disorder or a physically weak person. This is the only reason you feel you cannot change. It isn’t because you actually cannot change, but because you feel you can’t and as long as you feel you can’t change you won’t.
So the solution to these issues, or any other issue for that matter, is to feel that you can change. That feeling won’t come as long as you’re attached to a certain limited perspective of yourself though. The good news is who you actually are is infinitely deeper than any perspective you have of you, and this is your eternal ticket to joy and freedom.
To reconnect to the depths of who you truly are, you must be willing to let go of your limited perspective of you. You won’t see this limited perspective of you or the depths of your true self, however, unless you first step outside of that limited perspective. Here’s where meditation comes in. Meditation gives you the ability to see your running mind- the mind you thought you were- so that you can see that you can be outside it. This can be extremely liberating or scary, depending on how willing you are to let go of your thoughts. You will see how a story has been running in your mind, and that story is the only thing causing you misery.
Now, the mind is very powerful, so you cannot just deny it and hope to change. It will win, especially if you keep fighting it. So the way to change your mind is to first accept it. Just watch the mind run the old story of you. Let the story run without getting caught up in it. Then see how you feel as you watch it. You may sense a feeling of relief and peace arising within you. You are connecting to the depth of you.
As you connect more frequently, the need to cling to the mind’s story weakens. You become more rooted in the source of mind, rather than the mind itself. There is a depth and strength to you that wasn’t there before. There is also a sense of lightness, joy and freedom because you are no longer burdened by an artificial sense of self. Now you get to choose what kind of story you want to create for yourself. Still don’t believe this? Then you’re still attached to a limited perspective of yourself. Anytime you feel you cannot change it is because you are attached to a limited perspective of you, rather than who you truly are.
Sometimes the mind can be especially resistant to change, especially if you are already in a very limited situation, such as in poverty or illness. It will use the evidence of your seemingly limited exterior situation to convince you of the hopelessness of change. To get any sort of momentum of change going in these kinds of situations, you must change before your mind gets in the way and stops you. What do I mean by that? You must act before you think. Act in the way you prefer, doing the things you want to do with what you have available, before your mind comes in and denies your new actions and proclaims the hopelessness of changing. Take baby steps. Be willing to consciously change little things about you, whether it is your body language or what you wear or anything else that the mind labels “trivial”. Give yourself encouragement for every little step taken. Don’t try to change the exterior situation just yet. You will most likely fail because it has a sense of momentum to it. It will change or you’ll feel the genuine urge to change it once you’ve created a new momentum. Concentrate on changing your behaviour with an increased amount of meditation to get you in touch with your inner formless nature, with the intention to change more deeply as you get used to the momentum of changing yourself.
As you take the steps to change who you think you are, and express the infinite nature of your being by doing so, you may experience another obstacle: other people. You may feel that people you know won’t let you change because they are still associated with the old you. This may be true. Partners, children, co-workers, family and friends can all be deterrents to change. They may wonder why you’re behaving differently. They may not know who you are anymore and ask you to be who they want you to be, which is the old you. They may not believe that you can change even if you tell them that’s what you’re doing. It is hard for people who are attached to their own stories in their minds to see another person changing themselves. Sometimes you are an integral part of the story they are trying to cling to in their minds, so your changes could be causing their story to change, which brings fear with it. Whatever the reason may be, stick with your changes, unless you’re truly causing physical harm to others. Explain to your loved ones that your changes are representative of who you want to be, and that they make you into a happier person than you were. It is your courage to stick with your changes that provides your loved ones with an example of a person that can become who they want to be. They can use your example in their own lives so that they can also joyfully recreate themselves anew. You provide a service to others by being an example of who you prefer to be.
The solutions we seek are within each of us. To look for solutions outside of us is to get caught up in more stories and noise and become more separated from the depth of our being. Listening to an external source without paying attention to the source within us always brings confusion, because it causes a separation from our true being. So always look to see how others’ messages resonate with your inner being. That is all the guidance you need. Trust your true self. Quieten the outside world and connect within. Do this often so that you get more acquainted with your inner being and so that you can act in alignment with the joyous feeling of that inner being. Remember: all solutions are to give each person back to themselves. Once they have consciously connected to that inner source, nothing else really matters.
“Trust that you’ll get the experience you need as you follow your joy with no expectations. It isn’t always about money. Sometimes the experience you get from following your joy allows you to develop in certain ways to give you a deeper sense of satisfaction when and if you do experience getting money. Trust the universe! Trust your joy! Watch how it transforms you into the person you truly desire to be, even though you didn’t even necessarily know you wanted to be that way. Pay attention to your whole experience. Watch how pain is transformed into joy, or how your confidence grows. Watch how you connect with others and how your understanding of life deepens immeasurably. There’s so much more to a rich, satisfying life experience than just money. So stop chasing money and just follow your joy. Don’t call something a failure just because you didn’t get paid. The experience gave you something more valuable for you than money would have been at that particular time. Trust, absorb and cherish your experience and move forward. You’ll thank yourself later for it.”—
“As I look back at my childhood I only wish that I wasn’t so serious or fearful. I wish I was a bit more outgoing and passionate about being a kid. I wish I enjoyed the process instead of always looking to grow up. Now, I see that I should enjoy the process of my life right now. One day I will be old and I don’t want to look back to when I was the age I am now and have the same regrets as I do about my childhood. I choose to enjoy this part of my life now instead of looking to the future for enjoyment.”—
“Live your life simply. Do what excites you the most in this moment with no expectations of the outcome. Stop adding unnecessary steps that you think you need to complete before you can enjoy your life. Just enjoy it.”—
“The happiest beings I know are animals and babies. Both are simple beings, uncomplicated by constant thinking and unnecessary, anxious action. They are content simply by being and they are utterly absorbed with the Now. What I have realized by observing them is that happiness is more easily experienced by letting go of unnecessary complications, not adding them.
On the opposite end of this polarity are the unhappy beings. The beings who are unhappiest are the ones who predominantly live outside of the Now. Their being is buried under a mountain of complicated and confusing thoughts- usually expectations and regrets- about the future and the past. They seek solutions by adding complications rather than taking them away and they add to their suffering because of this.
So to be happy, be here. Live here. Fully embrace and act on what is available here and now. Let go of everything else. It is all unnecessary anyway.”—
“There is something far deeper going on here. This is about more than just getting a high-paying job, or stopping climate change or fixing the economy. It’s about more than going on that next vacation or getting married. There is something more transformative at play here. We are in the midst of a great change in consciousness, and that has implications for how we experience all aspects of our lives. Everything will be the same and yet everything will be different.”—
“Pain isn’t predominantly caused by a situation. It is caused by our judgment of a situation. Judgment only exists in the conditioned mind. To be free of pain, then, is to be free of the conditioned mind, which is to be in the realm of unconditional being. The realm of being is the realm of unconditional love and acceptance.”—
“You cannot be negative. You can only think negative. All negativity is caused by a complete association with the thinking process, so that the being completely believes it is its thoughts. Thoughts by their nature are temporary, so when a being associates solely with their thinking they think compulsively in order to sustain who they think they are. This compulsive thinking is usually anxious and fearful in nature, which is where negativity stems from.”—
“Life is meant to be a celebration of what it means to be alive! The process of Life is Life celebrating itself by being all the forms it can be. You are one of those forms! Life wants to joyfully celebrate itself through your existence! Embrace that honor by simply being you.”—
“For joy to be complete and true the body, mind and soul must be in harmony. This harmony is created by focusing the mind on the only moment in which the body can act, which is the Now, and then choosing to act on what is most joyful right now.”—