Hello beautiful people! I've been on a bit of a spiritual journey recently and thought I'd write an easy guide to getting some happiness and serenity in your life. If you have any difficulty with this guide, know that the only person stopping you from getting results is you yourself.
Find a quiet spot where you can be uninterrupted from all distractions for a few minutes. Sit comfortably or lie down, whatever, it doesn't matter. Here we go!
1. Let go of all attachments and desires.
Take a deep breath, and as you let it out, try to let go of all your attachments and desires, all your roles and responsibilities. Put them down for a minute, you can take them up again when you're done. Just for a moment, disconnect from your friends, family, achievements, mistakes, and past trauma. Suspend temporarily your desires for love, riches, fame.
Let go of your ego and identity. (very hard for people with big egos) With each outbreath, shed each layer that says you're a father, husband, son, mother, wife, daughter. Discard the notion that you're defined by your profession or race or gender. We are all monkeys on a giant rock hurtling through space with no idea how we got here or where we're going. Forget that you're even a monkey, and just breathe. Naturally, like an onion that's been genetically modified to be extra thicc and coated in butter to be baked and smothered in brown sauce by a Canadian chef in the thick of winter, there are a lot of layers to peel away, so take as much time as you need - just keep breathing and letting go.
Know that you are utterly insignificant - you are 1 person in 7,806,198,420 people on Earth right now; there were billions of people before you, and there will be billions after you (hopefully). If that fact causes you any discomfort, that's your ego - it's not dead yet. Take comfort in the fact that that takes a lot of the pressure off you. Everyone is unique, yet eminently replaceable. We are but one cog in the universe of trillions of cogs, and if we reach our full potential and be King/Queen of the world - great! But if not, if we fail in our endeavours, give up on our dreams and our life turns out to be mediocre - that's also fine because in less than 100 years empires rise and fall, cities turn to ash, all our friends and family will die, we'll die, no one will remember we ever existed, and that's all a-ok. When I realised that I was nothing, yet part of everything, with my own small purpose and role to play, I worried and was anxious no more. One of my favourite quotes is by Rumi: "All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop."
2. Be here now.
Whew that was a doozy! What's left? If you've done step 1 thoroughly, your ego should be shattered, but wait - you're still breathing. You're still here. How do you feel?
Despite your ego in tatters, you're still aware. Be aware of that awareness. Know that you still exist. Now, fully embrace that awareness, and be in the present moment. Forget your past - it's long dead and gone, and it'll never come back. Forget the future - it's not here yet, it doesn't exist. Why worry about something that doesn't exist? All that exists is the present moment. Sit, and just be.
Don't try to think. Just breathe, concentrate on the awareness, and try to really get a good grasp on it for a while. If any thoughts come into your head, gently push them out, and return to the sense of the awareness, and your breathing. Luxuriate in your existence for a while.
3. Be love now.
Once you've become one with the awareness, start to bring a sense of loving kindness into your being. Just think "love", and you'll start to feel it. It'll start in your heart. Gently intensify it with more thoughts of love, then expand it through your body, and slowly out of your body, out of the room, and as far as you can take it, until you've encompassed all of Earth and Being with love. Stay with this feeling as long as you can.
If all goes well, you should have reached a state of blissful ecstasy and serenity. Keep in mind that this love needs to be unconditional. Anything less than pure, unconditional love is not true love. Do you think Hitler's mother loved him any less despite what he did? Am I saying you need to love Hitler? Yes, I am. I'm not saying we should condone what he did, or all the evil that's done in the world: I'm saying the only response to evil should be love and forgiveness. Do not equate that with standing by and letting evil run rampant - we should actively stop and prevent evil whenever and wherever we see it, but the only way to elevate humanity to a higher state of being is by embodying love and kindness and compassion ourselves, and extending that to all beings.
Happiness is a state of mind that we can will ourselves to enter, no matter our circumstances. Life is always better faced when grounded in love. You can always choose to be happy, no matter what happens.
Here's the thing: Life is going to be full of ups, but also probably way more downs. There's going to be heaps of trials and tribulations, sorrows and disappointments, and you can't control everything and prevent them from happening. The only thing you CAN control is your attitude, and how you react to them. You don't have to react to a sad event with sadness; you don't have to mourn someone's death, you can celebrate his life. You don't wail and beat your breast once you've eaten a succulent steak - you simply appreciate the fact that you enjoyed it, and you accept that it was meant to be a temporary joy. There are only so many days in your lifetime, and every day you get to choose whether you want to spend it filled with joy and laughter, or curled and furrowed in misery. Save this video to your bookmarks for a shining example of what the best attitude looks like: https://youtu.be/X7ymriMhoj0
To those people who think there are so many people and so much suffering in the world, so what right do I have to enjoy myself - that's flawed thinking. Well-meaning, but flawed nonetheless. Your anger and sorrow do nothing for those actually suffering, but merely degrade and impair your own emotional state and cognitive abilities. People don't respond well to the stick, i.e. anger, guilt and shame, especially with respect to doing good things (Which is more motivating - be good and you'll go to heaven, or do good or you'll go to hell? The latter for the short-term shock factor but it's not sustainable). In other words, when you cater to and think everyone needs to be one with the lowest common denominator of society, guess where we all end up? You can't fill others' cups when your own is empty.
The best way is to fill your own cup first - be a whole, complete person, a beacon bright and shining with joy and love and empathy and compassion and understanding, so that people may look at you with wonder, and open their hearts, and want to be like you.
I understand that a lot of people have the most trouble with the first step, especially with past trauma. Here's another thing - whatever happened, happened once. To endlessly revisit it in your head simply makes you suffer needlessly over and over again, only to your detriment. Let go of grudges, resentments, rejections, mistakes, like a hot stone. To hold on to them only weighs your mind and soul down, and burns you, and calluses you from future love - not from future hurt. Forgive yourself for what you've said and done, forgive others not for their sake, but for your own peace of mind, and move on. All suffering comes from our own heads and hearts, from attachments and desires. Release attachment and peace comes. This is not to say that you don't plan for the future, or try to be the best version of yourself, but rather try to accept that you have very little control over anything, if at all, and you'll find serenity.
BONUS GUIDE TO OVERCOMING TRAUMA
- ACCEPT. Accept that that shit happened.
- FORGIVE. Forgive the perpetrator, and yourself.
- LET GO. Let that shit go, and start living life anew, from this moment forward.
Didn't work? Go through the list again, you didn't do one or more of those steps thoroughly and whole-heartedly.
Remember, the only one stopping you from being happy is yourself.
So there you have it - my super simple, easy-to-say-hard-to-do guide to tranquility. Here's one last thing: the baggage you put down at the beginning - after running through this, you might choose to take up less of the baggage. The next time you do this, you'll find it easier to put down the baggage, because you've already done it, and also because there's less to put down. Then you might choose to take up even less again, and so on, until you're carrying a very light burden, if at all. Then, you'll find peace.
If this helped you at all, I'm thrilled, and I hope you'll share it to others who might benefit as well. If not, then there might be some negativity - hatred, resentment, cynicism, anger, greed, or any other number of forms of the shadow that you continue to harbour, and for your sake I hope you'll let them go.
Thank you for letting me be of value.
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you be at peace.