When somebody curses at me or calls me names, I remind myself that the epithets are just garbage coming out of the attacker’s mouth. The issue is not personal and it is not about me. The other person is having a bad day. He/she is having an energy release, and I just happen to be the nearest observer to witness it. I am then able to watch the torrent of words without emotion. I look at the other person with curiosity, even interest. The strange thing is that when I bring awareness into the situation, it begins to change. The energy turns from harmful to healthy. Why? Because I created an opening for the universe to dissolve the negative energy and transform it into positive energy. I am left with a fresh, powerful feeling.
When we are in the midst of a conflict situation, we are overcome by negative emotions. Stories from our past flow into our pain, which creates more pain. We play the mental movie of “The Unhappy Me” over and over in our head. We look at the situation from a pessimistic viewpoint and get a distorted view of life. We thus become overwhelmed that we feel there is no way out of our dilemma.
It is similar to catching a ball that somebody throws at us. We not only catch it, but we internalize it and let it become part of our self-image. We catch other people’s thoughts and make them our own, even if they are against our nature. Is it any wonder that we are stressed, depressed, irritable and anxious?
How do we free ourselves from mental distortion? We start by observing the negativity in us. We watch the stream of antagonistic thoughts conjured by the mind. We step back from the torrent of unfavorable concepts in our head. We create space within ourselves. Our pure, true self, which was buried underneath the pile of destructive thoughts, is able to shine through and connect us with everything that exists. We thus see the situation clearly and find a way out of our dilemma.
Unhappiness is everywhere. It is embedded in our mind, which by its very nature is chaotic and problematic. It wants to control and take things. It is always fighting the present moment because it fears the dissolution of forms.
We are run by our mind so we look at life from a limited perspective. We see the procession of forms and not the space that allows the forms to be. As a result, we only see fragments of life, not the totality of life. Life, in all its glory, is benevolent, abundant, and helpful. Whereas each passing moment is subject to the polarities of life: good/bad, happiness/unhappiness, success/failure, and so on.
The way to be free from unhappiness is to de-personalize a situation. We look at a dilemma as if it were happening to somebody else. We put the situation inside a box and we watch the event from outside the box. For instance, if somebody calls us stupid, we put this person in an imaginary case and look at him/her from the outside. This person may yell at us and call us many names. But we remain calm and peaceful because we know that they are inside the box and therefore can not hurt us.
We discard our harsh judgments and rigid expectations about the person and the situation. We accept each moment as it is. This acceptance doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means we acknowledge this moment and do what is needed. We go with the flow of life. We become fully alive and enjoy the freshness of each moment.
This is when fear and desire lose their hold over us. We watch the play of forms and realize that there is nothing personal against them. It’s just the way of the world. We begin to play with them and even enjoy ourselves in the process.
We live in a world that is balanced. There is sadness, despair, sorrow, unhappiness, anxiety. But there is also joy, peace, gladness, happiness, tranquility. But somehow we tend to focus only on the negative aspects of our lives rather than the positive ones.
We have lost our balance. We only see one side and neglect or forget the other side. We are taken in by the concepts in our head. We regret what happened in the past and fear what will happen in the future. Hence, we are blind to the freshness and abundance of the present moment.
How do we bring awareness into this moment? We start by observing ourselves. We feel the emotion that is running through our bodies. If right now we are feeling anxious, we feel this raw energy coursing through our veins. We don’t fight it. We watch it, we surrender to it. At first this is hard to do because the mind wants to take over our bodies, but we keep at it. Gradually, the momentum of the mind lessens. We then feel the stillness within our bodies.
And it is the silence within that brings transformation. Why? Because we become an opening from which life flows through. We are able to move from one perspective to another and enjoy the play of forms. This is when sadness merges with joy, despair turns into peace, sorrow is transmuted into gladness, unhappiness is transformed into happiness, anxiety leads to tranquility.
When we live each moment as it is, we become balanced.
We live in a civilization that is reactive. As soon as someone says something (good or bad), we immediately react to what is said. Others don’t wait for us to finish our sentences–they immediately pounce on our words and tell us their opinions. This usually starts an argument, and not long after that, a fight. Why are we like this? Why do we impose our thinking on others? And why don’t we give others a chance to say what they have to say? Because we fear a loss of image, a loss of self. And what is the self but a bunch of beliefs that we have accumulated through the years? These beliefs are not real, not personal and not who we are. They are illusions that go away once we put the spotlight of awareness on them.
How do we do that? The next time someone criticizes us or says something that is for or against our beliefs, we do nothing. We don’t react or retaliate. We look at the other person without thought or judgment. We let the other person say what he/she has to say. If there is anger inside us during the interaction, we observe it without adding a story to it. At first it seems like the anger is a fiery energy that threatens to consume us. But as we stay present, we feel the energy dissipate and dissolve into the space around us. We then feel the other person’s presence without the baggage of thoughts. We gain a deeper understanding of his/her being and are compelled to do the right thing. We let go of our illusions and welcome life.