Missing Out on Your Own Happiness

Wise owl

Thomas Merton reminds me of a wise owl.

“In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is so important, you lose your peace of heart…

As soon as you take yourself seriously and imagine that your virtues are important because they are yours, you become the prisoner of your own vanity, and even your best works will bring and deceive you.

Then, in order to defend yourself, you will begin to see sins and faults in the actions of others. And the more unreasonable importance you attach to yourself, the more you will tend to build up your idea of yourself by condemning other people.”

~ Thomas Merton “New Seeds of Contemplation.”

When we find ourselves caught in the trap of trying to be more virtuous and better than other people, we miss out on our own happiness.

Peace of heart ( love this expression) comes from accepting ourselves just as we are, and being true to our inner nature. It isn’t about how others see us, how impressive we are in the work that we do, or how many people like us on Facebook.

This is a lesson for every adolescent … and every adult who hasn’t gotten over themselves yet.

Love yourself, share your gifts and let the rest go.

Namaste

 

* Lean in

The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. 
Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.
This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings.

~ Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap

courageous yoga pose

Reading these words I think of poses in yoga where we lean in to the physical and emotional discomfort and embrace the sensations and thoughts that come up. Surprisingly it is the poses of surrender and letting go, rather than strength building that can be the most challenging for us.

Our practice on the mat is a great metaphor for life. We learn to be present with whatever comes up and use our breath to lean into it. Accepting where we are in that moment.

On our mat there is no one to blame …except perhaps the yoga teacher who brought you to this challenging place. 😉

Namaste

* First Step to Forgiveness

So many of life’s experiences challenge us and give us the opportunity to learn and grow – especially in relationship to others and getting to know our authentic selves. As we grow in awareness, we take responsibility for all our experiences and our feelings. With patience and practice we stop blaming others and learn to look inside ourselves instead, with curiosity and compassion.

power struggle

This is the first step in being able to forgive. In order to truly forgive an other we must  take responsibility for our own feelings. We have to own how we feel and acknowledge all that is going on inside of us.

Although someone else has said or done something that distresses us, these are our feelings.

The action of the other has triggered a tender vulnerable part of us. When we become reactive and defensive, we lose touch with the real issue (what we are feeling) and it becomes all about them.

This triggered reaction is part of our survival mechanism. Yet it is our ego and smaller self that defends and holds on to resentment. Our heart and higher Self only wants to love.

We can’t make anyone else change, but we can change ourselves. We do that by acknowledging what is happening, shifting our thinking… and letting go of the need to be right.

Owning our feelings is one of the most important steps in growing from an adult into a loving mature human being.

The next time you feel resentment towards someone else, bring your attention inwards instead. Ask yourself:

“Do I really want to feel this way?”

“What is really happening here?”

“How have I contributed to this?”

“What is my heart telling me?”

“What do I need to let go of?”

… “Am I ready to forgive?”

Namaste

* Delight in Waking Up

 

waking up to sunshine

Believe in the goodness of your soul.

Acknowledge how well it has guided you.

And yet know that you will fall asleep along the way.

When you sleep,

Take no delight in blaming yourself.

Take delight in waking yourself up once more.

Self blame is the deepest injury,

The deepest sleep of all.

Wake yourself up with gentle affection.

Yogi Amrit Desai

I love this perspective 🙂

In the highs and lows of life, its all too easy to become disconnected from our inner Presence.

We fall further asleep when we blame or criticize ourselves and cannot see our innate goodness.

May we all take delight in waking up with gentle affection…