When I was lying awake one morning, I asked for some advice, and I heard two words: “Be pleased.” The voice continued: “Be pleased with life, be pleased with your work, be pleased with your husband...” I felt the impact of these two simple words on my being, and I smiled inside.
During the day, those words popped into my awareness many times. In contemplating this a bit more later in the day, while just being quiet, I noticed how “be pleased” aligns you with that which is always pleased with life. This injunction “be pleased” could just as well have been “notice what is already pleased with life.”
Something within us is pleased with and fascinated by what it sees, hears, tastes, feels, and experiences—even with what the mind might not think is pleasant. Who we really are is curious about and in wonder over creation. What a miracle life is! Whether the personal you likes something or not, the real you adores it, literally adores it, everything about it. To it, everything about life is a miracle.
This that adores life is who we are and can never be taken from us. It is what is constant throughout our existence. What a blessing it is that we are imbued with this capacity to enjoy life, to adore life, to be pleased by it! This is love. We are what is in love with life. We are love.
We use words such as stillness, silence, peace, and love to describe Presence not only because we become still, silent, peaceful, and loving when we’re in Presence, but also because when we become still, silent, peaceful, or loving, we drop into Presence. Thus, many of the words that describe Presence are both a description and a prescription for experiencing it.
This is the price to be paid for happiness. Happiness isn’t attained by improving ourselves or by working harder or by having more money, more beauty, more success, or more friends because we won’t ever have enough of these things to make the ego happy. As long as we are focused on the me, we won’t find happiness because the ego doesn’t know how to be happy. Only in realizing we are not the ego—we are not who we think we are—will we find true happiness. When we discover who we really are, we don’t need anything to make us happy because we already are happy.
I received some very good questions from someone recently, and it seemed that it might be helpful to share the answers in a blog post. So here they are, with my answers below:
Q: I am now on my second time through your book Embracing the Now. I have a couple questions that hopefully you can help me with. How does soaking in the moment and having hopes, dreams, goals, etc. work together? I see that you are active and writing books, but how does that come about if you are observing life and just being?
Being present in the moment isn't just a matter of just being, soaking in the moment, and observing life. Being in the Now and living in the Now is not a passive experience but includes action. When we are present in the moment, we become aware of the urges, impulses, and inspirations to move, speak, and take action and we follow those impulses. These movements and actions come from Essence, our deepest self (not the ego) and move us forward in our life if we notice them and allow them to move us. So being present is not just a matter of being and observing life but also of moving in response to Life—to how we are called to move, act, and speak. Being present is a way of being and living that is quite different from following the egoic mind’s suggestions about what to do and how to be. Those suggestions and ideas are primarily conditioning and not necessarily true and wise, although following this conditioning is how most people live.
When we are present in the moment, we don't need the ego’s hopes, dreams, or goals to motivate or guide us because we are guided intuitively moment to moment by something much deeper than our egoic thoughts. Hopes, dreams, and goals are often our egoic mind’s idea of how we should live. However, some of our dreams and goals come from a deeper place—from Essence. We feel them deeply in our soul, and they move us to fulfill them. We feel them and we might then think about them, but these deeper goals arise from deep within us, not from our mind. They do not originate in the mind. These deeper dreams and goals are worth pursuing, and we are guided intuitively in pursuing them moment to moment.
An excerpt from From Stress to Stillness by Gina Lake:
Our thoughts and feelings don’t belong to us. We didn’t put them there or create them. It would be more accurate to say that they belong to all of humanity. Thoughts and feelings come with being alive. They are part of the human animal, part of the body-mind that we operate through. We are not the body-mind or our thoughts and feelings but that which animates the body-mind and uses it as a vehicle to experience this glorious world of form. Yet, we are programmed to experience our thoughts and feelings as ours.
As part of this programming, there seems to be a person who is having a thought or a feeling, but where is that person? Is that person your body? Your mind? Your personality? Is that who you are? Who is having the thought or feeling? Who is this you that you think of as yourself? Where is it located?
When you look, you can’t find a person who is having a thought or feeling. Although thoughts and feelings are occurring in what you call your body-mind, there is no person having them. This person is illusory. There is no person, only an idea of a person. This illusory person is the false self, which is why it’s called false. It doesn’t actually exist. It exists only as an idea or a group of ideas about oneself. Who you think you are is only a set of ideas about who you think you are.
Thoughts and feelings arise in our body-mind out of nowhere. When they arise and we identify with them, we feel like they’re ours, like we came up with them. But we didn’t. They aren’t personal. They aren’t ours. With this recognition comes some freedom to choose not to believe these thoughts, which are often stressful, and so become free of the stress they cause.
To have a different relationship to our thoughts and feelings than the one we were programmed with, which is to believe our thoughts and feelings and to get our identity from them, we have to first see that our thoughts and feelings aren’t ours and do not define us. And then we have to keep remembering this in every moment. We’re talking about seeing through what is our deepest, most pervasive conditioning—the programming that causes us to feel separate, lacking, and in competition with life rather than at one with life.
When this programming is thoroughly seen through and no longer believed, we are not left with nothing. Moving beyond this programming moves us beyond our greatest limitation and the cause of suffering, and what we’re left with is joy, love, and the essence of our being. This programming is the only thing keeping us from the deeper happiness and loving nature of our true being. So when this programming is seen through, we’re left with everything we have ever wanted and stripped of everything we never needed but thought we did.
How can we be convinced that we don’t need the thoughts broadcasted by the egoic mind? This is no easy task, as the thoughts themselves lead us to believe we’ll be lost without them. The illusion of the false self is a tricky one! If the illusion weren’t a clever one, it would be seen through much more easily. But it’s not. The challenge is to stop trusting our egoic mind and begin to trust something else that is more subtle and yet much more real than thoughts.
Our true being is here living this life and always has been the only thing living this life, yet all the while, we have supposed ourselves to be someone or something else. We mistook the character and the roles we are playing for our true identity. But it’s time now for many of us to recognize that we are much more than this character and that our being has just allowed us to believe we were this character.
The way this ruse was perpetrated and is maintained was by programming us to believe that our thoughts were our thoughts. Believing these thoughts caused us to be a certain way in life; they caused us to respond and react in the various ways our character does: If our thoughts define us as a victim, we feel like a victim and behave like one. If our thoughts define us as incompetent, we feel incompetent, and that may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If our thoughts say we have reason to be afraid, we feel afraid. If our thoughts push us to hurry and get a lot done, we do that and get stressed-out.
If we believe our thoughts, then they define us and determine our experience of life, how we feel, and what we do. We are, in many respects, a puppet to our conditioning, to our thoughts and feelings—when we believe them. When we are identified with them and believe them, we are at the mercy of them. They run the show.
If our thoughts were benevolent, wise, trustworthy, and good guides for how to live, then believing them would lead to a very different life than what our programming generally leads to. To discover the nature, truth, and value of this programming, just notice the results of following it in your own life, in other people’s lives, in our society, and in our world. If our programming were benevolent and wise, we would be happy, loving, and at peace, or at least more so, and there would be no need to seek greater peace.
From From Stress to Stillness: Tools for Inner Peace by Gina Lake. More information about the book and links to purchase are here:
Purchase From Stress to Stillness...
• How we create stress and how it affects the body
• How to live more fully in the now
• How to dis-identify with thoughts
• How to de-stress
• How to meditate and why
• Tips for quickly moving into Stillness
• How to change your lifestyle to reduce stress
“Finding Gina's writings was like finally receiving a glass of water after spending a day in the dessert. What is communicated through her writing speaks to a place within me that is beyond the stressed-out mind, a place of wholeness and truth.” –Issiah
“Better than Tolle. Gina Lake's work will help you wake up to your Self. The ego is a cruel tyrant, and Gina will help you come to grips. Eckhart Tolle started me on this path, but Lake turned on the lights.” –Miguel
“I'm a part-time registered nurse, and this is the best help for handling stress that I have ever experienced. Written in a way that is easy to understand and follow, all of Gina Lake's books have been excellent.” –Ken Raver
“This is my new textbook. The author guides you through a place from doing, judging, and being fearful to just being present in the moment, moving past the rush we all seem headed towards without enjoying the journey.” –John Shasteen
“I find all of Gina’s books and articles totally riveting. A joy is created in my being that is so full of gratitude, it wants the whole world to know. From this space of joy, I find the capacity to accept others as they are, completely. Thank you, Gina. What a blessing to be alive on the planet at the same time as you!” –Godsgirl
“In my lifetime of reading self-help books, no author has come close to Gina Lake in terms of simply and honestly pointing out a direct approach to overcoming negative and harmful thoughts and feelings. It just works. A truly transformative approach.” –J. Tyson
“A must for your spiritual library! Gina's words spoke to my soul, and I kept wanting to read more and more. Her knowledge and ability to communicate ideas are really the best I have read, and I have read all the gurus and teachers. A lot of books say this, but this book really can change your life!” –Dave Erickson
“This book is amazing. I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, and it has helped me immensely. I can say it has definitely quieted my mind and allowed me to enjoy life a lot more. I used to think nonstop. I also felt very connected to my false self, which only brought on a lot of anxiety for me. This book has allowed me to discover my true self.” –Jo
“This book is more than techniques. It is the operating manual for humans. It describes our inner workings both before and after enlightenment. Buy this, read or listen to it, and experience a depth of information you wish you had years ago.” –Ira Cohen
“I have never been more thankful for a book in my entire life. This book is so inspiring and can truly be life changing. It has brought me a lot of peace and serenity along with a great understanding about how to control my anxiety. I will treasure this gem and will definitely be rereading it.” –C. Lewis