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Radical Happiness Blog

Letting Go of Stressful Thoughts and Feelings

 
Often all we have to do to move beyond a stressful thought or feeling is just let go of it as soon as we become aware of it. It’s much easier to let go of a thought, feeling, or desire as soon as you become aware of it than after you’ve fed it with your attention, since attention strengthens identification. Whatever we give our attention to gains power and becomes more difficult to let go of. With attention, a thought, desire, or feeling becomes more convincing, and more thoughts, desires, and feelings are added to it. Timing is key to the success of this strategy.
 
Letting go of a thought, desire, or feeling is not as difficult as some may think. We all know how to let go. We do it all the time. We have thousands of thoughts and many desires and feelings in a day that just pass by without contracting us. Because these thoughts pass by so easily, we don’t feel like we’re letting anything go. But we are. By not doing anything about them and allowing them to do what they naturally do—come and go—they naturally go, within seconds or minutes if we don’t get involved with them. All we have to do is let them come and let them go in their own time. If we don’t touch them, they let go of us.
 
Letting go is more a matter of not doing something than something that we do. The only thing we do is not give that thought another thought. Letting go is the natural result of not getting involved with a thought, desire, or feeling, of simply remaining an attentive witness to our experience. It is a matter of either not engaging in or disengaging our attention from stressful thoughts, desires, and feelings.

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Be Pleased

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.

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Presence

The experience of the present moment is an experience of Presence. It is called Presence simply because it’s what we experience when we are fully present. Although Presence is too mysterious, rich, and profound to be captured by words, we have many words for it, including Stillness, Silence, Ultimate Reality, the Now, Essence, the Sacred, Wholeness, the Mystery, the Divine, “the peace that passeth all understanding,” Unity, Oneness, Love, Truth, and Awareness. These are all attempts to describe the ineffable experience of being in touch with who we really are.

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.

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Everywhere You Look

An excerpt from the free e-book Radiance: Experiencing Divine Presence, available by signing up for the Radical Happiness monthly newsletter or on Amazon Kindle. Radiance is also available in paperback on Amazon.com. You can sign up for the newsletter here. You will also receive the e-book What About Now? by signing up.

There is nowhere that the Divine is not. Stop a moment and really take this truth in, because the mind has a very different perception. If really grasped, this truth will change your life. Everything you see, everything and everyone that exists, and everything that happens is a manifestation of the Divine. The Divine is not only behind every good act, but also behind every evil one, which is what happens when the you that you think you are is lost in fear and the illusion of being separate. The Divine is both the perpetrator and the victim, the lover and the hater. It plays every role that has ever been played because there is no other. There is only the illusion of other.

Imagine that—there is no other! The mind is so good at imagining, but it has difficulty imagining Oneness because it goes against its programming. So when Oneness is experienced, as it is momentarily many times even in one day, it isn't acknowledged. Oneness goes unnoticed, unappreciated by the mind. Worse than that—Oneness is rejected by the egoic mind because acknowledging it would threaten its existence. The ego doesn't exist in Oneness; it can only exist in separateness. The ego is created by and perpetuates separation. That is the very definition of the ego. The ego and Oneness are at odds, or so it seems. However, Oneness designed life to be this way, so Oneness has no problem with the ego, although the ego has a problem with Oneness.

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Wanting to Be Happy More Than to Be Somebody

This may sound obvious, but you have to want happiness to have it. You have to want to be happy more than you want to be you (the egoic self), with all your stories, beliefs, opinions, judgments, dreams, and memories. Happiness will never be found in being you, not even in being a better, improved version of you. It can only be found in losing your self—losing all thoughts that relate to the me, the false self—and finding your true self.

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.

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