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Letting Go of Stressful Thoughts and Feelings

from stress to stillnessOften 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.


from stress to stillnessThe 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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Wanting to Be Happy More Than to Be Somebody

being happyThis 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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Some Questions and Answers

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.

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