One of the greatest causes of our unhappiness, stress, and anger, in fact just about every bad feeling is lack of acceptance.
We want things to be different.
We don& want them to be the way they are…
If you want to have any sense of peace and joy in your life then you must learn acceptance.
Accepting that things are the way they are does not mean that you have to tolerate that they continue this way.
Accepting that things are the way they are does not mean that you approve of what happened to make them this way.
What acceptance does is it frees you from the emotional burden caused by wanting the present to be different…
…and allows you to use all your energy on creating the future the way you want it to be.
There are many things in everyone’s life that shouldn’t have happened. They did. Accept it. You cannot “unhappen” it.
What you can do is to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
There are many things in everyone’s life that should have happened. They didn’t. Accept it. You cannot go back and “happen” them.
What you can do is take steps to do the things you know you should do.
In the present moment… breath.
Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness | Video on TED.com
TED Talks Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life….
The biggest insight I got was that it all boils down to this:
- Each of us wants to feel appreciated and validated
- We are trying to let that person acknowledge us
- We are trying to let that person value what we contribute
How many times have we done something or sacrificed something for our significant other, only to feel hurt when they don’t see the value. Expressing appreciation is something so simple and powerful… and it doesn’t cost us anything.
Of course, your ego is going to paint you the victim here… but as with everything that has harmony and balance, it works both ways.
You must express appreciation and acknowledge the contributions of your other half…
Two years ago I was a bachelor spending my days doing whatever at a whim. I was a good zennist, finding tranquility in the complete quiet of solitary life.
Now I’m a husband to a beautiful wife, a father to three beautiful girls, and the caretaker of a mind full of chatter and unrest.
I now realize that I wasn’t a good zennist… I was cheating. It’s easy to be at peace and meditate when you have nothing to be responsible for and and nobody else to consider. But throw in the non-stop noise from a 6 year old girl and the unyielding pressures of supporting a family of five… well, my friend… even a zen master would start twitching regularly while conversing with his ego about the nature of sanity.
You know what, sanity is completely over-rated… just let go of the notion that you gotta hold on to sanity… it’s futile. Let go of sanity… be insane. Embrace your insanity… then just let go of it.
It’s still a daily struggle to find that tranquility, to let go of the anxieties and find that mental balance of non-judgmental being. The one thing I realize now and then is that all our anxieties and unrest are 100% in the mind. It’s possible to let go of them and feel that blissful detachment while taking steps to meet your real obligations.
I’m reminded of a book I haven’t read but has a great title: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–and it’s all small stuff
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour a day to drain the fluids from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed next to the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed would live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the outside world. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man had said. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Unexpectedly, an alien thought entered his head: Why should he have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see anything? It didn’t seem fair. As the thought fermented, the man felt ashamed at first. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window – and that thought now controlled his life.
Late one night, as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room, he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running. In less than five minutes, the coughing and choking stopped, along with the sound of breathing. Now, there was only silence–deathly silence.
The following morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendant to take it away–no words, no fuss. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The Ultimate Quest, “The Meaning of Life” or “The Purpose of Life”.
I mean, we’re here living on this earth at this time… why?
Out of all the books I’ve read and people I’ve spoken with… the one bit of wisdom I’m finding in common is this:
“Life is without objective meaning.”
At first that sounds like a very bad, depressing notion. But think about it. If there’s no inherent purpose to our lives, then we are free. Free to create meaning.
So we are free to exist and free to create our purpose, however simple or grand it is… without external judgment.
What do you want to do now?
When you get right down to the basics, all we need to do is eat a small amount of food and water every day. Food and water are the only external “object” we need to acquire to be alive.
Everything else we purchase is in the spirit of attempting to make ourselves more comfortable. Being comfortable is not a bad thing, in fact being comfortable is a result of being happy (not necessarily the other way around).
When we start placing greater value on those other external object, that’s when we simply start creating unhappiness. We start believing that we can’t be happy without this or that.
Stop thinking… stop thinking about your next purchase for a moment. Stop thinking about your next paycheck AND stop thinking about your next bill for a moment.
Close your eyes, and take really deep breaths as if you’re pushing the air into your stomach. Hold your breath for a few seconds and slowly let it out… and smile.
If you were able to do that without letting your ego creep in with also sorts of random thoughts about the future and the past… or “problems”… then you just experienced life right now. Even if it was just for a moment.
If you can’t get past your ego chatter (called monkey mind by some)… then you most certainly will not understand what I just said. You’ll probably have some negative thought/comment about my words. That was your ego… not you. If you were able to see that… now you know what I mean.