The Lightness of Being.
Why does it seem like our minds actively work at sabotaging our happiness?
We constantly build ourselves up and then knock ourselves down.
We continuously set ourselves up for disappointment with our expectations.
We miss the beauty of the moment by either trying to capture it, or by lingering in the past or obsessing about the future.
We all do the above subconsciously (and, sometimes, consciously) every day. We weigh down our own minds, solidify our egos, taint our perception of the world.
There’s another option: we can assume responsibility for our own happiness. We can take control of our minds and lighten our “sense of being.”
My Buddhist “Spiritual Friend” has helped me understand wisdom beyond my possible scope of understanding. Among a long list of attributes that he embodies, humility is surprisingly ever-present.
This humble nature that accompanies the depth and breadth of his wisdom has been a life- altering teaching for me. He’s not bumble in the superficial manner taught by our parents—that it’s in poor taste to be proud or arrogant. Rather, his is a way of perceiving ourselves and the world with a lightness experienced by the cutting away at excess of ego, judgment and expectations. It’s all about beginning to shed that weight to allow us to fully experience life with clarity.
When we experience something positive, like a compliment, it can slowly define and solidify our ego. It reinforces an image or label that we have of ourselves. More energy or attention added to the file titled, ‘I’m a super-special person’.
Now what happens then when someone criticizes you? It doesn’t take away from your positive ego file; it just adds weight to the ‘I suck’ file. Either way, labeled positive or negative, our egos get weighted down, heavy, and deeper-rooted. Our world then becomes more and clouded, seen only through the tainted view of all that baggage. There are two issues at hand here – Dualism, and taking ourselves and everything around us too seriously.
The first step is to stop seeing the world as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and thus cease contributing to these files. When you become more objective, open and less judgmental, you stop tainting the moment and stop feeding the ego. If you just looked at all experiences as what they are, just experiences–not positive, not negative, just moments, learning opportunities and chances to spread compassion and loving-kindness. Clarity within this perfect, present moment. Perfect with all the components, beauty and magic that it is designed to have without the imposition of your ego and it’s labels.
We, as humans, especially Americans, feel the need to own, acquire, consume and control people, situations, and possessions. In order to fully appreciate the world, we first have to let go of that desire. If we enjoy an experience, we try to document it to make it last longer by taking pictures (I’m very guilty of this) or wishing someone was there experiencing it with you. We end up missing the experience at the peak moment. We love a person just as they are then we feel the need to covet them which inevitably changes them. We immediately take an object of beauty and turn it into an object of desire. The appreciation is overcome by our need to possess.
Try it. Become aware of how efficient we are at categorizing ourselves and our experiences, thus undermining our ability to see the beauty. Watch yourself do it next time you feel in the midst of a positive or negative situation, then try to stop the labeling from happening by telling yourself,
I’m not going to think of this as a good experience or a bad experience, just an experience’ or ‘I’m not going to view myself as being good at this or bad at this, I’m just going to experience it.
Think of your life as if you are heading on a trip but you don’t know where you’re going and you have no luggage. You’re ready for anything and everything, not constrained by the climate specific clothes you packed or preconceived ideas about the destination. You’re just aware, excited, and open. It takes practice but eventually you’ll get to the point where it not only becomes easier but more of a natural state of perceiving.
The beauty is in the moment of every situation and every person. Why continue going through life limiting our ability to experience that beauty because we choose to ignore the weight of our egos? Stop feeding it! Start exercising your perception and lightening your outlook by dropping your dualist view, judgment and expectations. Each moment is unique, live it. Not good or bad, just as it is.
Jennifer Hunt is a self proclaimed ‘dream chaser’. She spent her childhood collecting rocks, creating art, writing poetry and tapping into the magic within. Following her passions into adulthood, Jennifer is a jewelry designer, writer, yoga enthusiast and Buddhist. Feel free to contact her www.JenniferHuntDesigns.com or through Facebook.