Alright, so one question that I’ve been letting bubble around recently is “What does it take to just be HAPPY?” I mean really. No B.S. here. A simple question. Pretty basic and universal. What does it take?
It is often said that what we are seeking is always here, yet that’s often not the experience that we have, is it? In fact, we often experience that we don’t have what we want. Why the discrepancy?
So I’ve been living on the road for two months now, mostly sleeping in my car, but occasionally throwing up my tent when I feel like camping somewhere beautiful, grabbing a hotel room when we get a snowstorm, or staying with friends along the way. It’s been really nice and it’s amazing how valuable I’m finding social interaction and friendship to be. I’m not sure I’ve valued it more my entire life than now after spending so much time flying solo. Have you ever seen the movie Into the Wild? It’s very much been a source of inspiration as me, with a kid my age, living here in Atlanta, with the similar driving forces, taking off and heading out to travel solo across the country. Anyways, at the end of the movie, there’s a quote where the main character, who earlier in the movie had said that God’s place is all around us so the joy of life doesn’t come principally from human relationships, but at the end of the movie, he changes his stance and says that happiness is only real when shared.
There’s been many changes here, many of them amazing and many of them challenging, but they have all contributed to my growth and expansion.
Wayne Dyer has recently come out with a film called The Shift which is centered around the topic of recognizing how the ego operates in us, living a life beyond what the ego wants, and being lived by this higher power.
He discusses a number of excellent topics and there are a number of other characters who go through a shift from selfish egoic consciousness to a more loving life of service. It’s really well done.
He brings up many things discussed by Lao Tzu, quotes Byron Katie and A Course in Miracles, and really demonstrates what it’s like to live a life of service, appreciation, respect, and gentleness. I’ve never really looked into his stuff very much, but I really respect and enjoy what he did with this film.
One of the things that was really cool was that he discusses how this transformation of going beyond pure ego shifts in both men and women. For example, men are very success and achievement oriented in our society and the shift has them being more interested in spirituality and honesty than in trying to get respect and all. Women, on the other hand, are often taught by society to look pretty and devote themselves to others. After their shift, women often learn to appreciate and live for themselves instead of trying to please others. It’s discused in a bit more detail of course, but it was fascinating to see how drastically these shifts occur between the two sexes.
Another thing which was awesome was that it discussed spirituality in a very practical way. How parents can relate to their children, how to respond in relationships from an egoic point of view versus from something deeper, how to follow your passions and find your purpose in life, the importance of giving and how that plays out with respect to being lived by this higher power instead of trying to control life, and so on.
Really, very well done.
Great job to Wayne and the crew involved in the creation of the film!
The trailer I’ve posted below and the actual movie can be found online at Amazon.
Often times other people can be the source of so much of our suffering. This can include friends, family members, celebrities, or even just random strangers. Like many other things in the world, sometimes people just really piss us off. This is a common experience for many people in life.
Making Your Happiness Unconditional
We have this idea that if someone else were to only change their behavior then we’d finally be happy, and this is true given that we’d then be focusing our attention upon something we do like and thus no longer offering resistance to what we see (and therefore not suffering), but this is actually tremendously giving your power away because it’s saying that your happiness and well-being is completely dependent upon another person’s behavior. You basically give someone else the keys to your happiness. Yikes! When we do this, it only makes us want to try and control the other because, well, our happiness quite literally depends on it!
We may try to play this game with a few people around us and it may work to a limited extent, but if we make this a way of life, this is really just not a healthy way to live, you know? It’s just not realistic or healthy to think that the whole world is going to do what you want.
Now this isn’t meant to excuse other people’s behaviors. Not at all. There are so many examples of unconscious behavior out there we can point out. Of course that’s there. What we’re talking about here is releasing ourselves from the suffering that we create for ourselves as a result of the unconscious behavior that occurs all around us. We want to release ourselves from our own self-imposed prison, regardless of what’s happening in the world.
This is about making our happiness and well-being unconditional. Literally. It’s taking down the conditions we have imposed upon ourselves for whatever reason and finding that freedom we so desperately seek.
It’s about changing ourselves and allowing others to change (or not) out of our/their own volition, not because of attacking or being attacked.
Let’s listen to a wonderful Abraham-Hicks talk that gives a hilarious example of this and takes a look at how we can allow ourselves to be in this world and have healthy experiences in our relationships without letting the little things in life tear us apart.
Today’s post isn’t about something I know, but about something I’m still learning about and would like to have your input on. It has to do with the topic of emotional interdependence in relationships. The question itself is at the end. The majority of the post is just contextual setup and lead-in.
When we’re little kids, we’re very dependent upon our families for food, shelter, love, and so on. Without those things, we’d shrivel up and die.
As we grow up, we begin to develop a sense of independence. We often start to rebel against our parents in our teenage years, go through a time of trying to “find our identities” and develop an independent sense of self, and then eventually move out of our parent’s place and start a life of our own. We develop our independence.
In this independent stage, we can recognize that our happiness is in our own hands. No one else makes us happy. All our emotions are available within, and our mind can act as a sort of gatekeeper or trigger for our emotional states. Realizing this, we recognize that we can simply give ourselves whatever it is we want. For example, the sense of happiness, peace, abundance, well-being, joy, success, or whatever else. Our emotional state of being is completely independent of our external experiences.
Seeing this, we could then say that we could sit around all day visualizing the life we want, injecting ourselves with the emotional stimulation and visualized experiences that we prefer, but you know what? Life is meant to be lived! Visualization and giving yourself what you need yourself is not meant to be a replacement for life, but an addition to it.
Eventually we may come to see that no man is an island. Although much of the journey within is an internal journey that must be walked alone, there’s more to life than the just internal journey. Other people are very important in our lives as well. We can accomplish much more together than we ever could alone. In fact, there are many things in life that you quite simply can’t do yourself. Other people are not only important, but flat out necessary.
Seeing this, we can begin allowing ourselves to become more interdependence and this is where my questions for you guys lies.
We are responsible for our own emotions, yes. No one else is responsible for our happiness and it’s a recipe for suffering to give someone else the responsibility for our emotional well-being. That said, when we enter into a relationship with another, it can be wonderful to have someone there to cheer you up when you’re feeling down, to encourage you and inspire you when you’re feeling discouraged, and to celebrate with you when you’re feeling great.
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
Nevertheless, the person shouldn’t feel obligated to help you, like it’s their duty or their requirement as part of the job. There’s a balance between standing in your own strength and leaning on another for support, between not requiring another to help you out and yet fully opening to them and allowing them to help you out anyways. Where is that balance?
What Do You Guys Think?
There may not be one “right answer” to this, but in terms mutually supporting one another emotionally from a place of unconditional love, what would you guys say is a beneficial way for the two people in a relationship to relate to each other?
Maybe sometimes you help them heal. Other times you leave them be. Things change depending upon situation, context, personality, etc. and so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
Nevertheless, what have you guys done in the past in your relationships and what’s worked for you? What would you say the role of a partner is in terms of emotional intimacy? This applies both to platonic relationships (friends) as well as more intimate relationships, but perhaps moreso the latter.
There’s a tremendous freedom in letting go of our expectations.
With expectations, we have this inner need for something or someone to be a certain way so that we feel happy, loved, safe, or whatever else, and so we make our way through life requiring it to show up in a certain way or else we will subtly or overtly reject it.
Without expectations we go into events and experiences with tremendous freedom and openness. How will things turn out? We literally have no idea, and that’s totally okay! and the ironic thing is that when we give the world its freedom, we find ours. By giving the world its freedom to be as it is, we allow people to blossom in their own way and it’s so much easier for the world to manifest itself in a way that is in alignment with love, freedom, truth, and joy, in a way that is an expression of the highest good for all concerned, yourself included!
I’ve been spending some time with someone recently who I really enjoy being with. One of the cool things is that she is able to pick up on the expectations I’ve been bringing to the table (and not been wanting to admit to), can point them out while accepting me fully as I am anyways (so healing, my goodness…), and helps me let go of so many unconscious patterns of thought that I’ve been living out for years.
Many of you guys have probably experienced this as well, but I’m finding that when I go into things with a mental story I’m trying to live into and super-impose a made-up story of “us” onto what is, it actually inhibits the natural flow of life. On the other hand, when I let go of my need for things to show up a certain way and just be authentic and get REAL, our experience of each other can be pretty incredible…
With some people you’re compatible and with others you aren’t. Totally normal. How wonderful it is when both people drop their masks and find that who they are within already clicks with who another is within and they don’t have to do any of that nonsense as far as trying to impress the other, make them happy, or any of that. You just enjoy yourself for who you are and the other for who they are while simultaneously shedding every false thought you’ve ever had about yourself or the world, as discussed in Conversations with God.
Conscious relationships are such a wonderful opportunity for expansion and growth…
Expectations as Definitions
When we seek to define ourselves, we actually limit ourselves. “I am THIS and not THAT.” Instant limitation. Why don’t we just be ourselves without needing to define ourselves at all? Just be yourself, however you happen to show up. Who cares what words define you?
In this context, defining yourself includes such definitions as “spiritual” or “loving,” as well as the attempts to strive to live up to some mental ideal such as perfect, masculine, strong, or whatever else. Just be YOU. Maybe you’ll find out that who you naturally are is already enough.
Now, by doing this, you can no longer control the outcome (or at least give yourself the illusion of control). Yes you can try to control the outcome by pretending to be this or that, but when you drop all the games, you find you have zero control over situations or other people. Here you are and here they are and that’s that. You expose yourself for who you really are, pure and naked. Is this vulnerable and scary? Sure… but so liberating!!
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
When we drop all our expectations about one another, what would that look like? Let’s allow Jeff Foster to share his experience of this with us:
The way that social interactions are experienced seem to change significantly when one comes from this place of this one non-thing. Let’s reflect on some of the more prominent changes that occur, some of the fruits of oneness, if you will.
One topic that I find of particular interest is in how all this enlightenment stuff makes a real and appreciable difference on our personal relationships. I recently came across a beautiful description by Jeff Foster. Check this out:
I look across the table at my girlfriend, Amy. And yet, of course, she’s not ‘mine’ at all. There is nothing here that could possibly possess anything, let alone another person. There’s nobody over there to possess anyway. She is my story, and I am hers. She is a character in my dream, and I’m a character in hers. I look across the table and what I see is a girl drinking a cup of tea. ‘My girlfriend’ is just a story. What is actually there? A girl drinking a cup of tea, right now. Yes, right now, this is all there is. Where is this thing called ‘our relationship’? All I can find is what is happening presently. A boy and a girl drinking tea together.
And not even that. Even ‘boy and girl drinking tea together’ is a story. There is only this: breathing, heart beating, sounds, colours, tea cups chinking, warm tea, voices, light, heat. This is all there is. And in this, there is never anything to separate us. So often in life something called ‘relationship’ comes between us, clouding the intimacy that has nothing to do with two separate people. It’s like a third entity hovering there between the two of us. Me, you, and ‘our relationship’. Our needs, our wants, our expectations of each other.
What happens when all of that falls away? What happens when all that carry-over from the past is rendered irrelevant? Then there is just this – a girl sitting there, drinking a cup of tea and talking, and her talking is aimed somewhere over here. It’s so incredibly simple. It’s the most uncomplicated thing in the world. Because she isn’t mine, there is no ‘relationship’ to defend here. Nothing to worry about, nothing to hold onto. No sense of possession at all.
Because she isn’t mine, I can see her in absolute clarity for what she really is. Because there’s nothing there getting in the way, there is the space to really listen, to really see, to just be here, drinking this tea, enjoying this moment together, which is all there is anyway.
Because she isn’t my girlfriend, there is only unconditional love. How unbelievably precious. How unbelievably simple.
And what freedom in that! There is simply nothing here keeping us together. We both have the absolute freedom to walk away. And yet, we haven’t yet. I’m always amazed by that: she has the absolute freedom to walk away, but she hasn’t yet. Maybe one day she will. Maybe one day I will. Maybe it will be tomorrow. Who knows what the future may bring? But for now, there is a girl sitting over there, sipping her tea, and what is left is a simple gratitude for her being here. I know she doesn’t have to be (because she is free) but she is. I know I don’t have to be (because I am free) but I am.
It’s all so very innocent: she’s just a girl, sitting there drinking tea, telling me about her day. There’s no desire to possess any of it. It is what it is, and it’s enough. Who needs a ‘relationship’ when this grace is already here?
And yet, if you ask, I’ll tell you that she’s ‘my girlfriend’. It’s my shorthand way of saying all of the above!
You Are Truly Loved features content designed to guide people towards enlightenment, unconditional love, and living a life of joy through Self-realization and proper application of the Law of Attraction.