Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The pressure to be 'happy'

Do you feel the pressure to be 'happy'?

As many of you are now coming to discover, even 'happiness' can become a burden... something you must 'maintain' throughout the day or otherwise feel that you have somehow failed, that you're a bad spiritual person, or that something is wrong with you.

Is it true that if sadness, or doubt, or confusion is arising in your immediate experience, that something has gone horribly wrong? That some cosmic error has been made which must urgently be corrected with your favorite spiritual process or practice? That you must immediately rush to change, fix, release or 'let go of' these uninvited guests?

As a sensitive human being, open to all of life's energies, you will always walk in a vast meadow, in which very alive and unpredictable thoughts, feelings and emotions will sometimes surge. Despair, tender vulnerability, great fear, disembodied peace, profound hopelessness, raging sorrow, disconnected bliss; these brilliant expressions of life will surely surge in the meadow of You, seeking sanctuary in your vast heart.

Before you scramble to go to war with yourself, concluding that these visitors are enemies or obstacles to the spiritual path, shameful stains on your brilliant enlightenment, blocks to your bliss, please hold on a moment! Slow down! Invite these guests in for tea, see what they have to say. Listen, be present with them, and open your body to them. For perhaps they are not mistakes, nor signs of your 'unawakened' ignorance and failure, but emissaries of integration, come to remind you of your unlimited nature, your ability to hold ALL of life, not just part of it, not just the 'positive'.

Let us not fixate on a future goal called 'happiness', but create a living sanctuary of love together, where we can embrace the entirety of what it means to be an ordinary human being – honoring the messy, the confused, the lost and the broken, as well as the awakened, the clear, and the whole. Let our spirituality include all of this. Let us speak of the kind of happiness that knows no enemies, a bliss that is not a goal.

And let us give our open hearts to this weary world, which, perhaps now more than ever, is so in need of a little tenderness, kindness, humility... and slowness.

- Matt Licata & Jeff Foster