Monday, July 3, 2017

The pressure to be happy

Do you feel pressure to be “happy”?

For many, “happiness” has become a burden, something that must be maintained throughout the day or otherwise you feel you have failed, that you’re not grateful enough, that you have lost contact with some “secret,” or that something is wrong with you. That you’re not doing it right – relationships, work, parenting, meditation, healing.

Is it true that if some sadness, doubt, or confusion is arising in your immediate experience that something has gone wrong? That some cosmic error has been made which must urgently be corrected? That you must immediately rush in to change, fix, or “let go of” these uninvited guests? That you must, at all costs, replace what is appearing now with something different? Is it the visitors themselves that are the cause of your suffering and struggle, or is it the project of replacement and self-abandonment that is so painful?

As a sensitive human being, open to all of life's energies, you walk in a vast meadow, in which very alive and unpredictable thoughts, feelings, and emotions will sometimes surge. Despair, tender vulnerability, great fear, a moment of jealousy, unexplained shakiness, profound hopelessness, raging sorrow, restlessness, and raw uncertainty: these ones will join you in the meadow as they seek sanctuary in your vast heart.

Before you prepare for war, concluding that these ones are enemies or obstacles along the way, shameful stains on your brilliant enlightenment, or blocks to your peace, please slow down. Invite the guests in, see what they have to say. For they are not what they appear to be. 

Listen, be present, and open your body to them. 

They are not mistakes or signs of your unawakened failure, but emissaries of integration, come to remind you of your unlimited nature, your ability to hold ALL of life, and of the full-spectrum nature of what it means to be human, a vast field where you can dance and play with even the most disturbing energies.

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 a powerfully ordinary human being, providing a home for the messy, the confused, the lost, and the broken … as well as the awakened, the clear, the peaceful, and the whole. Let our spirituality include all of this, and embody the kind of happiness that knows no enemies, a bliss that is not a goal, a joy that is causeless and whole.

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, slowness, and humility.

- Matt Licata & Jeff Foster

My new book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

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