Just Right — Letting Go of the Ups and Downs
Years ago when I began watching my thoughts and making the connections between my mind and my life, I noticed all sorts of interesting things. The work itself is in not becoming attached to the myriad of thoughts that are constantly coming our way; it’s noticing the thoughts floating by like clouds trying to get our attention and being okay with letting them pass…not resisting them, just choosing well which ones we allow in. When we do give certain thoughts our attention, they come down right in front of our face and grow and seem to hold us captive in their aura until we can release them. We are left sort of under the influence of whatever thoughts we have allowed to grow and take hold. I love this work and I understand the practice it is to remember it fresh in every moment. What about the emotions…what do we do with them?
As I continued working with the thoughts and in-a-sense changing my mental habits or taking responsibility for the thoughts and energy I bring to all things, I noticed a lot of things about happiness in general. I was devouring books like crazy, trying new practices, praying for guidance and in general just working towards a joyful, purpose filled and meaningful life. Often, I would pack my babies up in the car and head out to start our day feeling like I could take on the world and remain in bliss all day. The mornings always felt fresh and ripe with possibilities for using all my new tools and truly living all I was learning. I distinctly remember the day I was driving in my car feeling like I was so very happy. I was thinking, “I am soooooo happy” over and over again. It was great, completely exhilarating! It wasn’t the first time I had done this of course, but I remember the day that the help for this condition came. The happy thoughts were followed by a clear voice (my own voice from a deeper place) saying something along the lines of, “Wait, relax, don’t do that, just be here, just be okay with here.” I found myself breathing and grounding myself in something deeper behind the “happy” feeling.
I knew instantly that I didn’t want to jump on that happy train anymore. I could feel the knowing that if I did, I would inevitably find myself in the opposite direction later. It is no fun to come down from the happy and find yourself on the other side. I was growing very tired of that. I could see the rhythm and pattern emerging out of the clouds for me. I wanted out of the thoughts about how I feel and into the practice of living in the middle way. Living — just right. It was a strange feeling to know that I didn’t want to achieve that “happy” feeling anymore. I was sure though. I wanted to dwell in the real peace and joy that can sustain all things. I felt ready to release myself from the ups and downs. I caught myself that day and grounded myself in the joy that lives in the moment without over thinking it and labeling it or my mood. The real joy and peace isn’t in the extremes.
It makes sense. If I go around attached to the idea that “I am so happy”, then anything that challenges that idea or brings me back down to dealing with life’s little challenges, choices and behaviors creates massive resistance. I would be so attached to my “happy” that anything threatening it would be most unwelcome and incite all kinds of reactions I don’t want to succumb to. The “happy” brings resistance and struggle, making it very difficult to live each moment joyfully the way we are meant to live. The peace behind the happy that is “just right” allows all things to be as they are and isn’t dependent on what happens. Whatever happens is just right. Whew!
I continue the work to this day of course…chipping away at it as I go, grateful for all the progress, as well as all the work ahead. The joy is in the journey. I fall often, dust myself off, and get back into the stream of life that I know is always there waiting for me.
Sending you love and joy and wishing you a day full of all things just right!