Most people are more interested in avoiding or relieving pain than in achieving and experiencing happiness.
Thus most people go into psychotherapy or pursue “self-help” programs to overcome “problems”—such as changing some negative, undesirable behavior (e.g., procrastination or not taking action to further one’s goals) or stopping some negative undesirable emotions (e.g., fear or depression).
Far fewer people ask for help when they aren’t experiencing some obvious problem. In other words, relatively few people strive to improve their lives when it already seems to be “working.”
Much more is possible
There’s nothing wrong with that approach. I’d like to suggest, however, that there is a way to live and experience life that goes far beyond the way most of us usually experience life, a way that would be worth finding out about and achieving.
Here are several “ways of living” that really are possible, which people either don’t think are possible or which people just don’t think are worth spending the time and effort to achieve.
Relationships without arguments
Some couples argue all the time; their relationships just don’t work. Many other couples, however, have essentially good relationships but argue about petty things from time to time. Most people probably would say that these little arguments are inevitable; in other words, all relationships, no matter how good they are, include trivial annoyances and frustrations that lead to little arguments.
Most people might say that, but if they did, they’d be wrong. As I’ve explained on many occasions, all upsets come from the meaning we give events, not the events themselves. Thus, if you learn how to dissolve meaning, you can stop almost all arguments in relationships, thereby stopping a major source of suffering.
As one person described his relationship with his wife after learning how to dissolve meaning, “My wife frequently decides to use the kitchen first thing in the morning when I’m using the kitchen and prefer to be alone. The meaning I had been giving it is that she is crowding me and that she never gives me any privacy. After I dissolved that meaning I realized I was lucky to have a wife who loves me and enjoys being near me. My upset went away and has never come back.”
Incidents like this are no big deal. They would never lead to divorce. But people who experience many incidents like this with loved ones in the course of a day are experiencing frequent annoyance with someone they love. That leads to undercutting their love for each other, which sabotages their overall happiness and well-being.
People who have learned how to stop giving meaning to events report that one of the areas that shows the biggest change is relationships, where arguments virtually disappear.
Not worrying about the opinion of others
Just as most couples argue and think it “normal,” so, too, most people are concerned with the opinions of others and frequently do things they wouldn’t normally do to get their approval. And just as arguing is common but not “normal,” so, too, a concern with what others think of us is common, but not “normal.”
That concern is primarily the result of a very common belief, what makes me good enough or important is having others think well of me. As long as you think your sense of self-worth is dependent on what others think of you, you will worry about their opinion, do things to impress them, feel anxious if you think they won’t like you, brag a lot, and feel upset when you aren’t included in an activity many of your friends are included in.
Literally hundreds of people have told us that when they eliminated this belief (and other related ones that might be relevant for any given person), the concern with others just melted away.
Again, having this belief will not result in serious psychological problems. You can live a relatively good life with it. But as one person who eliminated that belief put it: “Eliminating that belief was my Martin Luther King moment: I was free, free at last. When I eliminated this belief my whole world changed.”
Eliminate most of your negative feelings
I’ve pointed out many times that events, as such, cannot cause any feelings, including the anxiety, sadness, upset, anger, envy, jealousy, etc. that cause most of us to suffer from time to time. The suffering comes from the meaning we unconsciously and automatically give events.
Can we live relatively good lives despite experiencing those emotions from time to time? Of course we can. But it is possible to get rid of almost all our daily suffering by dissolving the meanings that give rise to our negative emotions, so why endure unnecessary suffering? Why not create positive meanings and experience more happiness and excitement in our lives?
Experience love and compassion for most people most of the time.
As long as we are constantly judging and evaluating others, we will frequently come up with negative judgments. Do they ruin our lives? Not at all. But do you feel better inside when you experience love for people or when you have negative feelings toward people?
I recently created a little exercise that enables people to experience love for most people most of the time. Do you have to feel love toward people? No. But do you feel better when you feel love toward others rather than some level of animosity? Most people answer, “Absolutely.”
Reading about this exercise won’t change anything. Doing it will profoundly affect the quality of your life.
Here’s the exercise
Get into the “creator” state using the Who Am I Really? Process. In this altered state of consciousness you experience yourself as the creator of your life, where anything is possible, nothing is missing, and you have no limitations. You can get free access to an mp3 of that process at http://d3n3f57qjh51zc.cloudfront.net/who-am-i-really-new.mp3
Next, imagine right now, as the creator of your life, that everyone else is the same creator you are experiencing yourself as being. In other words, when you experience the consciousness you really are, recognize that that is the same consciousness that other people experience when they discover who they really are.
Imagine this consciousness that we all really are is the ocean and that at any given moment, you show up as a wave over here and other people look like a wave over there.
Next, think of a specific person you know. Imagine that person being the same ocean as you, even though he/she is appearing as a different wave. When you imagine the other person as you, what do you feel toward him/her? Most people who have tried this exercise report they experience love and compassion.
It really works
As one person who has used this exercise several times described his experience: “My feelings of love are strong and I find myself slipping into this feeling automatically even when I’m not in the creator state. There is a deep sense of connectedness with people which is just wonderful.”
Obviously, if you are suffering, your focus should be on relieving that suffering. It makes perfect sense to first get rid of pain if you are experiencing it. But even if your life is “working,” please realize that much more happiness is possible. For many of you it is now time to now put your focus on living the best life you can live. You’ll be surprised how much more is possible.
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Copyright © 2013 Morty Lefkoe