Do you feel like there are things happening to you or around you that are preventing you from feeling peaceful and happy? Perhaps world events you’re watching on the news, relationship problems, work stress, grief or conflict with those you love?
It can be really difficult to “soldier on” when you feel like you’re being weighed down by situations outside of your control. When the unexpected happens or all the little things build up, it’s hard to know what to do or how to deal with it.
Life can quickly become a burden; something you have to “deal with” in order to try and feel okay. Questions of “how did I end up here?” or “how do I change this?” arise, leading us to chase solutions in the hope of finding relief and happiness.
If there are people or circumstances that you feel are taking your peace and you wish there was something you could do to feel better, you’re in luck.
Most of us have been taught over a lifetime that happenings in the world can have a real impact on us. When we’re children, we get taught that it’s not okay for other children to say mean things to us. If somebody does say something that an adult considers to be “mean”, we get asked if we’re okay or if our feelings have been hurt.
When relatives and loved ones pass away or parents break up, we witness other people feeling sad because of the death or divorce. Likewise, we see people happy at weddings and birthday celebrations, learning that some situations should make us happy while others should make us sad.
All of this is learned behaviour. There is nothing innately sad or happy about any situation aside from the context that we choose to give to it. In some cultures, when a death occurs, people cry and wear black. In other cultures, they sing and dance through the streets. The only difference here is perspective and learned reaction.
Divorce can be seen as an opportunity to be sad that a bond has not lasted a lifetime. It can also be seen as a chance to appreciate the time you had while you had it, and move forward with your life enjoying all the new experiences that the present moment has to offer you. Again, the common denominator here is perspective.
What we are learning is that every day since we were born, we have been taught that the world outside of us has the ability to control and determine how we feel. Our happiness depends on a huge list of expectations being met. On the one side, we can be happy when people are acting in a certain way, we are achieving particular things, have X amount of money, the news isn’t talking about war, you live in an area you like… the list goes on.
On the flip side of this, our happiness can disappear in an instant. If your partner leaves you, you fall out with your friends, lose your job, parents pass away, the weather is too rainy, your food at the restaurant tastes bad, you run out of money etc, you no longer have the ability to be totally happy and at peace.
These expectations of what others should/shouldn’t do, how the world should/shouldn’t be, what our lives should/shouldn’t look like can never bring us more than fleeting glimpses of false happiness. When our expectations are met, we are merely pacified. When they are not, we are in turmoil, desperately seeking to take back control of our external environment.
But what if happiness wasn’t found outside of ourselves? Imagine how amazing life could be if you had the ability to be happy inside, no matter what happened outside of you?
It’s time to remember that how you feel is your responsibility, and your responsibility alone. Nothing else has the power to determine your state of being unless you give it the opportunity. In a world where everyone has taught you that you can’t be happy until life is “perfect” (and “perfect” is never achievable), how good would it feel to show yourself a different way?
Start with yourself. In total surrender to life, without trying to control what happens to and around you, will come the deep knowing that happiness is available to you no matter what. It’s simply a choice away.
When you’re really trying to feel better but you can’t, Zen Jungle awakens you to the truth of your reality and a whole new perspective on life. There’s no more overthinking. No fear or seeking. Just a blissful inner peace and happiness, independent of the world outside.