There exists within each of us a state of simple and open awareness. In this state we feel light, happy, and at peace. By contrast, the state of suffering is complicated. Complications take many forms, including too many activities, too many possessions, buried feelings, resistance, indecision, and old conditioning. When our life is too complicated, we’re weighed down by superfluous things at every level.
Here is an exercise you can use to let go of complications and return to the simplicity of happiness:
Ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life that is causing me to feel a deep sense of unease, discomfort, or suffering?” It might be something that has persisted for years or it may be something that is currently at the forefront.
Here are some of the most common complications:
Disorder: Consider your physical environment. Is your house a mess? Is your desk buried under stacks of work? Are you letting other people leave clutter and messes in the space you share?
Stress: While the pressures of life are inevitable, if at the end of the day you are unable to completely let go of the day and return to a calm, centered inner state, you are overstressed. Make a list of the major stressors in your life and brainstorm ideas to either eliminate the stressor or to change the impact it is having on your emotional state.
Negativity: Health and wellbeing are the natural state of the body and mind. By dwelling on negativity, we prevent ourselves from living in the simple state of wellbeing. Do you often gossip about others or relish their setbacks? Do you tend to choose friends who like to criticize and complain? Do you feel compelled to watch every disaster or catastrophe unfolding on the evening news?
Inertia: When you passively give in to old habits and conditioning, dwelling on what’s “wrong” in your life while making no effort to change anything, you are stuck in inertia. To get out of this rut, start by thinking of the smallest possible action you could take – and then take it. Then choose the next smallest action, and do that. Gradually you will build momentum and break free from old patterns of inertia.
Toxic Relationships: Are you in relationships with people who don’t have your wellbeing at heart? Make a list of these and consider what you can do to protect yourself from their toxic influence. Sometimes setting better boundaries and practicing the tools of conscious communication can be transformative. In some cases, ending a relationship may be necessary.
For the next month, sit by yourself for at least 5 minutes each day with the intention of clearing away complications. In the time you set aside for this clearing, determine what area you need to focus on the most and work on that. It may be one of the complications mentioned above or a different area that is preventing you from experiencing a state of peaceful simplicity.
Deliberately incorporating new behavior, new ideas, and new approaches into your everyday life habits gives your mind the opportunity to adopt fresh perspectives, and this can help release you from the old conditioning. In this regard, having a regular meditation practice is invaluable.
As you focus on simplifying your life, make sure that your approach to the process is a loving and accepting one. Know that you are now doing all that you can do right now, and that is all anyone can do. When you stay in the moment, you have all the time in the world and whatever needs to be done will be completed in the exact right time.