I just read a life-changing passage on the key to happiness in the New York Times bestseller, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer ⋯⇠
The following will be truly eye-opening if you’ve ever struggled with:
⌲ Anger or frustration that life isn’t how you want it to be;
⌲ The sense that you’ll only be happy once you have certain things or certain people around you and that any other way = unhappiness, compromise or misery;
⌲ A feeling of resistance or a narrow mind towards certain types of people, places, events or environments;
⌲ A feeling of being judged for not being how others want you to be and wondering whether this is right.
Singer’s pearls of wisdom will help you:
⌲ Manage your negative inner voice and understand how this is key to spiritual growth;
⌲ Challenge preconceptions and ideals that you’re convinced keep you safe but are actually keeping you stuck;
⌲ Overcome blocks within yourself that threaten relationships, romantic or otherwise;
⌲ Improve your relationships with yourself and with others, whether platonic, professional or otherwise.
◭ What Does Happiness Depend On?
Singer directly challenges our propensity towards instant gratification, safety and this idea of ‘When I have this thing, or this particular person, I’ll be happy’.
Quite the contrary, the key to happiness is what Singer calls: The Path To Non-Resistance. In other words, stress only happens when you resist life’s events or when you perceive happiness to be conditional on having certain things.
For example, let’s suppose Steve Jobs felt stressed about not finding a businesswoman for a wife as clever as he was; Usain Bolt feels resistance about not finding friends as athletic as he is to hang out with; an ocean lover feels depressed because they can’t spend every waking hour at sea; or a single person struggling because they’ll only be happy when they’re married.
◭ Where Does Resistance (or Stress) Come From?
All these worries are born of suffering and resistance that block your heart’s energy flow and keep you closed. It’s not life events that cause problems or stress, it’s your resistance to life’s events that’s causing this experience. Life events could be anything from being in a relationship you’re not 100% sure of, being with people different to you, living in places that don’t feel ideal, not earning enough money or not feeling alive enough all the time.
All resistance that you experience is linked to your childhood. Maybe you were born into an atmosphere of stress, maybe you had an overbearing mother or an absent father, maybe your parents divorced when you were young or you suffered a different trauma or loss. This event may have coloured your view of the world, what is safe, what feels risky and what determines or threatens happiness.
Let’s say you felt the ripples of stress from your parents’ divorce when you were too young to process trauma — you may have been left feeling that relationships are a risky business, that women or men are difficult or that controlling exactly how your partner is and keeping freedom at all cost is the best way to stay ‘safe’.
◭ What’s The Solution?
You have to carefully watch the mental voice that tells you to resist something. It literally commands you: ‘I don’t like what he said. I don’t think my relationship’s perfect enough. I wish that person was more like this. Fix it’. If you don’t carefully watch this negative inner voice, you will not actually be dealing with the current event, you will be dealing with your blocked energies from the past. You will not be coming from a place of clarity but from a place of inner resistance and tension.
◭ How Else Can You Improve Happiness?
Singer advises that relationships are a great way to work with yourself. Imagine if you used relationships to get to know other people rather than to satisfy what is blocked inside of you. If you’re not trying to make people fit into your preconceived notions of what you like and dislike, you will find that relationships are not really that difficult. If you’re not so busy judging and resisting people based on what is blocked inside of you, you will find that they are much easier to get along with – and so are you.
If you’ve ever wondered why bosses tend to have issues with you or why relationships feel difficult, ask yourself what energy you’re giving out / how you’re judging that person / what resistance is going on inside? You might think of yourself as a peaceful, chilled-out soul, but how easy-going are you if you’re so easily disturbed by others and your happiness is dependent on conditions around you being just so?
Maybe you’re feeling resistance because you wish your partner was more into the same things as you or you wish they were cleverer, more ambitious or more driven. What does that tell you about how open you are to people different to you or places or environments that challenge your preconceived ideals? Do you see difference as a vehicle for growth or are you easily ruffled when people and things aren’t how you believe they should be?
◭ The Golden Nugget
Quite simply, letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.
To grow through life, your heart and mind must be open and expansive enough to encompass reality. The only reason they’re not is because you resist.
Learn to stop resisting reality, whether visiting places you don’t like, being open to events you perceive to be stressful, being with people different to your preconceived ideals, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping stones of your spiritual journey.
◭ Magic Quotes To Meditate On
Here are two powerful quotes that will shift your mindset from resistance to growth:
“It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so”
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies your freedom and power to choose your response. In those responses lie your growth and your happiness”
Victor Frankl (Holocaust survivor)