In this article, I will go over a life-threatening thinking disease most of us have (but are unaware), a way to cure that disease, and immediate actions you can take to cultivate happiness.
For the majority of my life I was plagued with a disease. This disease was the root of much pain and regret, along with endless rumination and misery. I was pursuing a career as a musician and was fixated on the material wealth, vanity, and approval of others. Deep down inside I was truly empty.
I was never happy with any and all aspects of myself and my life, as a result of this self-hatred I criticized myself, family and friends, pushed everyone away, and sabotaged anything good in my life. What masked the underlying issues was a pattern of nit picking everything to avoid taking a good look at myself and the baggage I was holding onto. What troubled me most was that I had the most beautiful life and an abundance of happiness right in front of me, but I was plagued with NGE.
It took tragedy and pain to wake me up to this silent killer, and I hope to save you the heartache and make an instant change in your life.
We are inundated with marketing campaigns to condition us to believe that we are Not Good Enough, that our clothes aren’t good enough, our skin, our bodies, our careers, our friends, family, our entire lives...are not good enough.
We as a society have been conditioned to truly believe that we are never good enough.
I used to see a counselor who would listen to me ramble on about, if I had more money I’d be happy, if I was in better shape I’d be happy, if I could communicate more effectively I could get more done, if I could learn to focus I could manage my time better, if I had a loving relationship I’d feel better about myself, if I had a fulfilling career I would enjoy my work. He would interrupt and say, “Even if you had all of those things do you really think that you would be happy? When are you going to just stop and accept yourself?” He knew that no matter what happened in my life, material or immaterial, I was conditioned to see everything as NGE.
It’s not about filling space, as Depeche Mode said, it’s about enjoying the silence. As a professional drummer, I observed many great players who, depending on their ability to restrain themselves from overplaying, would either be ignored or beloved. The biggest drummers in the world are great at leaving space in a song and letting it breathe.
Your life is like a song, it’s the appreciation of the space between the notes that makes it beautiful.
Life is the practice of letting go to create space, then using self-restraint and discipline to maintain the emptiness of that space. Endless happiness rests in acceptance of the present moment, the beauty of today in all of our experiences, and this precious miracle that we call life. Everything else is icing on the cake.
Practice: Take a moment to sit quietly and pay attention to your inner workings. Notice when you want, don’t want, or are indifferent to something and investigate those feelings. Do you want to move, don’t want to move, want to think or not think, consumed by thoughts or just indifferent to all of it?
It’s important to start to realize who is really behind the wheel of your actions. Start with a top down investigation and ask yourself:
Do I feel fulfilled in my life?
Do I feel loved and accepted?
Do I feel inadequate or inferior in some way?
Do I need material items or others approval to feel loved and accepted?
Will this action contribute to internal happiness or temporary external happiness?
Am I acting from a place of self-acceptance and love, or from desires driven by fear or boredom?
We’ll dig more into this next month but for now I’ll leave you with this affirmation:
“I am perfectly content as I am in this very moment, I cultivate all the love I need from within, I do not seek approval and validation from others, nor fear condemnation and ridicule, I vow to make my life meaningful by my own accord, while keeping integrity and morality as a guide, living modestly with self-restraint, may all beings benefit equally or more from the good fortunes I experience in this life.”