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you deserve good things

Today we ask that you know that you deserve good things.

You deserve life’s goodness.

It does not matter what you did or did not do in the past.

It does not matter if you made “mistakes,” or if you were “not living up to your potential.” It does not matter if you made unwise decisions, or entered into destructive relationships. It does not matter if you squandered good opportunities, or acted foolishly.

None of that matters.

Let all of that go.

You deserve good things. You deserve to experience the goodness of life.

Other people deserve good things. Other people deserve to experience the goodness of life.

Just because one person has good things, should not deprive another person of good things.

“Good things” are generally not the things that the ego desires — status, proving superiority over others, and so on. Status always comes at the cost of someone else.

“Good things” are love, joy, and good feelings about life itself. Experiencing these things does not come at the cost of someone else.

Everyone deserves to feel love, joy, and good feelings about life. Every baby born deserves to feel love, joy, and good feelings about life.

You deserve to feel love, joy, and good feelings about life. It does not matter what you did or didn’t do. It does not matter if you have been a “bad” person. It does not matter if you’ve made a lot of “mistakes.”

You deserve to feel love, joy, and good feelings about life.

These feelings can only arise in the present moment.

Thinking about your past — this will not give you those feelings.

Thinking about your future — this will not give you those feelings.

You deserve good things. You deserve to feel love and joy. And you can only feel those things now. Not in the future. Not after you attain whatever it is you think you need in order to be happy.

You deserve good things today. You deserve love and joy now.

You do not need to do a single thing in order to deserve love and joy.

You deserve it right now.

Many people go around demanding things from the universe.

They demand money, they demand success, they demand recognition. There is nothing wrong with those things. But sometimes those things are wrapped up in the human ego’s need for status and superiority — which always comes at someone else’s expense.

Love and joy in the present moment do not come at anyone else’s expense.

So if you are going to demand anything from the universe, demand love and joy — now.

Do not demand love that really is just needing someone else to tell you that you are worth something.

Demand love that arises in the present moment. Demand love now.

There is love all around you, if you have the capacity to receive it.

The tree outside loves you. The coffee cup loves you. Your body loves you. The sun loves you. The sky loves you. The birds love you.

And you deserve that love. You deserve that love.

Likewise, the tree deserves love. The coffee cup deserves love. Your body deserves love. The sun deserves love. The sky deserves love. The birds deserve love.

If you feel that, and sense that, and live from that place — then you will have all the good things that you require.

there-are-no-mistakesToday we ask you to sit with the idea that there are no mistakes in reality.

There are no mistakes in reality.

There are no mistakes. There are no errors.

What does this mean?

It means that nothing that has ever happened, is happening now, or will happen in the future — nothing is a mistake. Nothing is an error. Nothing “should not be.”

There is nothing harder for a human to fully accept than this idea. And yet when it is accepted, it means the end of almost all mental suffering that humans experience.

So let’s just look at it.

There are no mistakes, errors, or accidents in reality. Nothing happens that was not meant to happen. There is nothing that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will exist in the future that should not be.

The human mind cries out against this. Reality, to most humans, is an endless parade of mistakes and errors. There are countless things that never should have happened. There are countless things that should not be happening right now. And one can only sit in hopeless dread of all the terrible mistakes that will happen in the future.

This kind of thinking is the cause of the vast majority of mental suffering that humans experience.

Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes! This went wrong, and that went wrong. All the mistakes your parents made, all the mistakes other people made, all the mistakes you made. All the mistakes God made. Most people carry around long lists of mistakes, and read these lists over and over in their minds like a liturgy.

And in so doing they fall into misery and despair.

For how can you ever be happy, with all of these mistakes in reality? Even if you are doing okay in life — one mistake, and it’s all over!

So you must forever be on guard against making mistakes, constantly vigilant. And even then — through no fault of your own, some terrible error may occur. The car accident, the natural disaster, the economic collapse, the terminal illness. Make no mistake: sooner or later you will be the victim of some awful mistake, if you haven’t been already.

For some people, life is just one mistake after another.

This is not to minimize the serious traumatic events that befall people. There is war, violence, oppression, grief, and terrible loss. And it is hard — almost impossible — to believe that such things are not mistakes and errors.

It is best, when sitting with this idea, not to focus on extreme cases of human brutality and loss.

Rather it is more useful to focus on more mundane mistakes. All the little things that happen to you that seem wrong, that provoke outrage and a sense of injustice. 

When children are young, so many things seem like mistakes. Not getting the treat, not getting to watch the movie, having to go to bed by a particular time, eating the vegetables, cleaning up your mess — all these things, to a child, are mistakes. They are worthy of outrage and tantrums.

As children get older, the tantrums continue. Now you like the girl or boy who doesn’t return the affection, or you wish you looked different, or you wish your parents had more money. Reality isn’t doing what you want, and all these things seem like mistakes.

Adults are no different: forever craving things they do not have, outraged by all the mistakes in life. It is very possible for a middle class person in a developed country, who has never dealt with true oppression or hardship, to go through life feeling like a victim of tragic injustice. Petty grievances rule people’s lives, and they live and die in misery — even when, by certain standards, their lives are quite comfortable.

This happens because people believe there are mistakes in reality.

It is not uncommon for a poor villager in an impoverished country to feel more inner peace and clarity than the well-fed person in the developed nation.

When people have a sense of faith, meaning, and purpose — when they believe even in the possibility of a deeper intelligence at the heart of reality — then this inures them to life’s challenges to some degree.

People still face loss and grief, faith will always be challenged. But even to be open to the possibility of a deeper wisdom at the heart of reality, one that does not make mistakes… this is the beginning of true peace, true freedom. 

There is a power at the heart of reality. It is so vast that it cannot ever be grasped by the human mind.

You are a part of it, and it is a part of you.

It does not make mistakes. It does not play dice with the universe.

Nothing in reality is harder than believing this, in the face of all the evidence against it. Nothing is harder than true faith.

Paradoxically, if this awareness penetrates every part of you — life gets very simple, and relatively easy.

So just try it on for size one day.

What if you went through your day with the belief that “There are no mistakes in reality.”

What if every news story that provokes outrage were met with this belief?

What if all your daily struggles were met with this belief?

Nothing is a mistake. Nothing is an error. Whatever is happening, is supposed to be happening. Wherever you are, that is where you are supposed to be.

This will run counter to human nature. It may seem wrong, unnatural, uncaring, blind, stupid, and naive.

But just try it on.

Every war ever fought was fought by someone who believed there were mistakes in reality. Every act of murder and terrorism is committed by someone who believes there are mistakes in reality. 

Trusting in a deeper wisdom will not make you passive or inactive. Far from it.

If you struggle a great deal in life, and yearn for peace — look here.

If people trusted the deep wisdom of reality, and did not believe in mistakes, there would be no wars, no violence.

let-go-of-the-past

Today we ask you to let go of the past.

Let go of the past.

Humans spend a lot of time thinking about their past.

Sometimes people are nostalgic for days gone by. Nostalgic for the innocence of childhood, the freedoms of young adulthood.

They long for some old decade, when everything seemed so much simpler.

Time is passing too quickly. Babies grow into children, children into adults. Loved ones pass on, you are getting older. Where does all the time go?

Of course, back in the 1980’s, people were nostalgic for the 1950’s. And in the 1920’s, people were nostalgic for the 1890’s. This has always been true. If you went to ancient Rome or Egypt, you would find people nostalgic for earlier days. Always, with humans, the best time is not now.

People miss the innocence of childhood. But when they were children, all they wanted was to hurry and grow up. 

Parents lament that their children grow up too fast. But when children are small, parents complain of all the hard work and exhaustion of raising children.

So it goes, so it goes. The past is always better. And yet somehow, when it was actually happening, it wasn’t.

Sometimes people are obsessed with mistakes they made in the past. If only they had made different choices, life would have been so much better.

Or else they are victims of past misfortunes. Reality was cruel and dealt them a bad hand. They were robbed of the lives they should have had.

Watch out for this kind of thinking.

Watch out for nostalgia that says: “The past was better. The present is not as good, and the future will probably be worse.”

Watch out for the mind that ruminates on where things went wrong in the past, on what should have been.

Do you wish to be a peaceful, joyful person?

Then watch out for thinking about the past. Do not let yourself drift back there. That kind of thinking is the gateway to depression and misery.

It is always an illusion, the belief that the past was better.

Generally speaking, the past was not better. The 20th century saw world wars, unspeakable horrors, mass genocide. The centuries that preceded it were all rife with terrible violence. Though you may find it hard to believe, the world you now dwell in is, on the whole, more peaceful and protective of human rights than it has ever been.

Yes, there are always going to be humans who resist positive change and cling to outmoded and destructive ways of being and thinking. If you talk to such people, you will invariably discover that they are nostalgic about an idealized past. Things were always better back then. 

So if you consider yourself someone who wishes for positive change and human evolution, watch closely for your own tendencies to be nostalgic about an idealized past.

Humans who resist positive change also invariably carry around stories of victimhood. Something went wrong in the past, and now nothing can be okay.

So if you consider yourself someone who desires positive change, watch closely your own tendencies toward believing “Something went wrong in the past, and now nothing can be okay.”

If you truly desire positive evolution, then you must let all of that go.

Let the past go. Let it go completely.

Come into the present moment. Come fully into the present time. Be where you are. Know that there is nowhere else you are supposed to be.

You are never going to step into a time machine, so let that go.

Really, thinking about the past is a bit of an indulgence, like eating chocolate. It is okay to do in small amounts, but too much will make you sick. Excessive thinking about the past will cause physical and mental illness. All those projections of the past in your mind use up valuable energy — energy that you need to attend to your life right now.

So if you feel tired, depressed, anxious, or generally unhappy with your life experience, one useful thing you can do is observe how much time you spend thinking about the past. Either in nostalgia, or in dwelling about how things should have gone differently. Just observe how much you do this.

As you observe the habit, when you notice yourself sliding back to the past — just gently bring yourself into the present moment. Come back into your body. Notice what is going on around you. Feel what is going on in your body. Listen to the sounds around you, pay attention to what you see, what you smell, what you are touching.

Anchor yourself in the present time. Find one thing you appreciate about your life today. It can be a very small, insignificant thing. Maybe you ate or drank something tasty. Maybe you cuddled a cat or dog today. Maybe you took a nice hot shower. Just find one thing you appreciate about your life right now.

Let go of the past. Particularly if you deal with physical or mental illness, or feel constricted in your life experience — let go of the past. Thinking about the past is, on the whole, not good for your health. The positive change you desire is not going to come from ruminating on the past.

This does not mean, do not study history. Good history comes alive for you in the present moment. A good historical story happens for you right now. However, if you find yourself romanticizing the past — watch out. If you find yourself feeling like a victim in your present life because of historical events — watch out.

Come into the present time. It is beautiful here, if you have the eyes to perceive it. 

There is no time machine to whisk you away to the past — and that is a good thing. You are not meant to go back there, either for nostalgia, or to “fix mistakes.”

Let the past go. Come into the present time. All the loving change you desire — it happens here, now, and nowhere else. Release the past.

milky-way

Today we ask that you recognize your limits.

Recognize your limits.

What does this mean?

One of the wisest things any human can do is to accept that he does not, and cannot, know everything. This acceptance is the beginning of true intelligence.

If you spend time with children, you will often observe that they act as though they know about things they do not know. Given a small amount of information, a six year old can spin a fabulous yarn about the way reality works. For adults, such stories can be amusing, or frustrating, depending on the situation.

But what adults do not understand is that they are not really any different from children in this regard. Given a small amount of information, an adult can spin a fabulous yarn about the way reality works. The adult might speak this fabulous yarn with great conviction, so much that he persuades other adults to believe what he says.

Some religions begin this way.

Children often have a hard time admitting that they do not know things. Adults find it even more difficult to admit that they do not know things.

In the past hundred years, scientists have begun to perceive that you dwell in a universe so vast that it is utterly impossible for the human mind to grasp its scale.

Physicists have begun to perceive that the laws underlying this universe also cannot be grasped by the human mind.

Humans will continue to expand their understanding of the nature of reality. There are Einsteins yet to be born. And yet even as humans perceive more, aspects of your reality will remain utterly mysterious and vast beyond the scale of human comprehension.

So just sit with this.

Sit, for a moment, in the vastness of the universe. The countless stars in the sky, the countless undiscovered worlds and realms.

Do you really think you can know things, in such a universe?

All your opinions that you are so very right about. All these ideas that you need to argue about and defend. All these issues that you attack other people about.

Are you really so sure that you are right about everything? 

Six year olds believe they are right about everything. They are very certain about how the world should work.

Twelve year olds are also very right about everything, and very certain of how the world should work.

Perhaps it follows then that “being right about everything” and “being very certain of how the world should work” is not a sign of maturity. It is a clear sign of childishness.

When you meet someone who openly admits how little he knows, rejoice. You have met a wise person.

So that is one meaning of recognizing your limits.

Recognize the limits of your perception.

Recognize the limits of your intelligence.

This awareness will, paradoxically, increase both your perception, and your intelligence.

It is important also to recognize the limits of your physical body. You are neither a machine, nor a superhuman. You require rest, and sleep.

Children like to think they don’t need to take naps or go to bed by a reasonable hour. Parents know better.

Adults also like to think they don’t need to take naps or go to bed by a reasonable hour. They think they are “getting things done” and “being productive.”

Wise people know better.

So that is another way it is good to recognize your limits.

You are a human, with a human body and a human mind. It is a beautiful, miraculous thing. Most of you are far more powerful than you believe you are.

When you recognize and accept how little you know, it will be much easier for you to access that power.

200364729-001

Today we ask that you be at peace with your life, as it is.

This is the life you are supposed to have. This life, and no other.

There is no other life that you are meant to have.

The place you are in right now, at this moment — this is exactly where you are supposed to be.

There are no other earthly realities beside this one that you are experiencing right now.

There are no other “alternate timelines,” no other roads you might have gone down had you made other decisions earlier in your life.

There are no accidents, and no mistakes. This life, with all its joys and sorrows — this life is the life you are supposed to have.

Most people walk through life with a sense of dissatisfaction. Whatever your life is, it is not good enough. People believe that they are supposed to have other lives. Better lives.

Lives with more money. More recognition. Better relationships. Better health. 

If only they had x, y and z — then they would feel okay about life. But because they do not have x, y and z — life is not okay.

Yes, you do not have x, y and z. That is true.

But you do have a, b and c.

You do not have x, y and z right now because you are not meant to have x, y and z right now.

Right now, you have a, b and c.

What are a, b and c?

Anything in your life that brings you joy and meaning. Anything, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant.

Maybe you have a beloved pet. Maybe you ate or drank something delicious today. Maybe you went for a walk in the fresh air, and it felt good.

That is your a, b and c. That is what is yours, right now. That is what is meant to be yours.

And the more you focus your energy and attention on the gifts that are yours right now, the more you will enjoy this life that is yours — this life that is supposed to be yours.

Let go of x, y and z. Let go of what you think you are supposed to have, that you do not have.

People think that happiness is a complicated, unattainable thing.

But really, happiness is very simple.

A happy person loves and cherishes the life that he has been given. He desires no other life.

That does not mean happy people are unmotivated, do not have goals, and do not take action in the world.

It is false, this belief that action must always arise from a place of striving and dissatisfaction.

It is very possible to take action in the world from a place of fullness, and playful exploration.

All these miserable people on the world’s stage, all these unhappy little tyrants demanding this, attacking that…

The best way to counter and defeat such energy is not by getting dragged into the drama.

The best way to counter and defeat such energy is always by getting grounded in that which gives you joy and meaning.

If the world were populated by satisfied people, no despot would ever be able to seize power.

You do not become a satisfied person by getting all these things you think you want. Just look at the little tyrants. They may possess wealth and fame, but do they seem satisfied?

You become a satisfied person by becoming satisfied, right now, with the life that is yours.

Even one truly satisfied person can change the world, and make it a more joyful and meaningful place for everyone else.

let-go-of-your-grievances

Today we ask that you release your fixation on what other people are doing.

Let go of being so preoccupied with what other people are doing, or not doing.

Let go of fixating on politicians.

Let go of fixating on bosses and coworkers.

Let go of fixating on clients.

Let go of fixating on your mother.

Let go of fixating on your father.

Let go of fixating on your sister.

Let go of fixating on your brother.

Let go of fixating on your wife.

Let go of fixating on your husband.

Let go of fixating on your son.

Let go of fixating on your daughter.

Let go of fixating on your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Let go of fixating on your ex.

Let go of fixating on your neighbors.

Let go of fixating on your friends.

Let go of fixating on your enemies.

Let go, let go, let go.

Consider how much time in a day you spend thinking about other people, and what they are doing, and not doing.

Consider how much energy you spend feeling frustrated about other people.

If you are like most people, you are using up a lot of time and energy fixating on what other people are doing, and not doing.

And most of that time and energy is wasted, and thrown down the drain. You cannot control or change other people.

Very often the people you obsess over aren’t thinking about you all that much anyway. Celebrities and politicians aren’t thinking about you at all.

Really, if you sit with it, it is easy to see that all this time and energy spent ruminating over what other people are doing and not doing is a great waste.

If you are someone who always wishes for more time and energy, here is a place to look. You might do a lot with all the time and energy you spend ruminating over other people.

Consider how, as a child or teenager, you ruminated over this girl or that boy — someone who means very little to you now, but was a big deal back then.

People who are a big deal now will diminish for you later in life. If you are a healthy person, you will look back and see that all the fuss and drama was over nothing all that important.

Of course there are significant relationships: parents and children, siblings, spouses.

But here, too, so much of the daily drama and suffering is over nothing all that important. You are upset over this, you are upset over that.

If you go to a cemetery, you will see many graves. The names you read are the names of people who all argued and had big dramas with their fellow men. They all suffered over what people were doing, and not doing.

And then they passed out of their bodies, and the drama ended. Very often, if you heard about those old dramas, they would mostly seem rather small and foolish to you.

If people are behaving destructively, the best thing to do is to minimize engagement with them as best you can, take steps not to add fuel to the drama — and observe their behavior so that you can work on the destructive parts within yourself.

Observe people. Learn from them. Work on yourself, so that you can practice non-reactivity and compassion. Love your loved ones. Cherish your friends. Cultivate equanimity for the difficult and disturbed ones.

Let the rest go.

If you are fixating on what someone else is doing or not doing, use that valuable energy to work on yourself.

shame

Today we ask you to release your shame.

Release your shame.

Whatever causes you to feel a sense of shame – let go of it.

Let go of your shame about your physical appearance.

Let go of your shame about where you are in life, how you are not measuring up to where you think you are supposed to be.

Let go of your shame about the mistakes you have made in the past.

Let go of your shame about the clutter in your home or office.

Let go of your shame about not being good enough at what you do.

Let go of your shame about not meeting other people’s expectations.

Let go of your shame about not meeting your own expectations.

Let go of your shame over your failures.

Let go of your shame about how you have not been a good person.

Let go of your shame about not being more evolved than you are.

Let go of your shame about your physical health issues.

Let go of your shame, let go of your shame, let go of your shame.

It is one thing to make amends to someone if you truly feel that you knowingly or unknowingly wronged them.

But being ashamed about your body, your bank account, how you are just not good enough — this doesn’t do anyone any good. This kind of shame is purely harmful.

When you feel this kind of self-negating shame, you will inevitably lash out at the people around you, even the ones you love most. Especially them.

If you are ashamed of your body, then you will shame your loved ones about their bodies — whether or not you intend to.

 If you are ashamed because you are not good enough, you will shame your loved ones for not being good enough — whether or not you intend to.

That is how toxic shame is passed down through the generations, and that is how you came to feel so ashamed in the first place.

But it can stop.

Babies are not born feeling existential shame. Babies are not born hating their bodies and feeling like they can never be good enough. These are learned behaviors.

And anything that is a learned behavior can be unlearned. All that is required is conscious awareness.

Also you must examine any beliefs you hold about shame being good and valuable — for example, that feelings of shame and worthlessness goad you into action.

You will not work unless you shame yourself for being so lazy. You will not maintain your physical appearance unless you shame yourself for being fat and ugly. You will not clean your house unless you shame yourself for being such a slob. You will not be a good, moral person unless you shame yourself for having sinful thoughts.

This is all complete nonsense. Beliefs like these are the cause of no end of human suffering, disease, and violent behavior. Truly, these thoughts, which may sound quite normal to you, are utterly insane.

If people dropped these insane beliefs, they would be vastly more productive, far healthier and more well-ordered in their lives, and much kinder and more compassionate to all humans.

In other words, people aren’t the problem. Toxic shame is the problem.

Without your shame, you would be healthier, more productive, and kinder to yourself and those around you.

Your shame blocks all of those things.

Without toxic shame, you will naturally be moved to make amends and apologize, should that situation arise.

Without toxic shame, that situation will arise much less frequently.

So you might want to ask yourself: why am I holding on to my shame? What does it do for me? 

It does not make you a better person.

Once this begins to sink in, notice how often you feel shame in any given day. Just notice how often feelings of shame come up for you. You might be surprised. 

After observing the pattern for a while, gently question it. Is the shame you are feeling really valid here?

Can you imagine living a life without shame as your motivator to do things? Can you imagine how much the people around you would benefit if you weren’t consciously or unconsciously shaming them for being the way they are?

It is totally possible for a child to grow up without a toxic sense of shame. And such a child would be highly productive, healthy, and compassionate toward others.

So just look at the ways to reduce the level of shame in your daily life.

You will find that all of your life issues — health, relationships, work, prosperity — all of those things will benefit if you simply release your shame around them.

Releasing shame is one of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to bring healing and positive change to your life.

Why not try it? You have nothing to lose but your self-loathing.

And just because everyone else feels shame about everything doesn’t mean you have to, as well. You are not betraying your parents and families if you release your shame.

Far from it. One human free of shame is a gift to the world, a blessing to whomever she touches.