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At the end of the last post on Acceptance, I left you with some questions: “Who is thinking that thought; who is feeling that feeling?” The answer: YOU are.

So who are you?

My NLP and therapy teachers have often said: “whatever you think and feel you are, you are SO MUCH MORE”.  What is meant by this?  It means that our minds and bodies can deceive us into thinking and feeling that those very thoughts and emotions ARE us.  But in truth, these things are what our mind and bodies do.  In themselves, they are functions of the state of being human, but they are not who we are. How do we know this?  It is because thoughts and emotions are transient, impermanent. Try it yourself: become aware of an emotion or a thought, even the most powerful ones.  See if you can hold on to it for a while.  Of course, it may seem like some strong thoughts and emotions ‘hang around’ for longer than we might want; but try it now. See if you can keep the idea, feeling, thought, opinion intact for a while.

Now…….NOTICE that it moves, it changes, it morphs into other thoughts and feelings; it evolves; it disappears and is replaced by another thought and feeling; it builds; it diminishes; it speeds up; it slows down…….and try to recall that same thought and feeling tomorrow.  Can you bring it back in exactly the same way, with the same passion, the same intensity?  Can you bring it back with more force, less force?  And even if you can bring it back, it’s not the same as the original one, is it?

And have you ever asked yourself: “who is thinking that thought; who is feeling that feeling?”  The simple answer is YOU, that’s who. And here’s the magical bit: YOU are.  Whilst those thoughts and feelings are transient, you are permanent.  Whilst the judgements and emotions come and go, YOU remain.  Of course you do: otherwise, who would be having these thoughts and feelings?!

The bigger question of who and what you are is a matter for another blog (or a book or two!) For now, we’ll look at some practical ideas of how to deal with the thoughts and emotions that get in the way of a peaceful joyful life.

Many people these days have heard about ‘mindfulness’; they’ve heard of ‘meditation’, going on ‘retreats’, the power of stillness, etc etc…..all very laudable ideas in my opinion.  But to many, the idea of sitting on a cushion with an incense stick burning next to a flickering candle and ‘om’ music gently bubbling in the background is a step too far.

I believe that there are moments we experience in our lives where our minds and bodies are at peace.  It’s perhaps paradoxical that these moments often go unnoticed – precisely because our minds and bodies are not going through the usual ‘activity’.  We are very familiar with paying attention to our busy minds; it’s when they get quiet that we fail to notice.

For example, I bet there are moments when you’ve just become aware that the last 2 or 5 or 15 or 40mins have gone by without anything in particular happening, with no particular distractions or ‘struggle’ – they just passed without incident. Well, one big step to a happier life is to get CURIOUS about those very moments, those moments that are, strangely, of no real ‘consequence’. So, tip number one: GET CURIOUS ABOUT THINGS THAT HADN’T PREVIOUSLY GRABBED YOUR ATTENTION. There’s much, much, much more ‘out there’ than you might realise…..

Second tip: LAUGH – a lot!  Especially when you find yourself being pulled towards that ‘hook’ (shenpa – remember, from the last blog).  We ALL get temped, and we ALL get hooked from time to time.  It’s what our minds have got used to doing. It’s OK.  When you realise you’re on your way,…….LAUGH!

Third tip: PRACTICE COMPASSION – to others and to yourself. What does this mean?  It means go through your life FORGIVING – everyone, and everything. This doesn’t mean abandoning your values; in fact, it’s more about a simple acknowledgement that we are all human beings; we ALL make mistakes, we ALL have strong views about truth, justice, fairness, right and wrong……Ask yourself: is there really only ONE point of view worth respecting?  If there’s room for even just one more point of view (than your own), then there’s room for over 7 billion!

And finally, for a few easy tips on living a happier life, you can download my Mindfulness Tips here. You’ll find it under ‘resources’…….

Be happy my friends…..it’s a choice.