I've been through my share of near-death experiences, terrible health scares, and heart wrenching break-ups that felt like the world had just ended. Those who know me can vouch that they have no clear idea how I have survived through so many hardships and obstacles and still smile today, and some even ask me what kind of magic pill I take to maintain such a Zen state.
My second novel New Dimensions of Being speaks a bit about some of those great obstacles in my life. One of the characters tells the protagonist Lucina:
“When you live through hell, your only chance of survival is to realize it is not an eternal state. Hell is not going to follow you forever in your life, and you have endless possibilities right now to be happy.”
Attachment Leads to Suffering
Buddhists have very important teachings about detachment. They tell us that the more we are attached to certain things or events or people, the more we suffer. The Buddha taught that it is inevitable to suffer, that all humans share one common thing and that is suffering. Yet he also told us we have a choice: to let suffering take over or to step back and let it wash over us like water.
As we evolve, we must learn to let go when things don’t go the way we plan or dream. The more we let go, the less we suffer. The more we are attached, the more we suffer.
Write It Down: How Does It Make You Feel?
A spiritual teacher of mine one day made me do this simple yet deep exercise that I want to share with you today. Every time something happened in my life, I had to write down how it made me feel. Was I happy, angry, disappointed, relieved or frustrated? After I had to write down how I would have felt had that event been the complete opposite.
She made me see after a while that it was not the events per se bringing me so much suffering, it was my reaction to them. If humans cannot escape suffering, I realized, then truly all we can do is not let our emotions take control of us.
My teacher told me that emotions are like powerful waves and that to avoid crashing on the shore, I had to plant my feet firmly in the sand and daily declare to the Universe, “I accept, I accept, thank you, thank you.” To say thank you after what I considered a terrible event seemed ludicrous at first but soon I came to see that I was slowly entering a more Zen way of living that improved my health and state of mind.
Being Grateful For All Things That Happen to Us
Being grateful for all things that happen to us takes a special training much like training for a marathon. Your mind is not naturally trained to be grateful, quite the opposite, it is trained to constantly criticize and sabotage you.
Notice your thought patterns after you have been hit by a series of intense emotions and you will notice that it doesn’t tend to say thank you. When I first started to say thanks for all things that happened to me, I felt like I was forcing a strange new string of words into my mouth each day but with practice, this will become routine and you won’t be losing your energy anymore when emotions try to control you.
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Is Your Life a Comedy or a Tragedy?
I have a view of life that goes like this. Life is a movie. Depending on the way the characters will react, it can be a comedy or a tragedy. The characters in our movie can take everything at heart and get destroyed or they can take everything in a Zen way and get strong. The end of the movie depends on whether you have allowed your emotions to master you or if you have mastered your emotions.
Have you blamed others for your misfortunes or have you been able to look at yourself and see your bad choices and negative reactions? Your movie has all the right elements to be a comedy and to dazzle you, just learn to detach from the waves of emotions and be grateful for everything that happens to you. “Good” or “bad” events happen for one reason: to make you grow.
You have a short time on earth, make it worthwhile and plant your feet solidly in the sands of your beautiful life, unafraid of the waves coming at you.
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About the Author
Nora Caron has a Masters degree in English Renaissance literature and speaks four languages. After struggling through the academic system, she realized that her true calling was to help people live from their hearts and explore the world through the eyes of their spirit. Nora has studied with various spiritual teachers and healers since 2003 and she practices Energy Medicine as well as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. In September 2014, her book "Journey to the Heart", received the Living Now Book Award Silver Medal for Best Inspirational Fiction. Visit her website at: www.noracaron.com
Watch a video with Nora: New Dimensions of Being