When it comes to feeling good, one strategy is proven to work: letting go to be happy.
Happiness. It’s something that almost all of us are truly after in life. However, we all know it can be incredibly hard to live day to day, let alone moment by moment, in a happy state. There’s always something that comes up that throws us off: someone cut you off in traffic, someone said something inconsiderate to you, or the office work that day was boring.
The truth is that life does not have to be this way. In this post, I will discuss why we are not always in a beautiful state of mind and what you can do about it. And you like also like to read the guide to using meditation for happiness.
How An Infamous 1923 Business Meeting Taught The World To Let Go And Be Happy
One infamous business meeting in 1923 taught the world that what Buddha said about happiness is spot-on.
In 1923 at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, a meeting consisting of nine of the most brilliant businessmen and world leaders commenced. Among them included Charles Schwab, president of the most successful American steel company; Howard Hopson, head of the world’s largest gas company; Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange; and Albert Fall, a member of President Harding’s cabinet.
Within 25 years, the fate of all of these men had changed- dramatically. Charles Schwab became a shell of his former self through overindulging in spending and bad financial decisions, eventually dying penniless. Samuel Insull’s company collapsed in the great depression, and he still had millions of dollars in debt when he passed away. The member of President Harding’s cabinet had been exposed in the Teapot Dome scandal and died shortly after being released from prison.
And as for the legendary stock trader, Jesse Lauriston Livermore, his story may have been the most devastating to hear. The businessman had been battling inner turmoil for a while after a painful divorce and devastating financial loss. One day he walked into a hotel and had a few drinks at a bar. As he drank, he began writing a letter in his notebook. When he finished, he sighed and walked into a room where he shot himself in the head, taking his own life as his final attempt to end his misery.
And what did he write on the note?
“My dear Nina: Can’t help it. Things have been bad with me. I am tired of fighting. Can’t carry on any longer. This is the only way out. I am unworthy of your love. I am a failure. I am truly sorry, but this is the only way out for me. Love Laurie”
The Lesson: If you want to be happy, let go
These businessmen in the story serve as an example that no amount of success or status can truly last forever and keep you happy because the world will always find some way to take it from you. If you need more proof, consider this. Of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955, only around 10% still remain on that list. The remaining companies will probably reach a point in the future where they are removed from that list as well.
But money isn’t the only thing that is bound to be taken away from you and cause strife. Your once youthful-appearing skin will wrinkle with age. Our loved ones eventually will leave us, whether they move away or pass away. A valuable possession, whether it is a car, house, or object, will likely be broken or damaged at some point.
Even things on a more massive scale cannot last forever. Sturdy buildings eventually can degrade. The economy has busts after its booms. Entire countries collapse.
With all of this vulnerability in the world, how can we not feel pain when things don’t go our way and we lose what we value most? The solution is this: letting go to be happy.
It’s only by letting go that you can be a free spirited person.
The Solution: Letting Go To Be Happy
Those that have found peace have removed their attachment to material things. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have material things. Rather, you must not let your self-worth, pride, or mind be attached to them.
The next time you think about something you may be attached to- finances, a person, or an object- take the time to notice your mind as it is carrying your attention with its thoughts. Then, make the choice to stop feeding your awareness to the thoughts, even if you are in mid-thought. This will stop your thoughts from overpowering you, and you will have let go.
To let go of such things is dramatically different from how most of the people live their lives, so it may not be comfortable or easy to do so. However, as you continue your spiritual growth, you will find some things that you are willing to let go because they are ruining your life more than they bring you satisfaction. Just know that detaching yourself from just one mental attachment brings you one step closer to a more liberated and peaceful state of living.
Your Mind Sets Your Happiness Limits
“Pet peeves”. Most people have them. Most people tell strangers about them during their first few encounters. Pet peeves are so common that it is accepted by society to be something that is normal and that everyone has the right to have.
Now let’s take a look at your mind’s more serious version of pet peeves, which are just as normal and socially acceptable to have. These are the things that can trigger you into more emotional and sensitive states of mind, lasting for a longer period of time.
This is when someone reminds you of something you are highly sensitive about. This is when you work hard on an important task and don’t do as well as you would have liked. It is when society systemically does things to you that you feel are unfair.
In essence you have said to your mind, “I will be happy when things that I want happen to me. I will be unhappy when things I don’t want happen to me. I will justify to myself why what others did to me was wrong and I was correct. I will feel bad when my beliefs, self-image, and values are undermined”. The list goes on and on.
The Solution: Letting Go To Be Happy (part 2)
When you keep pet peeves and more serious mental preferences about the way the world should be, you are bound to be unhappy. If you observe closely, incidents that spark negativity may happen more often than you think. Only if you let go of your preferences and choose happiness every time something bad happens, will you be happy.
To let go is to notice your emotions when it arises and allow them to pass. When you feel the need to dwell on what happened and justify why it wasn’t fair or explain to yourself how tragic the event was, just let go. You will know you successfully let go when you have a distinct feeling of transcending the emotion and it is replaced with peace. After you feel peaceful, you are in a good position to then address the issue itself.
However, letting go doesn’t mean that you can’t have standards for what is right or wrong, or what is fair and what isn’t fair. It’s okay if something happens and it sparks up a negative reaction inside you. Just realize that if you should let go immediately, or else you will likely waste hours at a time dwelling on it and being in a negative, suffering state.
Build Emotional Resilience through Meditation
Fortunately, thedailymeditation.com has a lot of articles on meditation, Buddhism, peace, and other topics that can allow you to build resilience to things that make you unhappy.
Check out Paul’s comprehensive article on meditation techniques from beginners to advanced to get a good understanding of how to meditate, even if you are just starting.
Also mindfulness is a good technique to help you let go of negative emotions when things start to go awry. Paul’s article about how to stay mindful will certainly help you out, if you haven’t read it already.
We talked about a lot in this article today.
- You know that attaching yourself to material or external things will inevitably lead to suffering.
- You also know that the mind sets boundaries for what it will feel happy towards and what it won’t.
- Letting go of your negative emotions and attachments will allow you to transcend them, making you resilient to events that may emotionally harm you.
- You have meditation and mindfulness to help you stay at peace and build resilience to the unfortunate things that inevitably occur in life.
If you enjoyed this article, don’t hesitate to share it so you can help improve the lives of others too!
Bio: Derek is the blogger at westernmonks.com. He has been on a personal spiritual journey for three years, studying under Sahaja Meditation yogis and reading books from western teachers such as Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer. He now wishes to spread his learnings to more people through practical and actionable articles that impact his readers with every word.