‘But’ an innocuous word. Three letters, simple and small, yet can cause so much suffering!
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine and he was telling me of his dream to fly. Ever since he was a young lad, he said, he had wanted to fly. He spent hours playing his flight simulator with dreams of one day holding the controls to the real thing.
“But,” he said, “I can’t.”
“Why not?” I had asked.
“Because I’m too old now. No one would ever hire me.”
“Why can’t you just learn to fly for the fun of it, the joy of it, for the culmination of a lifetime dream?”
He had sighed and changed the topic, letting the dream fall from his grasp and fade into the mists of perpetual disappointment.
For quite some time, one of my yoga students has been struggling with illness, and in an effort to regain some control of her life, felt she needed to organize her house: to physically get rid of things that were making her feel trapped and engulfed—much like her daily pain. ‘But,’ she would say, there is so much to do. I don’t know where to start. Then she would sigh, let the instinct to purge and cleanse slip through her fingers and continue with the weight of her world heavy on her shoulders.
In my meditation class, I often tell my students: ‘But’ is a sneaky little word, and one we need to watch out for. When we have a desire or something that impassions or enflames us with excitement or a burst of energy, watch out for the haunting spectre of ‘but’ hovering around, with its veiled miasma of negativity. ‘But’ is an often unconscious, yet powerful indicator of our tendency to thwart ourselves, and it is essential we recognize its siren call.
Our soul or true nature naturally wants to indulge in things that make us happy, that fill us with life. Our Ego, or ‘perceived identity’ wants to maintain the status, or identity or world we have created for ourselves.
Let me explain. In the example of my friend, his Ego or perceived identity revolves around his projecting a life of seriousness, one of a driven businessman who does not give into whims of fancy—like learning how to fly a plane. That does not fit into his ‘ideas’ or ‘beliefs’ about himself—or more to the point—the ‘ideas’ or ‘beliefs’ OTHER people have of who he is. They might laugh at him, or mock his childish dreams. “Old men don’t learn how to fly planes,” they might say, or “Why waste good money on something that has no reward—no purpose, you would be best to invest it in growing your business.”
Instinctively we know what makes us happy, what will make us feel good. We know that when we embrace a passion or desire, we are filled with energy and have a zest for life. ‘But,’ stops us dead in our tracks and leaves us with feelings of disillusionment and disappointment—in other words we are unhappy when we stop ourselves from following our instincts, our dreams, passions and desires.
A caveat here as always: feeding our desires and passions are wonderful catalysts for feeling good—for enjoying fully this wonderful life experience; however, in obtaining or seeking them, they can never hurt someone else—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or spiritually. We are not here to fulfill our desires at the expense of others. We are all here to experience a life of happiness and fulfillment!
My yoga student, instinctively knows what will make her feel better ‘but’ she stops herself. I’m sure we can all think of instances where we have done the exact same thing—eating that piece of pie, skipped the trip to the gym, gone out when we were exhausted ‘but’ felt sorry for our friend—the list is virtually endless. So why do we keep doing this to ourselves?
Choice. Simply, we chose to ignore the urgings of our soul or our instincts, and we continue doing what we have always done—we continue to be the person we have spent years creating, the person others EXPECT us to be, and often when we ignore those desires, those gentle urgings, we become unhappy.
Like we say in our book LIFE, and in this week’s Weekly Wisdom for LIFE: it all comes down to a choice. Do you want to be happy or unhappy?
Looking forward to 2012—make a choice to choose happiness this year! Don’t make excuses to live your dreams. Follow your heart and soul. Step out of your comfort zone; find your authenticity; be the person you want to be, and live the life you’ve always wanted. Choose happiness from this moment on and embrace your fullest potential.
Wishing you a magical 2012 full of happiness, health, and abundance!