Inspired by the ancient book of wisdom; The Tao Te Ching: Verse Thirty Five
Hold the great image. All under heaven will come They come without harm, in harmonious peace Music and food, passing travelers stop The Tao that is spoken out of the mouth Is bland and without flavor. Look at it, it cannot be seen Listen to it, it cannot be heard. Use it, it cannot be exhausted
What gives you enjoyment? This question is usually answered by your belief systems. Your belief systems are your core values that give shape and definition to your life’s experiences. Do you define yourself at the mercy of other’s opinions? Do you believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Does life just happen to you without rhyme or reason? Do you welcome each morning or struggle out of bed hoping you’ll make it through the day?
I am frequently asked how someone can add more joy and contentment into his or her life. I honestly don’t have an answer for them. What I do offer is a challenge that could lead to the outcome they seek should they have the faith and courage to dive in. Get well acquainted with the things that cause you great fear.
Dedicate a significant amount of time over the next several weeks to really get in touch with your demons. What scares you to death? Do you fear loss of a relationship or loss of a job? Does the possibility of losing your health or function make your blood run cold? Does the prospect of having to redefine yourself without the aid of an addictive substance or professional or personal role terrify you?
How does the reality that nothing is certain, nothing is within our control and nothing is permanent make you feel? Well then, that is where you begin. As the wonderful Tibetan Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron often advises, start at the place that scares you the most.
As you explore each unthinkable scenario ask yourself what life would really be like if the worst happened. Be gently. Be patient but be relentless. As you make your way through this challenge the answer will slowly begin to come to you. Life goes on. Yes! That life may be quite different from what you or others may have envisioned. It is even possible that it will be better than what you know right now. But you will adapt to whatever happens.
So the answer to how to do I add more joy and contentment into my life is simply. Just let go. Let go of worrying about change. It is inevitable. Let go of trying to stay in control. You never had control to begin with. The only thing we need to focus on is now. You need to redirect your energies into being present in the moment and aware of all that is around you so that you can milk every last drop of joy and contentment out of it.
Open you heart so that you can experience love, compassion or pain. The past is done. The future is an illusion. There is only now. Let go of fear-based living and begin to live your life welcoming whatever shows up. Don’t waste one more minute trying to avoid the unavoidable.