by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
We are a culture in the pursuit of happiness. It seems these days that everyone is looking for more ways to find happiness and enjoy life a little more.
We all want to move quickly through those days and times when we’re experiencing the so-called negative feelings, including anger and sadness. And the quicker we try to move through them, the more difficult they seem to get.
Any time we resist how we actually feel and focus on how much better or different we'd rather feel, we suffer.
Ancient philosophies like Buddhism teach us not to judge or label anything, and instead learn to observe things exactly the way they are in the present moment.
Our judgments are simply projections of the past that also manifest fears about our future.
If we’re able to be present with all of our feelings and give ourselves permission to be exactly where we are, we learn to appreciate the full emotional spectrum.
After all, there’s no way to know how good something is without having experienced the bad. We wouldn’t be able to gauge when we’re happy without having experienced what it feels like to be sad.
Life is beautiful because of our experience of the entire spectrum of emotions. Instead of trying to hold onto the positive emotions and set yourself free of the negative, try to embrace them all without judgment and see where they take you.
We struggle so much to feel great, to be happy, when in reality being well and happy is only one part of the greater picture of our lives.
In darkness we’re vulnerable, we meet our shadows, and find new opportunities to grow. Each time we break through a dark moment, we find our brighter light.
Each moment, good or bad, is important, as it all comprises the story of life in in its entirety. Even chronic sadness or depression is a chapter in life that can be moved through with the right tools and practices.
Sometimes, it’s ok to not feel ok.
Sometimes we need to feel sadness, anger, defeat. And when we judge and resist these feelings because we’ve been taught how “bad” they are, we are actually feeding our demons and making them stronger.
All feelings, like all things in life, are transient.
But we can choose when we let go of each feeling by taking our power back from our minds. When we train the mind through practices such as meditation, Yoga and Qi Gong, we learn that we are not our minds and therefore we don't have to be or do what the mind is telling us.
Feelings of unworthiness and resistance of what is can cause us to feel depressed, anxious and down on ourselves. But when we see these feelings and thoughts come up, we can choose to either to let them run their course and pass by, or hold onto them and allow them to define our lives and who we are.
You can be happy and still struggle, but it's a choice whether or not you want to turn a struggle in suffering.
The difference between a happy person and a person who’s chronically unhappy is that the happy person will always see the light at the end of the tunnel—and even when she can't actually see the light, she has faith that it’s there.
A happy person has perspective on life and is able to see the good even in the hard times and know that there is always a greater lesson to be learned.
The openness to growth, even in one’s darkest moments, brings a sense of hope and enthusiasm for what lies ahead.
By definition, to be happy is to feel or show pleasure or contentment. It doesn’t mean that everything in life is perfect and that there are no challenges. We can learn to allow ourselves to feel contentment with whatever is, even if the feeling makes us uncomfortable.
When we embrace the difficult feelings, we’re able to be fully present with what is. This presence allows us to let go, which then organically moves us toward the easier feelings of joy and peace that we spend so much time struggling to draw into our lives.
What you’ll come to realize over time is that it’s actually easier to embrace the difficult feelings than to pretend you’re feeling better than you are. When you embrace and accept what is, you find a greater sense of peace than you could ever arrive at on your own.
Every moment of difficulty has a purpose for the bigger picture of your life. You are always equipped to deal with whatever struggle is put in front of you. Each struggle is specifically in your life because you can deal with it. Sometimes the challenge may feel so great that we deny ourselves our inherent power with which to overcome it because the tools we need are unfamiliar.
Whatever challenge enters your life is there because you have something to learn from it and the capacity to deal with it, even if you don’t realize it at first.
The Universe presents us with hardship to force us to use all of our tools and resources, and to reach a little further to grow each time.
When we stop planning and trying to force things to happen, we realize that delays always have a purpose. There is a magic to seeing things in this way.
When we let go of the struggle and allow the natural order of things to carry us, we’re often taken to places, feelings, emotions and circumstances far better than we ever could have planned.
And thus we're gifted with a state of happiness we couldn't otherwise attain.
Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac. is Co-Owner and Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Setareh offers clinical services and transformational workshops that blend the ancient practices of Classical Chinese Medicine and Yoga. More information at www.setarehmoafi.com and www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com.