Category Archives: Happiness

The Mechanism of Letting Go

Everyone advises letting go but no one precisely tells how to let go. One of the best instructions I have come across for letting go is from David Hawkins. It goes as follows

Letting go involves being aware of a feeling, letting it come up, staying with it and letting it run its course without wanting to make it different or do anything about it. It means simply to let the feeling be there and focus on letting out the energy behind it. The first step is to allow yourself to have the feeling without resisting it, venting it, fearing it, condemning it or moralizing about it. It means to drop judgment and to see that it is just a feeling. The technique is to be with the feeling and surrender all efforts to modify it in any way. Let go of wanting to resist the feeling. It is resistance that keeps the feeling going. When you give up resisting, or trying to modify the feeling , it will shift to the next feeling and be accompanied by a lighter sensation. A feeling that is not resisted will disappear as the energy behind it dissipates.

David Hawkins

That’s all there is to letting go. Most people are unable to let go because they are caught up in the thoughts of letting go. But realize one thing very clearly that thoughts, feelings and sensations are one body. They are not separate. When there is a thought, there is also feeling and also sensation.

Most people talk about letting go of attachments. You can let go of attachments only in the moment the attachment arises, not at any other time. Same is the case of letting go of fears.

Supposing you are afraid of dogs and you want to get over the fear of dogs. If you are at your home, you cannot do anything to get over the fear of dogs. There is no dog around so there is no fear. The fear arises when there is a dog around. And that is the time, the only time, you can deal with the fear and let go of it. If you are attentive, you will see the fear arising and the feeling take over you. That is the time you need to follow the instructions on letting go as described above. Allow the feeling of fear to arise, to stay and to subside. If you are watching it in the moment without resisting or without following your usual habitual reactions to the dog, then that feeling will come, arise, stay and disappear. If you have done this (allowed this to happen) then you will notice that you do not have the same intensity of fear the next time you are around a dog. Because you do not allow the fear to arise in the first place, because you resist that feeling the instant it arises, you are unable to let go of that completely. Instead, it becomes stronger and stronger.

This is true of any other fear or attachment. If you want to break the habit of smoking for example, then you have to deal with it when the urge to smoke arises. No amount of thinking or talking to yourself will get you to stop smoking. The only thing you can do in the time when that feeling is not there is to develop awareness or mindfulness. When you are developing your awareness, then that awareness helps you when the real fear or the urge arises.

Most of our feelings are learnt by the automatic nervous system in a state when we were not aware, like in early childhood or when we did not know the words for certain things. These become automatic reactions hard wired in our system. The continuous practice of letting go can help us to become free step by step. As you become more and more aware, you become more sensitive to the feelings arising within your body, you are more aware to the sensations in your body and the movement of your thought. It becomes easier to let go.

Awareness is the master key.  

Inner Life Joy

Experience is a continuous process. It is always there from the time we are born till we die. It is always there from the time we wake up to the time we sleep. It is also there during our sleep. However, the nature of our experience changes during different times of the day and age. Each experience is not the same.

Come to think of it, how do we know we have experienced something? Because it stands out from the rest of the stream of experience isn’t it? We only notice the peaks of experience. If nothing has happened in the past one hour, it does not mean we have not experienced anything.

However, if suddenly there is a loud crash on the road and you are jolted from your sofa, then you say you experienced a loud noise. You may run out to the balcony to see what happened. If you see someone you know has met with an accident, you will experience something more than if you see some stranger involved in the accident.

If life is just a series of events that you experience day in and day out, then are you in control of what experiences you get? It seems not. Is our mind or brain just a box meant to receive sights and sounds and tastes and smells and experiences?

Are our experiences just a reaction to the external world? It does seem so. If it is hot outside, we feel miserable. If it is chilly outside, we feel uncomfortable. If someone says “You are a great person” you experience some emotion of happiness or pride. But if someone says “you are a lousy person” you may experience anger or sadness.

Is our inner life so tightly connected with what we see, hear or feel that we have no control on our own experience? It does seem to be the case. But we never pay attention to this. It seems so natural for us to blame some person or some condition for the experience we are having.

It should therefore come as a big surprise to you if I declare that you can experience any emotion you want in any situation. Since you have never exercised your ability to choose the emotion you want,  it may seem difficult at first. Moreover, the external world is constantly throwing sensory impressions at you and you are constantly experiencing something or the other depending on your prior experiences and habitual tendencies. Further, you are continuously blaming something or someone for your experiences so the thought of being responsible for your own experiences never occurs to you.

To get out of this negative loop, we need to remember that we can choose our experience. The first step in that direction is to notice our current experience. If you notice what you are experiencing right now, then only you will be in a position to replace it with another experience. So the next question is obviously, with what experience would you like to replace your current experience?

It is not worthwhile to imagine replacing a sad experience with a happy one on the flick of a switch. It would seem odd that while others are crying because they have lost someone in an accident and you suddenly burst out happy and laughing. That is not the kind of experience changing I am talking about. What is reasonable to be able to do is that while others are crying, you may not experience that level of anguish. And even if you are crying, you may notice that you are crying. Noticing itself is a big thing. Noticing itself if maintained as pure noticing, will bring about a change in the experience.

If you continue to notice, you do not need to choose another emotion to replace your current experience with. The natural process will automatically bring you to a stable experience. That experience, if practiced, is also known as a equanimous calm or inner joy. This experience when practiced through non-judgmental noticing becomes unshakeable in due course.

Then you will not experience the ups and downs of your earlier emotional roller coaster which was totally under the influence of external events and persons. Now, there is an experience of a constant source of energy and joy underneath your outer appearance and which is not a result of any forced effort. But it is just there and you continue to notice the same.

This inner joy is your true nature. You will know yourself as this inner joy and not be caught up with your name and designation and other egoistic identifiers. There is no name for this inner joy but this is your true nature.

May you find this inner joy. There is nothing more valuable than this in the whole universe.

Psychological Balance


We observe that sometimes we get carried away by our emotions. When things are going well, we are excited and which shows in our animated behavior. On the other hand, when things are not going well, that also shows as a relative heaviness in our behavior.

Most of us tend to spend our lives on one side of our emotions. Some people are always depressed no matter what the external situation is. They will always find something to complain about in the best of events. Psychologically, they are carrying a burden of expectations, ideals and thoughts which makes the surroundings heavy with anxiety and worry. Very rarely do these people experience carefree joy.

Then there are others who always want to have a positive attitude even if things are not going as per their expectations. They are always hoping that the future will bring better tidings and this is what helps them live.

While it may seem that the second way is advisable, a positive attitude does not imply psychological balance. Those who advocate positive attitude suffer equally as those who possess negative attitude.

Having any attitude – positive or negative – is like a crutch. It is a dependency. Real balance is when there is no attitude. One takes things as they are without differentiating the situation as being fine or not fine.

A person who is psychologically balanced does neither complain about the situation nor takes the help of a positive attitude to endure the situation. When you get involved in a situation, you lose balance. The only way to be balanced is not to get involved psychologically with anything or anyone. A high order indeed!

Real Happiness Does Not Depend on Anything


It is very normal to think that once I get something, I will be happy. Most people search for happiness in events and struggle to make those events happen.

While there is a certain pleasure and joy to be had when you get what you want, that is not real happiness. This is because, things do not remain the same. They change and when they do, you will lose the happiness you had.

Many people even lose the sense of joy when they get what they want because they have been struggling so hard to get that that they are emotionally drained and cannot feel any joy at all.

Real happiness is something totally different. It is not dependent on anything external. When a person discovers this happiness, it is totally irrelevant whether there is food to eat or house to stay or money to spend.

This happiness can only be discovered when one sees the insubstantial and hollow nature of worldly achievements and possessions. It is through this sense of emptiness that one can get in touch with what is real. When you throw away all that is false, what remains has to be the genuine.

Understanding Fear and Insecurity


We all strive for security in life – we want good education in the hope of securing a high paying job, we invest money in property and funds so that we can secure our future, we save money for our children’s education and marriage, we buy insurance for safeguarding our family against accident and death.

Insecurity is caused by fear. Deep down there is an unconscious fear, a certain insecurity which drives us to do these things. But we never question it or investigate it.

Insecurity must be understood at two levels. One is the inherent insecurity of life. Everything is impermanent; nature is in a constant state of flux. Seasons change, we grow old, we fall ill, we die. There is nothing we can do to prevent this.

Since we are born, we must grow old and die one day. The uncertainty is when and how we die, not whether we die. Even if there are tremendous advances in medical science, nothing can prevent death. So this is the basic level of insecurity in life which will never go away – whatever your job, position, bank balance, and health is.

The second level of insecurity arises from people trying to find more security in life for themselves and their families. This is the insecurity most of us are caught in. We all want to be settled in a job earning a monthly income and saving for the future. We also keep trying to find more ways to earn additional income such as changing jobs, investing in shares and real estate and so on.

We think of our future, then our children’s future and then our grand children’s future. All this thinking creates more insecurity and we strive harder to acquire more property and money – all with an underlying sense of panic, thinking what will happen in the future.

Even if we are not driven by family concerns we are simply driven by competition – by looking at what others are doing around us and wanting to do better than them. The more people we see running after property and wealth, the more insecure we become and strive harder, increasing the insecurity. This is a vicious cycle.

Whereas the first level of insecurity is natural and cannot be eliminated, the other is created by us, is totally unnecessary and is the root of all evil actions, cheating and corruption in the world.

​In order to full grasp the first level of insecurity, one must see through the illusory insecurity and stop acting in a manner which increases that insecurity.

When one is free of the man made insecurity by not chasing after symbols of security such as property and wealth, one can then tackle the original insecurity of life i.e. death.

Finally, when even this level of insecurity is penetrated to its roots by discovering what you truly are, you can be free of all fear.

Do Not Look Forward to Anything


It is so natural to think and imagine that tomorrow will be better than today. Aren’t we all planning for something or thinking of something that is going to happen sometime in the future? Maybe we are looking forward to a vacation. Maybe we are looking forward to getting married or having children. Maybe we are looking forward to a promotion in our job. On a daily scale, we look forward to the party at night or the meeting in the afternoon or even the cricket match on television.

Looking forward to a pleasant event causes anticipation of joy and excitement. Similarly, looking forward to an unpleasant event causes anxiety or fear. Have you even watched the process of looking forward to? Doesn’t it involve a lot of imagination born out of memory of past experiences or what information you have heard and gathered?

For instance, if you are looking forward to a vacation to a place you have never been to, do you not imagine what you will do or what you expect to find there based on the stories and experiences related by others who have been to that place before? Do you not imagine how happy you are going to be there or what experiences you are going to have there?

But what happens in reality? You might not have the exact same experiences when you visit that place? Many things might not be as you imagined they would be. That leads to frustration and anger. You blame those people who recommended that place to you. Even if you find most things as you imagined, you are unable to enjoy completely because the mind is filled with ideas about the place and is constantly comparing your actual experience with your imaginations.

To take another example, you might be looking forward to your exam results. You remember what other people commented on your results the last time and you start imagining what people’s reactions will be if you get poor results or better results than last time. All this imagination causes anxiety to build up.

Is it possible not to look forward to anything? Some people might say that it will make for a dull life where there is no hope and no future. But look at it in another way. What happens when you are not lost in the thoughts of what is going to happen tomorrow? Are you not fully in the present?

​The present moment is all there is. Imagination prevents your direct contact with the present moment. That is the reason why you do not experience anything even during the experience because the mind is busy in imaginations, comparisons, anger and frustrations.

Things are changing so rapidly that to experience the present moment requires your complete attention and energy but when energy is sapped in imagination about what is going to happen, one misses the moment and its beauty.

Therefore, do not look forward to anything – near or far, pleasant or unpleasant. When you are able to do this and remain in the moment, you will discover something totally unexpected. And it is the totally unexpected which has the quality of genuine happiness.