What's Best

You've probably been taught to master your destiny. Create your best life. Have the things you want to have. 

This is called materialism and the overriding assumption in this education (that is overwhelmingly left unchecked) is that you know what's best for you.

Do you?

Of course you want more money. To look better. To have an amazing partner. To achieve notoriety, and so on.

We are taught these things and those like them are valuable in and of themselves. We are taught to pursue them. And we are taught that something is wrong (with us) if we do not achieve them.

Based on these beliefs and conditioning, we slip into our personal sense of self, where the "I" is born. We become independent and solid—in control. Or, so we think.

We start envisioning what will make us happy and we start working towards realising it.

But do we really know what will make us happy and what is best for us?

Can you be sure more money, the right partner, the right job, etc. is right for you? Can you be sure that whatever you say is missing from your life will fundamentally improve your experience of it?

Relativity teaches us to be mindful from attaching to either of the poles. You find bad in good and good in bad. You find weakness in strength and strength in weakness. You find sickness in health and health in sickness. You find wealth in poverty and poverty in wealth.

And on and on.

In light of this joke, spirituality teaches us that it is possible — if not wise — to learn to be happy or OK now, despite all outward appearances and any and all thoughts that would have you believe something is missing from your life.

All you have to do is close your eyes, comfortably watch your breath, and let your restless mind settle.

Then you can ask the eternal question, "What in this moment is lacking?"

Nothing ever is and even if you honestly don't believe that, can you find the advantage in your disadvantage? It's there.

Tough is Not Tough

You threaten me. I threaten you back.

You threaten me a little more. I threaten you even more than that.

And on and on, until somebody gets hurt, or worse.

Modern society, for the most part, calls this, "tough." 

But the only thing tough about this definition of tough is not the show of might but the personality and ego needed to adopt the pretence. That is tough to bear.

In reality, tough is not tough. Tough is weak. Tough is weak because of how cheap a resource it is, like junk food. Tough is weak because of how ignorant it is. And most of all, tough is weak because of how utterly ineffective it is as a strategy to meet your needs in any kind of sustainable way.

It's all too easy to be punitive and negative. The strategy requires little to no emotional intelligence. It's what young children do on the playground all day long. And it's altogether exhausting to propagate, receive, and watch.

Consider the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. getting attacked in 1962 by Roy James, as he was giving a speech at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Birmingham, Alabama.

James, a 6'2" heavy set man and member of the American Nazi Party, suddenly charged the stage and punched Dr. King in the face, drawing blood. Instead of fighting back, Dr. King is reported to have dropped his hands in surrender and forcefully instructed those around him to not harm James, as he, himself, spoke kind words to the attacker.

The two would later meet in private. No doubt, Dr. King was interested in understanding the man's story, serving him, and forging a connection.

Meeting violence with love and kindness—that is tough in the truest sense of the word.

Feel What You Do

You don't always get to do what you feel.

But how much of our happiness depends on this? A great deal.

However, you can always feel what you do. No matter what. This option is always available to you, even in sad circumstances.

To feel what you do means to bring presence and awareness to whatever it is that you are doing. Making the bed. Sweeping the floor. Folding the clothes. Typing the screenplay. Making the calls. Watering the plants.

All of our seemingly mundane activities can be transformed into extraordinary experiences through a shift in awareness only.

If (and it is not a small one) we can learn to drop our expecatations of what should be happening and work with what we've got — however "imperfect" — we can discover a bottomless reservoir.

We can discover happiness that has no cause—that just is.

Try it. Feel what you are doing. Consciously shift awareness from the thinking mind, to the feeling body as you do what is required of you.

Put your heart into it just because, and reap the reward.