We all want something more in life, but do we always know what we want more of?
Many times, I’ll ask one of my close friends or companions a simple question: “What are you really hungry for right now?” They know what I’m really asking: it’s not about food or material need. It’s about their spiritual need and mental health; what are they hungry for that can make them feel fulfilled, not full.
Their answers usually end up being one of the three: “Peace.” “More time.” “A greater connection with the present.”
Their needs may be much more difficult to find solutions to than ordering an item on a menu at a restaurant, but it definitely isn’t impossible.
All of our goals, even those that seem to be the hardest to attain, can be reached through simplifying the way we perceive and engage in our daily lives.
And one of the most direct ways to simplify our lives, taking us a step closer towards the inner serenity that we yearn for, is letting go.
The first person to introduce me to the modern-day version of letting go was the Co-Founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, James Baraz.
James is often considered an expert in finding the happiness and inner peace that so many of us seek. He is the author of the books, Awakening Joy and Awakening Joy for Kids, and leads a class to help people find their joy from within.
In James’ teachings, he discusses how letting go can further enrich our lives. He shares his strategies for finding more happiness with less things, helping more people find the contentment in their lives that they were lacking.
But letting go isn’t just about throwing things into the trash and decluttering your house. There are three specific types of letting go that we can experience, and these include:
This is perhaps the most important “letting go” that we can undergo.
The modern world may have given us luxuries and comforts that humanity has never had the pleasure of experiencing, but it came with a price. The price? Our time and mental health.
These days, it is impossible to be an active part of society without exposing yourself to the unending list of tasks and responsibilities, the constant barrage of noise and sound, and the information overload streaming straight at us from our various news feeds and social channels.
There are only so many hours in a day, and so many of them are already taken the moment that you get out of bed.
How often can we sum up the courage and say to ourselves, “No”? Not often enough.
The best way to find more and experience more is to take on less. With less on your plate—less information, fewer tasks, fewer responsibilities—you can experience more of what you keep.
We all carry with us our own stories. These stories come out during certain situations or times of struggle, and they bring with them their own sets of negative associations.
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For example, when you feel rejection in your professional or personal life, you may immediately fall back to your familiar narrative of “I wasn’t good enough anyway,” or “They never gave me a chance.”
These stories are harmful. We fall back to them because they comfort us with familiarity; they structure events as a cause and effect.
Instead, you need to let go of the chip on your shoulder and rewrite the story that exists in your head.
Turn your story into something positive that cheers you up even in the toughest times, such as, “I have people around me who love me and I can move forward with my life.”
By having the strength to tell yourself a positive story, you can find inner peace and calm even in the roughest phases of your life.
And finally, we come to the “letting go” that many of us are familiar with: letting go of stuff.
Let go of your material possessions. We must be reminded time and time again of this truth, because it always creeps back in our life.
The need to find fulfillment in pretty objects and expensive possessions is one that can sneak up on us, until one day we are so emotionally attached to so many things that we become fractured versions of ourselves.
We divide our attention and our love into a hundred things that have no inherent meaning or value, and we lose a part of ourselves in the process.
Things cannot fill the hunger or the void; they simply distract us from the need to find fulfillment, which is why we always need more. But ask yourself: how much do you really need?
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— Lachlan Brown (@Lachybe) March 14, 2018
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook on How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life.
Here's what you'll learn:
• How and why to be mindful: There are many simple exercises you can do to bring a mindful attitude to quotidian activities such as eating breakfast, walking the dog, or sitting on the floor to stretch.
• How to meditate: Many beginning meditators have a lot of questions: How should I sit? How long should I meditate? What if it feels awkward or uncomfortable or my foot falls asleep? Am I doing it wrong? In this book, you’ll find simple steps and explanations to answer these questions and demystify meditation. (And no, you’re not doing it wrong).
• How to approach relationships: This section offers tips for interacting with friends and enemies alike and walks you through a loving kindness meditation.
• How to minimize harm: There is a lot of suffering in the world; it’s best for everyone if we try not to add to it. Here you’ll read about the idea of ahimsa (non-harming) and how you might apply it to your actions.
• How to let things go: As Buddhism teaches, excessive attachment (whether we’re clinging to something or actively resisting it) all too often leads to suffering. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation find peace in letting go and accepting things as they are in the moment.
Check it out here.