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Author: admin Created: 10/9/2009 5:28 AM
Stuff Happens. Accepting it is the key to happiness.

The worry and the fear that you feel right now is in the future. There is nothing to fear right now, if there were, you would not have time to feel “worry”. To worry takes time.

Ultimately, the answer is to accept the feelings you feel, because it is the “resistance” of them that is causing the mental ,and sometimes physical pain, that you are feeling. The thing that you are resisting, is the reality of the way things are right now.

But, we want this “pain of worry” to go away. However, first, for a moment, accept the worry, accept the pain. This is what you are feeling right now, this is reality, recognize it, and accept that it is happening right now.

Now it is less, the thought are still there, how do we prevent the thoughts from turning into full blown worry again? It is impossible to stop thinking. The human mind cannot be turned off.

The “worry” is in the future. We are not God, so we do not absolutely know what will happen in the future or how we feel when the future arrives....

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I really like the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is doubt, faith ;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

This prayer make no expectations of God...

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This website (http://www.awakeblogger.com/2008/09/the-10-very-best-zen-stories/) contains the following story:

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

...

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Today I heard someone say that we should respond to things not react. This may seem like the same thing, but I believe I understand what the difference is.

I have known for some time that when I say things out of emotion I later regret what I said. This provides a lot of material for my worries (I wonder how that person will react when they hear what I said?). I admonish myself not to say things out of emotion, but emotion always comes, and it seems like it cannot be controlled.

However, If tell myself to formulate a response rather than a reaction this process comes to mind:

1) Should I say anything at all? – When I react because of emotion (we just found out we have to work this weekend!) the reaction is bound to be negative. If I open my mouth to formulate a response, I sometimes realize that there is nothing constructive for me to say. Most emotional reactions are just “diarrhea of the mouth”, useless words spewed out into the world by me to no benefit to anyone including myself.

2) What do I hope to gain by my response? – Again, this stops most responses because, since I should accept all situations and never expect anything, why am I bothering to respond at all? So, unless I am going to say “I refuse to work this weekend”, I should probably not say anything at all. Note, that I have to accept the consequences of my “response” not to work, but I am free to have that response...

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It’s been nearly two months into this “Stuff-Happens” way of life, and like with most things in my life, I sometimes do it and sometimes I don’t.

I generally find myself slipping back into old ways (planning out everything and expecting for things to go the way I planed), and then when faced with some fearful situation, I remember to just say “Stuff-Happens” and have acceptance of whatever happens, and the fear goes away.

So it’s nice that at any time I can use this technique, and no matter how long it has been in disuse (usually less than a day, I have a low pain threshold), it works just as well every time.

I can’t say that about my diet. I recently got on the scale and it read 217. Now, at 5’ 8” that is about 30 pounds overweight. 8 years ago I was at 245, but only 6 months ago I was at 206. As I usually do, I swore off cheating on my diet and renewed my resolve to “act right”. Of course, I have to be honest with myself and realize that I always slip up and eat a 2500 calorie meal here...

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All the "Fear" we have is because we anticipate losing something that we don't want to lose. This can be as simple as "I want things to stay the way they are now, I fear that things will change". Therefore, any fear we have will go away if we let go of the underlying "want" or desire.

And, we ALWAYS have the choice to let go of ANY desire.

Of course we all have desires...

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Today I was thinking about an email I sent. I sent some material in error and I figure it will be pointed out to me later. Setting aside that the only "problem" is an anticipated bruised Ego, I started to feel worried about the situation, so I just said "I screwed up, Stuff-Happens" and I got a bit of relief.

But not completely.

Darn, I want to be completely "Worry Free", so I needed to dig a bit deeper and figure out what wasn't working and most importantly, to "do something" that will make this worry, no matter how small, go away.

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Four times this week I had "anxiety flare-ups" and every time was because of ego. I define an anxiety flare-up as anytime I have the feeling of being scared for no reason. It usually lasts only moments but during these times the feeling is felt deeply and completely.

At these times, thinking "Wow look I don't feel good right now. Hey, Stuff-Happens", actually keeps me from making things worse (projecting into the future that I will always feel this way and getting worried and depressed by the thought). However, I started to dig deeper as to why these useless feelings arise...

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As I share this concept of 100% acceptance with others, the question comes up "what do you mean by acceptance? If I get fired from my job that is a bad thing. Trust me I wont like it". If you look up the definition of acceptance, you will find a number of them, so for the sake of brevity (I can see myself reading this years from now and I will be thankful that I quickly got to the point), I will define it as "lack of anger at the situation".

The definition of anger is usually defined as "anytime something we expect to happen doesn't happen" or just "anytime we are disappointed".

An unexpected lottery win

Well now wait a minute, if that lottery ticket I bought, that I never expected to actually pay off, suddenly hits and I win a million dollars, that will be unexpected but I promise I wont be angry!

However, when we check the numbers and that lottery ticket has proved to be as worthless as the one last week, our true feelings come out and we indeed are a bit angry the heavens have not realized how special we are and granted us this small boon. As foolish as it seems to be, we expected to win and we are angry that we didn't.

However, we get over our anger in less than a minute because we remind ourselves, "what the heck was I thinking? a million to one odds, of course I didn't win!"

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I do believe that the principal of "the opposite of fear is faith" is correct. Here is basically how it works:

  1. There is a "Higher Power" that will always take care of you.
  2. You have "faith" in #1
  3. When anything happens, you just say "it's ok that I lost all my money, if all that matters is serving my Higher Power I can just devote the rest of my life to helping the poor if needed."
  4. On your deathbed you have no fear because you will finally reside with your Higher Power forever (this is why you don't even fear death)

Now lets put aside all the arguments of "is there a higher Power at all?" and "even if there is a Higher Power, how do we know that  #2 and #4 are true?". The point is I can confirm from my personal experience that #1 and #2 will provide a lot of relief from worry and stress.

The problem is that #1 and #2 do not always "stay with us". You can "feel the faith" at the beginning of the day, but later that afternoon you "feel differently". When that happens the fear and the anxiety return with full force. Usually, deep prayer and meditation combined with a trip to your local house of worship can get you back on track, but even then you can find yourself lying awake at night worrying about how you're gonna make the mortgage payments.

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