1. FORGET HOPE
In Learning from the Heart by Daniel Gottlieb, Gottlieb writes, “Hope is always about the future. And it isn’t always good news. Sometimes hope can imprison us with belief or expectation that something will happen in the future to change our lives. Similarly hopelessness isn’t always about despair. Hopelessness can bring us right into this very moment and answer all of life’s most difficult questions. Who am I, where am I, what does this mean, and what now”. I think this is letting go - when we let go of how we hope things to be and become content with how they really are. This is the place where we can delve deep into the present moment and start to answer all of life’s questions with a lot more clarity and composure.
2. SLOW DOWN
When we are always running at a frantic pace from one commitment to another we never get the chance to simply sit with our feelings. When you don’t take the time to see how these feelings affect you and more importantly where they stem from, you never get to truly come to terms with those mistakes or regrets and they can tap away forever, little by little tearing your present moments away.
3. FORGET THE PAST
Thinking about past mistakes can put a very heavy burden on anyone. When you live a life always thinking about past regrets you continually miss out on what’s in front of you, and then only add to the list of mistakes and regrets. Even thinking about the past for a moment has the ability to significantly impact on your motivation, inspiration and positivity and the more you let your mind slip back into the yesterdays the more you allow yourself to fall prey each and every day.
4. STOP CLINGING
How can we expect to be happy when our mind is constantly jumping from the present to the past, when our mind is constantly running and filled with anxiety and fear? You are stuck in the prison of your mind, stuck in thoughts and feelings from yesterday, from five years ago, and there comes a time when everyone has to stop, look deep, breathe and let go. Letting go is not just forgetting, attempting to simply forget something without ever dealing with your emotions will only bring you further suffering.
Letting go is a precursor to happiness, the moment I let go of all the menial and petty afflictions of my past it was the moment I experienced a new freedom, a freedom to better enjoy the present moment and a freedom to appreciate all the things I had in that present moment.
5. GIVE YOURSELF THE TIME AND SPACE
When we finally give ourselves the space and time to stop and reflect we see that this habit of being consumed by the past is ridiculous, not only have these chances passed us by but thinking about them only means the chances right in front of us will too. Instead of letting go, learning from our past and diving head first into new challenges we become hesitant because this habit has sprouted negativity and doubt.
6. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
The key ingredient in allowing some peace from this constant bombardment is learning the tools of mindfulness. This teaches us to no longer let our thoughts control us and it becomes significantly easier to be aware of the times when our mind is wandering and causing problems. I find now that when I spend considerable time watching TV, playing on social media, or participating in unhealthy conversation that the further away from mindfulness I get. The further away I get the more my mind starts to wander and the more I become overwhelmed with worries about work, money and relationships. The more I worry about these things the more I tend to start thinking about all those past opportunities I let slip and this only causes worry, fear and emotions to run riot.
7. REMEMBER LIFE IS IMPERMANENT
We need to remind ourselves that we've got more than enough right here and now, health, friends, family etc. to be happy. We need to be aware that life is impermanent and inconstant and this moment will quickly end, and sitting stuck in some trivial thing from the past will only cause more suffering. We sit here worried about insignificant things when in this instance you or a close friend could be struck down with sickness or death. Use this as a trigger to the importance of the present moment, let go and live right here, the only place that life actually exists.
* You can also join us for walking meditation at Bondi Beach on November 26th at 8am.
By Evan Sutter