Sandy: Hi Carlos,
I have a couple of questions. First, I have to tell you that I’m feeling a lot better spiritually, because I finally freed myself from a dangerous illusion I’d been harboring for a long time and which made me feel completely worthless… As a result, I feel calmer now and more cheerful.
Carlos: I’m very glad to hear you are feeling better. An interesting thing about our emotions is that today they are positive but tomorrow something new comes and they may turn negative and then again two days later they may turn positive and then negative and….For me the best thing to do is to start to learn to step aside from the emotions and be the observer that sees them changing. Instead of being the one that feels good or bad according to how they happen to be, I’m the one that watches the emotions go round and round. Of course it feels a lot better when there is a positive emotion than when there is a negative one, but with attention and some practice we can start to recognize that the changing emotions are not my doing, they are just the consequence of many, many factors independent of my will. But the witness, Me, does not change. ‘I’, remain the one seeing, observing that it feels good when there is positive energy or that it feels bad when there is negative energy. But ‘I’, the witness, remain unchanged by the emotions.
Of course this is a long process and what I’m mentioning here is only a small tip. You can find this idea explained with much more detailed in several sources…I like especially how it is presented in the book by Eckhart Tolle ‘The New Earth’.
Sandy: I’m even getting along better with my mother. I’m sure this is a big spiritual step for me, because I realized how wrong it was all by myself! In fact, I need to realize things all by myself – people may tell me the same thing over and over and even if I know they are right, I can’t take it for granted. I prefer to “bang against a wall” and see the truth for myself than just listen to people.
Carlos: I understand what you say, but I will also say that nothing is separate from anything else. What people are telling, what you see, what the world shows you, all those things affects us, and then one day, PUMP, we ‘bang our head against the wall’ and we understand. It is always a web of many many events and circumstances that create anything – a car, a baby, a painting, a war… or an understanding. Nothing stands on its own. There is not an individual that can do things, but it is always the Whole that is doing. Everything is connected to everything else. We cannot do, but Life can do through us.
Sandy: What bothers me the most now is that I feel kind of wasted. I mean, I feel that I’m not living the kind of life that would allow me to express my potential. I’d like to travel more and be more active, but right now I don’t make a lot of money, because I work from home…
Carlos: You see, this is exactly what I was mentioning before. A couple of paragraphs above you were feeling ‘much better spiritually’ but now you are feeling ‘wasted’. This is very common; we all experience these kinds of changing, contradictory emotions over and over and over. That is why I mentioned that we need to learn to become the witness of our emotions instead of being the person affected by the emotions. In some cases, especially when the emotions are very destructive, it can be very useful to study the emotions, to track them down. But in most cases, spending too much time trying to find the origin of every emotion—which is in fashion now days—is mostly a waste of time because most of our emotions are really untraceable. A much more useful work is to realize that the emotions are not me; that I’m the one observing the emotions. And when I realize the truth of this, emotions, especially negative emotions like self-pity, anger or jealousy stop having the power and hypnotic control that otherwise have and instead become more like movies appearing in the screen of the mind…Again, this is only a small tip. The work with our emotions needs to be a serious-intensive work, which may not be easy, but its results are more than worth its price; the result is a wonderful sense of freedom…
Answering more specifically to what you mentioned, ask anybody, and if they are really sincere they will tell you the same you wrote to me. Yes, sometime for a short while we feel that everything is perfect, like when we travel or fall in love or get something new, but then when the trip is over, the relationship becomes less exciting or the new thing loses its attraction we come back to the sense that something is wrong, that my life is not as I want to, that something is lacking. Nothing outside of yourself will ever completely satisfy you. After you make some money you will want to make more; after you travel you will want to travel again; after you make love you will be waiting for the next time to happen again….things, the world outside, people, objects, power, fame, will never give you the sense of satisfaction that you are looking for because that can only be found inside, in your being, in you.
Sandy: … and, besides that, I have a very small social circle because most people I know have a way of looking at life which is very different from mine. I mean, they are all about starting a family and things like that and I like to go out, see places, meet people, explore… I am in no way saying I don’t want a family one day – I definitely won’t say no if the opportunity presents itself, but right now it’s not the case for me. Besides, I really don’t like living in Romania and I always felt one day I’d leave. I just hope that day doesn’t come when I’m 60!
Carlos: It is very healthy to want to improve, to advance, to develop, but it is also very necessary to learn to appreciate what we do have. What we want may come or may not come; it is up to us to make all the efforts that are necessary to get what we want, but it is up to Life to give it to you or not (if you don’t know what I mean by Life I recommend you to read this note I wrote: http://blog.yogaofpresence.com/2012/04/17/the-ocean/). But to appreciate what you already have is completely in your power. And any kind of real happiness is never dependant on what you may get later but only in appreciating what you have now. And if you feel you have nothing just look at your life. You are alive, and that is quite amazing! Any threat to your life and you will see how any desire you have is reduced to nothing in front of your desire to stay alive. We need to mature and make sure that any wish that arises in us is supported by a base of gratefulness for what we already have and not be based on a bed of dissatisfaction from what we don’t have.
The law of abundance is not based on getting, but on appreciating.
Sandy: The second thing is more strange – a friend of mine told me she had a vision about my future. Do you believe this is possible, for people to get glimpses of the future? I know for sure this friend of mine is a fantastic lady and she would never just say things like this. Plus, her vision of my future was a very good one, so I hope it’s true.
Carlos: For myself, I really try to get away as far as I can from anybody that is trying to tell me anything about the future because the only thing that that does is to condition me, without giving me any other kind of benefit. I like very much this quote from the Upanishad:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
The future is created in the present moment; we are building our future right now. This moment is what is up to me, and so this is what interests me. The rest is up to Life, destiny, God or whatever you want to think or call it, but not up to me, and so I let it go completely and focus only what is in my power. What kind of thoughts am I allowing to think? These thoughts are the building blocks of my life and as I mentioned on this reflection: http://blog.yogaofpresence.com/2012/05/31/a-matter-of-choice/ we have a choice; but to be able to actualize this choice we need to have a very clear understanding of what is in my power, and what is not.
Sandy: And, finally, do you have some tips on quitting smoking? I have a real problem with this – I don’t like to smoke but I’m addicted, thank God at least it’s not something more serious… Besides, I have bronchitis now because I smoke and I still can’t quit. I bought an electronic cigarette but it doesn’t do much for me. I especially feel the need to smoke when I get work, so every time I finish a pack and say “that’s it, no more”, if I get work, I go out and buy a pack and take a smoke break every 5 minutes or so.
Carlos: I wrote a ‘Reflection’ about smoking. Take a look at it, it may give you a new way to look at this situation. You can find it here: http://blog.yogaofpresence.com/2012/06/11/the-truth-about-smoking/
We keep in touch,