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Chinese symbol for eternal happiness

don’t let your problems get you down

i’ll teach you a trick.

we’ve all heard about ‘living in the present moment’ – The Power of Now, etc. not many of us are very good at living in this moment. we get hung up on stuff that happened yesterday, or this morning, or when we were 5. or we worry about tomorrow, 2 years from now or count the ‘what ifs’ …

we’re often lost in our ‘problems’ (whatever yours might be – add it here) right here. right now, identify your ‘problem’.

i’m failing math
i need a job
my mom is sick
my brother is in trouble with the law 
i’m in debt to my eyeballs
i am too fat
i am fighting with my best friend
what if i get cancer
how am i going to balance work, school, family, friends and exams

we tell ourselves stories – and create major drama in our head. we can be in a steaming bath with delicate bubbles tickling our skin, the soft scent of perfumed soap or lotion in our nose, a candle flickering on the edge of the tub, and still believe we have a problem – all because of the story we tell ourselves.

try this.
right now,
bring your attention to your body.

how are you sitting? are you in pain? do you feel stressed? are you tense? what problem do you have right this second? are you warm? fed? are you alone? is the room quiet? maybe the tv is going or maybe there are voices in the background.

chances are you don’t have any problem right this second. your mom still might be bitchy today, you still might have bills to pay but short of a burning urinary tract infection (which would require attention and action) or a toothache (which would require attention and action) or the house is on fire (which would require attention and action) i would bet, you don’t have a problem – right. this. second. 

you still might be mad at a friend. you still might need to find a new job – or maybe you are feeling an emotion, like sadness or hurt – but you very likely do not have ‘a problem’. finding your peace in the present moment doesn’t mean ignoring or denying your truths. it just helps you to learn to recognize the present moment and be able to tune into the moments of stillness, contentment and joy when we are truly problem free.

you see, the secret to eternal happiness is living in this moment. and it is not that complicated to do. in this minute – this very second – right now – you are fine. (and IF something major was happening – let’s say, a heart attack or the house was on fire – you would be handling it, so that really wouldn’t be a problem either. you’d be solving it. dealing with it. that happens in the present moment too, you know.)

it takes practice. like yoga. or learning to play the piano. or cooking the perfect pot roast. but it can be done; you CAN find your happy place – right here – right now. 

learn to ‘temperature check’ yourself: ask, ‘what problem do i have right this second?’ as i lounge in my living room, watching my favourite show.
as i am walking to work, grateful i have a job and can move.
as i snuggle in with my partner, breathing comfortably,
nibbling popcorn, and laughing at a movie.

very likely not a single one. (except maybe the one in the past. or the one you might be worried about tomorrow.) but right now. right this very second, you can say – i’m okay.

heck, you might even be happy.

Byron Katie talks about this in The Work. i recommend her insight and that practice for anyone looking to overcome personal challenges, relationship woes and bad belief systems.