As we celebrate Independence Day, be reminded that you have the freedom to choose happiness. Yes, YOU! You have the freedom to think & express your thoughts and you have the freedom to act on those thoughts, or stop at the level of thought. Because you have the ability to choose. Oftentimes, we forget this small detail.
“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power
to choose what to accept and what to let go.”
So, what prevents our happiness? It really boils down to just one thing: our thoughts. Or more like two things: living in the past and observing others (but both are thoughts). Thoughts of the past are just memories and yet we can get consumed with re-living them in our minds. With re-hashing a conversation we had or an email we wrote. With dreaming up a different response to a question we were asked. We coulda, shoulda, woulda ourselves right into unhapppiness! And don’t get me started on observing others… we go to yoga class to get our zen on and spend the whole time watching our neighbor, comparing our pose to their pose, our lack of zen to their supposed having everything together. But in reality, these are all just thoughts that are passing through our mind. And we choose to latch onto them and spiral into unhappiness. But, I offer you an alternative.
YOU have to take charge! YOU were born to be the creator of your destiny. YOU are the creator of your experience of life. It is your thoughts that are getting in the way; or rather your thoughts about your thoughts. How about instead, we simply let a thought be a thought? Without attaching to it, without creating a big ole story about it, without allowing it to consume us? How about if we just acknowledged it and moved on? What would happen? Well, another thought would come is what would happen! And then another, and then another.
It is an ongoing choice we have to make. Every thought of every second of every day. We get to choose which ones we will act on. Which ones are deserving of our energy and which ones can float on by like clouds in the sky. The freedom to choose happiness is YOURS.
Yoga Sutra 2.18
“The conjunction of the seer with the seen is
for the seer to discover his own true nature.”
This is like Patanjali’s Declaration of Independence! You have to disconnect the seer from the seen. Meaning you have to come to realize that you are not your thoughts. Just because a thought popped into your head does not make it true, it does not make it a fact; it is simply a thought. Once we begin to break this cycle of karma we will be free.
In Sanskrit, Bhoga is enjoyment without attachment (aparigraha) or, more simply, Freedom. Apavarga is Happiness or fulfillment. This is more fully translated as the experience of liberation from all experiences. The letting go of things and thoughts. Disconnecting the seer from the seen. We must begin to let go, to release, the attachment to the thoughts and the senses so that we can make a choice.
“Anything that comes in through the senses is also regarded as ‘food’ for the body
and therefore affects ones mental, emotional, and physical health.”
Tuning in to your Self and shutting down the mind. Allowing the thoughts to just float by without attaching. Releasing the senses and not being dragged around by them. The world, your world, is just a stage for you to learn these lessons in an effort to realize your Self. To find the Freedom to choose Happiness. Again and again. (*cue lyrics of your favorite Freedom song...)