I was recently working with a client (let's call him Jim) who was deeply entrenched in his thinking. As a result, he was deeply depressed and anxious. Every day, all day, he felt this way. Some days were a little better, but not much.
He wasn't getting far with several things we'd tried in his therapy. I guided him in a mindfulness exercise to bring him fully to the present moment.
He struggled with this.
Jim was unable to let go of hangups - even hypothetically - for a span of only 2 seconds. He told me, "I don't think my mind works that way."
As I described what to do, he looked bewildered and said, "that seems too simple." This would have been a breakthrough statement, had he understood. What I shared with him is what I will now share here:
WISDOM IS SIMPLE!!!
And wisdom leads to happiness.
Anxiety is complicated. We use our intellect and imagination to create a variety of complex future scenarios. We confuse our own fiction with fact and become emotionally invested in what we created. We wait in pain and horror for our fears materialize.
Depression is complicated. We use our intellect and imagination to create interpretations of the past that support negative core beliefs. "I'm not worthy. I'm unlovable. I was hurt and so I can't trust." We believe our interpretations as if they hold the deepest truth. Wherever we look, we see evidence to support our beliefs.
We are tortured by these thoughts as we sit at home or drive in our car or walk through a store. Without the thoughts, we could notice that in the moment, we are actually okay. Our entire life mainly consists of moments where we are perfectly okay. How do we shift our mind to believe this is so?
You will know if you do, because you will feel peace.
Wisdom is simple. But it is not easy, especially at first. It requires mind-training to back away from the complex drama of the chattering mind.
Wisdom is simple, however it is an experience you must cultivate. As you practice, you will see peace in the simplest of moments. The mind lets go of its stories and the heart rests.
If you want this, seek those who understand happiness more than you. Look for those with a steady disposition and calmness. Their stressed moments are less frequent and their investment in drama is minimal, yet they are not cold. They have compassion and kindness. What they teach will help you cut through the noise of your mind and find the quiet within.
If you want to learn an instrument, you find an accomplished musician. If you want to become successful in business, you glean knowledge from established leaders. In the same way, you can learn happiness from those who have found the way.
The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson