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The Sunny Side of Life

 WHAT AN EXQUISITELY beautiful world we live in. Every morning when I wake up, I look out at the hills above Doi Suthep and I am reminded of this our Mother Earth really is a precious jewel. And then this morning, the thought was enhanced by birdsong that touched my very soul and turned the chore of shaving into pure bliss. What a wonderful way to start the day. However, I then began to reflect on the disparity between nature's beauty and the ugliness and pain that we humans sometimes impose on the earth, and on ourselves and others, for strange reasons that have nothing to do with maintaining balance and harmony, or even making us joyful.

Peace of mind is sacrificed for ego and greed and ruined by fear. We have an infinite capacity for self-destruction. The trouble is, we forget that our life has a spiritual dimension which we must nurture in some way if we are to realise our true potential as human beings and to find true joy in our lives. We're too busy being busy. And instead, we do and say all sorts of silly things that upset ourselves and, worse, upset other people, very often the people we love the most. And then we find we're unhappy and lost. What to do? Time to reflect.

Taking charge of our lives

The great thing is that we have been given the power and the ability to handle every aspect of our own health and well being. Hurrah! That's good news. We're in charge of our life, or at least we can be. We have also been given the free will to make choices which means that, even if we have become conditioned to think in a certain, unhelpful way, over time we can always unravel that conditioning to think in a way that is more beneficial to our well being. You see, there is so much wisdom and guidance out there if we need it. It's really a question of will and of choices: shall I try and find the way to change or shall I not? Am I happy with how I am or am I not?

Dealing with anger

Let's look at the question of anger, for example, surely something we must all know about! Why do we get angry in the first place? Is it the person or is it what they have said that gets the toxic flow flooding through our system? Before we burst our banks we need to count to 10, to calm down and reflect a moment on whether perhaps it's our own ego that is getting in the way and preventing us from making a clear response. Probably, it is not the person at all. We're being told something we don't like because it goes against what we believe or what we want to happen and we don't have sufficient confidence to be open to alternative ideas. Our fragile sense of self feels threatened, our ego challenged. And how do we react? By being closed and dogmatic and angry! Too often, the anger just rumbles around like thunder in the mountains, a signpost to our hurt ego or our fragile lack of confidence. Ho, ho, there's something we need to work on. And, if we recognise that fact, that's fine. We're open hurrah!

It's time, now, to work on our anger or, more likely, on our ego. Why are we getting angry? Is there something in ourselves that we can address that will make it less likely to happen? After all, we're not always right, are we? And even if we believe we are, maybe the other person is as well, according to his perception. So, then we have to try and understand where he is coming from, what his position is, and then, maybe, with understanding, there is the opportunity for dialogue to try and resolve the issue. It's just a question of being patient, of being open and clear-headed, and of being able to admit when our point of view is not all it should be. Therein lies strength.

Why worry?

Now let's take a look at worry; for who can honestly say "I never worry"? Yes, worry is a curse that afflicts us all at some stage and very often inhibits us from living life to the full. It's a dark, negative thing. More than that, it is a toxin that can attack our system and make us unwell, for much illness is ultimately caused by mental and emotional stress of one sort or another. Worry and fear, they're twin devils who work together and often make our lives a misery. All because we're thinking in a wrong way about things and not embracing life in a sunny way. We don't have to worry, do we? One thing's for sure, we can change the way we think about things, if we have the guidance, patience and will power to do so. It's a question of wanting to change.

When we worry we are either anxious about something in the past or something in the future which means we are not mindfully living in the present moment, the Now. And, you know, if you think about it, the Now is the only reality there is. So, when we worry, we're really in fantasy land which is not normally where we want to be. Why do we worry about something in the past? The past is gone and all we are left with are our perceptions of it. Oh dear, the dreaded guilt, raising its ugly head. Why can't we just say, "Oh dear, I'm sorry I did that. But it's over now and if God can forgive me, which He/She always does, then I can forgive myself, learn the lesson from the experience and move on". Of course, we should have compassion for how people feel but we must try very hard not to let their hurt become our guilt. After all, guilt doesn't help anyone.

Worry about something in the future is even more common. Sometimes it can really pull us down and sap our energy, even freeze us mentally Yet, worry does nothing to help us, does it? Hardly. Well, with patience and the right guidance, we can change the nature of our conditioning and how we perceive things to be. After all, when in our lives has there ever NOT been a solution to a situation that is worrying us? So, at least we can start worrying less and turn mountains into molehills instead. Oh, joy!

And, finally, talking about mountains and molehills, does nature not gives us so many opportunities to be grateful for the song of the bird, the scent of the rose, the stranger's smile, the setting sun? If we can live sunny side up, in a positive way, we'll find lots to be grateful for every day. For gratitude comes from the heart and the lifeblood of the heart is love. To live with love is to be grateful every moment. And that's the way to go. May your day be filled with sunshine and smiles.

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