Satan was my new boss. In the summer of 2004 I was suddenly demoted from a job I didn’t like to a job I downright hated. Demoted!
I was placed under the supervision of a person who used to work for me, and she loved saying, “NO” every time I opened my mouth.
My life was hell, and my chances of leaving were zero because I had just bought myself a piece of the American dream. I had bought a home.
Which meant I had bought a loan. Which meant the guards had chained me to the bars of my prison cage. I set myself up to be tortured.
I thought I was supposed to be achieving all my goals. This was “The Secret,” right? The American Dream?
One of the main texts yogis go by in the Yoga Sutras, say in 2.16 that:
What does that even mean? If we, for instance, speak behind someone’s back, sooner or later it will get to that person. It WILL Create future suffering for that individual and for me — it’s a no brainer. My boss knew/sensed/heard everything I had said and thought about her over the years. How could she not? I radiated my hatred.
So now it was radiating right back at me. And the American Dream was turning into the Claudia Nightmare.
Here are 9 things to catch RIGHT NOW to avoid all future suffering. If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments.
1.- Avoid Sarcasm
I coined the phrase: “That sounds corny.”
That was me. You didn’t know? Thankfully I have realized now — after much suffering — that sarcasm is the way in which the ego keeps me small and insignificant, convinced that I amount to nothing, and very unhappy.
So I surrender all sarcasm, which is another way of saying I let go of criticism. I don’t know all the facts or why people act in this way or that. I don’t know anything, and frankly, I don’t even care. It’s enough to take care of this nervous system I have right here, which is quite something!
I realize I can’t, even if I tried, save the world. That would be a pretty arrogant stance for me to take, and the only way I can really help is by becoming a beacon of peace myself. That’s pretty hard work already, and might take a lifetime.
2.- Only Love Is Real
Uh oh. Did I just say something corny? I’m done trying to be cool. I want to be happy and I want peace. There! I said it.
Notice that with God all things are possible, says the Bible, only well-being and peace are intended for us. All the rest — all the negativity — comes as a consequence of an overreacting mind that has not yet been tamed.
I remind myself of this daily, and when depression strikes in particular, I whisper: only love is real, only love is real, only love is real. I was dancing to it earlier in the kitchen while cooking.
I admit that this particular sentence used to not work for me. Buit other affirmations that did work included: “I trust that all is working for the best,” “I know that there is something I need to understand here,” and “I am loved.”
Whatever works — whatever reminds us of the truth, that we are meant to be well, centered in peace, coming from the power that a peaceful mind gives.
3.- Thinking Opposites
James has his signature No! Expression. It’s kind of funny. We may be all together in the living room, and every now and then and he will say No! out loud and for no apparent reason. By now we all know what is happening: an un-useful thought has crossed his mind, and he’s slapping it in the face.
He is following sutra 2.33, in which we are told that when bad thoughts are giving us trouble, we need to cultivate the opposite. He goes straight to the root and tells the thought to shut up with a strong: No! Good for him.
Either that or he has Tourette’s Syndrome. That’s OK. I still love him.
“NO!” doesn’t always work for me, but other affirmations, albeit a bit longer, do work, like for example: “The energy of the universe is bright and abundant and all the rest is a misperception! Or, “There is no lack, for the universe is abundant! or “I let judgements go, for they are not real as they rob me of well-being!”
Or simply, “ABUNDANCE!”
Whatever works, whatever tames the beast.
4.- Clearing the Now
This business of being present isn’t easy. It’s one thing to talk about being in the now, and another to actually be, embodying the moment and being the space. Yes, that is another matter.
Practice. One way to do that: regardless of whether you are happy, angry, sad, scared — take notice of your breath. You have to be HERE to notice breathing.
5.-Negative People Out
When it comes to relationships, it’s best to be friendly to the friendly, compassionate toward those who suffer, offer goodwill towards the virtuous, and indifferent towards those who are wicked. (Yoga sutra 1.33).
I like the two extremes that are presented here.
No amount of jealousy will ever change things. If anything it will make us feel smaller. There is no shortage of talent in the universe. Talent is infinite, and thinking ill of others just because they are doing better (or so we tell ourselves) will never open the channels of abundance for us.
Thinking small will keep us small. I suspect this is why Hawaiians have a saying: “Bless that which you want,” so if you want abundance bless those who already have it. Wise.
I also love thinking about the wicked. The crappy people? They aren’t really crappy – they just haven’t gotten out of their own way yet. So we ignore for now, they will come around, or not, in their own time.
We need enough energy as it is to deal with our own mind and nervous system. We can’t afford to waste it on meanness, or anonymous comments from the internet. Energy must be used efficiently.
Gossip is a huge mistake — it is misunderstanding the enormous power of the word. Words are spells and if we top it with upholding to truth, in the most impeccable way, then the word becomes even more powerful, our word is law. As in: what we say happens. Behold the power of the word. Let’s use it well in this moment and for eternity.
I find that the temptation for gossip is huge. I need to keep it in check and often find myself looking for the intention behind it. What is it I really want by suggesting/mentioning certain things? What is it I expect to get? Is it pleasure? Is it feeling that I’m more important than others? Better than others? Am I really that insecure? Am I really that cut off from the thread of well-being? Can I come back?
7.-Letting Go Of Complaining And Choosing Miracles Instead
I let go of complaints and choose miracles instead, says Deepak Chopra in one of his hundreds of books. I forget which one, but girl! is that a truth.
Ever since I opened myself up to them, I’ve had so many coincidences/miracles come into my life that it sometimes feels like science fiction. Recently, James lost his wedding ring during the Hudson River flooding. But we found it the next morning, outside, and after the river had receded.
How on earth was it still there? Or should I say how on water? Could it be it was there because I chose miracles? And for the look in his face when he “lost it,” I think so did he.
8.-Telling The Truth
Speaking our own truth is critical to future avoidance of pain. Staying true to our own principles is how we live a peaceful life, how we learn we can trust ourselves and, by extension, trust others, and attract trustworthy people into our circles.
Lies, or deceptions, or saying yes when we mean no, disrespect our own light. When we lie, we don’t lie to “another.” When we cheat, we don’t cheat “another.” We cheat ourselves, we shortchange our own ability to shine in the light, to be whole and true to our own life purpose. Sticking to our truth and intuition is a sure way to be well now and in the future.
May I be the channel for Your work, may my words be Your words, may my work be Your work, may Thy will be done. I climb out of hell and into heaven on Earth right now. Enough said.