Upper limit problem. Laura, my co-detective when it comes to sussing out the inner workings of Me, and I have been talking a LOT about this recently. We’ve been talking specifically about happiness. The idea that we, or I (let me speak for myself), have grown accustomed to a certain level of happiness. As I begin to heal and let go of energy and “stuff” that’s no longer helpful in my life, I create space for “stuff” that IS helpful (more happiness…mainly the joy of being my most authentic Self). And while this is exactly the point of my practice and at the core of my Heart’s desire, it is freaking me out.
No matter what is happening in my life, I’ve usually been able to find gratitude for all I have. Thinking about asking for more or expecting more or creating more or even just thinking-about, thinking-about increasing my capacity for happiness immediately triggers in me a feeling of selfishness, greediness, self-centeredness. My practice is about accepting the present moment as it is, not as I’m hoping it will be…or wanting it to be…how does opening up for more fit into my spiritual beliefs and values?
A question. That’s helpful and just short-circuited my habitual thought pattern and prevented lots of brain chatter because…
I don’t know.
I’ll be honest. I was starting to feel stuck around all of this. Now I’m breathing more freely and I’m curious about what I want to feel when I think about happiness.
I think it’s connected with being Me. Like I said earlier, living into my most authentic self (as cliché and hokey as it might sound). What does that look like? What does being Me feel like? And really, do I need to DO anything to be Me?
We’ve all heard happiness is about what’s happening on our insides rather than the material world outside.
What does that really mean?
I think for me (because honestly, I’m not sure…I think it might change from moment to moment…) it means really greeting every moment as if I’d invited it. Whoa! There’s some deep gratitude that wells up in me when I think about this.
Ok. Gratitude and a little fear.
Ok. Gratitude and umm, lots of fear.
If I greet each moment as if I’d invited it, then I have to take responsibility for the stuff that happens in my life. Currently, there are a whole lot of beautiful and amazing stuffs happening in my life — and here’s where it gets confusing for me. You’d think it would be easy to be thrilled about the beautiful stuffs and uncomfortable with the not-so-helpful stuffs, right? Except, after being in some pretty hurtful relationship situations over a long span of time, I’ve grown accustomed to the discomfort. Any change, whether helpful or not helpful, creates it’s own new lexicon of discomfort. I’m accustomed to the old way of feeling yucky. There’s familiarity (even if it’s not a helpful situation). This new discomfort is completely unknown and while the intensity may be the same, this one feels ickier because it’s completely UNKNOWN. Leaning into the new yucky stuff could lead to….ummm, lead to…I don’t know what it will lead to!!
So what am I afraid of? I must have some idea of what I think will happen if I accept the wonderful stuffs happening?? Right? I must be assuming something horrible is going to happen if I’m so flippin’ afraid of this supposedly unknown future.
And this is where I get it.
Because somewhere inside of Me, there’s this story about being broken, there’s some fault inside of me, a fault so great, the damage is irreparable. And because of this brokenness I don’t deserve more happiness. Because of this great inherent fault, it’s only natural that the future holds yuckiness because I’ve reach my happiness limit.
Most of you reading this know me outside of the Internet world. You’d not think that I’m walking around feeling like I have this big ole’giant broken stuff inside of me. That’s basically true. I’ve practiced lots in order to let go more, to flow more and still, it’s that onion analogy. We have layers and layers that need to be peeled away. Each layer revealing more and more stories. As I learn to discern between the helpful and not so helpful stories, I’m able to trust my inner knowing, my intuition and rely less on the chatter in my mind.Making decisions based on my intuition is a function of the PRESENT MOMENT and not based on passed experiences. When I rely on my intuition to determine my choices, I create something brand new rather than relying on what happened last time.
Ok. I hear you. What about learning from my mistakes? How does that fit in?
Well, I don’t know for sure. Sometimes I’ll compare my experience in a past situation with what I’m feeling from my gut and based on that comparison, make a decision. For me, the most important aspect is not discounting my intuition just because in the past I’ve had a different experience. It’s about trusting my intuition SO MUCH, that I’m willing to step back from the MEMORY of my prior experience and compare it to the voice inside of me, the voice of my own inherent wisdom.
What does this have to do with happiness? I think (again, I’ll say for me, that because of my experience this is what I think. I encourage you to get curious about your own experience and see for yourself how things work in your inner world) that making decisions based on my intuition keeps me in the present moment and not trying to control things. When I operate out of my intuition, I’m in the flow of the Multiverse and my current decisions aren’t based on the limited experience of my current imagination. My current mind can’t possibly imagine what’s coming next. If I allow myself to function from that place, I’ll just keep repeating my past experiences because the whole reason that I’m freaking out about staying present focused is that I CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT’S COMING NEXT AND IF I TRY TO IMAGINE, I’ll just create something based on prior experience…a memory, and because that is where my awareness goes, I will end up recreating that experience rather than being open to whatever the Multiverse may have in store!
I don’t want to live into the memory I have of myself. I don’t want to create the next moment out of the memory of this past moment. Truly meeting life as it comes means being completely open, accepting with gratitude whatever comes my way. That kind of gratitude, that kind of acceptance, that kind of trust in my own basic goodness and inherent wisdom, that’s what happiness feels like to me.
Happiness feels like trusting this new story until I believe it so much, I don’t need it anymore.
And really, that’s why I practice. I experience happiness when I don’t need a story anymore. Layer by layer, excavating the storyline, getting curious about it, understanding that we are all operating with our own novel length collection of stories, and then letting it go until there aren’t anymore stories and reach the promised land or nirvana or ecstasy or bliss or whatever you call or however you describe being Enlightened.
Turns out the upper limit problem is more than just accepting loads of happiness in my life, but about listening to my intuition and trusting in the experience of the present moment.
How do you experience Upper Limit Problems?