buddha stripped bare
Relationships are incredibly challenging. Shards of complication stream toward us from multiple directions all day, every day. We are offended, we are wronged, we are neglected, we are stressed, we are overburdened, we are overlooked. Sometimes all we have to do is witness the toxicity, and just by watching, we take on its burden.
Other times, we create interpersonal drama where none need exist. We project our unassociated dis-ease onto neutral events and conversations, and we become tangled in a sticky web of thoughts. We obsess. We replay conversations that happened in the past, and imagine future conversations that might never happen at all. We assume what our counterpart is thinking and intending. We lose sleep and snap at loved ones. We talk about our drama with friends. We become distracted at work. And while our minds are very busy miscreating, we are not allowing space for that which is truly our natural state: JOY.
Joy is not found while beating another person over the head with their wrongness. In fact, sometimes the harder we fight to prove another’s wrongness, the more we realize we are the wrong ones, and are too proud to admit it.
Joy is humility. Joy is forgiveness. Joy is acceptance. Joy is surrender. Everything else is a life lesson.
Communicating with a joyful heart elevates all interactions. When we communicate with a fresh and open mind, we see the good in everyone and everything.
This makes good sense. Joy is a pretty simple concept. But when we’ve been trained over the course of our lifetimes that joy equals achievement, joy equals money, joy equals success, joy equals pride, suddenly joy seems a little more complicated.
Our challenge is to remember that joy isn’t complicated – ego is. When we clear our thoughts and allow space for higher thinking, we see clearly and love without reservation.
Joy is always accessible to us, but for most it takes some deprogramming – some Self work. I call this “Buddha stripped bare.” We’ve got to strip off the layers of pain we’ve been hiding behind all our lives, to dig deep and be vulnerable enough to admit that we project our pain onto everyone and everything. We have to open up to the fact that we are the ones who bring the toxicity to the table. We are not offended, wronged, neglected, stressed, overburdened, or overlooked by others. We invite those complicated, toxic situations into our lives because we are frantically searching for our joy in all the wrong places.
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
Our joy is staring at us in the mirror. When we recognize it, we elevate.