Ancient teachings and modern self-help writing can both alleviate stress

I’ve read a lot of self help books lately in my endeavor to maintain a positive attitude during this cash-draining first year of running a start up business.

Some of the books are written from a business angle, others are from a spiritual perspective and some use humor to convey their message.
But the messages are nearly all the same, whether professed by 5000 year old Vedic texts to last month’s New York Times best seller list.
I like the books' messages, however similar and repetition is good.

Over the next month, I'll share techniques that have helped me (and some that have not) in my quest to stay sane, calm, and happy. Here's the first technique:

Once and for all....LET GO

Let go – Everyone carries around baggage, negative energy, excess weight, obsessive thoughts, ruminations or whatever you want to label the stuff that drags us down, drains our energy and is an obstacle to our happiness . Every moment we have a choice – we can cling to this familiar baggage or samskara (latent impressions and patterns of thoughts) or we can STOP.
We can let go.
It is possible, but it is a practice and a process.
Sometimes it happens instantly with a single traumatic event, more often it is a long process of beginning to let go, over and over again.

As Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun writes in Chapter 21 of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, she describes “We were running out of money. I began to get tense. I felt as if a huge weight were literally sitting on my head. I began to panic. I had to find a way out………The whole thing was hauntingly familiar. Why I caught it this time more dramatically than ever before, I don’t know……..Right there in the middle of a very habitual state of mind, I was what I was doing…….I let the thoughts that “only I could rescue us” come and I let them go. I decided to see what would happen without my input – even if it meant that everything would fall apart. Sometimes you just have to let everything fall apart.”

Needless to say it was hard for Pema Chodron to let go; it is hard for all of us. And yet, who do you know who has felt worse after letting go of rotten bananas? Rotten bananas? This is what the baggage is affectionately referred to in Dr. Daniel Drubin’s current best seller, Letting Go of Your Bananas: How to Become More Successful by Getting Rid of Everything Rotten in Your Life. The book was a clever, quick read gives us a step by step process for letting go of things, people, thoughts, behaviors that drain our personal and work lives.
How can we start letting go?
Today, notice one thing that you are clinging to. Perhaps a story you repeat in you mind about how someone close wronged you. Perhaps a self-loathing and unproductive mantra you recite to yourself, "i'm so broke".


Notice you're clinging to the thought, and allow it to go away. You'll probably have to do this over and over again. The most important part of letting go, is noticing that when you are caught in the patter. Just notice, become aware that you are clinging to something, and then move on.

What have you learned to let go of? What can't you let go of? Why?

Preview of upcoming related post topics:
  • Think positive...a new twist on a well worn mantra
  • Meditate – mantras, silence, breath
  • Put yourself in motion
  • How to have compassion for those whom we dislike
  • Set goals, intentions, learn what happiness would feel like for you
  • Stop carrying other people’s baggage


Bob Weisenberg said...

I love this project.

If Yoga reflects universal truths, as I believe it does, then one would expect to find identifiable Yoga-type elements in any system of self development, whether ancient or modern.

Many historians actually consider Yoga to be the very first instance of a self development method!

I'll look forward to your future installments in this series.

Bob W. (