I’m soooo sorry for not getting back right away. I wasn't home for few days and I didn’t have good access to the internet. I really really appreciate your concern. Thank you for caring ☺
I had a lot of time to think about what you wrote. So here we go:
Now tell me, does a story or a thought needs to be kept? it needs to be protected? what happens if they are not kept and protected? what happens if they go?
A story or thought doesn’t need to kept or protected.
I wasted a lot of energy trying to hold on to thoughts and stories that frankly weren’t beneficial to my life and caused unnecessary pain and struggle.
There were a few thoughts I was able to completely let go in the past. One thought was “my hair is ugly.” I hated my hair when I was a kid. The people around me and media didn’t help either because they reinforced the belief that my hair texture was ugly. But after I let go of that thought at the age of 10, I saw my hair in different perspective. I learned to love my hair. Now, every wave, curl and kink is amazing genetic work of art to me. If someone came up to me said my hair was ugly, I wouldn’t care. It wouldn’t bother me at all. Not even a random thought could convince me that my hair is ugly.
My hair is probably the only thing I can actually have completely awareness without effort lol I get totally lost in it. When I do my hair I am aware of the texture of the strands as it slide through my fingers. I notice things like different shades of black and dark brown colors. Even when my hair is tangled and I start to get frustrated, I can step back, notice frustration arising and continue detangling gently instead of ripping the comb through and loosing a lot hair.
When a thought is not kept, not only does awareness arises but I learn to appreciate many things I took for granted. It’s also easier to have more joy and happiness because I notice the beautiful things that were here this whole time. I can put more energy into living life and trying new activities even when it seems difficult or challenging. I’m not even trying to be successful at everything I do now, I’m just doing things for the experience .
So I guess, if I drop the thought that there is a “me” , my life wouldn’t be meaningless. It would actually be more meaningful. I would not feel shackled to anxiety, fear or continue to engage in self-destructive behaviors that have hurt my relationships and prevented me from doing things that I love . I won’t feel the need to follow societal expectations because I don’t buy into their stories. I would retain my child-like curiosity and see the world for what it is.
Let's explore this other bit with an excercise.
1. Take a sit and write down all your expectations of how life should be - in contrast of how it is right now. Write down even the most hidden and silly expectations. Bring them all with you.
2. Read what you wrote and let them sink in. Let it all be OK. Acknowledge that these expectations are running in the system.
3. See where they come from- your parents, your mum, your family, partner, teachers, kids, boss, community etc.
3. See if you need all those expectations or if its OK to let them all go. Take a closer look, if expectations are useful. See if anything would be lost if those expectations would drop. Write all that comes up. When you write, mind focuses and is forced to look closer.
3. Take a look in your experience right now, is anything really missing?
4. Realise that nothing is ever happening the way you imagine it would, that life goes on regardless of how you expect it to go. Check if you have control over what is happening and when.
Some of my life expectations
1. I should find happiness
2. If I work hard enough, I’ll get what I want
3. If I eat healthy and exercise I won’t get sick
4. I should have my own house, car and family (the American Dream)
5. I should have a wonderful boyfriend/husband
6. I should have money
7. Life gets easier once I am enlighten
8. If meditate enough, my anxiety will go away
9. I should always get “good grades”. If I don’t I’m a failure
10. My career is the reflection of who I am/My worth as a human being is based on my accomplishment
11. I should be good in all that I do, I just have to try harder
Some of my expectations comes from my mother (i.e. “I should find happiness, have children, etc."), others come from society (The American Dream) and communities (i.e. "no achievements=not worthy" is from going to a very competitive school) and others are from my own misinterpretation of reality. I don’t need any of these expectations. I know that money and materialistic things doesn’t make one happy in the long-term. Being in pursuit of happiness will also end in misery because my happiness would be determine on external factors and it would never be good enough. I’m not always going to get what I want. I can still die even if I eat healthy and exercise.
I want to let go of all these expectations. Most of them are not helpful to me because I end up with a very narrow perspective that has led to disappointment in myself and in life in general. Life is much more complex and incredible than my mind can ever conceive, so why even try to anticipate and imagine how things should be? I don't know all the possibilities.