The Matter of Hope

“Hope is important, because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. But that is the most that hope can do for us — to make some hardship lighter. When I think deeply about the nature of hope, I see something tragic. Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Master, in his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.

Dear readers, during this strange time it seems that most of us need hope to lighten the load of our global hardships. And, even while we cling to hope for the future, we can simultaneously try to remain focused on the present moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh continues, “I do not mean that you should not have hope, but that hope is not enough. Hope can create an obstacle for you, and if you dwell in the energy of hope, you will not bring yourself back entirely into the present moment. If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you.”

Are you able to enjoy the present moment now? During this time of quarantines, do you feel hopeful or hopeless?

Before my Dad died suddenly in January, I had been struggling for some time with feelings of hopelessness regarding my health and financial issues. Now, suddenly millions of people are homebound and worried about money like I was! I never would have dreamed this could happen.

Strangely, I am actually feeling more hope now than I did before… And even if hope is not enough, right now it is very important. If you feel hopeless, consider these strong words by Christian Mihai, in his post “Life in The Time of Coronavirus”:

“I encourage each and every single one of you to not become hopeless. It’s a sin not to hope. Truly. If you are hopeless, you think of yourself as helpless, and then you’re really screwed. Maintain a positive attitude, make the best out of an awful situation, and keep working towards your goals. One way or another.”

May you be blessed with hope, courage, and strength. May you take delight in small joys and find peace dwelling in the energies of each sacred moment.

With much love and hope,
StarFire Teja

 

Photo by CHIRAG K on Unsplash.

Questions That Can Arise When the Hardship is Real

Do you think that life is a “gift”?
Do you feel grateful to be alive?

A few years ago I was helping a client work on her fear of flying, using guided imagery techniques. She was an upper middle class woman with a happy and healthy family, and she felt afraid of dying because she loved her life so much. At the time I was about to begin my seventh year of my decade of hardships, and I could not relate to her fear of dying because I no longer felt attached to my life. After a session with her, I reflected back to happier, easier times, and I remembered a time when a younger me was the one sitting in a therapist’s office working on my own fear of flying…

Many people say we “should” feel grateful to be alive. They say that life is a “gift” to be treasured. Recently I sat with a dying woman who was over one hundred years old. She told me that she was trying to keep alive… and she died the very next night. When she told me that she was trying to keep living, I thought, “Wow, here she is on her deathbed (literally) and she is still hanging on to life.” Once again, I could not relate to how attached she felt to her life.

As I explained in a previous post (“It Is Your Duty To Live”), I would never commit suicide, and I am not depressed. (I get situationally depressed at times, such as during a Fibromyalgia flare-up, but I am not depressed in general.) I love my friends and family dearly, and I enjoy many things in my life. My gratitude lists are quite long. I am basically a happy person, but ten years of hardships have taken away my attachment to life, and have made me question why we are here on this planet.

On Mother’s Day I shared a post (“Something All Eight Billion Humans Have in Common”) about how we were all born from a mother, and one person commented, “Without our consent.”

I usually reply to comments, but that one just stopped me cold. I still can’t think of what to say in response. I am guessing that perhaps that person is not currently thinking that life is a gift to be grateful for. As a parent, it makes me ask questions like, “If my children do not appreciate their lives, am I somehow responsible because I am the one who chose to give them their lives?”

Many spiritual teachers in India talk about how special and precious it is to be born as a human being. I’m thinking maybe that was true four thousand years ago when there were a lot less humans on the planet. Now that there are eight billion of us, how special is it, really?

Perhaps my inquiries are entirely colored by this past decade of hardships. Maybe this next decade will be easier and my views will change again.

I would love to hear your views on all this. Do you feel grateful to be alive? Do you think of life as a gift?

Do you celebrate each sunrise?
Do you feel grateful for each new day?

 

Sunrise photo by Anish Nair on Unsplash

Happy-ing Up Does Not Mean Putting on a Fake Smiley Face

In March, 2009 I got very sick with pneumonia. That began ten years of many hardships: physically, financially, emotionally, and relationally. The last year of that decade, this past year, was the hardest of all. But somehow I managed to publish a book and begin writing this StarFire Teja Blog.

That “somehow” isn’t so mysterious or magical. I am able to carry on working on my mission to help elevate humanity because I do daily spiritual practices which strengthen me and help me to keep happy-ing up.

Happy-ing Up is not the same as putting on a fake smiley face. When you do practices to Happy Up, such as the ones I’ve suggested in previous* blog articles, you actually shift your state Up to a feeling of happiness. So it isn’t an act of “fake it till you make it,” but rather, it is an act of elevating yourself to a higher vibration in which you truly do feel happy.

Sometimes that happy state only lasts for a few minutes, and that is okay. Simply keep practicing and happy-ing yourself up again and again. I mean, what’s the alternative? You don’t want to stay stuck down in lower vibrations, do you? I certainly don’t, which is why I pray daily to stay elevated to the Highest Love Vibrations no matter how the body or mind feels in any given moment.

*Here are a few links to some previous tips I’ve shared for Happy-ing Up:

“StarFire Teja’s Three Super Simple Spiritual Practices”
“StarFire Teja’s Three Tips to Help You Gratitude Up”
“StarFire Teja’s Ten Tips for Happy-ing Up During the Wintertime Blues”

Do you do daily spiritual practices? I would love to hear from you, so if you have a moment, please scroll down to where it says “Leave a Reply” and share your daily practices.

May All Beings Be Happy!