I won't lie to you, I originally planned to write about the connection between learning to let go and how that can attract more abundance…interesting topic, mostly because it seems counterintuitive. However, while I was brainstorming, I somehow ended up thinking a lot about another concept which seems to be not only related, but may actually be the underpinning to our resistance to letting go. So, here we are. Let's talk about struggle.
Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into a political rant or a commentary on social class. It's not even a pity party. I'm just going to skip the punch line, which is this: we all struggle. It's a reality, it's a part of life, and it isn't going anywhere right? Great, now we can move on the important part, which is how to let go of it.
On one hand it's fairly obvious and almost overly simplistic to talk about the realities of struggle, however on the other hand, struggle may be less of a reality than we think and more of a mindset. Did that make you bristle? Do you feel suddenly defensive? Maybe you're thinking "excuse me, are you trying to tell me that I don't have problems, that I don't struggle, and that it's all in my head? How dare you!" That's just your ego flaring up and clinging to the idea that struggle is a part of who you are. It's not true, so don't believe it. But…remember this moment because you will be providing the perfect example of what I'm about to discuss.
Our entire lives we've been sent the message that we will struggle. Not just that we will, but that we need it as a motivator, and that struggle is what defines and flavors our successes. Would victory be as sweet without the struggle? Probably not, or at least that's what we tell ourselves. We may have heard it from our parents, friends, society, coworkers, or even spiritual or religious mentors. Of course not everyone is so blunt about saying it outright, but the underlying message is this: you should struggle, because if you don't, you're not doing it right and it's not legitimate. Doesn't matter what it is, many people will only grant you their approval or respect if they believe you struggled for it. Just think about it for a minute and you may even be able to find ways in which you've delegitimized someone else's achievements or experiences because you believed they didn't struggle enough. See, it's in there. If you can't find it, look deeper.
Whether we want to admit or not, we have all identified with the struggle. It's there living somewhere inside all of us... Across every personality type, race, gender, social class, country, continent and creed there is a part of us somewhere that is telling a story of "struggle."
So what's so bad about that? What's wrong with feeling that, because it's true isn't it? Nothing is wrong with feeling it, as it's a natural and clearly human perception. However, it's just that…a perception. The truth is that who you are is the exact opposite of struggle. How do I know? Because when I identify, talk about, think about, speak about or even just ponder the concept of struggle it hurts. Byron Katie hasn't been the first person to let us know that if something is hurtful, that's a signal that it isn't true for us. The Buddha said it long before Byron Katie, and even when we're not around anymore, someone else will still be passing on this kernel of ancient wisdom. If something is truth, we feel in alignment with it. The truth always feel right, even if we don't like it on a personality level. Clearly we don't like suffering, so then why do we continue to tell the story of struggle?
Struggle is an ego-identification and another lie our mind tells us. Struggle is not what keeps us going, but our mind tell us a different story. Of course the intention is to protect us and keep us alive, so kudos to our minds for being on duty. Nonetheless, struggle is a fear-based, outdated, outmoded concept that we have to learn to let go of if we ever want to open ourselves to something more.
Let's briefly address the universal principle of attraction here. We've discussed it before, and probably most of you are familiar with it, but sometimes we all need to be reminded. Here it is: Like attracts like. You reap what you sow. Of course that's also a commentary on karma, which is another topic entirely as most of you know, however it is not unrelated. ;)
Quantum physics' "law of attraction" recognizes this universal principle. Energy is attracted to energy that is similar to itself, and just by thinking about or pondering something you effect its outcome. (I won't go into the scientific research and explanation here, but Google can help you find some fascinating and deeply touching information that has been substantiated by legit scientists. What took them so long? Hah.)
So to bring it back to the mind…if you put a lot of energy into thinking about competition, struggle, lack of money, lack of material things, or anything related to coming from a place of scarcity, that is exactly what you will attract. If you think about struggling enough, you will attract it and you will notice it everywhere, because that is where you are placing your attention. All of this attunement to scarcity, over time, creates a belief, which the becomes deeply rooted enough to manifest an easily fulfilled prophecy.
At this juncture it's easy to get defensive and say "I have obviously had struggles and anyone could see that!" but just because that's what's happening doesn't mean it's true in the objective sense. It just means that you created that reality for yourself, and just as you manifested it, you can turn things around and manifest the opposite. Don't let the fulfillment of that prophecy become proof of its truth. Instead, choose another (more positive) belief and pursue that. Give it time and see how your "reality" changes.
Create your own experiment by trying to attract the positive opposite of a negative thought that you have frequently. Watch how the struggle slowly falls away.
Let's look at it this way…whatever you focus on is what you attract into your experience, so if you find that up until this point you were living unaware or unconsciously and letting your thoughts run wild, you can now make the choice to take back the reigns regarding what you're attracting, and choose to attract something better. Doesn't that just sound so much better than living in struggle?
Choosing another reality or even controlling your thoughts may sound impossible, however what begins as a practice and exercise will ultimately become a way of life if you stick with it. Just as you're now living with struggle, with enough conviction and dedication you can live in peace instead. Just remember that it's always your choice, and just because you wake up grumpy one day and make the choice to live in it (hey, I've been there!), it doesn't mean that you can't start over tomorrow. We're all human and even I struggle (pun totally intended) to always apply these principles to the little hamster in my mind as well. I just take it one day at a time.
As for those of you who are a little more stubborn…listen up! The negative, looping cycle of thoughts created by your mind will never end the struggle. Isn't that what you want? To end it? No one likes suffering, so how do you plan to end it by concentrating on it, thinking about it endlessly and telling yourself the story of it repeatedly? All you're doing is creating more negativity and fear, and fear cannot heal or put a stop to fear. Only love can do that.
Struggle doesn't redeem us or give our experience more value. It isn't mandatory and it doesn't have a higher purpose, other than to cause you the suffering that was necessary for you to wake up and choose something better. Show yourself a little love, imagine something better, and end the all the pointless struggle right here, right now. After all, change begins with you. Once you change yourself, you've already changed the world.