A cup of tea solves everything!

A couple of weeks back I was walking round my current fishing lake, deciding where I wanted to fish and came across another angler.

We chatted for a few minutes and he then said:

“Do you want a cup of tea?”

“Do bears poop in the woods?” I replied!

So, he boiled the kettle and we enjoyed a freshly brewed cuppa, which went down a treat as we put the world to rights.

I was reflecting on this and a memory came to mind.

It was just before Christmas 1986 and we got a call that my nan was taken ill and was in Lewisham hospital. My mum, two sisters and I rushed over to see her and found her lying in her hospital bed, looking very poorly.

I will always remember the first thing she said though…

“Do you want a cup of tea John?”

Nan’s are great, aren’t they? Always thinking of you. I will never forget that day because just a couple of hours later she sadly passed away.

Have you seen the film ‘Shaun of the dead’? Zombies are everywhere, so what does Shaun suggest?

“We grab Mum, we go over to Liz’s place, hole up, have a cup of tea and wait for this whole thing to blow over.”

A cup of tea solves everything! Nice and simple.

It occurred to me that the three principles understanding is like a cup of tea for the mind.

There is only ever one problem in life… we forget what is true.

Just recently I found myself in an agitated state of mind. I wrestled with my thinking. Tried to stop it. Intellectually rationalised it.

But all to no avail.

Apart from having a few cups of tea (obviously!) what really helped was remembering.

I just remembered that my feelings always follow my thought.

The way I was feeling had nothing to do with my circumstances. I was just revving up my mind and the faster my thought went the worse I felt.

I fell into the trap of trying to control my thoughts. But we don’t need to do this.

The mind is self-correcting.

As soon as we remember that our mind only works one way our thinking settles, we come back into the present and feel better.

Nice and simple.

No techniques. No pep talks. No self-help books.

Just remembering.

Successful – now do you want to be happy 2.0?

Quite some time ago I wrote an article called ‘Successful – now do you want to be happy?’ and this is a new version, hence the title!

The seed for this article was sown when someone approached me for coaching and wanted me to help him create a new, compelling vision, mission and business plan.

Before deciding if I could help I was curious about what he thought this would give him. Despite his current business being successful and having no real issues in his life he shared with me that he had been feeling discontented, frustrated and unhappy for some time.

His idea was that he needed to create a bigger and more successful business. Something he could really get his teeth into so he could deeply immerse himself in the new project and put all his energy into it.

I shared that I didn’t think a bigger vision was the answer he was looking for. I said that I was sure he was capable of creating a business twice the size of the one he had and that would be a great achievement.

But it wouldn’t give him what he thought it would.

The project would have been a distraction tactic. It would have occupied his mind but as soon as his mind was not on the project he would more than likely be back to where he was.

The real issue was a misunderstanding.

It is so easy to think of success as something that occurs in the external world and that it will lead to happiness.

For instance, when we accomplish a goal we allow ourselves feelings of success and happiness. Of course, it can be wonderful to fulfil an ambition and yet whenever we reflect upon our achievements we’ll notice that the feelings don’t last.

That is because feelings don’t come from the outside. Chasing external goals is often the innocent attempt to find the deeper feelings of inner peace, love, gratitude, connection and aliveness that we naturally want to gravitate towards.

These feelings are found within and have no relationship with our external life.

But what if I’m not feeling them? What if my experience of life is one of often feeling tense, unhappy or anxious? What then?

What sets us free is FACT, not FICTION.

Fiction is believing that circumstances are causing our feelings. This is the ill-logic that creates all our suffering. Even though our thoughts and feelings can be extremely intense, compelling and consuming they are not caused or created by our circumstances. Yes, we will still get caught out by the illusion that they do, but it is still an illusion.

The fact is that life ONLY works one way – from the inside out. We feel our thinking, not our circumstances. When we see this truth and know it, then we are free.

One of those freedoms is that we will stop looking for happiness outside of ourselves.

I have heard some people have expressed the concern that if they are not chasing after a goal then they will lose their motivation.

But I have not seen this happen. It simply means that we are free to create whatever we want because we no longer see the need to fill our time chasing an illusion.