Last week, I wrote about how the yoga of entrepreneurship turns our pursuit of freedom on its head, and I shared the story of my learning that freedom is here and available right now.
So, if it’s here now, how do we actually move from building, doing, waiting to experiencing freedom right now?
One of the most powerful teachings for me, on living here now and not putting off happiness “because IT hasn’t happened yet,” is from my guru (master yoga and spiritual teacher), Ma: “Be happy on your way to being happy.”
Why not? Try it. There’s nothing stopping you: You don’t have to earn being happy.
The most powerful, practical way I’ve learned to do this is something I was taught by my Swami, a long time student of Ma and spiritual teacher in her own right: Make a list of your “If Only’s”
The practice goes like this: If I only blank, I’d be happy, I’d be grateful, I’d be content, etc.
Everything you fill in the blank with after “only” in the above sentence are your attachments. They are also all of your excuses—every single barrier that you put up for yourself in your life.
You can also flip this around and say, I’ll be happy when blank. . . or when I blank, I’ll get to blank . . .
For example, “When I get my business earning what I want, then I’ll get to relax.”
Or, “When I’ve found my purpose, I’ll be content.”
Or my personal attachment for many years, “After I make enough money [at this supposedly practical profession], then I’ll do what I really want to do.”
Wrong. All of this, Ma and Swami, have taught me, is a way of putting off my life. It makes us live out of the moment, waiting for something better. What we have right here is perfect. Stop and take a breath. Stop putting off happiness for something you don’t know will come. It puts conditions on your life. And you don’t need to.
There’s a second step to this powerful practice: Gratitude.
First, make your list to find out what you’re putting your happiness off for.
Second, make a list of that for which you are grateful right now.
Be happy on the way to being happy. It’s yours.