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The Cure for Happiness

Timeless Secrets to a Stress Free Life



ANDREW ALEXANDER

Copyright © 2017 Andrew Alexander

All rights reserved.

Independently published



I wrote this book for you.

Have you ever loved someone so much that you’d go to any length to make sure they are happy? You are that person and that’s why I wrote this book for you, because life is short and you deserve to be happy.

I love you and I wish nothing more than for you to be able to experience life the way you want to experience it.



Preface

Inner Calm in a Chaotic Life

“Shots fired!” dispatch shouted through the radio.

Flipping on the lights and sirens, we hi-tail our police cruiser through the city streets at 95 miles per hour towards the active shooter. Less than twenty seconds away from the scene, we hear another officer scream through the radio in a panic, “I need help. Right now! Step it up guys!”

The screams for help were muffled by the chaos and fighting in the background.

As our tires peel around the sharp corner at 50 miles per hour, we see his patrol car surrounded by a crowd of violent teens dressed in gang colors. My partner slams on the brakes, the tires burn to a halt, and the car door flies open.

I draw my gun from the holster, size up the scene around me, and run towards the chaos that is unfolding all around.

A gunshot rings off and the crowd screams in terror…

Six Months Earlier

We are lined up for roll call during the first week of the police academy. It’s been three days and 25% of the recruit class has already dropped out because they couldn’t handle the pressure.

The remaining 30 of us are lined up in formation and we’re instructed to stand with our arms down to the sides with a blank stare on our faces. We aren’t allowed to move a muscle, regardless of what happens.

They do this to instill discipline in us.

Twenty minutes pass by and we are still waiting for the academy instructors to come out from the building to our front.

Maybe they forgot about us?

The explosion of words came out of nowhere, right behind my ear, like the shockwaves of an atomic bomb rippling through every cell in my body. Myself and the rest of the class jump in shock and terror, reacting to the chaos around us.

“CLASS!” Sergeant Moore screamed at the top of his lungs, with the power of his voice alone causing one recruit to fall over onto the pavement. “I gave you an order NOT to move! Get on the floor and start doing pushups!”

The whole class reacted in terror and fear. All of us panicked while trying to follow his orders as quickly as possible. The more we panicked, the more stress we felt, and the more we lost control of our actions.

All of us, except for one of the recruits.

Jim was a former Army Lieutenant who spent two tours of duty in Iraq. While the rest of the recruit class physically and emotionally collapsed under the instructor’s words alone, Jim had a cool, calm, and collected demeanor.

Regardless of how intense things were on the outside, he held his cool on the inside.

Maintaining full control of his emotions.

How does he do it?

“Hey Jim, how do you manage to stay calm when all this stuff is happing around you?” I asked him during one of our 15-minute breaks.

“What you need to know is that your emotional state is always created and maintained from within”, he said, continuing with his lesson.

Most people think that the things happening to them on the outside are the cause of how they feel:

  • “The things you say annoy me.”

  • “The customers at work make me feel stressed.”

  • “My boss pisses me off.”

  • “Having to stand in front of the class makes me nervous.”

What most people don’t realize is that it’s not actually the things outside of us that cause these emotions. Instead, it’s actually something within ourselves.

When you learn how to tap into and harness this power, you will realize that no matter how chaotic your life is, you are always in control of how you feel.

Of course we all notice patterns in our lives (when X happens, I feel Y) but there is a way to handle that, which I’ll teach you very shortly.

In those situations, 99% of people give up control, but when you tap into this power, you’ll have a level of control of your life that most people can’t even imagine.

  • Most people react to the things that happen outside of them.

  • Most people think other things have control over how they feel.

  • Most people are emotionally unstable.

A strong label, but he was right.

If you want to deal with stress and anxiety in your life, You’ll have to learn how to maintain control over and harness the power of your emotions.

As future police officers, we have the duty and obligation to maintain our emotions regardless of what happens to us.

  • When we are face to face with a man pointing a gun or knife at us, we have to operate with calmness and clarity.

  • When we are in the middle of a riot or fight that is turning violent, we have to maintain our collective calm.

  • When we get called to a man who abused a girl, we have to put our emotions aside and act professionally.

Is it hard to do at first? Hell yeah. But when you learn to regain control, you can still do the things you need to do in life, to get you to where you want to go. The only difference is that you can do so without the struggle it takes most people to get there.

“Don’t you think you have an advantage? You’ve been in the military, led troops through a war zone, and you are already trained for this.” I asked, thinking he had some type of ability that I didn’t.

“What is the difference between my ability to control my emotions and yours?” he asked.

Absolutely nothing.

I reacted the same way you guys did when I went through my basic training in the Army. But the moment you learn this lesson, it is like a flip of a switch.

  • You will no longer get stressed over the small things.

  • Whatever life throws your way; you’re equipped to handle it.

  • You can choose to be happy.

Regaining this ability is freeing.

But how do you do it?

Just by understanding this one lesson alone, the transformation you’re already making in your life not only applies to your chosen profession, but also carries over to all areas of your life.

Where most people get upset and stressed about the little things in life, the lessons you are learning here today will provide you a sense of inner calm.

No matter what happens in your life, you can handle anything.

After all, life is an emotional experience. We do our best to have the experiences we enjoy having. Don’t we?

Going forward, embrace the chaos. Embrace the uncertainty. Embrace the pain. We’ll have to push through a lot of things that happen to us in life. You can’t control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you respond to them.

By the time you finish your training, I’m confident that you’ll be able to handle the stress and pressure just as well, if not better than I can.

Our 15-minute break just ended and the moment Sgt. Moore came in the room and ordered us to do more pushups, I forgot everything Jim told me on that day.

The stress kicked in, and I dropped to the floor.

Shots Fired

The gunshot rang out, the crowd screamed, and the scene is left in chaos.

While innocent bystanders are running away in fear and panic, my partner and I run forward with a sense of calmness, clarity, and confidence on the inside like Jim taught me how to do six months earlier.

We call for more backup and slowly regain control of the situation. In this moment, there are no fears or worries getting in the way. We are doing a job and we are doing it with clear focus.

We link up with the third officer on the scene who called for our help. From there, we fight through an aggressive crowd, take down the suspect, secure the weapon, and place the shooter in handcuffs.

Fortunately, nobody was severely injured in the chaos, the gunshot went off into the air, and everybody is going home tonight.

While many of the people in the area were filled with fear and were hiding, my partners and I looked at each other with the following words left unspoken, “Just another day at the office.”

What changed since that first day at the police academy?

How is it that I once couldn’t handle myself when a training instructor yelled at us to do pushups and now I can face a scene like this without a thought in the world?

With the transition all of us made since that first day of training to being completely calm and at peace in one of the most chaotic situations one could imagine being in, I learned one thing:

You already have this same power to harness and maintain full control of your emotions, but how do you unleash it?

That’s what this book will teach you.

The point of this story is not to say that we can control the things that happen to us. It’s simply to allow you to realize a clear distinction:

  1. There are things that happen outside of us.

  2. There is the way we feel on the inside.

In this book, I will teach you how to create a positive emotional experience in this life regardless of what happens on the outside.

Life is an emotional experience and you deserve to enjoy it.

I wish only the best for you.



Introduction

What if this happy and stress-free life you’re searching for is already inside of you?

What if instead of searching out there for happiness and fulfillment, you begin looking in a slightly different direction? If true happiness is already within, perhaps the only reason why you don’t feel it as often as you would like is because something is getting in the way.

When you look at things this way, it’s a lot easier to move some blockages out of the way so you can unleash what you already have than it is to search for something that’s missing.

I’m going to propose a new way of viewing things.

The White Light Theory

Imagine for a moment that you are this white light.

At your core, you are this light at the end of a long dark tunnel which shines happiness and positivity into the world. Before your happiness is able to reach the surface, you have to shine through a lot of things which have been clogging up this tunnel.

All of a sudden you have to navigate through a buildup of emotional traumas, negative thoughts, and all the other stresses which have built up over the years.

Before this feeling is able to reach the surface, too many things have gotten in the way and it remains suppressed. Now instead of trying to look for it on the outside, the only thing that you have to do is release anything that has been getting in the way. Throughout the pages in this book, I’ll show you how to do that.

To allow this to make more sense to you: Have you ever felt happy, at peace, calm, relaxed, and stress-free (even once) in your entire life? Simply the fact that you have experienced this emotion at least once means that you already have it. This explains why you can shine out from time to time.

The rest of the time:

  • When you’re sad.

  • When you’re angry.

  • When you’re frustrated or upset.

  • When you’re stressed out.

These are simply things that get in the way.

The reason I propose this way of viewing things is because instead of searching out there for the positive experiences you want to have, you can begin searching in the direction where it is already inside you.

Very little is needed to make a happy life;

It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking”

-Marcus Aurelius

That quote by the famous Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius holds just as true today as it did thousands of years ago when he said it.

What you’re about to learn in this book isn’t anything cutting-edge or breakthrough. The lessons you’re about to learn are timeless principles which have been around for thousands of years. Take these principles to heart and you will be able to tap into this inner calm and happiness so you can live that happy and stress-free life whenever you desire.

Consider this book and the White Light Theory your shortcuts, which will take years off of your search.

For years on end, I began searching out there for happiness and fulfillment. From the moment we were born until the day that we die, the world is constantly telling us what we need in order to be happy.

  • A lot of money.

  • The larger house.

  • The brand new car.

  • Dating the “perfect ten”.

They tell us we need all of these things before we can be happy.

We look up to these people who have all these things and their lives seem to be perfect. We call them millionaires and celebrities. But for the 99% of us who aren’t living like that, we look up to the people who do and wish we could be like them.

“If I could only be like them, or have this thing, I could finally be happy”, I always told myself.

When I started searching for happiness, I went on a chase. I began chasing all these things outside of me in order to find it.

  • I went on to build that business that made a lot of money.

  • I bought that new car.

  • I traveled the world.

  • And I got a little famous along the way.

Even after reaching the other side of the fence, I still wasn’t happy. No matter how much money I made or how many things I bought, I was always searching for something more.

You’ve probably experienced something similar in your life:

Whenever you buy something new, you get a release of dopamine in your brain and you feel that sensation of positive emotions flow throughout your body. What happens after a few days? The temporary high quickly fades away.

What you don’t know is that this is not true happiness. It is simply a release of a chemical in your brain that provides you a temporary sensation.

Before you know it, you’re back with how you’ve been feeling and you continue to chase more.

I’ve spent years of my life searching for happiness on the outside and I never found it. I’ve had my moments, but this true and lasting happiness was never here to stay. It always seemed to leave as quickly as it came.

Happiness through experiences.

Then I spent three months traveling the world.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in a hostel in Granada, Spain, about to wrap up my first leg of travels when one person said something to me which finally allowed me to find what I’ve been searching for.

Throughout the remainder of this book, I’m going to share with you my personal accounts and stories on what it takes to be happy in this life.

Before we begin, I want to lead off with an exercise.

Living Your Dream Vacation

Can you remember a time when everything felt so perfect?

It’s like that feeling you get when you’re on the most amazing vacation where everything is going right. What I would like you to do is bring up a scene from that dream vacation in your mind.

Imagine that you are living it right now.

  • You’re enjoying the present moment, where all the thoughts of the past or concerns of the future have simply melted away.

  • You’re living in complete peace and harmony, where the stresses and anxieties of the real world are light-years away.

  • You’re feeling grateful for the life you have now, where you don’t need anything more to feel fulfilled. You’re already complete.

  • Everything is just so perfect, without a care in the world.

Step into that perfect scene, as if it’s happening right now. Feel those feelings as if you are on that dream vacation right now.

Now, after you tap into those feelings, bring them back to the present moment so you can carry them around with you everywhere you go.

Of course when you are in this picture-perfect vacation, you can feel these emotions with ease. You are doing the things you want to do, having the experiences you enjoy experiencing, and you’re surrounded by the people you want to surround yourself with.

Back to the real world.

Now bring yourself back to the real world.

Finals are coming up for school, you’re working long hours at your job, dealing with annoying customers, coworkers, friends, or family members. The credit card bill, car loan, and mortgage payments are due. Your car breaks down, you get sick. Your significant other breaks up with you.

Think about all the things that are going on in your life right now.

In these instances, can you still feel those emotions as if you’re on that dream vacation?

What if the answer could (and should) always be yes?

Going forward.

Just the fact that you were able to bring this feeling of living a happy and stress-free life up to the surface at least once in your life means that it’s already hidden deep down inside of you.

You simply have to release a few things that have been getting in the way. This is a whole lot easier than trying to find something out there somewhere.

If you’re ready to start experiencing life to its fullest, and enjoy the way you experience it, this is where your journey begins…



SECTION 1

EMOTIONAL BALANCE

When I found myself telling the heroin junkie in front of the Emergency Room to drag me inside if I lost consciousness, I realized that I’ve made some poor choices in life.

It doesn’t help that it’s 2:30 in the morning somewhere on the outskirts of Seattle and I’m thousands of miles away from my closest friends and family.

The lessons I’m about to share with you are not from some textbook I read in college or any happy-go-lucky personal development seminar. Once again in my life, I f*cked things up and I had to learn my lessons the hard way.

It is my hope that sharing this story allows you to learn from my mistakes so you don’t face the same disastrous consequences that I did. When you learn these lessons, no matter how bad things are on the outside, you’ll be emotionally balanced to handle anything that comes your way…on the inside.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dealing with the normal stresses and frustrations of everyday life. For the past three decades, I’ve dealt with these emotions in very much the same way most people do.

  • I pushed them down.

  • I let them out on other people.

  • I allowed them to get the best of me.

It wasn’t until this one fateful event where I found myself rushing to the emergency room before I had to deal with the disastrous consequences which were soon to follow the normal way of handling our emotions.

This Disastrous Consequences of a Stress-Filled Life

It’s the Autumn of 2015 and the business I spent two years building suddenly collapsed in front of my eyes. With the bank account dwindling, the credit cards maxed out, and bills having to be paid, my body became flooded with a wide array of negative emotions.

I tried to come up with some form of positive outlook on the situation. No matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t find it.

It wasn’t until I woke up in the middle of the night rushing to the emergency room with heart palpitations before I realized the way I’ve been dealing with my emotions has been led me straight into one of the darkest chapters of my life.

Do you know the scariest part of this all? When this happens to you, you wouldn’t have even seen it coming.

Looking back, all of this could have been easily avoided if I knew the things that I’m about to share with you today.

It actually wasn’t this one event which caused me to spend the next five months of my life in and out of doctors’ offices. The real reason I was facing these problems was because of the slow and silent buildup of:

  • Stress & Anxiety

  • Anger & Frustration

  • Sadness & Grief

  • Fear & Regret

The list goes on.

Each and every one of us faces these things in our lives, but it’s what we do when they are here which makes all of the difference.

Rock Bottom Sets You Free

By the time January rolled around, I’ve reached an all-time low. Dealing with health problems all winter, my productivity hit zero. Lying face down in my bed most days, I didn’t have the drive or motivation to advance my professional life. I covered up the sadness with junk food, which ultimately led to gaining a lot of weight. Exercise and relationships were non-existent.

At least I didn’t turn to alcohol or drugs.

I couldn’t bare for life to go on like this any longer, so I decided to end it. I had to end the pain, the suffering, and everything else that went along with it once and for all.

But not how you might expect…

After four doctors told me the physical health problems were caused by stress and anxiety, the fifth doctor was the one who prescribed me a bottle of anti-depressants.

When I looked at the label, it turned out the side effects of the drug would potentially be worse than the symptoms I was facing. To make matters even worse, if I stopped taking the drug too soon, one of the side effects could even lead to death.

Faced with a decision, I held the unopened bottle of pills in one hand. In the other hand, I stared at the emptiness and uncertainty of what other options I had at the time (or lack-there-of).

This was the moment in my life where I decided to do something drastic…

All of a sudden a man appeared in my life telling me that he’s walked this journey before. He found a healthier and permanent solution after suffering in very-much the same way I did.

Years ago, I met him at a business conference where he told me that his business went bankrupt during the 2008-2009 economic recession. This man could relate to what I was going through with this buildup of stress and sadness in his life, so I listened to what he had to say.

The man who’s walked this path before…

When the economic bubble burst, he lost everything he’s built up over the years.

Having to declare bankruptcy, no creditors would lend him money for new business ventures. For months on end he would stay in his room and lay face-down on his bed, depressed about where life has led him. He too was at a rock bottom, but he found a way out.

Eventually he grew tired of living this stressed-out life and he mustered up the motivation to search for another way. Getting back up on his feet and regaining control, he embarked on a journey learning how to manage the emotions he was facing.

After all, that’s all they are. Emotions floating through your body. There has to be a way to regain control of them, isn’t there?

He decided to do whatever he can to find out how to live a happy and stress-free life. Through self-education, trial and error, and learning many of these lessons the hard way, he eventually broke free from his depression and quickly released this buildup of stress.

But after he found the answers, something else happened to him…

Not only did he go on to rebuild his personal and professional life to new and greater heights, but all of those little things which used to get on his nerves suddenly didn’t bother him anymore. Compared to that rock-bottom he faced, the lessons he learned on this journey turned him into the type of person who is now emotionally equipped to handle anything.

After learning these things, he is even better off than he started.

He now ventures through life in a Zen-like state with a flowing stream of calmness and clarity, regardless of what life throws his way. Even though he faces many of the same obstacles and struggles on the outside, he now thrives off of them in ways most people never could even imagine.

While he was going through the struggle and depression, it appeared as if it was the worst time in his life. Inside of the chaos of the storm, it sure felt that way. But when he looked back on the journey he embarked on, this rock bottom in his life turned out to be the very best thing that has ever happened to him.

This depression was the very thing that moved him to shift course and propel him to this happy and stress-free life which we all dream of living.

How did he do it?

When the student is ready, the mentor appears.

If there was anybody in my life who could guide me through this emotional struggle I’m facing, it’s this man in front of me right now.

For the next year of my life, I went on a journey to discover these answers. Just like this man who has walked this path before me, I am proud to say that I found it. I am excited to say that the lessons in this book will help you find it too.

One year later: Emotionally Balanced

Exactly one year later from my rock bottom, I am facing a very similar situation on the outside.

Only this time around, things are much worse.

November 2016 | Backpacking Across the World.

I’m homeless in the middle of some foreign country. All of my bank cards are frozen. It’s 10:30 at night and the man I was staying with just threw all of my belongings on the curb in in a fit of anger and rage.

  • My travel backpack.

  • My clothes.

  • My laptop.

  • My passport.

Everything I owned was scattered in the middle of the street in a very bad neighborhood. I had no access to money. To top it all off, my cell phone service stopped working right after his rage-filled text message came in.

I am two miles away from the apartment.

When I looked down at my phone, my date asked me if everything is ok. Yes, all of this unfolded while I was a 40-minute walk away from the apartment on a first date with a lovely Spanish girl.

“Yeah, everything is just perfect”, I said with a sarcastic tone and smile on my face.

After I explained the situation, Cynthia offers to help me find my way back to the apartment. At least she knew her way around the city.

As we are wandering around the streets in the middle of the night, Cynthia says something to me, "How come you don't look stressed? If this happened to me, I would be freaking out right now."

She was right.

Here I was, virtually homeless in a foreign country with no clue how I'm going to get myself out of this mess and I wasn't stressed at all. When I first got the message, the emotions began to come up, but I quickly put what I learned over the past year to use. Surprisingly, I’m actually kind of relaxed.

We joked and laughed for the entire walk back to gather my belongings. She seemed more concerned than I was. I just had this inner sense of calm that no matter how bad things were on the outside, getting stressed out about it wasn't going to help.

It is a very powerful feeling when you learn how to harness and take control of your emotions, instead of letting them get the best of you.

We finally find our way back to the apartment. As soon as we turn the corner, the guy I was staying with looks as if he is in some type of alcoholic rage.

"Stand back and get ready to call the police in case he does something", I say to Cynthia, as I walk towards the front door.

Apparently the rent check I wrote in U.S. dollars would result in a lot of fees from his bank. Angered by this one little mistake, he let his anger take over.

Losing control of his actions.

I walk over to my bag and write him a second check to cover any fees he might incur; I hand it to him, and ask him if anything else of mine is still in the house.

"You fu*ked me over with the check”, he slurred in some drunken half-English accent. “Good luck trying to get your laptop and passport back. That’s in my room and there’s no chance you’re getting through this door."

Without my laptop, I wouldn’t be able to fix my bank cards, I wouldn’t be able to work out my cell phone service, and I wouldn’t be able to get out of this mess. Without my passport, I would be screwed. Feeling the emotions come up, I decide to put what I learned over this past year to use and take control of the situation.

"I'll exchange your house key for the rest of my things", I calmly said to him as a look of terror filled his face.

Of course he wouldn't want me to have the key to his house after what he did. I honestly would have just thrown it away, but this was able to calm him down enough to get my things before he slammed the door in my face.

I laughed to myself as I packed everything back into my travel backpack, noticing something was missing. With a confused look on my face as I'm searching around my backpack, Cynthia asks me what's wrong.

I look up with a smile and ask her, "Do you have any toothpaste at your apartment?"

“Oh, who said you were invited over?” she broke out laughing with a smile to match mine as she snaps a photo of me and we walk away.

Emotionally Balanced

I share this story with you to demonstrate the transition both myself and my mentor went through. In both instances I was out of money and facing a stressful situation on the outside. While it led to an eventual breakdown the first time around, the lessons I learned allowed me to prevent that from happening again.

After these transformations you are about to make, you’ll not only prevent that from happening to you the first time, but you’ll end this section with a special gift. You’ll learn how to tap into a special power that not many people in this world even know exists.

If you are ready to shift course to a happier and stress-free life, consider this book your map and flashlight, leading you to a balanced and brighter future.


Chapter 1

Suppressing Your Emotions

For as long as I can remember, I've been (unknowingly) turning my body into a pressure cooker.

The reason I suffered from heart palpitations, night sweats, and a wide array of other health problems is because I always bottled up my emotions. I would push them down for years on end, hiding from them, and I would never let them out.

I would vent from time to time, but the pressure eventually built up to the point where everything was about to explode.

And it did.

The doctors said I was lucky because they’ve see many other people do the same thing and suffer even more disastrous consequences such as having a fatal stroke or a heart attack.

But why do we do it?

Why do we resist facing these negative emotions in the first place? Are they actually negative, or is it something else? For me, I later discovered why I spent years suppressing them.

Hiding away from the pain and suffering was very convenient at first. I didn’t want to face the stresses in my life so I pushed them down into the subconscious. When I was about to get angry or frustrated at something, I would bottle it up. Doing this was a quick and easy solution to my problems.

Let’s paint a picture:

Imagine that you’re about to go on vacation and it’s time to pack your suitcase. For the first few items you put in, they are quickly out of sight and out of mind.

When you continue to pack your suitcase with one item after another, it eventually builds up to the point where nothing else can fit. All of a sudden when you try to squeeze in that one last piece of clothing, it will have already reached its limit.

You try to stuff it down, but when you do that, the zipper rips off and clothes go flying everywhere.

After years of doing this, my body turned not into a suitcase, but a full-blown pressure cooker which couldn’t handle any more stress. The scariest part is that when it explodes, you wouldn’t have even seen it coming.

When the pressure reached its limit, the years of emotional buildup came rushing to the surface. Imagine a car that crashes into a fire hydrant and the water comes shooting out to the surface uncontrollably, in infinite quantities.

This release came in the form of serious health problems.

First, I began to experience night sweats. Of course, starting to get night sweats out of nowhere caused a lot of anxiety because I didn’t know why they started. My mind automatically thought of the worst-case scenarios. I took to the internet to search what the symptoms meant, and at one point I was convinced I had a brain tumor.

Doing what has always worked for me in the past, I did my best to suppress this anxiety and fear. The only problem is that they had no place left to go. I stuffed them down into an already-filled suitcase and this is when the heart palpitations began.

The more I tried to hold back the stress and anxiety, the faster everything began to rush up to the surface. It’s like plugging one leak at the surface and seeing things quickly shoot out of another. My face began turning red, my breathing started getting difficult, and eventually…it happened.

That was the second night I spent rushing to the emergency room at 2:00 in the morning.

The very first lesson you should learn when it comes to facing these emotions is that you should never push them down by hiding from them. Equally important, you should never bottle them up.

It wasn’t only the (so-called) negative emotions which I struggled with. I was never one to put myself out there or speak my mind.

  • I didn't want to show my weaknesses on the outside.

  • I didn't want to expose my flaws.

  • I didn't want to let my emotions out for anybody else to see.

  • I didn’t want to be judged or ridiculed by others.

When we put ourselves out there and speak our mind, other people resist our opinion or judge us. As a defense mechanism, I decided not to let myself out anymore. The external judgment finally went away when I did this, but the buildup began.

If I was attracted to someone, I never let the emotions flow out because I feared rejection. They continued to build up…

I've always been told that showing my emotions was a sign of weakness. “Stop being a crybaby”, they say to you by the time you reach elementary school. The world has trained us to go against our natural instincts of expressing ourselves, but at what expense?

For me, the problem was suppressing, bottling up, and holding back my emotions. What if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum?

Letting your emotions take control of you.

I never wanted to turn into one of those people who loses their cool and has an explosion on the outside. Instead of bottling up your emotions like I did, maybe you never hold back and let your anger or frustration get the best of you.

Some small (or large) thing causes you to snap and you take it out on others. You easily lose your balance.

The emotions you let out of yourself into the world is like a high-pressured fire hose which is spraying out of control. It flies in every possible direction uncontrollably. Without a team of five firefighters to control it, things quickly turn for the worst.

Knowing what I know at this stage of my journey left me with a sense of confusion.

  • If I’m not supposed to bottle it up, and

  • I’m not supposed to let my emotions fly out of me randomly.

What exactly am I supposed to do?

This was the question I asked myself when I decided to embark on a journey in search for an answer. In the introduction of this chapter, I said that Rock Bottom Sets You Free. I’ve reached a low point in my life and I decided to do something drastic.

At this point, things felt like they couldn’t get any worse, so I have to do something…anything.

I needed a change of scenery.

I managed to muster up enough motivation to pack my car and drive halfway across the country in search for the answer. It wasn’t until after I took this leap of faith into the unknown before I found the answers I was looking for.

And more…



Chapter 2

Zen-Like Acceptance

In eastern philosophies, they say all suffering comes from resistance.

The Yin and the Yang – Without darkness, there is no light. Sadness is simply a measurement of happiness. Do you ever notice how great you feel after you recover from a sickness? Or how amazing spring feels after a long cold winter? Not everything is supposed to “go right”. The pain you feel is simply a unit of measurement for the great things that are about to come.

But what if there was a way to release the pain and suffering altogether?

After a long, dark winter…

As I drive along highway 36 towards the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I make my way towards the small peaceful city of Boulder, Colorado.

It’s early February and a fresh coating of snow blankets the entire landscape. The beauty in front of me would leave any photographer in awe.

I pull off to a scenic overview just outside of the city, allowing me to witness one of the most beautiful sights I could ever imagine. To the west are the snow-capped mountains standing high above the city. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying every ounce of this beautiful and relaxing paradise. The rest of the landscape is made up of snow-covered plains stretching infinitely into the horizon.

A cool and steady wind can be heard blowing down from the mountains through the thousands of fresh pine trees which stretch into the plains. I take a deep breath in and instantly experience a wave of relaxation blanket my entire body.

Everything is just so calm, peaceful, and relaxed.

I’m excited to learn that the next life-altering lesson on my journey is only a ten-minute drive away as I make my way down the final stretch of the highway towards my destination.

This is one of those rare moments in life where everything just feels so…at peace.

The Zen Retreat

In Zen philosophies, they say all suffering comes from resistance.

When I threw the bottle of anti-depressants in the trash, I went on a search for a natural solution. This is what led me to the city of Boulder, Colorado.

On a cool Sunday morning in early spring, I park my car outside of the bed and breakfast on the corner of Arapahoe Avenue. As I take off my shoes and make my way into the meditation room, a Zen master greets me. This man has been practicing Buddhism for at least 20 years.

While the rest of us who came to the group meditation wore jackets and sweatshirts, he was dressed in a thin layer of karate pants and a t-shirt.

I asked the Zen-master, “How is it that Buddhists don’t feel the cold?”

What he said to me were the very first words that shifted my experience in life forever.

“It’s not that we don’t feel the cold. It’s that we don’t resist it. All suffering comes from resistance. We don’t put a positive or negative label on it. The feeling you refer to as cold is simply a sensation flowing throughout your body.” He instructed.

All suffering comes from resistance.

There is no good or bad, right or wrong, positive or negative. There simply is…existence. Release the judgements, release the resistance and the suffering ceases to exist.

He went on to explain that when you accept the sensation of cold for being there and release the resistance, this is the first step to releasing the pain so it is no longer a part of you. Even before the sensation is released from your body, this acceptance has already put an end to the suffering.

Whatever you resist, persists.”

Imagine grabbing onto something really tight. The tighter your squeeze, the more it’s going to remain in your hands. That resistance to the sensation is just like your grip. The more you resist something, the more it persists.

  • When you avoid things, you push them down in your subconscious.

  • When you resist something, you resist bringing it up to the surface and making room to let it go.

  • But when you accept them for being there and let go of this resistance, this is when you begin to finally loosen your grip.

For me, this was a major breakthrough on my transformation because I used to always have a positive or negative label on things. While one feeling may be positive, the other might be negative. One thing may be good, the other may be bad.

Through this Zen-philosophy, there is no good or bad.

  • You can’t have darkness without light.

  • You can’t have happiness without sadness.

  • You can’t have bliss without suffering.

All these sensations we feel in our bodies are two sides of the same coin. One is simply a unit of measurement for the other, and we need to experience both in our lives.

The Yin and the Yang.

Through the teachings of this Zen master, I learned to really tune into whatever emotion I was feeling at the time. I paid attention to where the emotion was being felt within my body, what it felt like, what direction it was flowing, and how intense the emotion feels.

While holding these emotions at the surface, I keep them there with a sense of acceptance that they are simply sensations flowing through my body (whether I previously wanted them there or not). With this acceptance, the suffering suddenly melts away.

Remember, all suffering comes from resistance.

Allow whatever pain or suffering to be held there for a moment, and this acceptance of these sensations is the first step to loosening your grip on them.

Summary of what you learned so far:

In the previous chapter, you learned two things.

  • If you’ve been suppressing emotions down, this only leads to the bottling up of energy, and the pressure continues to build. Your unconscious holds onto all of your emotions until you bring them up to surface for release.

  • On the flip side, if you’ve been letting your anger or frustration get the best of you, this leaves you out of control. Your emotions control you and you are also emotionally unbalanced.

By feeling your emotions at the surface and accepting them to be there, this sets the stage for the emotional control which we have been searching for all along.

  1. When you feel the emotions in their full effect, this brings them to the surface.

  2. When you accept them for being there (instead of resisting them) they remain at the surface so you can get ready to release them.

Remember, there are no positive or negative emotions. They are all there for a reason and it is most-often the so-called “negative” emotions which are the most useful after all.

In the next chapter, I’ll explain why your “negative” emotions are there in the first place.



Chapter 3

Your Emotional Compass

There is no safety net in the deep wilderness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

With the nearest emergency services at least two hours away, if something goes wrong out here, you’re on your own. One brush with the wrong type of animal or one mistake will lead to you staring death in the face.

Facing death in the wilderness.

Just as I turn the bend on some back-country trail, I find myself standing face-to-face with one of the most dangerous predators in the entire ecosystem. A mother moose trying to protect her children. Eight hundred pounds of pure muscle, the moment this animal turns its sights on you, there is no escape.

As the animal’s posture goes erect, showing signs that she’s about to attack, my body is flooded with emotions. Every ounce of my body is screaming to GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.

She turns my way and begins to charge…

Lessons from three months earlier…

The words of the Zen master echoed through my mind, “It’s not that we don’t feel the emotions, it’s that we don’t resist them.”

Why are these emotions here?

While I had the stereotype that Buddhists could mediate and not feel the cold if they were in the middle of Antarctica, that wasn’t quite the case. Using the example of feeling cold, the man says that by releasing this resistance to cold, he no longer suffers from it.

The sensation was still there and he simply perceived it differently than the rest of us. Why do we resist a lot of the things we feel? Often times these sensations you feel are simply a message from your body saying that something needs to change.

Listen to your emotions.

“If I were in the middle of the wilderness and it was sub-zero temperatures, my limbs would begin to turn blue and I would freeze”, the man continued with his lesson…

Either by design or by evolution, these sensations we feel flowing through our bodies are there for a purpose. Our bodies are programmed to send us emotions, not for any random reasons, but for a very specific reason. These emotions are signals from our body that we must listen to and learn from.

When I am standing outside in below-freezing temperatures and I feel the sensation which you refer to as cold, this sensation is a message from my body that I should seek refuge. In our caveman days, we would find shelter or build a campfire. Today it means we should go inside and get a jacket.

These emotions are actually messages from your body.

Your Emotional Compass

The fear, the stress, and the powerful emotions that flooded my body caused me to go into full-on fight or flight mode.

If the moose began to attack, it would be a one hell of a fight. I would use these emotions to fuel the defense of my life and those who were on the hiking trail with me.

As the moose began running in our direction, we step to the side and she runs off into the distance.

It was these emotions which told us to get out of the way.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences like this in your life where you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation and your emotions go haywire. In these instances, it’s easy to recognize the message.

Your emotions are always speaking to you. Are you listening to them the rest of the time when they are more discreet? After learning more from my Zen master and my mentor, I began to listen to my emotions and started the practice to always be learning from them.

Learn from your emotions.

Instead of the extreme flood of emotions in life-threatening instances, we often don’t pay attention to the subtler emotions which we feel in our lives. Until you get in tune with your emotions, you may barely recognize them.

The emotions we feel on a regular basis are always there.

  • Anger.

  • Frustration.

  • Stress.

  • Anxiety.

  • Pressure.

  • Guilt.

Each and every one of these emotions you feel has a message for you.

When you get in the practice of:

  1. Accepting the sensations for being there,

  2. Feeling them flow at the surface,

  3. Listening to them, and

  4. Learning from them.

You will start to realize that there really are no good or bad emotions in your life. There simply is an emotional signal, or an emotional compass which is pointing you in a certain direction. Often times the emotions that you label as bad are there to demonstrate that you need to make a change.

The emotions you refer to as good are there for a reason too and it’s important to not get caught up in those as well. Feel them and experience them, but...

Before moving forward on your journey, I want you to shift your awareness towards what emotions you’re feeling in your life lately and feel the message they are sending to you.

When you figure out what this message is, this will help you get ready for what you’re about to do next.

You Have to Detach.

You have to remind yourself that life is an endless flow of energy (emotions). Energy flows in and energy flows out. Often times we get caught up in, and attached to, the emotions. When we do this, they continue to build up inside of us.

  • Too much lust can lead to an unhealthy obsession.

  • Sadness builds up and turns into depression.

  • Love gets built up, but never gets let out.

You have to let it out.

We live in an abundant world with an endless flow of energy. While you may want to hold onto certain emotions that feel good, it’s important to get ready to let them go too because more of them are destined to come.

Now that you listened to and learned from your emotions, it’s time to detach from them and make way for their release. You do this by separating yourself from the them.

Separate Yourself from Your Emotions

All too often when we feel these emotions build up within our bodies for long enough, we actually think they are a part of us. We identify as ‘a stressed-out person’ or ‘an angry person’ and we hold onto these labels, tricking us into thinking they are a part of who we are.

I don’t blame you for doing this because they feel so real.

But what if they are not a part of who you truly are and they are just energy flowing through your body? By releasing this label and self-identification, this helps pave the way for their eventual release.

Imagine that you’re in the passenger seat of a really fast sports car. The out-of-control driver is revving up the engine and slams on the accelerator. You’re immediately sucked to the back of your seat, going in and out of traffic really fast, and all of a sudden you’re going way too fast for comfort.

A car cuts you off and it’s too late to slam on the brakes. You’re going too fast. The driver swerves and you skid out of control. At 100 miles per hour, you are now skidding sideways directly towards a telephone pole.

Feel the stress and fear of what is about to come…

STOP.

When you’re caught up in your emotions, you are a part of them. They are in control of you just like you are a part of that race car. When they flood your system and you allow them to be a part of you, you’re going along for a dangerous ride.

When you feel this adrenaline rush, you are convinced that your emotions are a part of you. But if your emotions are a part of you, that means they are forever here and you always feel them. But that’s not the case. While you may feel certain ones more often than others, they come and they go due to this natural separation.

When you exercise, you are letting these emotions detach from you. When you take out your anger or frustration on something, these emotions separate naturally. Yes, more may come, but those are new ones, after you’ve gotten rid of the old.

This just goes to demonstrate they are not a part of you.

Separation.

Instead, imagine that you are high up above the highway in a safe location as you see that distant driver race in and out of traffic. While the car is still speeding and racing, you’re not caught up in the emotions because you’re detached from it.

This separation is freeing.

When you’re separate from your emotions, they no longer have a hold on you. You are calm, cool, collected, and you allow them to flow.

What the Zen master taught me to do was visualize this separation. I would simply view them as white specks of energy temporarily flowing through my body in very much the same way the blood flows through my veins.

It is visualizing and feeling their flow through the energetic pathways which creates this separation.

When you:

  1. Release any name or label attached to them.

  2. Accept them for being there and truly feel acceptance,

  3. Listen to them and learn what they are saying, and

  4. Separate yourself from them.

You are ready to tap into one of the most powerful forces in this entire universe. And that is exactly what you’ll learn how to do in the very next chapter.





Chapter 4

Harness Their Power & Release

An endless flow of energy.

I mentioned earlier that emotions are simply energy flowing throughout your body.

When you strip away the names (stress, anxiety, love, fear, frustration, joy) and the labels (good or bad, positive or negative), you are left with an endless supply of energy flowing through your system.

What are you going to do with it?

In the past, you may have bottled it up. But where does this lead? A buildup, a pressure cooker, and the disastrous health consequences which will certainly follow.

Even if you don’t see the health problems coming, they are on their way.

What about letting it all out?

When you see people lose their temper, take their anger out on others, or let their emotions get the best of them; they lose control.

This often leads to conflicts, attacks, and even landing many people in jail.

In either one of these circumstances, people don’t properly channel and harness this powerful resource which is inside of them. So what do you do with this energy instead?

A productive use of your energy.

Think of something you want to create or accomplish in this life.

What if instead of building this energy up and letting it spout out in any which direction, you harness its power and let it flow in a steady and controlled manner?

This energy is flowing through your body and it has to go somewhere. If you can’t keep it contained within, there is only one direction that it can go.

You’re going to have to let it out into the world.

You accept the emotions for being there, you feel their buildup and their energy, you listen to them, you separate yourself from them, and now it’s time to harness their true power.

Harnessing & Controlling the Flow of Energy

They say that some of the greatest minds in human history have mastered the art of energy transmutation. If you’re not familiar with the term transmutation, I’ll provide a simple definition: The action of changing the state of something from one form into another.

This is where you turn non-physical energy into physical greatness.

In spiritual circles, they say that deep inside of you is a limitless supply of energy. This energy is flowing from some higher power through your body and channeled out into the universe. When you tap into this source, you have an endless flow of energy to fuel the creation of anything you want to create in this life.

In a more practical sense, imagine a prize-fighter who is about to throw a punch into his opponent. He builds up the energy inside of his body, feels it at the surface, knows what he needs to do with it, and harnesses the full-force of his power into the punch that he delivers.

With the energy built up and channeled through this punch, he knocks out his opponent and wins the match.

These emotions you feel (regardless of what label you give them) provide you this very same power. Imagine letting them out with the narrow focus of a laser beam instead of a dimly lit floodlight.

How can you harness this power in your own life?

What passions or hobbies do you want to channel this energy into? What do you want to create? Imagine how much you can accomplish when you put these lessons to practice.

All of a sudden, those emotions you once thought where bad are the very fuel to light the fire inside you to accomplish anything you want to accomplish in this life.

On a scale of zero through ten, most people go around life putting a 3/10 effort into whatever they do. Instead, when your emotions are a 10/10, this is the buildup of fuel that will propel you to accomplish so much more.

The label is already stripped away. Now, you’re just simply channeling energy, and this energy is a gift.

Perhaps when you listen to this energy, the message is sending you in a certain direction and you know exactly what you need to do with it. In the sense of the mother moose in the wilderness, I knew that I had to go into flight mode and retreat to safety. If she attacked me, the energy built up inside would be the fuel that I would harness to fight.

The power of my punches would be intensified by the emotions which fuel them. All of a sudden, I no longer viewed this stress as a bad thing.

When I was a volunteer firefighter and the twenty-out-of-ten anxiety built up when I was in the basement of a burning building, this energy provided me with the power to battle the flames.

If it wasn’t for this fuel which I felt, I wouldn’t be able to physically do the things I needed to do.


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