How to Develop a Positive Mental Attitude: Turning Off Guilt


February 27, 2018
“Swami Vivekananda: How can I get the best out of life?
Ramakrishna Paramahansa: Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.”

I attempt to live in the present as much as possible, but for most of 2018 I’ve thought about the future. Even in this Bardo time, it’s been hard to not continue to focus on what’s next. My bestie, the woman of infinite wisdom she is, talked to me about the Buddhist term “bardo” during a recent chat we had. I shared about how guilty I’ve felt since leaving Cleveland. I’m in the process of moving, yet I’ve given myself some space or an intermediate state, a bardo, in New Mexico to explore, renew and center myself before settling in Denver. This space has oftentimes felt decadent and undeserved. Shouldn’t I be working? Shouldn’t I be doing? Shouldn’t I be achieving?

It’s been really difficult to turn this guilt off and at times my mind has been running away from me. I’ve kept dedicated to my meditation practice though through all the chaos and change. Each morning, I practice Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation. I let the moment decide who I will dedicate each section to, the person I love, the acquaintance, the person I struggle with. I envision their faces and figures and imagine green light traveling from my heart to theirs. Once the meditation is done, I journal about how I’m feeling and what came up during the meditation. It’s extremely helpful to me to process my feelings and give names to the emotions I’ve experienced.

It’s difficult not to wonder, was this move the right decision? Is Denver the right place? What am I doing here in New Mexico? So there I am regretting the past, being unconfident about the present and fearful about the future. How does any of that serve me and my higher self? The answer is that it doesn’t. This Bardo is an opportunity to prepare and process before embarking on the next journey, the next life. I’m going to let the emotions and questions arise, but also not hold onto them too long. For they aren’t the truth, only Brahman is the truth. And that’s the only answer I’m looking for.