I feel fortunate to be able to say that most of the time I feel happy and calm, and that is for many reasons. However, this was certainly not always the case and there is one short little phrase which played a major role in transforming my life. This phrase, and the way I used it, allowed me to go from a life mostly dominated by fear and worry to one characterized by joy, gratitude and peace of mind.
Because of this phrase, I have learned how to instantly banish negative thoughts and feelings. It has so profoundly impacted my life that I want to share with you what this phrase is and exactly how you can use it to create the life you’ve always wanted.
I know you’re probably eager to know what this phrase is, but if you’ll first listen to a short story, a very personal story, it will significantly enhance your understanding of the power of this phrase and how you can utilize it to feel much happier and at peace.
Ever since I can recall, I have wanted to understand. When I was a child I immersed myself in the sciences, trying to grasp how the universe works. When I went to college, I studied psychology, hoping to gain a better understanding of people.
Next, I went to graduate school to study religion and spirituality, particularly the traditions of Asia. After graduating, I moved to Asia and did more than my share of travelling and searching.
Somewhere along the way, something simple yet profound happened: I started to try to understand myself.
I began to search for answers to my questions within, instead of without, and slowly I came to a realization which dramatically transformed my entire world. I realized that, with practice, I could exert authority over what I think and how I feel.
I began to experiment with this possibility and would tell myself to simply “feel happy”. I wanted an immediate change, like at the snapping of my fingers. At first, my brain protested and gave me reasons why I wasn’t happy, or shouldn’t be happy, or even worse, why I didn’t deserve to be happy.
Yet, I persisted in my experimentation.
One day, in the midst of a meditation, I asked myself a simple question: Who can hear my thoughts?
This question led me down a train of thought which took me through an intense emotional experience, culminating in a deep knowing that I alone had absolute authority over my inner world.
I felt as if a veil had been lifted from the world and I could see things with much greater understanding. I was actually startled by what I felt, and a little bit frightened, because I realized the overwhelming significance of this realization and was unsure exactly how to apply this knowledge.
As I sat there, deep in thought, suddenly the image popped into my mind of the final scene of the movie The Matrix where guns are raised and pointed at the main character Neo. Just before the bullets are fired, Neo declares with absolute confidence, “No.”
Now, I was never much of a fan of the movie and it’d been a while since I’d seen it, but the message I took from this thought was simple: speak with authority.
At that moment, my understanding deepened and I said silently to myself, but this time with complete and unbending authority, “Be happy.”
And an amazing thing happened: I suddenly felt very happy – instantly.
I became overwhelmed with excitement and tried it again. “Be confident,” I declared, and immediately felt myself oozing confidence.
“Be loving!” “Be kind!” “Be grateful!”
Each feeling came in an instant, on demand.
One after the other, I created the feelings within me, but not just dim versions of these feelings, I exuded them. When I spoke with absolute authority, my mind and body replied with obedience. I was completely floored.
For months, I practiced this, trying to get better and better at instantly creating the feelings I wanted. But, unfortunately, many times I fell short of making the change. Often I just couldn’t muster the same level of authority as before. And I felt like I was all over the place, experimenting with all sorts of different feelings, thoughts and emotions.
I knew I needed to focus in, so I asked myself another simple question: What is the best feeling of them all?
The answer came to me immediately: gratitude.
When feeling grateful, one cannot simultaneously have feelings of anger, frustration, worry or fear. Gratitude banishes negative thoughts and feelings, so I decided to concentrate all of my efforts on creating the feeling of gratitude, the mother of all pleasant feelings.
I would try to simply command myself to “be grateful”, but I wasn’t always in a receptive state, or sometimes didn’t feel that I could speak with absolute authority. When I was worried, frustrated or angry it was even more difficult. My results were mixed.
My goal was to find a way to make it so I could bring about a feeling of gratitude, a truly deep feeling, in an instant and at any time. I tried many things: affirmations, thinking about people I loved, listing off things I was grateful for and keeping a gratitude journal. All of these helped to some degree, but again I felt like I was trying so many different things with inconsistent results.
I needed something simple and effective.
Then, one day I was reading a book about Zen titled “A Flower Does Not Talk”. I read the following story about a female Zen master named Sono who many people would come to seeking help and guidance.
One day, a fellow Buddhist, having made a long trip to come see her, asked Sono what he could do to put his heart at ease.
Sono replied, “Every morning and every evening, and whenever anything happens to you, keep on saying, ‘Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.’”
Coming upon this part, I froze and slowly re-read the phrase.
“Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.”
Bingo! The phrase completely leaped off the page. It was as if “Hallelujah” was being played in the corners of my mind accompanied by a symphony of colors and joy.
I had found it. I knew immediately that this was it, this was the only thing I needed to say, no matter what the situation to generate a feeling of gratitude immediately.
From then on, I simplified things greatly: anytime I felt any negative emotion at all or wished to feel positive feelings, I would say this phrase to myself.
Sometimes the sense of gratitude came immediately, other times I needed a few repetitions, but it always came. And ever since then, I have used this simple, yet powerful, phrase to banish worry, fear, anger and negativity from my life.
So, if you feel the need to heal emotional wounds, let go of anger or other negative emotions, rid yourself of worry and scary “what-if” questions, try this simple practice:
Every morning and every night, and any time anything bad happens to you, or you want to get rid of negative thoughts or feelings, or just want to feel better, say, out loud ideally:
“Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.”
Say it to who or whatever you wish – the universe, God, life itself, nothing in particular – it’s up to you.
I urge you to try saying it right now, 3 times, out loud. See how it feels. Go ahead…right now…take the 10 seconds and give it a try. Really let yourself feel it. I can wait 🙂
Now make this your simple practice, your habit which can, at any time, defend you from all the negativity in life. We all know that mental and emotional habits can be difficult to change, but it can be done. The more you practice it, the easier and faster the positive feelings will come. And with practice, you will be able to generate within you, at will, a sense of gratitude so powerful that no negative emotion can overcome it.
In this way, you can take back your life, and declare it to be one of happiness, peace and gratitude.
There is no room for negativity inside a grateful mind.