Our themes this year are offered as a way for us to practice our power and freedom to create a life we enjoy living every day, and to feel the joy of creating it along the way. Creation is a journey, not a destination, and it’s meant to be fun! But, somehow we’ve gotten the message that we are rewarded in life in direct proportion to how much effort we put into living it.

The key to creating a life of Joy is practicing the “art of allowing.” Joy is natural to us. All we need to do is let our self be happy. It’s as simple as that and as hard as we make it! If we’re not having the time of our life living our life, it may be we are trying too hard to be happy. Trying to be happy is like trying to be our self. The effort comes not from being our self but from thinking we should be someone else. Spiritual author, Cindy Teevens, wrote, “It’s not that you don’t know yourself; it’s just that you keep imagining you’re something else.” In the same way, it’s not that we don’t know how to feel joy. We are Joy! It’s just that we keep imagining all sorts of reasons to feel something else. If we’re trying to be happy, but we’re not happy, it’s likely we’re focusing on reasons not to be. We’re thinking about all sorts of things that seem to oppose our happiness—health concerns, relationship challenges, financial problems, or world events. And, like a squeaky wheel, the noise of the unwanted in our head gets our attention.

Too much thinking makes happiness a struggle because there seems as many reasons “to be or not to be” happy in this world. Sometimes the best thing we can do is “the unthinkable.” We can decide to quiet our mind and not think at all—not think, not imagine, not obsess, and just breathe with a calm trust that everything is working out for good in our life and the world around us. That may seem counter-productive since we are taught that we need to change our thinking if we want to change our life. But, happiness isn’t a head trip, it’s a heart journey. We discover the joy alive in us by letting go of all our human judgements and concerns, and loving this thing called life, and everyone in it, with all our heart. Then we are able to feel the goodness of the Nature of Life, Itself. We are able to consciously live in the spiritual atmosphere of goodness, truth and beauty that surrounds us, with a mind unclouded by opinions that anyone should be other than who they are, or doing anything other than what they’re doing. Our mind is clear, and it is quietly minding its own business of spirituality.

Even though changing our thinking will change our life, thinking won’t make us more spiritual than we are right now. We can think and think and think our self out of feeling our spirituality “one million times,” but never once think our self into it. One of the most effective ways to experience our spirituality is to just breathe and trust that the Source of Life within us is taking care of us in every way.

When we’re stuck in a stubborn view of how things should go or will go, our view is based on a human mindset that by its very nature is fearful, opinionated, and judgmental, and can’t seem to stop analyzing life to death. When we choose a spiritual view of life, our mind becomes more calm. We don’t think as much, but we feel far more often because we’re trusting the feeling of our Inner Guidance. As Ernest Holmes put it, “God is Presence personified and individualized in us.” That Presence is our Inner Being. If we want to stop struggling with life, and enjoy living life instead, there is only one change in our thinking we need to make and it will change our life forever. Simply accept that our Inner Being is a Know-It-All, and decide to always ask for guidance. With this one change we can stop thinking and thinking and thinking, and start listening for inner guidance and feeling it when it comes.

It is through spiritual practice, or the practice of spirituality, that many of our thoughts naturally change without force, effort, or making us crazy. Many of us are prone to be thinkers, and sometimes over thinkers. We can overthink a small molehill of a problem until it looks like a huge insurmountable mountain. We can overthink something positive until it doesn’t look so positive anymore. Dostoyevsky wrote, “To think too much is a disease.” The cure, then, is to stop scrutinizing past events—hours past, days past, years past—as if we have a calendar of dysfunction bouncing around in our head that we need to keep track of. All the thinking in the world can’t fix yesterday, but we can miss today’s joy by trying to.

Author Sheralyn Pratt wrote, “The point is to be in the moment, not miss the moment while trying to capture it.” Life flows. It can’t be captured, and we miss the joy and magic of Its flow in the moment by trying to overanalyze or dissect the moment. Even though this world appears to exist as a bunch of separate parts, our analyzing those parts in an effort to understand life, or any situation in it, won’t get us there. We don’t have to figure out every little detail of life. All that living in our head will do is make us crazy, spinning the wheels of old thoughts, trying to make sense out of yesterday’s events.

A spiritual point of view is on a whole different vibrational level than a human point of view. A spiritual view of life is a view from the heart that vibrates with the energy of love. Such a view smooths out the differences we see in one another into an awareness of unity and an appreciation of diversity. We’re kinder, more tolerant, and more compassionate with our self and others. We stop pointing fingers and start reaching out to give more hugs. A spiritual view of life relieves the struggle to change our thinking thought-by-thought because more of the thoughts that arise in our mind travel on wings of love. We can trust good feeling thoughts because their good feeling energy is the vibration of the Voice of our Inner Being guiding us.

We can learn the art of letting go through daily morning meditation that will make it easier to let go of unpleasant thoughts throughout our day. And, if certain thoughts don’t seem to go away easily, and hang out in mind like misbehaved children trying to get out attention, it’s important to remember that thoughts don’t have power. We have power. And, we don’t have to give power to thoughts that crosses our mind or hang out for awhile. We can learn to observe any thought without reacting to it.

Author Betty Smith wrote, “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” When we look at a sunrise as if seeing it for the first time, there is no other sunrise to compare it to. Our mind is free to enjoy it just as it is. When we look at anyone, including our self, as if we are seeing that one for the first time, there is no past to compare the moment to—nothing to judge, nothing to forgive. Our mind is free to enjoy that one just as they are. When we look at a sunset as if we are seeing it for the last time, it becomes the most precious sunset we’ve ever experienced. When we look at anyone as if it were for last time, they become precious. All else becomes unimportant. The past fades away and future worries disappear. The moment, just as it is, becomes precious.

When our heart fills our mind with wonder, curiosity, gratitude, and appreciation in the moments of our life, we take no moment for granted. We don’t wait for a better time to enjoy our life. The moment becomes the only time in our life, and there is more than enough Joy in each moment for us to feel. We can’t think our way to happiness. But we can do the unthinkable, and feel our way all along the way of our heart’s journey home.