9 Beliefs You Have to Let Go If You Want to Find Inner Peace

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense  It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” ~Adyashanti

I don’t know exactly when it happened.

It was probably about eighteen months ago, maybe a couple of years. I can’t really remember, and it doesn’t really matter.

I was up to my neck in stress, and having one of those days.

It was one of those days where you wake up late and your neck is a little stiff. One of those days where you skip breakfast, and you immediately feel that you’re behind schedule on every little piece of work. Where you have calls that you’ve forgotten to make, and emails that you’ve forgotten to send. One of those days where you know there’s no way you’ll have time to go to the gym later, even though today’s the day you need it the most! Just one of those days.

So I got home from work, sat in my meditation chair, and tried to calm myself down. But the stress and the frustration weren’t going anywhere. I wasn’t going to simply breathe it away.

As I sat there, struggling to relax, I found myself more and more wound up, until a deep pressure was gripping my forehead. Suddenly, in a split second, I just let go, and the flood gates poured open.

I let go of wanting to solve any issues in my life. I let go of trying to be calm, or trying to be stressed. I let go of trying be happy, I let go of trying to be sad. I let go of problem solving, and I let go of ideas of procrastination.

It wasn’t the kind of letting go where your mind subtly grips onto something else. The kind of letting go when you scream “I just don’t care anymore” but you know you’re now just holding onto the idea of “not caring.”

It wasn’t that. It was just… letting go. And I realized at that moment that all my worries were tangled up this thick web of beliefs I had about what I should have been experiencing.

See, it sounds like a cliche, and maybe it is, but I realized that I didn’t need to get anywhere. Exactly where I wanted to be was hidden behind layers of beliefs. It was cloaked behind a thick forest of shoulds and should-nots.

But as much as I’d heard this before, it wasn’t until I was actually able to give in that I could start to clearly see the unconscious beliefs that had been getting in the way of my inner peace.

To some extent, everyone seeking change and peace are initially guided by ideas. But I’ve come to realize since then that the real change happens when you let go of ideas, as opposed to following new ones. After a long process of meditation and journaling, I found that the nine beliefs l describe below are what we often hold onto unconsciously.

I also came to the understanding that training my mind to “be present” or “be calm” could only get me so far. While I had many fleeting moments of peace, they often felt as if they came on top of a background of noise and confusion.

When I started to let go of these ideas, the inner peace became the background, and the noise became what would visit and leave.

Here are nine unconscious beliefs about life that get in the way of our inner peace.

1. “I need to be doing something right now.”

This is an incredibly subtle belief that most of us don’t even realize we are holding onto. It stems from our obsession with productivity and achievement, and it manifests as a constant, itching discontent.

Though our ego tricks us into believing we need this feeling to get things done, when we can let it go we see a lot of our anxiety dissolves and our relaxation deepens. We’re also much more likely to enjoy what we need to do without the constant internal pressure of feeling that what we’re doing in this moment is never enough.

2. “When I get what I want I will be happy.”

This is another cliche that I’m sure most of us are aware of. But despite acknowledging that we don’t need to get anything to be happy, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the chase.

To overcome this, we need to be mindful of when we have the feeling that we need something before we can be happy. When we see we’re doing this we can practice letting go of that need, even if only for a brief moment. The more capable we become at doing so, the more we will naturally experience happiness in the present, and the less our minds will fixate on ideas of the future for fulfillment.

3. “Finding inner peace is difficult.”

This is another myth that gets in the way. Many of us feel that we are far from inner peace, and we idolize those who seem to have found it. Because of this, we unconsciously believe that it’s a long way away from where we are in our lives, and we need to go on a long journey to find it.

Maybe we’ve read books that suggest that fundamental change in how we feel or act takes years of difficult training or some sort of pilgrimage. But often it is letting go of the belief that what we want is so far away, and understanding that when you stop striving so aggressively you will start to see the calm you’re looking for. It is this process of turning your beliefs upside down that becomes the journey in itself.

4. “If I express my emotions honestly people will think I’m weak.”

We’re often taught, as we grow up, to keep a lid on our emotions. This is common for responses that are considered socially inappropriate such as anger, fear, and sadness. Though in many ways we’re also taught to limit how much we show our positive emotions such as joy and excitement. This leads us, in adulthood, to believe that honest expression will be met with disapproval by others.

The irony in this is that as everyone is dealing with the urge to be authentic, those that actually do so are often met with respect and admiration.

5. “If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like it.”

This is similar to the issue we have with emotional expressions. We hide certain aspects of our personality, defining ourselves publicly by what we show and privately by what we’ve hidden. The reality is that you are a lot more than either of those stories, and people will gravitate toward the real you because they appreciate honesty.

6. “I should be happier right now.”

In our culture, we fixate too much on social comparisons between individuals. When we don’t feel good, we look at what we have and feel guilty for not being happy enough. Or, we look at what we don’t have and wonder why we’re not as happy as the next person. Happiness isn’t something you need to have all the time; it comes and goes, like any experience, but it’s not a prerequisite for being human.

7. “Not being the best me isn’t good enough.”

There’s been a huge movement in the last twenty years toward personal development. Though a lot of these ideas are healthy, they can be driven by toxic motives. Most people don’t feel they need to better themselves out of a genuine need to improve their community, but out of the feeling that they’re not good enough in the first place.

When you can strip yourself of this idea you’ll soon realize that the chase to being your best self is infinite and anxiety-inducing. You’ll see that you can love and appreciate yourself now, as you are, without needing to be someone else before feeling okay.

8. “I owe the world.”

This is a tough one and is related to the feeling of needing to be your best self. Though gratitude is important, it doesn’t mean we should walk around with the feeling that we’re in debt to the universe. We see this when people pathologically try to prove their worth to others. When we let go of the deep feeling of debt and obligation, we can then really start to give people what we have to offer.

9. “There was a time in my past that absolutely sucked.”

Often we become so identified with bad times in our past that they get in the way of us enjoying the present. We define ourselves with these past experiences and feel we need to share them with everyone we know before they know the real us. But when we come to realize that they are far less significant than we initially thought, we stop feeling like imposters and we let old memories fall away.

Many of these beliefs still come up in my day to day life. Sometimes when I start getting close to new people, I have the feeling in the back of my mind that they don’t know me until I’ve retold them a series of clips from my life story. I understand though that these stories aren’t who we are in this moment. What other people think of us and what we think of ourselves is constantly changing.

Other times I find myself tired, or sick, and there’s an itching feeling that I should be happier, or I should just be doing more with my time. And like many of us, I still need to work on expressing my emotions honestly, without the fear that others will see it as a weakness.

All of this is okay. These beliefs took a lifetime of conditioning to cement themselves in our minds, so it’s only right they should take a little time and effort before they’re able to be completely let go.

Fortunately these constructs don’t have the same kind of grip over my psyche that they once had. In time, my anxieties have started to fade away and I’ve been able to ruminate less over unnecessary questions.

What do you think about these unconscious beliefs? Have you had any experience with them? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments!

About Benjamin Fishel

Benjamin Fishel is a freelance writer, meditation practitioner, and the creator of the popular blog Project Monkey Mind. He’s also currently studying his Masters in Applied Neuroscience. If you’d like to know how you can calm your mind using Modern Psychology and Eastern Spirituality, get his free cheatsheet 10 Hacks to Calm Your Monkey Mind (in 5 minutes or less).

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  • Sarah

    Great article. I used to read articles like this and think it was an overnight change, and once the change was made that it would be permanent. It’s take some time to realize that’s not how life goes 🙂 I remind myself to stick by myself daily, and it’s always a choice I make. Thank you for posting!

  • Pieter

    Really enjoyed the post.
    I been trying to articulate this way of practice for a while – this sense that the ‘idea’ of something and the stories we create around them, even ideas such as meditation and prayer, can get in the way. If you’re always a seeking when do you settle into what you found? Maybe this is what’s behind the Zen concept ‘doing by not doing’.

  • Ros

    Yes, what you write resonates with my personal experience.
    Like you say and like Sarah says in the comments 🙂
    Thank you.

  • Angela

    Hello Ben,

    I really enjoyed your article 9 beliefs…it is very thought provoking. It’s so easy to get gripped by our innate beliefs. It’s like a protection blanket; it can be all we know. To relearn something new is a scary process and one which can stop us in our tracks because we would rather stay with the familiar and comfortable. To step outside of our comfort zone is like confronting our own limitations. However, the release can be rewarding, inspiring and help us to look outside the book. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

  • ShaunTheCHB

    Interesting way of looking at this, but very difficult to practice. Yes, most of these beliefs I do have. Only one that I don’t think is “I owe the world”, I’m more of the belief “the world owes me”.

  • Diego Fortes

    very good post, i love it! thank you

  • Barry

    Loved reading this article, thanks Ben!

    Out of the 9 things, the top three that resonated with me were…
    1) “I need to be doing something right now” – I think this is the most important one.
    2) “Happiness is not something you need to have all the time; it comes and goes like any experience” – This was an important realisation for me. It is a flow-on from your idea that “inner peace became my background, and the noise would be what visits and leaves” – happiness is a noise/experience that comes and goes, but inner peace is your bedrock.
    3) “Not being the best me is not good enough” – Personal development, like anything, needs to be done in moderation. Growth is healthy but striving for perfection is an infinite chase that is unhealthy.

    Overall, fantastic article!

    Let go = inner peace

  • Sara Pedersen

    Great article, Ben! I am aware I’ve had these stuck points throughout my life that has challenged my ability to live authentically, and then there’s been times where I feel like I’ve comfortably challenged some of these ideas and lived more mindfully. I feel like that ‘progression’ toward total self-acceptance has ebbed and flowed, though love the recognition in your article that it is a journey of growth, and that there are times where simply being is more important…I was intrigued by #9 because I feel like, in my mid-20s now, that I need to share my life story with others in order for them to be considered a best friend. I definitely have not even realized how unnecessary this is because we are changing beings, and the past (and future) aspects of ourself should have no bearing on who we are in the present moment – I love this so much. I’ve had a hard time being my authentic self for a few reasons, though appreciate the reminder that being your authentic self, now, is more fulfilling and raw than reflecting your past or future selves. Thank you for these reminders 🙂

  • Susan

    How do you let go of something you know you can’t change, but it gnaws at you constantly?

  • Soraya Ali

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article Ben.

  • raine b

    So.. how do you let go of “needing to do anything” but still keep a normal life? Because i have to force myself. I’ve always had to because i don’t know? depression. Its like carrying boiling water, depression. If I don’t make myself do things i simply won’t ? or is that actually not true, i will if/ when i get rid of demon beliefs? the thing is i /know/ i can’t stop being a demon myself.

  • Hi Susan,

    There are a few ways you can let go of things.

    One way is by contemplation and inquiry. I recommend The Work by Byron Katie and The Sedona Method (originally by Lester Levenson). You can find out about these free on YouTube or in books on Amazon – I wouldn’t recommend you buy expensive courses. In both these techniques you focus on the feeling associated with what you can’t change and you go through a series of questions that reorientate your perspective to whatever it is that is gnawing at you. You’ll feel a little better immediately, but the real change comes when you do this consistently, preferably daily. It takes time but it does work if you’re diligent!

    The second way is to just free-write about whatever it is that is on your mind. A lot of the time emotions just need to be completely expressed before they can be let go of, and free writing is the best way to do this. Just set a timer for 15 minutes and don’t stop writing till the timers up.

    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for taking the time to read it Soraya!

  • Hey Sara,

    100% agree with you about number 9, I catch myself doing this all the time.

    You’re right about us being changing beings, you articulated it really well. Authenticity is alot more about stripping away then it is adding anything, being rather than becoming, I guess.

    Very glad you go something out of the read 🙂

  • Thanks for reading Barry!

    Personal development (or self-help) is such a strange oxymoron. Past way to help the self is to pay less attention to it. Definitely difficult to find a moderate balance in personal development because it’s such a ‘self-centered’ activity.

    I think “I need to be doing something right now” must be the one of the deepest sentiment of a modern culture. Ties into the feeling of needing to be ‘useful.’

  • Thanks Diego!

  • Hey Shaun,

    Interesting that you have belief that ‘the world owes you.’

    I guess that on some level they’re two sides of the same coin. There is a separation between you and the world, and the feeling that there’s some sort of contractual obligation between your labour and the fruits of your labour. People feel like they’ve worked enough and should have ‘more’, or they feel like they need to work more in order to have ‘more.’

    Either way there is an implicit assumption that the current state is not enough.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Hey Angela,

    The protection blankets a good metaphor, because they feel like they’re weighing us down. I guess these beliefs are there because than can be useful in some situations, but we carry them around all the time to the point where they do more harm than good.

    Thanks for the read!

  • Thanks for reading Ross, glad it resonated!

  • Hey Pieter,

    I think there are some parrellels between this kind of letting go I’m talking about and Zen.

    Both require a significant degree of attention, and sometimes the unnecessary striving is necessary for the letting go. Andrew Newberg’s actually done some research on this, enlightenment breakthroughs (and other psychedelic experiences) come when there is a dramatic shift in brain activity which feels like ‘letting go.’

  • Hi Sarah,

    Yeah there is definitely something about the small-choices that make all the difference. We’re conditioned to seek out the big, colourful experiences, but that’s not how reality is most of the time!

    Thanks for reading

  • ShaunTheCHB

    Right. It’s like “I have worked hard and studied hard, where’s my good life? It should be here now” and I’m waiting for the world to give me the nod and say “Good work Shaun, have a cookie”.

  • Jem

    Hi Ben,

    I’m trying my hardest to start off 2018 the best I can and I have an awful bad tendency of over thinking WAY too much and then I end up messing up something good like a relationship let’s say. Thankfully I do have friends I can send SOS msgs too that snap my out of my craziness I just don’t understand why I constantly feel the need to
    Do this especially when things are going great. Maybe it’s because I’m scared of rejection and having to start over but I really need to find a way to stop this, it consumes me! Any tips would be grateful 🙂

    Thank you

  • Ra Ault

    find some one to help that situational empathy can take hold of your emotional center such that sending out a light to all that is of love becomes the answer to all that is love is aware of fear and knows answers unconsidered by anything else that make issues and tissues a dance step not a stumbling block…………………………………………………………………………….

  • Mark

    Great advice, thanks for sharing with us and I’m looking forward to reading more!

  • Zezzreth Vhaorik

    You can’t let go of anything. You can allow it and through that allowance it naturally dissipates. The struggle isn’t in the activity but the resistance of the activity. Allow the activity and allow your sequential resistance following the activity. Bit by bit the patterns will fade and your self will fade with it.

  • DhitAbhijano


  • SocietyDemandsMoreThenItShould

    Very interesting article, however there is 1 important thing you may of
    forgot to say, or maybe you even forgot to think about. I find that we
    humans tend to think “This worked for me, so it should work for
    everyone” incorrect, this approach may of worked for you, but may not
    work for the next person. Lets hit it 1 by 1 to show you what I mean.

    I know people who feel calmer doing things, not because they are not
    being productive, or that there is a list of things that has to get
    done, but they are more relaxed working, there are those who feel more
    at ease doing something as simple as house work or even a side job.
    Again, not that they are hurting for money or worried about being
    productive, but simple because they feel more at ease doing so. We as a
    society look at these people as workaholics, now of course there are
    workaholics that are doing it for the money weather they are hurting or

    2. This one, well I completely agree, because of the
    marketing that is designed to make us think like this, we tend to think
    the way to happiness is through money, whether though material objects
    or just having money, but its not, ask anyone who hit it big, from a
    winning lottery ticket to winning big at a casino, or something of that
    nature, they tend to express that they were happier before they has
    money. Some even express that they have never felt so alone, again due
    to the fact that we think money is the most important thing in the world
    and there are those to tend to gravitate toward those who do, not to be
    friends but to get a piece of the pie.

    However a counter
    argument is pretty easy to come up with, for example its hard to be at
    peace if you owe a lot of money, we live in a world where everyone is
    greedy, take medical bills for example, I know it costs a lot to run a
    hospital, but the US has some of the craziest medical prices in the
    world, When you can spend thousands of dollars on something as simple as
    stitches (yes I have seen it), imagine the medical bills for those who
    have real medical emergencies, they could owe hundreds of thousands of
    dollars, well here is the problem with that, hospitals are treated like
    businesses, once you, the patient, is all better, then comes the time
    for the hospital to start the collection process, and they are not
    always easy to work with, and not everyone is “accepted” by these
    charities or programs that help those who are in debt due to medical
    bills. So now you have these debt collectors calling you daily,
    threatening to take you to court, or attempting to garnish your wages
    which may put you in debt elsewhere. These type of stresses are not easy
    to forget, or overcome until they are gone by paying off such debts.

    This one is pretty easy to find a counter argument for. Have you ever
    dealt with someone who had a VERY traumatic experience? I read a story
    on 2 little girls who survived a car crash, they were very lucky to do
    so, however, the parents were not so lucky, the lose of loved ones is
    hard for anyone, but they had the unfortunate experience of seeing their
    mother decapitated, very sad story, one of those stories that bring you
    to tears when you hear it. How about those who experienced a combat
    zone fighting for our country, this is a very traumatic experience for a
    lot of them. These are experiences we wish on no one, but those who
    have a very traumatic experience, tend to take years to over come them,
    sometimes decades, one can truly find inter peace while dealing with
    such an experience. So in this case, finding inner peace is difficult.

    This one is hard to say 100% yes or no, in our society is evolving, but
    30 – 40+ years ago, showing emotions like fear, or sadness truly made
    people think we were weak, and the further you go back the worse it got,
    so this is where this idea comes from. we got away from that, the newer
    generations most likely wont feel like this, However its a two way
    street, we are now getting to the point where things have gone to far
    the opposite way, there is nothing wrong with showing emotions, but we
    are putting to much emphasis on it, kids now these days are not going to
    be ready for the real world when they grow up, because they are taught
    from an early age that everyone is a winner. They are worried about
    making kids feel bad, the real world does not work that way, it never
    will, regardless of how much we want it to, there will always be winners
    and losers, ultimately the problem will be that in the years to come
    people will hide their emotions not because they are worried about them
    looking weak, but we cause they are not taught how to deal with their
    emotions properly. our society is starting to worry more about stopping
    the negative feelings, however we grow as individuals when we overcome
    such feelings, but this is a bit off topic now.

    5. This one also
    has some counter arguments, some people have ideals or desires that the
    rest of the world would look down at, not because its unnatural, gross,
    or wrong but because we are taught its unnatural, gross, or wrong, this
    could go for many different fields with many different topics, I am
    going to avoid saying any particular topics to avoid such a debate, but
    due to our society and they way we are taught whats right or wrong,
    there are a percentage of people who hide their true ideals or desires
    because they would be looked down at by society, even their piers who
    may have the same ideals or desires, because they are afraid of what
    society thinks.

    6. I agree with this one personally, forcing
    yourself to be happy because you feel you are not happy enough doesn’t
    work and causes more stress then its worth, happiness comes and goes, no
    one is truly happy 100% of the time.

    7. Another one I agree
    with, You will never find happiness or inner peace if you feel you are
    not good enough to begin with. No one is perfect and everyone had flaws.

    This one I believe partly comes from the way our society works, as a
    society we judge a book by its cover to say the least, we assume things
    about people, group people together, we judge someone by the first 10
    seconds or so when we meet them, and if they meet the judgement of a
    group we don’t want to associate with we tend to write them off, so as a
    result we unconsciously want to prove ourselves to others, so we
    ourselves are not written off by others, so once you understand that,
    its easier to overcome the idea of trying to prove your worth to others.
    well at least this is my belief.

    9. This one i believe there is no argument for, you will never be at peace if you live in the past.

  • Zac Caslar

    Regarding 8 I don’t think there is a more destructive idea than “I don’t owe the world anything.”
    You’ll note how incredibly pervasive this thought is, and particularly in the lives of them working most dilligently to boil this planet in poison.
    Feeling gratitude to the world encourages a sense of smallness and oneness, a sense of having a place in relation to everyone else that itself isn’t unique.

    So while I agree with 7 that flagellating oneself in the need to somehow become someone acceptable to the world is unnecessary turning away from that into rejecting a debt to the rest of existence isn’t enlightened, it’s perfecting solipsism.

  • Chuck Nemer

    Amen to number 1 as I get up at 430AM to tackle the day’s load!! 🙂 Seriously though, I do recognize all these and work on them constantly. I’ve become a healthier person for it too. Gonna check out the books too. Thanx.

  • Ffb Knowit

    let go of ‘wanting’ to change anything..

  • Hi Zac,

    I agree with you that the thought “I don’t owe the world anything” is a destructive idea. I think the disinction here is that the absence of “I owe the world” is not automatically “I don’t owe the world.” Nor is the presence of “I owe the world” automatically gratitude.

    I think the main consideration is self-awareness as that will guard against nihilism and what Shinzen Young would called “Enlightenments Evil Twins” and (it could be argued) gratitude will naturally flow from a place that is beyond the I owe/I don’t owe dichotomy.

    Thanks for the read!

  • Cheers Chuck, glad you got something out of it!

  • Hi Jem,

    If you’re overthinking then it’s probably best you just focus on simple advice. I guess the one thing I would say would be don’t assume that it if it feels like something is ‘being messed up’ like a relationship for example:
    1. Don’t assume that it’s really being messed up, give it some time to reflect on before you jump to conclusions. It could just be how you’re feeling in the moment and not an accurated representation of the situation.
    2. If you truly feel that somethings going wrong, don’t assume that it’s your tendency to overthink that’s the root cause. There are usually many reasons, both in and out of our control, that something like a relationship starts to go wrong.

    Also, keep a hold of those friends that send you those messages, and always be quick to return the favour when you have other people in your life that need it!

    Hope that helps 🙂

  • Thanks Mark!

  • Natalie

    Thank you for this great article! I think my main issue is that I always want to be somewhere else, so Im the type of: If I get that, then I will be happy. How can I be more patient with life, just let it flow? How how how ? 🙂

  • Hi Natalie,

    So I’m going to try and make this not sound like completely generic advice.

    “Learn to enjoy being in the moment.”

    I get why people get tired of this soundbite. It’s because there is a limit to how relevant it is when you haven’t trained your mind to be able to do so. The degree to which we enjoy the moment is directly proportional to our ability to concentrate.

    You can’t really “enjoy the moment” until you can focus on one thing for a long period of time. That’s why most people try to be in the moment, don’t really get what that means, and just pretend they do or write it off completely.

    The obvious way to do this is concentration meditation. But most people aren’t going to take that seriously. Still, start small and take it seriously and you’ll notice that the issue of wanting to be elsewhere takes care of itself.

    However, something a little bit more practical is just to practice concentration on everything you do. Forget about mindfulness. Just focus more in your daily life. If you’re reading or watching tv or working, just do that. Don’t watching Netflix and scroll through your phone and eat and talk and think about next weeks plans. Everytime I watch tv, act like you were in a cinema, people enjoy the cinema more than TV partially because they’re forced to pay attention haha.

    Just do one thing at a time.

    Sounds simple but it makes a big difference over time!

  • Claude

    Just read the article. Interesting, I am 55 yrs old and still looking for something. Let me tell you its exhausting. Now letting go, is not easy because I catch myself wishing more then letting go. Don’t get me wrong my life is good but getting a feeling that something is missing is annoying. This makes it not fair for my love ones, wife, kids. So letting go would make sense. Good article, simple, easy to understand plus give me a chance to work on me and it’s not bad to do so. Thanks

  • brigidthebold

    The last belief you mention is especially thought-provoking to me. I have also felt that feeling that “someone doesn’t know me” until they’ve heard past stories, good or bad. But those stories aren’t really “me.” I have felt that even further though, even when someone has heard stories from my past, a list of my likes and dislikes, has a general idea of my personality… do they know “me” at that point, or just a collection of ideas that the ego uses to define itself? Sometimes it feels like for anyone to know “me,” or for me to know anybody else in a true sense, it would have to be something beyond all that. Maybe just a recognition that we are ultimately the same? And to the ego that is very threatening, giving me a sense of unease and loneliness even.

    I appreciate your article, thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • Erin

    Some of these really resonate with me. Some are issues I know I have and plan to work on in therapy (“if people see the real me they’ll reject me”) but others I hadn’t thought much about… how I might be ready ( with therapy) to let go of the “time that really sucked” and that I can have faith that I will have the courage to try again… but also that labeling it as the time that really sucked might be causing harm… I’m perhaps not making sense but I see a way to honor my hurt and move on to choosing other thoughts.

  • K B

    Hello Ben. Here’s the good news — I’ll be retiring in 2018. But… I recently began experiencing major panic attacks about being left alone in life with no family or close friends. (My only family in town is my hubby & truth be known, I never have been one to have more than 1 or 2 friends). Any thoughts?

  • Hi K B,

    As far as the panic attacks I’d recommend you see a specialist if you’re not already. Obviously a bit annoying but something like that can tend to get more ingrained over time so better to tackle it head on asap.

    With the fear of being left a lone I’d try to deal with that directly. Free-writing in a journal would help you figure out where that’s coming from.

    I would also 100% recommend Loving-Kindness meditation. It will help you feel more connected to everyone, the fear will start to dissipate and you’ll find it less taxing to make new friends.

    On that note I’d also say just go out and try to find people with similar interests, it might be a little uncomfortable at first but don’t assume that you can’t be more social later in life just because you haven’t been that way until now!

    Good luck 🙂

  • Hi Erin,

    I see what you’re saying. Try not to see letting go as a one-off event that’ll happen in the future. It’s more of a process that you’ve already started, particularly if you’ve gone to the effort to see a therapist. Some days you’ll be better at it than others but that’s all part of the journey.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Thanks Brigid!

    Difficult question to answer really. I would say that a part of their ego ‘thinks it knows’ a part of your ego, but a part of you also knows a part of them and vice versa. The you/them is only ever experiental (in the moment) and is what you want to let yourself focus on.

    I guess it is beyond ‘all that’ as you say, and is probably the recognition that we are all the same. But it’s not the recognition in the cognitive sense, it’s more an implicit understanding that we act out – probably why we’re such social creatures haha!

  • Letting go does make a lot of sense, but it doesn’t necessitate feeling bad. If you feel any guilt over it not being fair on your love ones, you can let go of that as well.

    Thanks for reading Claude!

  • Jerry Kirk

    Hey Ben.
    Interesting read, In attaining inner peace I’ve had slight problems with No.1 and No.9. No 1.The need to be doing something right now, usually occurs to me when I’m bored at home and there is usually nothing of interest to do but be bored with the need to be doing something right now. It occurs at work too but I use that as fuel for better job performance. Some jobs can be demanding and you need that internal pressure and drive to push your way through the day, to remain focused and on task. People who are anxiety prone are usually more focused then people who aren’t, cause they’re more aware of thier surroundings. No.9 There was a time in my life that absolutely sucked: brought up traumatic childhood memories, some that were repressed. I don’t know if this is what you meant or intended to do. I don’t feel the need to share the times in my life that absolutely suck with anyone though and I usually don’t. The experiences I had have partial craved who I am today and still effect me to this day both in good ways and bad ways. I have the mental and physical scars that prove I survived hell. When memories of the shittiest times of my life come floating to the surface I’m reminded I survived it and because of it I’m stronger and wiser. I’m grateful for those shitty times. Why let those memories fall away when they give you the chance to grow and learn?

  • Gigja Grejanim

    I believe in meditation, and these 9 beliefs definitely need too go, but I have found my meditation growth is hampered by “Tinnitus”. How do I overcome this road block to enlightenment.

  • Nathan

    Hi Benjamin,

    Thank you for this post and thank you particularly for point 8. This was something that I needed to read.

    I have struggled with committing myself to working on my creative passion as I feel/felt guilt as it doesn’t “change the world” as all other blogs enforce as the primary driver for making change or a “difference” and being happy/finding happiness. (Although losing myself in the project itself makes me happy!)

    I’m sure that upon my project completion it will be enjoyed by many, many people – but it doesn’t “save lives” or “change the world”. I’m a fundamentally good person and the bombardment of the theme “how does X help others” when moving forward with a “side-hustle” or “passion” was demoralising.

    I will continue to be grateful (as I always have been) of the blessings around me – your post included. Thanks again!