Think of something that until now you would have said has upset you. Think about that a little while and see if you can understand that it wasn’t that thing or that person that upset you. It was your programming. It was your training. You’ve been trained to make your happiness depend on certain things, certain people, certain outcomes being a certain way,  and so when those things don’t happen, you’re not going to be happy. You are going to upset ourselves. You can thank your training for the upsets you experience; you can thank your culture and the set of false beliefs it has  programmed into you

This means it wasn’t another’s meanness, it wasn’t their disapproval, it wasn’t their rejection, it wasn’t life’s failure to be the way you believe it should be. It was your programming that upset you. So, look at this closely and see what happens to you.

When you’re able to do this repeatedly, again and again, the general universal experience is the following:

First step: “Gee, this thing upset me.”

Second step: “Huh-uh, it wasn’t this thing that upset me; it was my programming that upset me. So, I don’t have to deploy all of my energies fight- ing that outside thing, right?” Right. “I don’t have to spend all my emotional energies blaming that out- side thing.” That’s right.

Funny how this thing gets depleted. It keeps go- ing down. Because as long as I’ve got an enemy out there who’s upsetting me, I’m demanding that my enemy change. I’m refusing to give up my upset un- less that thing has changed. Am I clear enough? If I think someone is upsetting me, then as long as he’s there and he’s indulging in the behavior that I say is upsetting, I’m refusing to give up my upset unless he reforms, he changes, he disappears, he gets away or whatever.

But let’s suppose life persists in being in a certain way so you continue to be upset. Now, the moment you say, “Hey, wait a minute. It’s not life, it’s my programming,” then someone could be right here, doing something, and you needn’t be upset.

Second step: You  Don’t Have to  Fix  It

Now, for a while, you’re getting less and less upset about fewer and fewer things. Now comes the big— pardon me, I don’t mean to be insulting or anything, but you’re going to enjoy this—now comes the big American question: How do we fix it?

“He’s not upsetting me. I’m not upsetting me. The programming is upsetting me.” How do you fix this? You know the big Oriental answer? You don’t fix it. You let it be. It will go away. The more you try to fix it, the stronger it gets.

Gee, that’s another mind-blowing thing: Don’t fix it. Let it be. Let it be. It will go away. It really will. But don’t we need to know where this pro- gramming comes from? It helps to know, but it’s not necessary.

And if you’re hell-bent on getting it—“I’ve got change it”—you’re going to make it worse. You can be sure of that. Lots of people never change because they’re so determined to change. They’re so determined that they never change. They’re so tense, they’re so anxious, that it gets worse.

Third step: Look at your upset, just observe it, and it will take care of itself.

The people in Japan, India, Spain, North America, South America, and everywhere else; people are the same. Everyone, every where. We are all in the same boat. Yes, there’s a thin veneer of culture that’s different, but deep down we’re all the same. The same upsets, the same problems are everywhere. The hatred is the same. The conflict is the same. The guilt is the same. The dependence on people’s opinions and the emotional dependence on approval are the same. It’s exactly the same. Just scrape off the exterior culture, we’re all the same. And, everywhere, people are trying to fix “it,” too. How do I change it? people cry. You don’t change it; you understand it. You look at it, you observe it. It will take care of itself. Life changes it. Nature changes it. It’s the same way you don’t heal yourself; nature heals itself. You just do something to aid nature.