Waking Up to a New World
Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and find yourself happy, despite everything that's happening in the world?
It's possible. In fact, that's the invitation every one of us has been given. Within the invitation is the way to make that a reality. And it's actually quite simple.
By happy, I don't mean blissfully unaware of the suffering that's been inflicted on so many. I mean recognizing our capacity to find a grounded place within ourselves that can direct our actions and enable us to see possibilities where previously, there appeared to be none.
That grounded place is what has been pointed to by so many different kinds of physical and spiritual practices from yoga to breathwork to psychology to meditation.
Why is there a need to find our inner grounding? Because we think too much.
Every form of therapy, self help and spiritual teaching has pointed us to this same conclusion: we rely on our logical, analytical minds to the point where the wisdom of our bodies and our inner knowing has been drowned out.
And of course there is another factor, less acknowledged, but certainly in the developed countries, one of the obscuring factors in how we live our lives:
We've been conditioned to believe that accomplishments and acquisitions will make us happy. But the satisfaction we derive is short-lived. We are taught to look outward, that having this object or that title will prove our worth or make us safe. So we keep being told (and sold) all sorts of gadgets and accoutrements beyond what we need. And of course, a cycle begins to repeat itself: buying or doing more, believing it's not enough so we buy or do even more, becoming increasingly disillusioned.
How can we be a force for good in the world if our personal lives are based in dissatisfaction or insecurity? Remember the airline instruction: in the event of an emergency, to put our own oxygen mask on before helping others? We can only be as helpful to others as we are to ourselves. And if we are plagued with unhappiness or worry or fear or resentment or a sense of being a victim to life, that energy will be felt beneath whatever it is we are sharing with others.
So what's the solution? It's as true as it was thousands of years ago when similar questions were being asked about the meaning of life. Why are we told that the kingdom of heaven is within? That life is an inside job?
Because it is! We only need to begin to look beneath the surface of appearances and experience to discover that we are endowed with an essential nature whose qualities are love, compassion, peace and happiness. Beneath the choppy waves, there is a deep ocean of well being that is never affected by the turbulence above.
Now this may seem very far fetched to many people, and yet we all know that unless you have a built-in capacity for an emotion, you can't feel it. You couldn't feel love or joy or empathy or connection unless it was already within you. It's just that we've been conditioned to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the choppy waters of fear and inadequacy and helplessness instead of the deep waters where peace and possibility reside.
Ah, but in those deep waters are all the answers we'll ever need. And if we put aside the metaphor of the ocean, we don't need any special underwater gear to take us there. We only need a willingness to settle down and notice what's already available to us that can't be taken away. Only overlooked.
But always available to be rediscovered.