If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience,
that alone would change the world. — Sydney Banks
Wellbeing and peace exist within us. They are a state of mind, a level of consciousness, we can all experience. The only thing that gets in the way of us residing in that state of mind is when we get gripped by anxious thoughts that take us out of our natural capacity for equanimity. When this happens there is no doing needed. We can simply relax and let our thoughts settle so we can fall back into our natural state of well being.
People spend thousands of dollars and thousands hours trying to have more good feelings. Self-care is a buzzword that has become, in some circles, an obsession. This is based on a misunderstanding that if we take care of ourselves enough, and in the right ways, we will be able to avoid the human emotional experience of fluctuation of mood and quality of thinking. The truth is we can’t escape being human, nor do we really want to.
This resistance to our experience is based on fear. The fear results from a lack of understanding. We don’t need to be afraid of our experience. No matter how intense our feelings might get in any given moment, they are transitory. They come and they go — always. And, not only are feelings transitory, but they are also the result of thoughts that are subjective. Thoughts change all the time, and so do our feelings.
Our experience is only a moment to moment reflection of our thoughts. One moment I might be feeling relaxed and calm, the next moment I might get wrapped up in anxious thoughts and feel stressed out. That is the nature of being human, and the more pressure I put on myself not to feel certain feelings or have certain thoughts the less resilient I am. The more overall stress I hold because I am rigidly trying to control my experience.
It is easier to relax into whatever my experience is, now matter what the feelings are. If I don’t like them they will pass. If I do like them they will pass. Nonetheless, it feels better, either way, to let them come and go. When I am able to do this, my feelings are less likely to drive my behavior. I will be less reactive and better able to be or do what works for me, independent of how I am feeling, because I am not distressed by my mood and my feeling state.
This is liberating! I spent many years working on myself. I thought I needed to be fixed. Only to discover, all I was doing was trying to avoid the human experience. Being human is terminal, but it is not pathological. If I don’t need to be fixed, because I am simply human, what an extraordinary amount of time and energy this frees up for me to focus on enjoying and living my life. I no longer have to spend so much time focusing on myself, and I am freed up to be of service. I can teach others and help them see they don’t need to be fixed. They don’t have any issues either. All any of us has is insecure thinking that we get caught up in from time to time, and it temporarily takes us out of our experience of our natural wellbeing.
I was struck by an incredible example that was shared with me this week of how we can feel peace in any circumstance. A young man told me he found himself in a life threatening situation and believed his death was imminent. When this happened, he was overcome by a profound sense of peace and calm. He found himself basking in the extraordinary beauty of his surroundings. From this state of mind, he connected with his wisdom, and he saw his way out. He was guided from within, and able to escape his death.
This quiet state of mind is an internal experience available to all of us. In this state, we connect with the wisdom and genius that is of us and greater than us. We don’t need to be in a life threatening situation to experience it. It is what happens when we don’t identify with the chatter of our personal thinking. When we let the noise of our ego become a background flow of thought and open to experience our consciousness in the foreground. From this place, the potential in each moment is clear. The beauty in each moment is breathtaking. The gratitude in each moment is heart opening. It doesn’t get better than this, and this is our natural state.
Our experience of angst from buying into our personal thinking is not our true self. We don’t need to organize our lives to try and avoid our angst. Nor do we need to dive into our angst to attempt to change it. We can accept our uncomfortable thoughts and the resulting feelings. We can let them be so that they take up less mental space and do not drive our behavior. The quietness of our consciousness can come into the foreground, not just when we are meditating, but when we are living too.
This is a lifestyle, not a technique. It is a way of being that is natural to each one of us, but we have been conditioned to protect ourselves from the experience of uncomfortable feelings by looking for answers in the intellect or by engaging in distracting behavior. All this does is point us in the direction of trying to escape our human experience by doing something.
Instead of doing, I am advocating for being — being yourself, relaxing into your humanness, loving it all, even the things and the people you don’t like. And, most importantly, loving yourself, with all of your beautiful strengths, quirks, and weaknesses. This is where the perfection lies, in exactly what is. We don’t need to wait to be looking into the jaws of death until we see it. It is here. It is now. We just need to see it.
Are you willing to see yourself, and what is, with a quiet mind? Are you ready to experience the fullness of your loving nature that is divine?