“Waking up is not a selfish pursuit of happiness, it is a revolutionary stance, from the inside out, for the benefit of all beings in existence.” ― Noah Levine
Life. It’s second nature.
But, in extremis, we quickly come to our senses; namely, we’re shocked from our unconscious, dream-like state into a profound sense of presence.
Or, at least that’s how it was for me, on being admitted to hospital for the first time in March 2010, suffering from a suspected subarachnoid haemorrhage.
It would be churlish to say it was the best thing that ever happened to me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a number of profound changes in my life, not least an understanding that life isn’t about the accretion of more but letting go of everything, including my conditioned self, to allow me to stand on my own two feet.
I know, you haven’t got a clue what I’m on about; but what I’m pointing to is the fact that to be human — to live deeply and fully — we don’t need to grasp or pursue everything in sight. More especially, we don’t need to identify with our thoughts, feelings and emotions as the sine qua non of our (limited) existence on earth.
At this juncture, I could regale you with all I’ve let go of but that wouldn’t help to illustrate the point. In short, self-realisation, i.e. becoming who we were always meant to be, isn’t a process of setting goals or pursuing some life-affirming but ultimately faux dream, but, instead, it’s about fundamentally challenging our conditioned self and understanding that absent identification with our thoughts/feelings, we’re liberated to the point where, almost by accident, our life becomes easier.
Go back a few years. You believe that what you’ve been told by others or heard through the mass media about happiness etc. will be achieved by working hard, getting the best education and building a life around work. (Of course, many people fall through the cracks or are so disadvantaged that they never rise above the position they were born to but that doesn’t stop them wanting what everyone else has.) For those people that are privileged enough to land the plum job or build the mega business (or even a profitable small one), however, they’re still vexed by a number of profound questions:
Who am I?
What’s my purpose?
Why is everything so hard?
Why am I depressed even when I have so much?
And on and on it goes. In summary, we’re always seeking the next thing, assuming that it will fill the void. But it’s never like that. In fact, most people walk around in a numb state of desperation, hoping like hell that no one challenges their assumptions.
You may think I’m being flippant, but can you imagine any (in)sane person expressing their true dissatisfaction with their life situation, when they’ve invested so much of their life following a dream that’s left them bereft of meaning?
Of course not.
But that’s the truth of it. Most people work harder and harder to stand still and seem only to live for the weekend, the next holiday or retirement. Even if they own their own business or have the luxury of not working, they’re still trapped inside their head, questioning ad nauseum why what they have isn’t doing the trick — i.e. making them eternally happy.
I do accept that it’s hard to get your head round this existential verbiage, but that’s only because so few people, publicly or privately, have the insight to understand: (a) you’re not your thoughts — see Into The Silent Land by Martin Laird; (b) they can’t see a world different to the current one — i.e. as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — and if they did they’d would know how to live; and (c) they fear that without their current story, they’d be dead.
I’m not surreptitiously trying to supplant one ‘system’ with another, but comment on something that to me is profoundly important. That said, I don’t care what you do, what you believe in or how you live your life but I do care, deeply, about the innate wisdom of all humans to come alive to true Self. Not the self that’s lost in self-importance but the Self that’s capable of unconditional love, kindness, peace and being fully alive in the moment.
If I have a dream — dare I even say that? — it’s to see a world joined as one, where we live in harmony with each other and every living creature. But I’m getting way, way ahead of myself. Before then I hope to touch a few lives by illustrating that to become the most of anything requires us to lift the veil to reveal true Self, the one where our soul is shocked back into life.
How will I do it?
Writing, speaking and coaching.
But more than anything else, being the change that I want to see in the world. Will I do it? Who knows, but if my journey is anything to go by, in the end, I don’t think I’ve any choice.