This past week I received a very moving email from a young client (let’s call her Sarah) I recently worked with who shared some of her subsequent insights with me. This one jumped out at me in particular.
“I’ve always known that superficial things can’t make me happy,” Sarah wrote. “Many of us are told quite early on in life that the toy we’re desperate for, money we need or the latest craze doesn’t equal happiness (although there is still a small part of me that holds onto that belief!). However, I thought the quest for purpose, meaning in life and things that are considered valuable on a deeper level was a legitimate source for my happiness and peace of mind to depend on. What a shock it was for me to realise that it is just as silly to think that ‘if I was a better person I would be happier’ or ‘if I could have perfect relationships I would be less anxious’ as the kid who needs a new toy or the business tycoon who has to get his next million.”
I want to reflect on Sarah’s insight in context of something I have come to appreciate more deeply in the last few weeks. It pertains to the original insight that Sydney Banks had, the world of truth and love he uncovered, and the barriers to this truth that we have been learning about. But first ….
Isn’t it interesting how we feel we have a grip or understanding on something – and then overlook the fact that we are merely seeing the edges of a learning curve? What I mean is this: when we first realise that it is impossible for outside factors to give us peace of mind or make us feel better, there might be an automatic ‘dropping’ of ideas and beliefs around those factors we thought could make us happy. We might then throw around a phrase like: “I realise now that outside factors such as people liking me, my boss treating me well or the traffic on the M25, cannot truly affect me.”
We also might say, “I sometimes forget this in a moment, but deep inside my heart, I know this to be true. These things cannot make me feel a particular way.” We might even venture into realising that in truth even more challenging events cannot put feelings into us – and that we are only ever experiencing even our worst nightmares from our thinking in each moment.
However I have found that there are subtle ‘exceptions’ that are invisible to us. They remain hidden in our psyches and hearts as being necessary and even intrinsic to our wellbeing, not appearing to be ‘outside factors’. Just as Sarah pointed out, it’s easy to miss the more subtle, perhaps less materialistic factors which seem to whisper in our ears that they are what’s missing in order to experience the elusive moment of peace. Some of these invisible exceptions might be cloaked in the guise of:
- Having deeper insight in a specific area
- Being a nicer and more loving person
- Making the changes that I know are needed to take me to the next step
- Having less anxiety so I can experience more peace
And so on…
These might not seem like exceptions – but they absolutely are! None of the above are obstacles to living more peacefully right now. Here’s my best explanation as to why:
Sydney Banks was an ordinary man who had a pivotal moment where a world of deeper wisdom, love, peace, respect and compassion was revealed to him. In that single moment, all of his past and future thinking seemed to fall off his mind so that he found himself in a state of presence and love. The deeper feelings and wisdom that Syd uncovered in those and subsequent moments were not personal to him. They weren’t personal qualities in the sense that ‘he found inner security or inner wisdom’. Rather, these qualities are impersonal. They are built into the fabric or spiritual coding of life. They are what has always been present in life from the beginning of time. They are what exists and has always existed when ego, falsehood or misunderstanding falls away. They reflect a reality that Syd found himself living in and aligned with. A world where insecurity and fear and shallow feelings cease to exist. A world of truth that we are all a part of and that is intrinsic within us.
And yet we have free will. So ideas drop into our minds that are born of the illusion that something other than this world exists; that there are other factors that need to be addressed and “got just right” before we can experience this deeper world of truth and peace. It seems as if there exists a list of things to be dealt with or get sorted – and then life can be fully lived. Or perhaps we feel there are things can never be put right and so life will never be fully available to us?
And each moment we believe this to be true we, we experience the feedback of that falsehood; of that duality. It feels as if that one thing or two things or three things (which could even be ourselves or our imperfections) are keeping us from where we want to be. But it cannot be so, for we are already where we need to be. We can now appreciate more fully Sydney Banks’ words, “You are what you are searching for”.
This deeper world of truth, love, understanding and wisdom are an unconditional creation. It is our task and our gift – time and time again – to peel back the illusion that there is something that stands in the way of us experiencing this world.
It never fails to astound and humble me when I realise that I have glimpsed and enjoyed this treasure right under my nose. And yet, I still find myself searching for it in other corners of my mind, innocently deceiving myself that it is just around the next corner …