I’m back to my blog after a long bank holiday weekend. Lots of time to reflect on how things are going in my life in general.
I do get a lot of clarity on life, especially when I’m getting on with everything I need to and not procrastinating. I watched a bit of tv at the weekend, and I noticed that I started to feel uncomfortable quite quickly. I became really present and took notice of what was happening. What I noticed was that I wasn’t actually enjoying watching it that much, not because it was a bad programme, but just because I don’t really enjoy watching tv in general. It’s just a habit from the past.
As I was growing up, my parents, and my grandparents, would put the television on for endless hours in the evening, immediately after eating dinner. We’d finish eating at about 6.30pm, and then the television would stay on until 10pm or later. The family would be silent, there wouldn’t be a lot of discussion, in fact, often if I talked my sister would look at me scoldingly for interrupting the tv watching. If I talked to my mum or dad while they were watching tv, I got a similar reaction – a look of disapproval, or just a ‘yes’, when they weren’t really listening.
When I look back and think about it now it’s absolutely crazy! I’ve got a child now, and it feels so important to give them my attention. Mind you, I do sometimes find myself drifting off when I’m looking at my smartphone. Maybe the smartphone is the tv of the 21st century!
The point I’m coming to is that it’s very easy to lose focus and go into a sort of trance in life, whether that be watching tv, spending too much time on your smartphone, taking drugs, reading too many books, or whatever it may be. From my own experience, I know that this trance does not feel very good. It’s a state lacking in vitality, in presence. When in this state we only add more unhappiness into the world, we don’t enrich it.
Why we enter the numb trance state
I think the main reason we enter this state is because we want to escape our noisy minds. There’s some part of our life which is causing us pain and difficulty and the trance state is a way to block it out temporarily. I say temporarily, because it’s not possible to stay there for long without severely damaging your life situation. It harms your relationships, your finances and worst of all, it severely compromises your quality of life. There’s nothing worse than missing the close interaction with the world around you that comes from being present and in the moment – that richness and clarity.
In order to leave the trance state I think we need to be willing to do a couple of things:
- We need to be willing to face up to what needs to be done, and live with the resistance that our mind comes up with to doing those things;
- We need to get good at doing more, rather than thinking so much;
- We need to learn to trust that we’re on the right path.
Trusting that you’re on the right path
The human mind has a strong tendency to try and control life circumstances. One of the main ways it does this is by trying to collect lots of things – new cars, houses, holiday experiences, jewellery. By doing so the mind believes it will bring you happiness. In truth, this doesn’t work. If you’ve had any degree of success in life, you’ll realise that the good feelings accompanying such success are very fleeting, that is, they don’t last very long at all. So blindly following your mind around to try and find happiness isn’t really a good idea. The only sensible thing it can accomplish is to show you that it doesn’t work! The sooner you’re able to understand that, the more years of pain and suffering you can save yourself and those around you.
The transition that we all need to make is from striving to trusting. Trusting brings about a totally different feeling – one of openness and availability to participate in life fully. Trusting means that you no longer need to set your own agenda – all that is done for you.
The universe tells you what to do. People approach you and ask you for help with things, be that in your job or in your circle of friends and family, or complete strangers – it doesn’t matter!
Or perhaps you’re hiding away, not in contact with very many people, and you begin to feel so uncomfortable that you feel compelled to act to reach out more.
Or maybe you spend a lot of time alone and feel completely satisfied. You’re happy as you are, but then you run out of money, and you’re forced to get a job!
When you live on trust, rather than constantly striving to change things for what your mind perceives as ‘better’, you accept the circumstances of life as they are today, and react to those in the most productive way as possible.
You can still have goals too, but you approach them from a different place than before. You now work toward your goals because you’re driven by your excitement! You’re no longer saying things like this in your own mind:
- ‘I have to make this happen’
- ‘If I don’t achieve it I’m going to be miserable’
- ‘I hate what I’m doing now and I have to change it to feel better’
Your more in a place of surrender to the external circumstances of your life. Your mind likely says that if you act like this you’ll be powerless, but in reality you see things much more deeply and there’s a much greater power available to you to work in your life.
Try it. Find one or two small situations that you’re currently trying to control, and then relax, and accept that you may not know how it’s going to turn out. Notice how much better you instantly feel, how much more relaxed you are.
There is another way to live other than striving and stress!