Image by Tuomas Lehtinen freedigitalphotos.net
Beware of destination addiction: The idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, or even with the next partner. Until we give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where we are. Anonymous
The pursuit of happiness is an addiction that has seen most of us, at some point in our lives, madly chasing an external goal or relationship. Yes indeed, people, places and physical possessions do trigger feelings of pleasure. However, it is important to understand those pleasurable feelings have their source within not outside of us. No one or no thing can make us happy.
Have you ever been in the midst of a group of happy people and felt sad or lonely? As with all feeling states, we consciously or unconsciously choose to feel a certain way. The challenge often occurs when our unconscious breaks through with painful feelings, memories, even anxiety and depression. During times such as this, our default conditioning of pain avoidance can trigger the desire for a pleasurable distraction — food, shopping, narcotics, sex, etc. — all of which reinforce an erroneous belief that happiness can be found outside ourselves while simultaneously denying a reality that something is amiss inside.
Without a doubt, accepting that happiness is an inside job and then acting accordingly is a huge life lesson. It takes effort to remind oneself to lean into discomfort or pain in order to understand why it is present.
Whether painful or pleasurable, everything happens for a reason. To hold one’s awareness, in a concentrated and disciplined way, on what is currently plaguing us indicates we are willing and ready to confront our fears. The converse is also true. Avoiding what is plaguing us is a clear sign we are avoiding our fears. I’ve spent over half my lifetime confronting fear in order to rediscover truth.
As a yogi in search of truth, and then a yoga teacher, it took me a long time to realize that teachers are not here to help their students. Helping implies people are weak and not able to stand on their own two feet.
Teachers are also not here to fix their students. Fixing implies brokenness and need of repair. Because each of us is already whole, as teachers, we are here to serve our students by empowering them toward self-discovery and self-awareness.
Thus, teaching is not about imparting knowledge but rather about engaging curiosity. Anybody can read a book or listen to an audio tape, but when our curiosity is peaked, our courage is effortlessly available to take us through whatever challenges our learning presents. It is in these moments where we most feel our personal power.
Below are axioms that empower our shift out of conditioned addictions into personal power.
The power is in my willingness to work through my discomfort or suffering.
The power is in learning to struggle gracefully and to keep deciding this every day.
The power is in waiting out IMPULSE and giving space for INTUITION to appear.
The power is in remembering impulse is the aggressive manipulative reaction and intuition is the receptive truthful response.
The power is in facing fear to rediscover joy.
May my poem below trigger your curiosity to rediscover joy.
The Silent Solidness of Joy
Why choose suffering over joy?
Is this not the act of a society gone crazy?
Suffering bears weight suppressing the heart.
Depression immobilizes the creative spirit
withering it into self-indulgent loneliness.
Joy treads lightly shrouded in solid contentment.
Silent solidness displaces flighty anxiety
emptying out sadness and pleasure addiction.
It is this empty void we avoid, for fear
of becoming nothing, no one. When, in truth,
to surrender suffering frees authenticity.