The Weather in Your Head
It is usually not the case that a situation or a problem is too complicated to see how we can change or resolve it, but that it is actually too simple. We tend to get all caught up in details and obscure stuff, while the obvious escapes us. The saying that we can't see the forest for the trees applies to our own lives in ways that would be comical, if the result wasn't often so tragic.
Ask a person, anyone, among your circle of friends, family or acquaintances, what is most important to them, and you will get answers such as: a satisfying career, a loving relationship, a soul mate, financial security, health, success, world peace and so forth, in as many variations as the number of people you ask. If one of them answers happiness or contentment or inner peace, you are looking at a member of a small minority. That's because most people believe that success or money or a loving relationship brings them happiness and inner peace. Fortunately, that is not the case (please note use of the word "fortunately," not "unfortunately"). There are plenty of people who have financial security and are miserable. There are people in loving relationships contemplating suicide. There are people with successful careers who are unhappy. In fact, there are even people who have all of the above and still require a dose of Prozac to get them through the day.
This, I am sure, is not news to you. If you are a mature person living life with eyes wide open, you have known this for some time. Which begs the question: If this is common knowledge, how come we have not been able to change it? The answer, I believe, is that to make that insight a reality in our lives, we have to rise above the trees in order to see the whole forest. We must stop running from tree to tree.
First, accept the fact that in order to be happy, content, fulfilled, etc., we don't need any of the aforementioned properties. We don't need a soul mate (okay, this is going to get me in hot water). We don't need financial success (hurrah, say all of us enlightened folks). We don't need world peace (more hot water). We don't need a satisfying career. The fact is, we don't need anything.
Second, reverse the essence of the previous paragraph. Having all of the above will not guarantee us happiness. Even the Beatles' claim that "all you need is love" is an illusion if that love is nothing more than what you feel when you look at the person who is the object of your love. That kind of love is fickle, no matter whether it lasts a week or thirty years or a lifetime. Besides, ask anyone who has been married for many years and that person will be the first to admit that there were plenty of times when life was miserable, empty and lonely.
So what do we need in order to be truly content, truly happy? First, we need to adjust our concept of happiness. We accept happiness as something that comes and goes depending on certain circumstances, which is like the weather in your head. If the sun shines between your ears, you are happy, if it rains, not so much. Stormy weather in your mind equals tons of misery and anger. Your boss gives you a bonus, et voila, the sun breaks through the clouds. A romantic encounter can be like a gorgeous spring day, divorce, on the other hand, brings hail and ice and tornadoes.
You get my drift. The kind of happiness that is a consequence of something is as unreliable and changeable as the weather. And that is not the happiness I am talking about. What I am referring to is a state of being, an awareness of what it means to be alive that falls outside the boundaries of whatever circumstances happen to be in place today or tomorrow. Perhaps you think that is reaching too far. It is certainly outside the accepted norm and very, very far from where many of us are sitting. But it is not too far. It is within your reach. In fact, it is so close to you that its proximity is the reason it is so hard to find.
Look at it this way: we all want to feel physically good. We don't like toothaches, headaches, internal ailments of any kind, broken bones, or anything else that causes pain or discomfort. When there is nothing going on with the body, everything functions as it should and no pain or discomfort makes us aware of a particular part of our body ... we feel "good!" In fact, in order to feel good, you don't have to add anything. When your body is healthy and you experience no discomfort whatsoever, you don't wait for a leg to start pulsing energy to your brain to make you happier. You don't expect your thumb to produce some kind of pleasant feeling. No, you are already feeling okay, at least physically. You might say you are in "neutral." Nothing is added, nothing is removed. The same is the case with your mental state, when nothing is bothering you, no desires causing you to feel that anything is lacking in your life, no oppressive notion that without a soul mate your life is not complete, no expectations that might not be fulfilled. When you don't produce thoughts telling you that something is lacking or insufficient or wrong, you are in neutral and that equals happy
See what I am getting at? It is not necessary to add anything to your life in order to be happy. All you need is to recognize that everything you need is right here. That may sound like an empty, useless, apathetic life, and it would be, if not for one little detail. It is impossible to attain that state of being unless you have encountered the full measure of who YOU are. All the scriptures talk about "going within." All the masters who have roamed the earth during the last half a dozen or so millennia, taught their disciples a way to find their true essence "within." Everywhere you look, at least outside churches, mosques, and other houses of make-believe, that is the singular message. Precisely because everything you need is right there. You are complete.
This brings us back to the simplicity of life. Apparently, all the chaos, complications, conflicts, concepts, dogmas, books, gazillions of variations of variations, thousands of gods and deities, old men in velvet robes waiving incense, school children memorizing thick books while nodding back and forth to speed up the brainwashing, brutes draped in sheets killing those who believe different or not at all, masochists whipping their own backs with cattails, men and women locking themselves in small brick rooms, obese people chanting over dead chickens, and all the other stuff, are unnecessary. All you need is to understand, accept and then go in search of this one simple thing: the real you.
Keep in mind, I said that understanding the need and the message to finding what you really want is simple, I didn't say it was going to be easy. There is nothing easy about reaching that stage and making it your one and only goal. Because that is what it takes: everything else has to take a back seat. You have come to a point where you realize that nothing that this world has to offer will give you what you really need. You have also come to understand that probably everything you know, everything you have been told, is a bunch of baloney. There is nothing left to do but go in search of your true self. And don't get off the bus halfway, if all you encounter on your quest are words and theories, you are not there yet. But don't worry, when you do get introduced to yourself, you will know. Beyond a doubt. You will not be asked to believe. You will see yourself for what you are; a small piece, a small part, of something that has been around for as long as time, and longer. Something that existed before darkness and light. Something so miraculous that all the imagination of all the people alive is not remotely capable of envisioning it. Something that will never change, yet changes everything. A timeless part of the most primal energy that exists; that is who you are. Merge with that and mortality becomes a thing of the past. Sure, this body goes back to where it came from: dirt. You, on the other hand, not only get to travel on, you get to enjoy it, all the way into eternity.
Here is a cute analogy: one of the things Numerology attempts to tell us is to understand the real meaning of the number 1. This is how that goes. We will give every existing object, from a particle to a human to a star to a water molecule a number. There will be trillions upon trillions upon trillions of numbers, some of them so long you would need all the ink in the world to write it down. You would be a number as well, of course. We assign the numbers in chronological order, from earliest to latest. Of course, the first thing that came into existence is given the number 1 and has the unique properties that it was not created (if there was something that created it, it wouldn't be the number 1; the thing that created it would be 1), is not dependent on time, and cannot be altered or destroyed or affected in any form or fashion by what came behind. It also, by definition, is the building block of every other number, meaning everything that came into existence after the 1 consists of nothing more than a huge clump of 1s -- as many as the number assigned to it. You are that, a humongous and complex number, and yet nothing but a clump of 1s, hence the expression you were made in His image; it's all you are, made in and from His Essence.
This is why it is fortunate that none of the things this world has to offer -- great career, soul mate, loving relationship, financial success, fame, etc. -- is ever enough. If it was, none of us would keep searching and searching in hopes of finding the Holy Grail, the essence of what you are. But not Monty Python's Holy Grail.
By the way, once you find that, all the things people want, soul mate, career, etc., all falls into place. I promise. Happy hunting.