Western society has increasingly become an ego focused one. Gratification comes from out there, from things that can satisfy our ego and we measure this by the amount of pleasure we get from those things. Is there anything wrong with this? No. It’s much of what being a human being is about at the ego level. Much of our sense of being alive centres on our senses – our sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell and we learn from an early age that when those senses are stimulated pleasurably, we can feel good.
The problem arises when we rely solely on that stimulation for our sense of well being. Advertising has cashed in on this principle extremely well. The simple delights from childhood we derived spontaneously through play and wonderment get turned into things we must have when we turn into adults. The list in endless in this area. We must have a nice car, a nice holiday, a nice partner, a new and bigger television, the latest this and the latest that. When we get the things we want inevitably the buzz doesn’t last. It’s not long before we want more. That wonderful holiday almost seems a distant memory so we need another. A new or updated car every few years. A new phone every 12 months or 2 years. Yesterday’s technology is boring and can’t keep up with modern life so there’s seemingly a good reason why we need the latest. Think of something you’ve recently purchased that made you feel good or you felt you must have. Did you really need it? Did you really need to spend that much money? To answer those questions honestly we need - awareness.
Awareness comes from increasingly noticing what is happening in our lives. Most people though are on auto-pilot. There’s not a lot of thought that goes into daily life other than wondering how to make it better through that next purchase or holiday or some other outside stimulation.
We focus a lot on worry too. In fact a lot of our thoughts are either worrying about something that might happen in the future or reminiscing over the past. We rarely focus on right now, what is happening in the present moment. Much of the potential joy then of being right here, right now is missed. Perhaps then we try to fill that void with “things”, particularly things we can buy.
The art of being present now, in the moment has long been lost. The closest we come now days is through the latest phase that generally costs money. The latest diet to make you feel great. That exotic eco retreat holiday full of wonderful new age things to do that can hurt when you try them (think of an intricate yoga pose)! Try wrapping your foot around the back of your head in the lotus position or whatever it is! What we’ve lost is simply being present. Clearing the mind and connecting with life as a whole. Simply being in silence.
The 2 biggest problems with selling "silence" is .... well who wants to know about silence? It's pretty hard to sell! The second hardest thing is that when most people are silent for even 30 seconds the biggest thing that comes up is the horrible stuff. The 'what's wrong with life' stuff. Our fears, our worries, our concerns. BUT if you can get through that initial stage by just NOTICING that 'stuff' and letting it go, putting it aside, knowing that 'stuff' is not really who you are, then the results are beyond what you could imagine.
The power of being present cannot be underestimated. When you can let go of the past and the future, when you can let go of your mind which is probably our arch enemy, you can simply be and when you practise this you’ll be surprised at what joy and peace and harmony it can bring. And it’s free.
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