Bryan Hubbard, in his excellent book “Time-Light” says the following..
When we are children, we start out as time light, we have had but a few experiences that we have not been able to completely understand – life seems to have an eternal glow, which we forever try to retrieve when we get older.
Because we never seem to be able to recreate those golden, timeless days of childhood, we compensate with cars, houses, career success and money, not realising that these make us more time-heavy and take us even further away from the idyll of our potential selves..
He also writes, a little later in this same excellent book..
The common view is that addiction originates from a place of great sadness. It doesn’t. it comes from a place of intelligence because it is seeking complete understanding. An alcoholic doesn’t drink because he is unhappy; he drinks because he wants to be happy and whole again.
He goes on to say..
The sudden feeling of joy, completeness, or unity is our natural state.. the feeling of unity, joy or completeness could happen, for example, while drinking a glass of wine. Because we do not understand the process or know of the existence of our own potential centre, we somehow associate the feeling with the wine. This is an example of associated addiction, in which the sense of joy and completeness occurs unbidden and as if by accident while doing something else. The person with this associated addiction replicates as best he can, the circumstances from the original sensation in the hope of repeating it…
I personally think that all of our happiness in life hangs by the same thread. The burning question is, why is it that Happiness is conditional, and not a constant in one’s life?
In the above model, it’s easy for me to see the fun times of my youth, have often been associated with alcohol. I can see that each glass of wine is an attempt to trigger those happy feelings of days gone by.
In my City life, I drank a great deal, which was expected of me! The truth was, that whilst there were some fun times, created and fuelled by alcohol, there were in reality, more problems and disasters caused.
I don’t think the model is any different for teenagers of today either. We adults complain that our kids spend all their time buried in computer games. Have you taken a look at our world recently? Wouldn’t you prefer to be in a simple world where things had a simple and logical outcome, and where life seemed to be fun!?
If you have lived your life in a community of people, the loss of this community can hit you really hard. You will experience a feeling of loss, and a desire to recreate this community again. The reality being of course that you will never line up the same people and circumstances again. The fracturing of families is exactly the same thing. We now live such disparate lives, it seems like the closeness of the family cocoon is no longer there to support people. When life seems to get too much, the urge to “run home to mother” sometimes becomes very strong – the desire to recapture that feeling of safety and a time when life was more simple, becomes overwhelming.
But what happens when the family home has been sold off, or ones relationship with “Mother” has been severed due to bad feelings, or more simply because we now live thousands of miles apart?
Unhappiness is the answer.
My Chinese teachers say that 21st Century people have become too addicted to happiness. We expect everything to turn out well, and therefore have further to fall, when things don’t. They say there are not enough hardships in our lives to balance our experience out.
Certainly as a child, and I have to add that I was privileged enough to go to a very good school, that life was rather more harsh. Children did get beaten for bad behaviour, central heating hardly existed, I remember my wet hair freezing on my head whilst walking to breakfast, and ice on the inside of my windows. We were lucky enough to go out rock climbing, sailing and playing rugby, but all in the ice, rain and snow.
The general attitude was “just get on with it, it’ll make a man of you..” some of these experiences (I once went on a hike along the Apennine Way, it snowed so badly that my hands bled) were really tough and uncomfortable – they now sit with me as things that made me who I am today and give me a feeling that if push came to SHOVE, I’d survive!
I understand that I will never understand the privations of communist China, and the days of Chairman Mao, I’m glad I didn’t have to be forged in that crucible. I understand that the natural Chinese desire for moderation in all things is a really healthy way to be; sadly it’s just not the way we in the West have developed.
So here we are, constantly searching for past happiness, trying to attain it through adding more “things” into our already cluttered lives, or using chemicals to try to recreate the feelings, or burying ourselves in digital worlds rather than our own! What to do next?
I saw a lovely quote from Chuang Tzu, which imagines our mind, like a big fish struggling in a net..
“When we sleep, our spirits roam. When we wake, we open to the World again.
Day after day, all that we touch entangles us, and the Mind struggles in that vast, deep, calm and subtle net“
There is only one answer, only one solution, that is to find the happiness we so desire, but INSIDE of ourselves, not outside.
This journey has only ever been undertaken through practices of stilling the mind.
When things become calm and aligned on the inside, then life on the outside becomes calm and aligned too. Making dramatic changes to One’s situation will not bring about inner peace, this is not something that One can “run away from” – a change of country doesn’t fix this.
The situation may feel better for a little while, a drink might lift the spirits, a smoke might provide a moment of peace, but they are all fleeting, gone so quickly, leaving the same empty hole, begging to be filled again.
Through a lifetime of trying and experimenting, I’m beginning to feel that things are lining up for me, and that through Qigong, Rebirthing and Meditation; I’m finally getting closer to having that feeling of happiness every day.
It can be challenging to others, to feel that if you stand next to somebody who is clearer than you, it brings up changes, questions and discomfort in oneself. This is why they say that some people achieve enlightenment, all-be-it sometimes only momentary, when they are in the presence of saints or enlightened beings. We are drawn to them, like moths to a flame.
We often feel severely challenged by our teachers too, this is the purpose of these feelings, either you face up to them and try to improve or you run a mile and hide.
The problem is that life is like a river, it only flows in one direction. You can swim upstream for a while, but you’ll always be dragged back down stream again when you run out of energy. Most of us require a disaster in our lives to spot that we are swimming against the tide.
People often say “Cancer was the best thing that happened to me” – it was the catalyst that they needed to make them see that their chosen path was destructive, and heading in the opposite direction to their true selves.
Whatever method you use to find inner happiness, be it Transcendental Meditation, Buddhist chants, Yogic sutras or Qigong, let me implore you to start that journey now, and forgo the pain for you and for your family of having to discover that you spent so much time “outside” of yourself, that your body forced you “look inside” by creating a life changing drama.