This small article gives food for thought…
The pattern is simple. It’s not that you don’t understand it. You know very well that certain behaviors put you on the correct path, making you feel good about yourself, while others don’t. Knowing this, you take the correct actions and begin to get some momentum in your life.
Things seem good. You are genuinely happy. Then, inexplicably, you revert back to an old pattern. You don’t know what happened. One day everything was fine, then the next you are suffering from self-loathing and guilt.
Not only do you stop taking positive actions, you also begin indulging in behaviors that only make things worse; you oversleep, watch too much television, consume drugs and alcohol – you withdraw from life. These types of behaviors separate you from your emotional-self so you don’t have to focus on the feelings that are bringing you suffering. Yet, they only contribute to the suffering by bringing numbness, dissociation, and confusion.
Moreover, these indulgent behaviors are your way of trying to fill the empty space that should be filled with self-love. What is self-love? We often think that self-love is something that we need to attain, something that replaces the feeling of inadequacy. However, what you seek, you already have.
God is love. Self-love is your capacity to allow God to flow through you without resistance. To experience self-love/God, you have to accept everything about yourself. This removes the resistance of the flow of God within you. You are the creative expression of the creator. Without self-acceptance, you are denying his creation. Accept his gift – you.
How do you break this pattern of walking down the path of happiness, then reverting to suffering, happiness, suffering, happiness, suffering, etc.?
Commit To The Path
You commit an error before you even begin down the path. You say, “living this lifestyle will make me happy.” Then you start down this path and all seems to go well. You begin living a healthy lifestyle – yoga, eating right, etc. Then, something happens to change this feeling of happiness and you revert back to your “old ways.”
As guilt fills you, you feel confused, not knowing why this happened. You were doing so well, feeling so happy. You reproach yourself with the question, why? What is wrong with me? I was happy, what went wrong?
The first error is in the way you look at the path. The path is not finding happiness; the path is experiencing the true self (atma). Happiness is a byproduct of this path, not the focus. This process is removing false identifications that form a resistance to the flow of your prana. It is necessary to experience emotions other than happiness on this path. These other emotions should make you look inside for false identifications that need to be removed.
When you remove these false identifications, what shines through is the true self; this is when you don’t mistake thoughts of the “I”, for consciousness of the self. Then the focus becomes on the real, the permanent, not the temporary – the illusion. The temporary will always change, so happiness based on anything temporary will eventually bring suffering. The only thing that brings lasting happiness is the permanent – the self (atma).
How Do You Focus On The Permanent?
Commit to the path, not the goal. When you commit to a goal you are goal oriented, ambitiously driven. This focus makes it easy to lose your way. When something becomes difficult, self-doubt arises. You question your capacity to achieve the desired results. This is when you begin to revert back to your “old ways.”
The opposite of this is to commit to the path: be spiritually driven. This perspective is unwavering; you are dedicated to the path no matter what happens. If one day you begin to feel down and start reverting to your “old ways,” be conscious of this and use it as a learning opportunity.
We often have gratitude when things are going well. However, gratitude should be constant. It’s easy to have gratitude when things are going well, but it is when things are difficult that gratitude is even more important. Have gratitude for the opportunities to remove false perceptions. These are gifts that show up in the form of a lesson that will lead to realization of the true self where happiness is permanent.
This is where you need to find appreciation. This gratefulness is what will lead to understanding and a severing of the false identification that is bringing you suffering.
Stop False Identifications
When you revert to your old patterns, you create this same old pattern of “recovery.” You wallow in your suffering for a while, and then decide that it is time to “climb out” of the hole. This is the illusion that got you into this pattern to begin with. This is the entire illusion of false identification.
Depending how long you were in this suffering, you base how long it will take you to ascend to a better place. Though, there is nothing for you to climb out of. What you are talking about is to convince the mind that you feel better about yourself. Consciously and unconsciously you say – how long will it take me to break this attachment to this false identification of suffering? How long will it take me to convince myself that I am not the self-loathing being, but the self-loving being?
What you are doing is breaking an attachment to an idea, an idea based on a false identification of who you are. But you can do that instantly, without the process. Just let go of this identification. It is only in the mind. The mind is so strong that it convinces your emotions. Then your emotions fall in line and this strengthens the false identification.
Just as your mind is strong enough to engage the emotions to justify this suffering, it is strong enough to go the other direction. Train it to do this just the same way you have trained its opposite. Let go of this identification immediately by acceptance and understanding.
Think of your consciousness as a light that shines brightly in a room. When the mind projects false ideas of the self, it blocks the light from fully shining. The more these false identifications are removed, the more your consciousness illuminates the room. When this infinite light shines without resistance, you experience Samadhi: the infinite light. Then all false identifications are gone and it is just you and God.
This is where happiness is permanent. This is beyond happiness. This is bliss.