External referencing and suffering

When we are born, we are pure and perfect, unconditioned by society, our reference points all found inwards. At a very young age, we learn that we own things and that we have to care for them, yet at the same time, we are told that we have to share our toys with others. You may agree with me there that this can get a bit confusing.

And so we grow up being told how to behave, learning to please others, making sure that what we are doing is acceptable for the rest of society. I think we can really see this conflict between the internal Self and the external references during the teenage years. While searching for who we are, we also want to distinguish ourselves from others. Is that so wrong?

I think there might be something here to explore, something here to learn. Let’s imagine this for example; you are at a party and someone asks who you are. What is the most common answer? I am so and so and I am a doctor, a school teacher, etc. But what if you were to lose your job the very next day, how would you identify yourself then?

We have become so accustomed to identifying ourselves by our titles, the things we own and the relationships we have, that we have lost touch with who we really are. My boyfriend, my house, my car, my job, these are not who you are, they do not define you, yet we let these define us. We hold on so tightly to these external references as if they were a part of us that when we lose them, we are ourselves lost.

Other than these things and relationship, and here is where it becomes more subtle, are our “wants” and our expectations. For example, if you are someone who’s received external gratification each time something was accomplished, later in life, when you find yourself in a situation where your accomplishments are not necessarily praised, you may start to blame others. The truth is, only you can truly be proud of your accomplishments, and you being proud should satisfy this “want”.

And so, by looking outside of us for encouragement, for gratification, for a “good job” pat on the back, we are only deceived and momentarily satisfied. By seeking others’ opinions and blessings about personal decisions we should make for ourselves, we are taking away our responsibility towards our own happiness, blaming others when things don’t work out.

Happiness is found inside us. There is great work, hard work to be done to face who we really are, but once we start doing so, there is no turning back. It may turn your world upside down, but it will have been worthwhile, because in the end, you will achieve such inner peace and you will make decision linking the heart to the mind and to the body, becoming whole again.

Take the time to recognize how you look to others to make you happy, how you expect certain things will be done or given to you. Notice how your material possessions seem to define you and start making steps towards releasing some of these external references. Redefine who you are by looking inside and be content, happy and satisfied by what you find for that is the only truth, the only reality. Beauty will shine from inside you and inspire others.



Worry bead

I worry a lot, not all the time, but a lot! I don’t worry much about myself or such things as what other people think of me, but I often worry about my friends and family. Granted, I worry about certain things in my life too, but usually not for very long or not to the same extent.

When a friend is sad, I wonder if she’ll be ok and I worry about what I could do or how I could help, wishing that I could be there for her. When my friends and family travel, I worry that something might happen and that I won’t be able to do anything about it. I worry about insulting or hurting people and I worry about being taken the wrong way. I even feel concerned when people I don’t even know are fighting!

I tend to feel other people’s emotions very strongly and this empathy has often made me vulnerable to negativity. Perhaps I care too much; is there such a thing? I’ve learned to control it somewhat, by not allowing it to affect me and by focusing on Ajna, but when it comes to loved ones, it is so very hard!

On one hand, I see this as a flaw because I understand it as wanting control over the situation. On the other hand, perhaps as the eldest of three, I feel it is my duty to protect. What I find most difficult about it though is when people perceive my concern as a lack of confidence in their abilities, which is not the case but which I can totally understand. Then again, worrying about people’s well-being is what fuels my compassion in the work that I do…

But what is truly important, is that when I worry about others or myself, it means that I have fear about something that may or may not happen (mostly the case!), which in fact means that I am not living my life now. As I believe that happiness is found in enjoying every moment life offers, worrying drives me away from this goal. I am working to find the fine balance between worrying for actual things I should worry about and not worry about the rest. It is a constant battle against myself, one side arguing “but I care”, whilst the other side recognizing the Ego’s work.

Only by acknowledging my True Self can I be freed from it. I am a worry bead trying to break free from the chain.

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