Finding Answers - A Personal Story
I decided, at an early age, that I didn't like the world the way it was. Mum died when I was still getting all of my nourishment from her. I was promptly handed out for adoption, taken back, moved to a country town, and from this exciting beginning, I learned to be somewhat sceptical when, a few years later the preacher would pat me on the seat of my pants and say, "God is watching over you"
Since then, I've vacillated between playing God, judging the people of the world for all their misdemeanours, and feeling like a God, when the sun shone and all looked just so fantastic. In those times when I searched for a meaning outside of myself, I was often temporarily impressed. A seminar, a meditation class, a new yoga back bend, falling in love, a book launch, a happy client, the birth of my children. But, alas, reality crept back in, to remind me that my idea of a God or faith that could protect me from the ravages of sadness, disappointment, failure or loss, was an illusion.
As time went on, and as an educated environmental engineer, my interest in ecology took me deep into the study of humanity, sustainability and the lifestyle of the average person. I was overwhelmed with doom when I read, Paul Erlich in the 60's and discovered we were eating ourselves to death. I was even more shocked when I worked and travelled in Indonesia, Nepal and India to see people living for a year, on what I spent on a daily beer at the pub.
I searched for alternatives to deal with my own wish to feel good, and usurp the guilt I started to feel about the inequalities of life. I discovered that the human desire to escape pain drives most of our consumption, religion and spiritual self development. I discovered that my ambition, in seeking answers to life's deeper questions was not to achieve some advanced level of consciousness, but to avoid or at least rationalize, pain and struggle.
For me, there were a couple of things that helped. The first was the perspective I achieved by working and travelling in the poorest places in Asia I got a perspective on my own, and other people's problems that just made 99% of all my worries incomprehendably stupid. How could I feel sorry for myself, when I saw dead babies in the arms of helpless mothers, whose naked breast had dried to a wafer thin sack and finally could not even sustain the life of a baby. All this, as I drove in my limousine to the factory of some Asian billionaire right next door.
Another thing that helped me reconcile my issues with pain and struggle was 15 years as a personal consultant. In that time I met some of the wealthiest, fastest, most powerful people, movie starts, rock stars, farmers, tycoons, sports stars. I found Catholics, Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Native Americans, Jews - I found seminar teachers on happiness, inner peace, inspiration and spirituality, and none of these people in their real life, no matter how wealthy or devout, how luxurious or pious, was immune from the shit life dishes up and their reaction to it. It is still to this day, an important affirmation for me, that I am no better or worse than anyone else, even if, from time to time it feels like it.
Along the way I gained knowledge and this also helped. I learned ways to rationalize situations. I could sustain my personal comfort even when I was looking out of my office window watching the World Trade Centre collapse not more than a mile away. I could re think it, and experience no pain or emotion. This fuelled my already lopsided masculine side, think don't feel. Understanding things is such a great way to escape feeling. But did I really want to witness life, or experience it. I had to make a choice, and this was an important turning point. If I was to feel life, I had to be willing to feel both the pleasure and the pain. A stark contradiction to the ambition that had driven most of my "spiritual and self development" quest to that time.
I discovered, hidden in those feelings, a new intimacy with life. And, the biggest surprise, a deep connection to my own intuition. Being a feeling, intuitions are definitely associated with emotions. To celebrate this intuition, I realized, that both positive and negative emotion lay in its path, this was not exactly what I expected to discover.
There were thousands of experiences, each and everyone potent. The years working with indigenous people's of Canada on reservations, frustrations running corporate retreats for people, stuck in the wrong job, feeding the wrong marriage, paying the wrong mortgage. Their life was more spiritually impoverished than any Asian ghetto I had found. But the greatest lesson of all came from the Himalayas of Nepal.
Purely by accident, if there are such things, I found myself, carrying some emotional pain up to the top of a high mountain trek in Nepal. I reached the summit on that trek, and sat there scanning the panorama few people could dream of. Blessed in every sense of the word, I sat there, miserable, broken hearted. I was the same Chris on top of this mountain as I was sitting on the dunny, back in Sydney. Places don't change us, places remind us. They remind us that we are the real cause.
Perspective became my catch cry. I knew that everyone gets bad luck, no matter how hard they pray, I knew that everyone has something to be thankful for, no matter how miserable. I knew that every self help program on earth ended up teaching a lie. I searched for the keys, what are the rules of the game? What are the REAL expectations of life? What are natures laws before humans add their hopes, fears, frustrations and reactions to them?
Answers came slowly, but they came. 90% of the solution comes when we ask the right question. Slowly the answers unravelled. I discovered that I was not the first person to ask this question. Thousands of people had searched before me, and many had found the answers hidden in the ancient mysteries. They too had also found that the average person was looking for pain relief, and therefore looking for the illusion not truth. Buddha even advised his teachers. "teach them the illusion until they are ready for the truth"
One night, in my dream, I was sitting on the moon. Looking back at this tennis ball sized thing spinning around so fast. There was earth and I, sitting with my legs crossed was watching it like I would watch a movie. Births, deaths, disasters, victories, happiness and sadness. And yet, in spite of all this mayhem, I was smiling. The whole mess, the whole drama was actually quite magnificent. The pieces of the puzzle finally came together. The real spiritual perspective comes from separation. The human one comes from attachment. When we are in it, we have no perspective, like in a relationship, a business or a speeding car we are a part of that circumstance, and therefore, we are in a human perspective. This is real life, experience, emotion, frustration, romance, success.
The opposite to human perspective is spiritual. The moon. Detached. From that perspective there is an order in the chaos. A witnessing that shows us, that our pain, and our happiness are just two sides of a coin, joined by an umbilical chord, inseparable. That suffering comes from attachment, wanting to sustain a pleasure. Not willing to experience its other half, and therefore stuck, fighting the cycles that are natures laws.
After that dream, I learned to let go of those things that I held precious. I learned the difference between loving something or someone from the moon, and attachment to them, from the earth. Suddenly, I had a way of feeling, experiencing, falling and rising with the tides of life, and yet, holding a perspective which meant, I was not like a piece of paper blown in the wind. In that dream I found home. And maybe from that day, it has been hard to find an earthy one.
What I do know now, is that love means perspective. It means sitting on the mountain top in Nepal, seeing the beauty that are the laws of nature, separating human hopes, fears and false expectations from the universal ones. Love means hold and release, hold and release. And today, sitting here in Sydney, I am once again challenged to apply what I know is the truth about love.
Live with Spirit
Related Tags: relationships, dating, love, inspiration, happiness, peace of mind, global change, mind body spirit
http://www.chriswalker.com.au Chris Walker is a world leading change agent, an environmentalist and author of more than 20 books. Born and bred in Australia, he consults to people and organisations throughout the world on improved relationships, health and lifestyle through the application of the Universal laws of Nature. The result he offers is that we stay balanced, share loving relationships, work with passion, enjoy success, and live our personal truth. To learn more about Chris's work and journeys to Nepal, visit http://www.chriswalker.com.au -- http://www.chriswalker.com.auYour Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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