Sometimes the problem is not that we feel discombobulated at times, but that we don’t accept that feeling this way is part of being a human being. Most of us are always searching for Nirvana, a place where we can feel happy and peaceful all the time free from the pressures of life. Some of us are convinced there is a magical formulae, a secret way of living, that if we could only find we could live in bliss. I remember when a book came out several years ago about a secret formulae for life that has been hidden from normal people. It sold millions! The book promised to give people the formula to achieve unlimited happiness, unmeasured wealth, improved health and great success.
That particular book and others like it claim it’s all about positive thinking, success visualisation and dream boards on the wall. Some self-help courses promise to help one achieve personal success and actually get people to run across hot coals in front of other attendees to prove that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. When you leave one of these energetic get-togethers, apart from your feet feeling hot, you leave with a sense of being uplifted. The problem comes after a few days, weeks and months when the euphoria wears off and you come crashing back down to the harsh reality of daily living.
There Is No Magic Formula Or Secret To Life
I’m sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but there simply is no such thing as a magic formula or hidden secret to living life that will chase away the pressures, stresses and pains of life. There are things you can do that will impact on the quality of your life, for sure. Healthy eating, regular exercise and following a religion (if that’s your thing) are but just a few of them. But none of these approaches or anything else will eradicate totally the pains of life. They can help with the existential angst of living, yes, but they cannot eradicate it.
Alcoholics have used drink, addicts have used drugs, the rich have used money, the famous have used prestige and the gullible try to use self-help, therapy and positive thinking gurus to help them escape. All to no avail. The best one can get with any of these options is to do a con job on yourself that you have found something or nearly found something that helps you escape reality. In fact, all you have done is succumbed to the persuasive delusion that one can sidestep the harshness of existence by applying some form of imaginative formula, chemical release or fancy philosophy.
Seeking To Avoid Reality
It’s not that self-help or positive thinking can’t help, they can and do. Religions, philosophies and certain mental health practises can help a person get a better quality of life, improve one’s prospects and passage through this world. The problem comes when we try to use any of these aids to life as a means to AVOID life. I.E. to avoid the pains associated with being alive. Survival is a struggle for all life. The struggle is part of the deal, and although we use mental, emotional and spiritual tools to help us deal with this struggle – trying to bypass it is impossible. The pain caused by trying to avoid pain is often WORSE than the initial pain one is trying to avoid in the first place.
“Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” M. Scott Peck – The Road Less Travelled
The easier softer approach to living is, as M. Scott Peck suggests, to accept that life – being alive, daily living – is hard. Simply being human with thoughts and feelings is difficult at times let alone striving for security and a place in society. When we can accept this fundamental fact and then utilise religions, philosophies and positive thinking methods as a way of aiding us in our journey we will be truly living the very best life possible. We will no longer be wasting our precious days chasing illusionary avenues of escape from the difficulty of being alive. Instead we can focus our time on growing what joy, peace and contentment we can get while we are here. The time spent yearning and the effort we apply in trying to escape life is simply a waste of our short time on this planet