It's raining in Devon; I don't mind — nor do the plants or Alfie! But it will make taking photos (my one picture a day) difficult. I'll do my best.
So here's the thing. It seems we're never happy. Sorry, I don't know that in absolute terms, but if I look around me, there's this constant tension between how life is and how (very often) we expect it to be.
To put it more simply, something's always missing.
Too much stress; not enough calm. Too much anger; not enough solemnity. Too much frustration; not enough relaxation. Too much month; not enough money!
It shows up everywhere — at home, in work and in our relationships.
As I explained the other day, my previous methodology to rid myself of the incessant angst was to read books on positive thinking or mindfulness or (sometimes — but not too often) 'success'. I could give you the titles and authors but I'll refrain for now. Needless to say, at least for me, despite some temporary respite from my lizard brain, they did nothing more than drive me on to the next new thing.
Seeking, seeking, seeking. I was exhausted.
A thought is here and then passes away. Everything passes away, whether you like it or not. That is what Heraclitus meant—that’s two quotes from the old boy today—when he famously remarked, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” — Robert Saltzman, The Ten Thousand Things
I'm no longer seeking anything — despite ye old prognostications on changing jobs, travelling and downsizing. Seriously, it (whatever that was) has fallen away.
Perhaps I'm dancing on the head of a pin but, to my mind, there's a world of difference in knowing that I'm not in control of my thoughts, feelings and emotions — they come, they swirl around in my perceived consciousness and, then, they're gone — and ardently seeking, which always falls short.
Trust me, in standing on top of my awakeness hill, I'm not saying I don't still get caught up in some rubbish and/or wonky thinking but I know that I'm not creating those thoughts any more than I can will my will and, eventually (in a few days), they will pass, like everything does.
(Remember my previous point about everything changing; you could say we live in a form-less world.)
I'll be honest, up until recently, I've been afraid to say too much on the subject of seeking. If nothing else, I wanted to check in with myself to see if I was still getting caught up in the need for betterment. But having had a few weeks to sit with what's arising, I now see that to be awake means to be at peace with everything I have (or don't have), especially my nascent creative instinct, and not be on the outlook for a better system, book or, god forbid, a spiritual guru.
I'm very conscious in putting this out there, I'm setting myself up for a massive fall. But, hey, I'm human after all, and, for what it's worth, I don't subscribe to the 'I'm enlightened' school of thought, if for no other reason than I'd have no way of testing it from personal experience. All I know is that despite the odd rant here and there, I feel more alive to life now than at any time previously. If there's been any one revelation, as I tried to write about yesterday, it's the oneness I experience when I'm in and with nature. Despite it sounding off the woo-woo scale, I literally could be nature; and my thoughts feel, like they do now, as if they're flowing in the same way as the River Avon that I routinely sit and watch from an old stump of a tree.
But this is my experience (of life). And, as I'll keep repeating, if you're interested in understanding what it means to abandon seeking (or does it abandon you?) and come alive all body, mind and soul, then you need to be prepared to go beyond the previous paradigm of self-improvement and ask a very basic question and keep asking it until the abstraction you call me is shorn of sufficient labels for you to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, you're not your thinking any more than you are your whole personage. I mean, when someone says they're anxious, I can't help but think: "Yes, but which part of you?" I mean, surely the 'I' isn't just your thoughts or worse still, and not to be churlish, you're under the control of a homunculus directing the (for instance) anxiousness show?
And the question?
Who (or What) am I?
Now this is classically associated with the non-dual traditions of self-enquiry but that's not where I'm specifically coming from but instead to invite you to consider the link between (inter alia) your programming, the labels you associate with life and what, if anything, is directing your life. I mean, if you're seeking something — e.g. happiness or success — surely, beyond your name and perceived will, you need to understand who or what is it that's seeking said thing or experience.
One final thing. What I say here and elsewhere is for your consideration. It's only my interpretation of the unexamined life. If it resonates, great. If you think it a pile of horseshit, that's equally fine. I'm not, as I keep saying, out to convert anyone to my brand of true self.
Anyhow, have a great day.