Is honesty always a good thing? What about relationships - is it really advisable to always be honest with our partners? There are a fair few people who would answer yes to both of these questions.
I work a lot with people whose heads tell them that some part of themselves is ugly, not ok, hideous, awful or bad. It’s surprisingly common amongst women and increasingly common amongst men. In addition to the unhappiness, obsessive thinking and low self-esteem this can bring about, self-rejection – rejection of some aspect of ourselves, prevents us from experiencing the undercurrent of well-being and peacefulness that is available to us in any given moment.
'We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience'. Teilhard de Chardin Forgetting our true nature as a spiritual being and feeling separate from the rest of life is the grand human predicament – and at the heart of so much unnecessary fear, psychological suffering and conflict. Quite simply most of us are experiencing a fraction of our potential and a tiny proportion of the well-being, aliveness and love that is available to us in any moment because we are asleep to the presence of our true nature. The primary purpose of life according to the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle is to wake up from this unconsciousness and to allow presence to flow into our doings. This spiritualisation of our life brings not only deep personal fulfilment, but it is also an integral part the solution to the numerous crises we are facing collectively
If I had to single out just one factor that represented the most common block to personal growth and authentic spiritual development it would be this – emotion avoidance. Put simply fear of feeling our emotions is pandemic amongst human beings and for many people at the heart broken relationships, low levels of intimacy, unhappiness, unexplained bodily symptoms and devitalisation. Most people don’t fully appreciate the extent to which emotional avoidance is directing their life.
Imagine that there is an aspect of you that you are unaware of, yet sabotages your success, limits your potential and contributes to a considerable amount of the frustration, suffering, negative thinking, low energy, distressing emotions, relation problems and even health problems that you have experienced? Would you want to know more about it? Well, that aspect does exist and it’s called the shadow.
Why do you do what you do? What motivates you to be successful, have relationships, go to work, take up hobbies, spend time with friends or go on holiday? What is it that you are really looking for at the deepest level? Take a brief moment to reflect on this. The answer given by at least 90 per cent of the people I ask is happiness. As William James, the father of modern day psychology said, ‘how to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do’.
I have an invitation for you. Are you willing to use a simple self-help tool a minimum of five times a day for the next three days so that you can discover its extraordinary effects? This tool will not only help you de-stress and switch to a relaxed, balanced and creative state of mind in under a minute, but also help you access and experience your true nature as spacious awareness. When used consistently it has the potential to deepen and accelerate your journey towards emotional balance, true happiness and spiritual awakening. But please whatever you do, don’t believe me, find out the truth for yourself!
Are you overly self-conscious or shy? Are you concerned with what others think about you to the extent that it stops you from being yourself? Do you struggle to be at peace with who you are? Most people in my experience answer yes to at least one of those questions. Lack of natural confidence really is quite common. What’s more many so-called confident people, aren’t naturally confident, they are just good at projecting what I call ‘artificial’ confidence. They aren’t the same.
Serenity, generosity, love and stillness are pretty good – but the one that wins hands down for me is humility. Humility is not meekness or timidity; it’s a quality of character that arises when we are being authentic, when we are being and living in the world with the quiet confidence of a person who is at peace with and accepting of who we are. Some of the most enlightened people I know are humble.
One of the most effective (and often quickest) ways to shift the way you feel, lift your mood and enhance your level of happiness is to practice gratitude. Gratitude provides the foundations upon which a fulfilling and meaningful life is built.
Most people are slaves to their thoughts. Are you one of them? An important part of the work that I do with most of my patients is to teach them how to separate themselves from their thoughts. This skill is an essential happiness strategy.