All prisons are mental prisons
they all lock from the inside
and it is we who hold the key
As a reformed addict and friend of Amy Winehouse, Russell Brand has an insightful take on her addiction: "All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they're not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil.… they have about them the air of elsewhere, that they're looking through you to somewhere else they'd rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief."
The sad thing is, people like Amy already have had a taste of what it is to walk that rainbow of creating that 'somewhere else they'd rather be'. They already know how to feel what they want to create, and then to trust and follow that feeling... and by expressing it, know that expression as their own expression of love. In other words, to be it.
And of course, you no longer have to go looking for love when that is the place you are coming from.
The problem is, caught up in the momentum of old insecurities, we miss the simplicity and significance of this. And then we pass-off the joy we once created to 'chance'. As Churchill once put it, "Once in a while we stumble upon the truth, but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."
The thing that struck me as I read Russell's tribute to Amy is that, to a lessor or greater extent, we all do this. Each of us has our own pet distractions that keeps us from being fully present and feeling totally alive in the moment. 'Trying to understand someone' and 'getting engrossed in the task at hand' have been two of mine.
We all have the inner knowing of how to get back to that natural state of pure joy and resourcefulness, regardless of initial conditions… but those insights are like whispers in our mind. They’re always there, but they get drowned by the noise of our thoughts, particularly those thoughts that subliminally direct our attention and tell us what we think we want. We don't listen to the whispers because 'thinking' has mistakenly become synonymous with knowing, even though it's fairly obvious that it's 'thinking' that generates all the doubts and fears.
Knowing really exists through a state of feeling. To confirm this recall a day, or perhaps just an hour or so, when you were really happy (perhaps ultra productive and creative too), where there was no friction between you and anyone around you, no rough edges of resistance around anything taking place, no doubt or fear in your mind, where everything seemed to flow just perfectly. Maybe you have to go back a little way to remember this. Perhaps it takes a little while to recall, but we have all experienced this. Take a moment or two to recapture and savour that.
Now, was this a time when you were thinking? No, you were in a state of feeling, because when we are in a state of feeling we are most closely aligned with our natural state of Being -- open to the flow of energy, insight and love -- the life force we are all immersed in. Experience will always confirm that simply 'Being' is the most fulfilling and resourceful of states.
What's more, from the standpoint of Beingness, it's seen that it's not our efforts, but the light of our awareness here, that resolves our issues and shines the darkness away. And ultimately it's also from here, in building confidence in our ability to create the experiences we do want, that we disavow the limiting belief so many of us carry -- that we are victims of the circumstances that we don't want.
Reason tells us that to 'simply be' must be, by definition, effortless. So how is it then that it appears so complicated and difficult to achieve? Why is flow and fulfilment such a rare and fragile commodity? And why do we, in spite of the best efforts of so many experts, find it so difficult to reach out and help people like Amy Winehouse (and the many others in our hospitals, prisons and schools) that are so clearly struggling?
These are the questions I'll be exploring in this series of posts. In the next part I'll look at the nature of our resistance to letting our own light shine. The purpose being to shine a light on a simpler, more effective way of overcoming that resistance.
.. I'm not talking here about the state that is often referred to as flow, which is conditional, where we are encouraged to remove distractions or otherwise engineer circumstances that are conducive to a productive or peaceful state. Rather, I'm referring to the overwhelming sense of wellbeing and resourcefulness that flows from us, and embraces any circumstance.