The Secret Behind The Problems
This may seem obvious to some, but to others it will be very upsetting. The mass media and advertising folks would have us believe that life can be perfectly wonderful and simple if we could have the right stuff. There is a cultivated illusion that wealth breeds easiness and that everyone is free to get as rich as they want.
So many of us work incessantly to earn as much as possible to "get ahead" of our current financial demands so we can relax a little. Yet most of us are using credit cards to buy more stuff to make life easier or more pleasurable and finding it difficult to balance the effort to catch up.
Financial advice is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are literally hundreds of millions of websites online to help folks with this very difficult element of existence. Most people think that if they can get this part of life to work, all else will fall into place. Then they can't understand why someone with all the financial resources they covet would fall into drug addiction or depression.
Then there are those that imagine the right job will solve a bunch of life's issues. It would be nice if we could all do what we love to do. The problem is someone needs to take care of the clean up and restocking of all those resources that we consume to make life wonderful. There are more jobs that no one really wants to do than there are that people really love.
This is why illegal immigration is such an issue here in the states. The people coming here are looking for that dream of "the good life" or even just a better life, and those people that are already here don't want the jobs that the immigrant will do for the pay. Until the citizens of the country do the work and illiminate the demand for those immigrants the problem will continue.
The fact is every job has its problems, and while some jobs are definitely better than others, none of them will ever provide true happiness.
Then there are the relationships. Everyone wants to find their soul mate. As if there were one person out there that will make up the other half of the whole and make it all better. The stories of true love abound, and those that are in it at the moment will gladly announce how wonderful their life is because of their partner.
But the divorce rate is still hovering at 50% and has been for at least 35 years. If this idea were true and all those looking for this golden egg found even a partial match wouldn't these numbers be a little different. All of those who've been married for a long time will readily tell you that it was far from easy to stay with their mate. They just refused to give up.
So then what are we supposed to do if we aren't happy? What do we do if we're miserable and can't seem to make things work? What is the point of living if we can't achieve that freedom and joy that we all work so hard to find?
The billion dollar question. There are a plethora of answers and none of them are absolute. Dr. Phil dishes answers, Oprah is big on telling us what to do, christians say Jesus will fix it, and the Dali Lama wants us to meditate. Truth is the answer is the one place we really don't want to look. It is inside us.
All of our unrest, pain, longing, fear, anger, insensitivity, violence, impatience, frustration, and all the other negative emotions we can exprerience are a result of something that is out of tune with life within ourselves. There is no such thing as a victim (that'll piss someone off for sure). But it is true. We only become victims when we react to the circumstance or to the actions of other people in certain ways.
We all suffer in life emotionally and physically. That is the reality of being alive on this planet. All suffering is designed to reveal where we need to work on ourselves, to understand who we are better, and to learn how we can be happy.
How do we work on oursleves? Another good question. Another one not entirely simple to answer. First step is to accept that we are responsible for our own feelings. We can't blame anything or anyone. No matter how the circumstances seem, we are responsible for our reaction.
That is not to say that any of us has the will power to overcome an overwhelming sense of loss when something bad happens. Nor can we over-ride our natural responses by simply telling ourselves to get over it. Problems in life don't just go away when we think new thoughts, contrary to popular ideas being floated in today feax spirituality.
This is where the "you don't want life to be free and easy" comes into play. While life is extremely hard, it is this difficulty that makes life interesting. When we begin to know who we are and how we naturally respond to things we begin to form a relationship with ourselves. It is ourself that is our true soul mate.
Our True Soul Mate
We have to fall in love with ourselves, not in a selfish narcissistic way, but in a patient caring nurturing way. In a way that understands our own idiosyncracies and allows for those to flourish. It is our uniqueness that holds the key to our happiness, but the world that we live in wants us to be very much like everyone else.
This why gay marriage is such an issue. "Why can't those homosexuals be normal?" As if there ever was, in the history of the world, any kind of normal human being. We all have spent our childhoods like pinballs bouncing off the bumpers of parents, teachers and so-called friends trying to score points in life. We all have lost some touch with ourselves.
Some of us are more out of touch than others, but the fact remains. No one is perfect. Once we see that we are fully and completely responsible for our own lives and the way we feel about life, then we begin to dig into the pain, fear, anger, and all the other stuff we don't like to find what is at the root of the feelings. The work is almost entirely emotional, and it doesn't flow along logical lines.
We only begin to discover answers as we pursue understanding and come to terms with our own issues. Most of us live in some kind of story that we created that rationalizes why our life is the way it is. That story has to go. We must recognize our failures as our own. We must be accountable for the pain we've caused. Above all we must forgive.
Therapists can be invaluable in this process, but they can't fix us. We have to fix ourselves, but they can help. Preachers, priests, or gurus might help, but again it is our own work that will make progress, they have no magical power. Religions will claim to do the work I speak of, but these are usually selling points on the enlistment agenda. The don't negate the need to look inside ourselves.
Prayer is a big factor. No matter what your religion, to ask aloud the question you most want answered about what is inside yourself will begin a process of discovery. Atheists are included here. But it is important to find someone to work with. We are a social entity. Human beings thrive in community, and none of us will ever be complete without other people.
If you are unhappy or struggling in a way that threatens your happiness. Accept your responsibility, and look for the answer to help you deal. Ideally we will get the inside and the outside working in tandem, and this is where true ease and freedom is abundant.