“The more time you waste trying to be what others want you to be, the more you lose yourself.” — Unknown
If given the chance, the world will consume you with cruelty and leave you believing life is unfair. Everywhere we turn nowadays, bad news is there to remind us of the terrible conditions in the world. We are living in the most opportune period of this century, yet equally the most nihilistic. News events are broadcast into our living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With the rise of social media, it has become more prevalent to consume news on mobile devices. I avoid reading newspapers or watching the news because of the negativity it broadcasts. Yet, sometimes we cannot escape it. For example, there have been instances when I’m watching a television program and a breaking news bulletin seizes my attention. Immediately, I am subconsciously taken from a peaceful state to a hypervigilant one without knowing why.
Do you ever get that feeling with the news? Whilst I don’t intend to criticise the media, we have a choice whether we subscribe to the information or focus on matters of greater importance in our lives. The world has a way of making us cruel because it strips us of our humanity when we focus on ourselves and not the greater good of society. We have become desensitised to human suffering, it is now a common feature in our lives. Video games perpetuate this through senseless acts of violence and young people are oblivious to it.
So what can we do about it? How can we prevent the world making us cruel because in the long run, it means losing ourselves to the fear and hatred imposed upon us? Obviously if you’re reading this, you value your personal growth and want to become a better person. My impression is that we must focus on what is close to our hearts and make that our centrepiece. For example, if meditation, mindfulness and yoga practices are something you take part in, these are ways to shield yourself from the negativity of the world. It requires creating your own inner sanctuary of peace despite what is taking place outside you. We can still nurture the seeds of equanimity, kindness and compassion within ourselves without forsaking our values.
“When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.” — Eckhart Tolle
We needn’t subscribe to the drama of modern-day life because it is a guise to distract us from what is essential: knowing our true selves. The world out there will do everything in its power to confuse us from connecting with our true selves. This is the message embodied by my mentor and acclaimed international spiritual author Dennis Merritt Jones who writes in Your Redefining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be: “The world really doesn’t want you to remember who you truly are because when you begin to live from the authentic self, the world loses much of its control over you and your behaviour. It will do anything in its power to keep you in a dream state wherein the source of your identity is dependent on what’s “out there,” on the surface of life, rather than what lies within you at your centre.”
We are not any of these things because these are disempowering narratives circulated without our consent. Admittedly, we might buy into it every now and again because they have a compelling way of capturing our attention and seizing us in the moment. So when I am distracted by a breaking news event while watching television, I become concerned and entertain thoughts of fear and insecurity. But, leading up to the moment I was peaceful.
How do you find your inner sanctuary amid the chaos of everyday living? What daily practices or rituals do you take part in to ground yourself? The key is to focus on these practices and come home to them often because they are our haven for peaceful living. I don’t believe the world is a cruel place since I appreciate the duality and interplay of our earthly existence. It is how we focus our attention which marks our mental landscape. We can choose fear and its accompanying states or draw on our inner refuge of peace and harmony to coalesce the negativity in the world. If there are more people tuning in to the peacefulness within, then fear has no place to live. Ultimately, it is up to us not to allow the world to make us cruel because it will pull us every which way and we won’t know how we got there. We mustn’t lose ourselves to the cruelty but unite with the undying magnificence of our spiritual self.
Originally published at medium.com