I was having a conversation with my husband Angus about the idea of creating things outside of ourselves by focusing on them and thinking about them positively. For me, this seems like such a lot of effort and feels like it is looking in the wrong direction from where well-being actually resides.
Rather than using my mental energy to focus on creating something outside of myself, I would rather wake up to my true nature and the experience of peace, well-being, joy, and love that is who I am more fully independent of what I have in my life or how my personality is. That feels like the real freedom, and I know whatever gets created from there will be just fine. By letting go and not putting energy into focusing on a specific outcome, I have less ego-driven thinking in my consciousness and get to experience my true nature more fully. This is not some form of resignation. Instead, surrendering and letting go feels like the key that unlocks the experience to real happiness and inner abundance.
From a deeper connection with our Authentic Self, the world we create reflects our peace and understanding. From there the push and strive no longer make sense whether it was to push myself toward improving my personality or grinding my way toward achieving goals. What is the point if I don’t have anywhere to get to be okay. It reminds me of the short story written by Heinrich Böll “Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral” concerning the Lowering of Productivity that has been adapted many times.
The story is set in an unnamed harbor on the west coast of Europe. A smartly-dressed enterprising tourist is taking photographs when he notices a shabbily dressed local fisherman taking a nap in his fishing boat. The tourist is disappointed with the fisherman’s apparently lazy attitude towards his work, so he approaches the fisherman and asks him why he is lying around instead of catching fish. The fisherman explains that he went fishing in the morning, and the small catch would be sufficient for the next two days.
The tourist tells him that if he goes out to catch fish multiple times a day, he would be able to buy a motor in less than a year, the second boat in less than two years, and so on. The tourist further explains that one day, the fisherman could even build a small cold storage plant, later a pickling factory, fly around in a helicopter, build a fish restaurant, and export lobster directly to Paris without a middleman.
The nonchalant fisherman asks, “Then what?”
The tourist enthusiastically continues, “Then, without a care in the world, you could sit here in the harbor, doze in the sun, and look at the glorious sea.”
“But I’m already doing that”, says the fisherman.
The enlightened tourist walks away pensively, with no trace of pity for the fisherman, only a little envy.
One would think that letting go of striving would lead to only a small simple life, not that there is anything wrong with this, but who knows what will emerge from a state of peace. The innate creative impulse is alive in all of us and wants to express uniquely through you. My world has expanded. I want to be of service and help reduce suffering in the world by sharing this understanding.
It looks like hard work, pushing, and striving are necessary for success. “What will happen if you stop?” That is the seduction of our fearful thoughts. Their alarmist nature says if you don’t listen to them you will fall apart and so will your life. You will end up living on a park bench and lose everything. I don’t see this happening for myself or my clients. Connecting more deeply with the truth of who you are, frees you up to see your potential and to take action from there.
It is possible to have the trappings of modern life and still drop into peace. It is our natural state. When the mind relaxes and thinking settles, we connect with our true nature and feel it. We feel the well-being, the peace of mind, the contentment, the happiness, the inner smile.
It is always there and the only thing that gets in the way of us experiencing it is our fearful thoughts. The very ones that tell you, you need to pay attention to them to be safe, are the thoughts that get in the way of experiencing well-being. Believing them allows them to drive your behavior to do more and work harder. They promise happiness when goals are achieved, expectations are met, and milestones reached. But this happiness is an elusive carrot that gets snatched from your hands as soon as the next goal or task emerges. It is conditional on circumstances, not the unconditional happiness of your authentic self.
My suggestion is to pay attention to the feeling quality behind your thoughts. Let that be your guide as to what thoughts to pay attention to and what thoughts to ignore. If there is an aliveness and fresh quality to your thinking, let it drive your behavior, but if your thinking has a tight, stressed, anxious, or just uninspired feeling, experiment with ignoring it and waiting for something new to emerge. See what happens to your performance when inspiration is behind your creation rather than pressure.
The means does not justify the end because the end never arrives. When we drive ourselves we just get more frazzled and more stressed. Our physical health suffers, our relationships suffer, and our performance suffers. We do not perform at our best when our mind is stressed and tight.
Peak performance happens in a state of flow. A state of flow is a relaxed mind. There is not an absence of thoughts, but thoughts are flowing and the mind is relaxed. When our mind gets tangled up in insecure thoughts life gets complicated and hard and suffering is part of the experience. Thought is the only variable.
If happiness and peace of mind are a given what would you do differently? How would you live your life if you are not trying to get somewhere to be okay or to be happy? If you have that in the here and now — then what?
Rohini Ross is excited to present The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks with the original students of Sydney Banks in Santa Monica, CA. She is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a transformative coach and trainer, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website, www.rohiniross.com.