Your state of mind has everything to answer for all of your experience of life, including your experience of happiness or lack thereof.
Silence is an inner state of mind. It has nothing to do with the level of noise outside. I don’t need to live in a small mountain town where everything closes at 6; I can be standing in the noisiest neighborhood with children crying, dogs barking, vendors touting, and my mind is completely still and quiet.
Awe and wonder are an inner state of mind. You don’t need to travel to a new place to experience this feeling of curiosity, reverence, wondering, taking everything in as if for the very first time. In the past, I loved traveling to new places so much, in part because I was searching for that feeling of ‘first night in a new town.’ But then I discovered that newness and freshness come from the quality of thinking in the moment, not from the place.
Some people leave relationships in search of a new partner, or having multiple partners, because they are looking for this feeling of newness and freshness. This feeling of revelation, wonder, excitement and curiosity comes not from a new date. It never works that way. When you see that, you can have a new, beautiful, fresh experience with the same partner, every day, because you allow for fresh new thoughts to flow through all the time.
I have lived in the same place for more than three years. Sometimes I grew tired of it, I thought well it might be time for me to move on. At one point it occurred to me that it wasn’t the place that I needed changing. It was that my thinking grew stale. I had the same thoughts about it over and over. Just like how some people hold the same thoughts about other people in their lives – partners, friends, family members, colleagues, etc. And they feel miserable.
Some people stay in relationships that just don’t work for them anymore, for fear of being lonely, or financially insecure, or abandoned. If they knew that they would probably feel uncomfortable like that anyway within or without a relationship, then they could stop attributing those uncomfortable feelings to the partner or lack of a partner in their lives. We have insecure, lonely, forlorn, depressed thinking whether we’re in a relationship or not. Insecurity or depression is an inner state of mind. It has nothing to do with the relationship or lack thereof.
This is not a prescription for what we should do. It is a description of what’s actually going on in creating our moment-to-moment experience. Our state of mind, our thought taking form in the moment, has everything to answer for this experience.
This is not telling us what to do or not to do. This is not to say that we should not go on a meditation retreat to experience stillness, or go find a quiet place to write if we want to write a book. It is not to say we should stay in the same relationship with the same partner forever, or never travel to a new country.
It only means that the place, the person, the circumstances are not the pre-requisite to us feeling a certain way.
It means we do not need to seek the perfect place to live, the perfect job, the perfect partner.
We do not need to change our thoughts, or try to mess around with our state of mind, in order to have a better experience. There’s really nothing we need to do.
There’s a self-correction mechanism at play, where left alone, our mind naturally restores to its quiet, peaceful, clear default setting.
In my experience, breaking the connection between the external and the internal experience, alone, does the heavy lifting.
There is no connection, no association whatsoever, between what’s going on out there and what’s going on in here. None. Zilch. Nada.
Just seeing that alone is enough. Seeing that allows us to take our hands off the handle and let the mind do its self-correction.
When we see that, our head clears, stillness emerges, and it will naturally occur to us what’s the next best thing to do, what’s the most sensible move to make, right now.
When we see that we need nothing outside us to change, suddenly, everything in our experience changes.