“No matter where you go, there you are.”* Which is why geographical solutions, that is to say, moving place to place or dreaming of moving elsewhere as a way to find happiness, is fantasy, not reality. Fact is, generally, whatever destination you travel to, you arrive with the same set of problems. Sure, at first, relocating to a new place is exciting, curious, and adventurous, but once the newness fades, there you are, the same you, with all the same issues. What’s more, you will no doubt encounter a new set of problems which will test your tolerance and patience; e.g., severe weather, drafty rooms, broken hot water pipes, noisy neighbors, etc. Challenges are unavoidable, so we must learn how to better handle difficult situations. And we do this by looking at ourselves, not by trying to escape them.
A geographical solution or cure is not unlike “spiritual bypassing,” in which Wikipedia defines as. . .
A “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” The term was introduced in the early 1980s by John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist.
Similarly, geographical solutions are more often than not just another way to circumvent one’s issues.
“Happiness is an inside job” (William Arthur Ward), and so we must do the inside work. And we begin by meditating. But not by meditating with calming music and a soothing voice guiding us. No, we need to quietly sit in stillness with our breath, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and bodily sensations and observe reality, without judgment and reactions, without shame and blame.
To start, it is suggested we meditate every day for at least ten to twelve minutes. It may be quite challenging at first, perhaps even painful. Things may get ugly. A well-needed emotional detox may take place. But eventually you will get over the hump, and overtime a clearing will appear and insights will arise. In my opinion there is no better way to get to no one’s self.
Nothing on the outside will suffice until the inside work is addressed. No matter where you live, paradise can only be experienced from within.
*Credited to Confucius.
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