On my journey from the depths of alcohol abuse two decades ago, and from the work I do helping people improve their lives, I have found that the path of true success and happiness comes by looking inward and strengthening yourself from the inside out.
We are constantly being told the opposite. If your teeth are fresher and brighter because of Toothpaste X, your life will be complete.
Something outside of you will not make you happy and contented in the long term. It may for a short while, but it does not last. I used to have a lot of fun when I drank. But those those nights of wild partying soon turned into days and nights of hell and inner torment. I had inner wounds I was trying to medicate. The booze did not heal those wounds, it only made them worse.
What Does “Going Inward” Mean?
Think about yourself a moment. What are you? You are a being made of about two thirds water and a mix of other chemicals. You have two arms, two legs, a torso, neck with head on top. You have heart that pumps blood, organs to digest food and a brain which controls it all. You are a complex and amazing self-sustaining machine.
But you are more than just a bunch of biochemical reactions. You have mind. You are self-aware. You know that you exist and you can perform complex tasks. You have consciousness.
You also have the ability to feel. You can feel beyond simple biological responses of hunger and pain. You can feel joy and sorrow. You have compassion and empathy, as well as anger and resentment.
Even beyond that, you are more than just your your biology, your feelings and your mind. There is something deep inside of you that is your essence. It is something difficult to define, but you know that it is there.
What is This Essence?
This essence is an energy. It is your life force. It is what makes you you. When you are no longer alive, this force is no longer in your body. You no longer breathe, your heart stops beating and your body begins to rot.
This essence is not your mind, although your mind is a part of it.
When a baby is born, their whole base personality is there. Of course, they will be affected by their environment as they grow to adulthood, but who they are is already set a birth. Identical twins, who share the exact same DNA because they came from a single fertilized egg that split soon after conception, are not the same people. Their essences are different.
Some people use the words “spirit” or “soul” to describe this essence. These may not be the best terms to use, because of the cultural baggage attached to each word and your experience with that baggage.
None-the-less, this essence exists. You are a spiritual being having a human existence. You are not just your body and you are not just your mind. You are a spirit with a body and a mind. Finding the right balance of mind, body and spirit is one of the keys to living in a better way.
It Is About Energy
If you want to to improve your life, you need to have a stronger connection with this essence and to strengthen it.
Look at the picture to the right. It shows Siddhartha Gautama at the moment he became enlightened, becoming the Buddha. Inside the circle you see the peace and beauty that he created from within himself. Outside the circle you see the darkness of the world and the demons that tempted him, the last of which was his own ego.
I show you this image not to convert you to Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist. I show you this because it illustrates so well how beauty and power come from within.
Siddhartha became enlightened -- of the light.
I used to think that enlightenment only meant to be awakened: having special knowledge and understanding. But there is an energetic part of enlightenment. Awakening comes from the mind. Most Buddhist statues show Buddha’s energy field; his bright aura. His awakening was a not just in his mind, but of his body and spirit also.
Simply put, through his practices, Siddhartha was able to raise his energy up so high that he crossed a threshold and rose up to a higher level. Then he spent the rest of his life teaching people how to do this.
Look at paintings of saints and sages from around the world. So many show with a brightness around these people; a halo or an aura. Images from different cultures and different times, yet they show the same thing. Remember, religions and other spiritual systems are all trying to describe the same natural phenomena from their different cultural points of view.
Your spirit is energy. You can consciously connect to this energy and make it brighter, to make it vibrate at a higher frequency and sustain it. You simply have to learn how to do it and then do it.
An Energetic Perspective
In upcoming blog posts, I will talk more about how to have an energetic understanding of yourself and the world. Seeing the world from an energetic point of view can help you understand things in a way you hadn’t before. For example: Are you stealing anyone’s energy at this moment? (You probably are and don’t know it). Does the quality of the food you eat affect the energy you get from that food? (Yes.)
Also, I will also talk about your mind -- which is energy -- and how it can be your greatest tool or you biggest barrier on your path to conscious life change. Needless to say, these are big topics. I will try to break them down into Internet-sized chunks.
If you want to change your life for the better, commit to doing it and then take baby steps everyday. Do not try to do everything at once. Find what works the best for you, which may be different from other people.
If you want to start right now, then sit down and meditate. Meditation is the single best tool to get started. You can get instructions on a simple 5 minute meditation right here.