X
JOIN US

Would you like to be part of creating a happier and more caring society? If so please join our movement, add your pledge and take action - at home, at school, at work or in your community. Together we can make a difference

I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me

join

news

news rss feed rss logo

Of All Deceivers, Fear Most Thyself

13 Oct 2016 | John Richards

Do Not Deceive Yourself

In order to become increasingly aware, one of the primary things that we must be willing to do is to explore our true selves; us as we really are.

Although this is an exciting journey - and perhaps the most powerful one that we can ever embark upon - it is simultaneously traumatic and must be prioritised in the face of the constant temptation to stop altogether.

As we discover truths that are unpalatable about ourselves, we face an enormous battle if we are not to pander to our overwhelming ego seeking to constantly drag us from reality and back into the comfort of our complacent individualism.

Our entire modern culture is structured to distract us from looking at who we really are and the difficult work of our inner journey, because such work requires the two things that we lack most: time and reflection.

Furthermore, humans who are self-aware and understand who they really are, will not buy and desire things  relentlessly, or give their time solely to the pursuit of success. Consequently, this revelation is simply incompatible with what our society requires of us to maintain its ravenous appetite for our constant spending.

Shopping

We frantically pursue security and wealth, and yet the self-attention and nurture that we need most evade us. Modern life simply steals them from us, and we are not self aware enough to miss them or to get them back. 

A good way for us to understand and measure this phenomenon is to ask ourselves when we last had an hour alone, undistracted and quiet, in which we had the opportunity and peace to think about ourself and how we are doing. 

In fact, we become addicted to filling our free time with more 'things' and spend longer at work or on our phones, feeling that we are 'connected' when the most crucial person to connect to and invest in; ourselves; is left alone and slowly withers away.

This is why children are infinitely more alive and well than us - more capable of happiness and joy than adults; because their inner life and self-communion has not yet had time to be extinguished.

As they grow older and the emptiness of adulthood in a materialist culture is forced upon them, they develop the emptiness that we know only too well. We call it 'growing up' and are relieved that they stop asking awkward questions when in fact they are growing numb and blind like us.

I Don 't Need Any Of This Shit   Acceptance _Full 400

Actually, the greatest and most valuable of all gifts we could possibly give to our children is to daily exemplify person who honestly knows themselves and in that knowledge is able to consistently demonstrate self-love, self-accountability and self-nurture. 

When I work with parents around this, and think about myself as a father, I witness the most profound truth: We are aware enough to know that this is the most important thing of all but we are rendered helpless to teach it despite our desire and longing to do so.

Instead, we know that we are unable to teach it because we don't practice it.  We do not have it within ourselves and it can only be instilled by example.

So it is better to suppress what we really know, and in order to quieten our guilt, we give our children far too many things and thus distract them. And then ultimately, when we have made them suppressing and forgetful of truth just like us, we are surprised and confused when they develop our same problems, our familiar issues. 

Indeed, the internet, television and the relentless demands of our busy lives mean that we are constantly bombarded by information, products and images that monopolise our attention.

Individualism and materialism only need appeal to our hunger: our ravenous desire to feel better about ourselves driven by the subconscious knowledge of our true fragility and uncertainty. Then, we will barely think about anything at all. In fact, we tend only to give attention to what makes us feel good and what we have to do next.

Children Screens

This is our humanity. 

Consequently, the journey of inner discovery is at best sporadic and is nearly always only considered in the most extreme conditions of personal duress, precipitated through conditions such as personal crisis of some kind: the breakdown of a relationship, illness, bereavement, alcoholism, depression or psychological breakdown.

This is because these occurrences tend to simply expose our true vulnerability and us as we really are and force us to address the reality of our human fragility and brokenness.

This brokenness and its fruition is invariably avoided or rationalised by humans at all costs who fear and mistrust it above all else.

But in fact, it is a great and wonderful gift for those that have walked its graceful path.

On our journey, primarily we must first face a crucial and foundational truth about our humanity which few will ever approach or understand because it is at odds with the way that we like to live in comfort and complacence:

It is the truth that we are at our core; a paradoxical being.

We contain both the propensity for tremendous good, and for great evil. In our deepest parts, we are simultaneously both light and dark, truthful and self-deceiving, glorious and yet vulnerable.

And perhaps the fundamental wound that has harmed humanity most, is our profound human resistance to such awareness - because we like to think instead that we are fundamentally good and that everything is fine, and we desire above all else, comfort and ease.

And it is this suppression and self-deception that is at the root of all human evil.

Light And Dark

Notice that I don't suggest that our wicked behaviours or actions are the root of our evil but instead, our refusal to bravely acknowledge, meet and expose our orientation to that evil that is at the root of our peculiar lostness.

And the simple reason for this is simply that: the evil that exists in part of who we are is utterly real, and the consequences of its outworking (as one cannot avoid in reading the daily news, or even a cursory study of mankind's history) are catastrophic.

The more that we run from facing such evil and pretending that it does not live in us, the more we give it overwhelming power.

The defeat of individual human evil is only possible through our humble willingness to confess firstly to ourselves and then to those around us that we contain not only light, but also darkness within.

And this is why true awareness and spiritual wholeness is so staggeringly rare in humans.

Because it is bloody, painful and difficult.

Awareness Quote

In my behaviours and outlook I find that daily it is overwhelmingly easier to hide such revelation, and to pretend that I am OK and good and nothing need be examined or discovered within and such possibilities should be left alone.

But the very real and catastrophic problem with this simplistic conclusion, is that it is a only a half truth, one side of an essentially understood paradox.

We are lovely; in fact, we can be more supremely beautiful than most of us have ever dared believe even in our wildest imaginings.

But the key to the unlocking of this beauty is actually found only in first exposing and then facing the very real darkness that lives in part of our souls.

This knowledge cannot really be taught. It can only be discovered; accepted within - and then lived out.

This is Awareness.

 

 

John Richards has worked for years in crisis-intervention as a peripatetic coach and specialist practitioner with a wide range of individuals and organisations. He works to maximise psychological health, self-awareness, professional integrity and holistic development. Find out more at www.awarenesschange.com 

tags

POSTER #4: AWARENESS

Live life mindfully

Awareness 200

Book: Ten Keys to Happier Living

Ten Keys Book Packshot

Order your copy of our inspiring, science-based book and discover how to live a happier life and help create a happier world.

HOW THE COURSE IS CHANGING LIVES

Afh Gathering 2

Check out the latest news on the roll-out of our "Exploring What Matters" course in communities across the UK and beyond

A Force For Good

Dan Goleman's fantastic new book about the Dalai Lama's vision for our world.

A Force For Good

We are honoured that the work of Action for Happiness features in the book as an example of his ideas being put into practice.

POSTER #10: MEANING

Be part of something bigger

Meaning 200

Action for Happiness

106597 followers

  • Do more of what makes you and others happy. Find out how in this great #podcast about the science of happiness… https://t.co/QXmnw20PVs

    today 12:07pm

  • Generosity is contagious. When we do good things we inspire others to be kind too https://t.co/hpHLuTbqxI

    today 11:01am

  • Doing good feels good. People who are kind and generous tend to live happier and more meaningful lives https://t.co/Eb…

    today 11:01am

  • Mindfulness is: paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experi… https://t.co/5fWSgcU44I

    today 11:00am

  • @people_united: Find out how to join in with our #bekind campaign & apply to own a free LED sign #WorldKindnessDay https://t.co/1qhjrbs0…

    today 2:39am

  • Doing good feels good. People who are kind and generous tend to live happier and more meaningful lives… https://t.co/vvoyE3CFWA

    today 12:55pm

  • @VeloVixenUK: We are celebrating the simple joys of cycling! When are you happiest on your #bike? #CycleHappy 👉🏼 https://t.co/OFMvXUKtfk…

    today 11:57am

  • Encouraging to see @TheSun focusing on #mindfulness. The world is waking up to the importance of mental wellbeing 🙏… https://t.co/INpWuR6GPk

    today 10:08am

  • @NetwrkWellbeing: How can we build #wellbeing together? Join #WellbeingTogether event in September to learn & share ideas! https://t.co/…

    yesterday 4:55am

follow us on twitter