Find Yourself…By Going Within

Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s bestseller Eat Pray Love (now a movie with Julia Roberts) will be just as inspired by her new novel: Committed – A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage.

Part reflection, part research, part essay, Gilbert looks at the institution of matrimony in all its subtle and not so subtle hues. In tandem with her ‘new’ partner Felipe, Gilbert had also eschewed the idea of remarrying, especially since both had experienced messy divorces. Yet her best laid plans were savagely re-written by the US State Department who gave the couple an ultimatum: get hitched – or Felipe would never again get to press his mitts into the ink at Checkpoint Charlie and secure permanent residence in the land of the free.

I’ve not read either book (yet), so this isn’t a review, rather a reflection on one of her quotes:

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure – your perfection – is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”

The very idea of ‘going within’ is completely alien to many, yet this is the one ‘place’ that contains all the wisdom you’ll ever need, all the answers you’ll ever need and all the love you’ll ever need. And best of all? YOU have the key to unlock this beautiful supernova of consciousness, illumination and clarity.

Unfortunately, accessing the hotline to our higher selves, to our souls, is never exactly encouraged in school. Instead those pulling the strings in our media, government and education system are constantly and cleverly distracting us, seducing us to look outside of ourselves for all the answers. It’s a dead end street, folks. You won’t find long-lasting happiness in your new job/car/Hermès bag/iPhone/investments/partner/dog/child/house/Next Big Thing…

We are all constantly and often quite deliciously distracted… But it’s a hollow egg and soon we are hungry for more. The ‘Constant Craving’ that kd lang sings about so eloquently is a very painful and real human condition. And it’s mostly due to lack of connection with our Selves.

So how do we go within? How do we find the ‘silence of the heart’ and abandon the desires of the ego? And what will we find when we do get there?

By being still and quiet and listening to that inner voice, we’ll find the peace of mind and vast reserves of insight and energy that we are all craving. Stop. Do Nothing. Just Be. Look at the clouds. The sunlight on the grass, even the water in the kitchen sink! Doesn’t matter. Simply practise being in the moment with yourself. Alone. How does that feel?

Often we avoid stopping our incessant activity because we are trying our best to avoid pain. We don’t want to feel the bad as well as the good. In fact we spend most of our lives in pain avoidance. But pain is often a signal that our lives are out of balance – something we can actively take charge of and change. Gilbert’s own pain was the stimulus to go on an incredible life-changing journey that brought her back into her heart.

You may not have the cash or ability to take a year off and travel to Italy, India or Bali… but you can take 10 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and simply be. And it’s FREE!

P.S. Gilbert also did a fabulous TED talk on nurturing creativity, which is very, very inspiring. Please check it out.