By Lydia Wilson
For The Bali Times
KEROBOKAN ~ Eighteen years ago, someone asked me this question: “What do you want in life?” My answer then was: “All I want is a peaceful mind.” What I meant by a peaceful mind was a state in which I could live my daily life filled with joy and laughter, feeling relaxed, calm, peaceful, safe and with nothing bothering me.
But alas, a state of constant peaceful mind is not an easy thing to find. Over the years, every time I thought I had found it, something else would happen to affect my equilibrium. Then the process of overcoming it would start all over again. But as the years went by, it started to get easier as I realised there is a lesson to be learned from each problem that comes into my life. I realised that without problems, I would not learn anything.
Problems are there to teach us something, and we become wiser with each problem that we overcome. Problems help us grow spiritually towards knowing who we really are. They help us to love and accept ourselves the way we are and they help us to become more loving, caring and compassionate towards ourselves and others.
If you, too, have been seeking a peaceful mind, then let me share with you here the summary of what I have learned so far in life. I hope that it may assist you in your life’s journey, just as it has helped me.
Firstly, there is the feeling of missing something. All of us – young and old, rich and poor – feel that we are missing something within us. We want to be happy, but this almost indescribable feeling of “missing something” keeps gnawing at us and we can’t seem to shake it off permanently, no matter what we do to try to forget it. On and off, it keeps coming back.
I have found that this feeling of “missing something” in us stems from our rejection of our so-called “dark side” or “bad traits.” We were originally whole, but as we were growing up, we became conditioned by everything we saw, heard, felt or read that some certain traits of ours are “bad.” Bad traits include arrogance, greed, impatience, nastiness and unfairness, yet we own them all and each of our “bad traits” has a benefit or a gift for us.
Our “bad traits” are there to protect us. However, when we reject them in ourselves, we start to become less and less whole and that’s when we start to feel that we are “missing something” within us. Soon, we can’t accept our whole selves anymore and when we see our rejected parts in others, we don’t like them and we start to judge them.
We do our best to fill the void of “missing something” by looking for the plug from outside of ourselves. We think that if we can achieve what we desire, we will feel happy and whole. But achieving these desires cannot make us happy and whole again because what we are looking for can only be found when we look within.
As an example: We think that if we can have a Mercedes, we will be happy. But when we have achieved the desire (the Mercedes), we probably feel excited for a week or two and then the novelty wears off and it becomes just like any other car. We find that the feeling of “missing something” returns. We then desire more things or more money to make us happy and whole, but once we get them, the novelty again wears off and the feeling returns.
There are four basic human desires:
1. Material things
2. Romantic love
4. Family affection
In each of us, one of these desires is usually much stronger than the others. The strongest desire typically creates the most problems in our lives. It comes from feelings of lacking and desperation. The more we desperately try to achieve the desire, the more we push it away.
Those with the strongest desire for material things, such as money and riches, feel that if they have the material things they crave, they will be happy and whole. But they seem to keep having a lack of money. It seems that the more they desperately want money, the poorer they become. The desperate need of these people for material things comes from their unconscious rejection of their own dark traits, such as greed, materialism and pessimism.
Those with the strongest desire for romantic love may find that the more they desperately want to find their soul mate, the more they seem to attract people whom they feel are not right for them. They keep thinking that once they have found their soul mate, they will be happy and whole. They keep changing partners, but keep feeling disappointed with their partners who don’t have the ability to fill their emptiness within.
Often in their quest for romantic love, these people attract partners who are their opposites. You will find this in many couples, and perhaps even in your own parents. When one is patient, the other is impatient; when one is weak, the other is strong; one may be warm while the other is cold; and when one is domineering, the other is submissive.
People with the strongest desire for power may desperately crave love, respect and appreciation to make them feel happy and whole. Yet they tend to be domineering and controlling. They demand obedience. They feel very angry when people argue, disagree or do not do what they are told. Instead of getting what they crave, those desiring power usually cause people to reject them because of their domineering ways, which create a feeling of suffocation. This causes those who crave love and respect to feel even more unloved and less appreciated.
In many cases, the desperate need for power comes from a person’s own rejection of his or her dark traits, such as a desire to control, rebelliousness, weakness and disloyalty.
Those people with the strongest desire for family affection tend to desperately crave approval from their family members, such as their father, mother or siblings. They have a high need of love, acceptance and appreciation from their family. When any of their family members is having a problem, they will be the first to worry and will do anything to help. But it seems the more they do to help, the more demanding the family becomes.
Instead of gaining love and appreciation, these people feel that whatever they have done for their family, it is never enough. They feel they are getting more demands from their family, and more rejection and criticism. And when they can’t meet the demands of their family, they will be accused of being selfish, of not caring and of being unfair, stingy or arrogant.
These accusations of their “dark traits” will usually hurt them the most. But they can’t seem to free themselves from this self-imposed bondage.
We can only accept our “dark traits” the way they are when we learn to look within. By looking within we can find the benefits that each of our dark traits – characteristics we have unconsciously rejected through conditioning – brings to our lives.
We can then be thankful for their gifts. We can find balance and be free from the desperate desires that have caused us such suffering.
It has always been our spiritual journey to be whole and to completely accept both the light and dark sides of ourselves – the Yin and the Yang, the Male and the Female, the Good and the Bad – for nothing is simply good or bad. It all depends on our perceptions.
Thank you for reading.
Love, Peace and Light.
Lydia Wilson is a transpersonal hypnotherapist and trainer based in Kerobokan, Bali. If you have a question or are interested in joining a workshop on this healing subject, please write to Lydia at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more, go to www.bluelight7.com. This is the last in the current series of Discovery. A new column by spiritualist Anand Krishna begins next week.