We Are All Beggars Until We Begin To Look Inward
This post is part of The Awakened Heart Project
Week 20: We Are All Beggars Until We Begin To Look Inward
“Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.”
~ Henry Van Dyke
The External World Keeps Us Disconnected
With all of the external stimulation we have at our constant disposal in today’s world, it has become difficult to spend any time, consciously stimulating our inner self. We spend time watching television, sitting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, (“googling” to our hearts content), reading on our computers or ereaders, watching movies, texting, emailing, shopping, -buying our way to happiness, building our ideal happiness on Pinterest…I could go on forever, but I wont.
It’s not hard to see that we’ve created a very external world where introspection is perhaps a rarity; where searching for happiness and inner peace are found outwardly. The problem with this is that happiness and inner peace CANNOT be found outwardly. The attempts we make to do this fail, -clearly they fail, or we wouldn’t be consuming as much as we consume. We wouldn’t be spending so much time disconnected from ourselves as we do.
We all want happiness, but we don’t understand how to get it. We spend our days in constant pursuit of happiness but never find it. We ask ourselves, “What will make me happy?” But we usually end up concluding that external items will answer this question. We think, maybe I need a new car; If only I weren’t single; If only I had more money; if I buy this, I’ll be happy. We also spend our days blaming our unhappiness on everything and everyone but ourselves. We blame our parents, our partners, our boss, our friends, the weather, traffic, the neighbors, the state of the economy, the President, our in-laws, what so-and-so said about us, how many friends we have on Facebook, our small bank accounts, etc., etc., etc! Even worse, we measure happiness by comparing ourselves to others and what others have assuming that everything we see them project outwardly, is an authentic representation of what they feel inwardly (e.g. We compare our lives to our Facebook friends who all appear to be elated with life, happy, and having the best time ever with their 500+ amazing friends).
The most important thing we forget when we get sucked into this lifestyle, is that what people project outwardly, is not necessarily authentic. We all have masks we wear to fit in, to be seen as normal, to be accepted. Rarely do people walk around spreading their misfortune and telling everyone and anyone how unhappy they are, or nervous, or unfulfilled. But trust me, any person (who isn’t shallow of course) is pondering the same question about life as you. They’re asking themselves what makes me happy, what is my purpose, what can I buy to improve my life? And if they’re not pondering it yet, they will….they will, they will, they will!
We Are All Prisoners and Beggars
We are all prisoners to external world when we look outwardly to find meaning and purpose. In a sense we “beggars” and “homeless” in the sense that we are searching to find peace, and inner satisfaction and safety outwardly. We forget, “Home is where the heart is”.
To help illustrate exactly what I mean, I’ve included An excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now:
A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap.
“I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?”
“Nothing,” replied the beggar, “just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”
“Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.”
“Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger.
The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.
I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside. Not inside any box, as in the parable, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself.
“But I am not a beggar,” I can hear you say.
Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, -even if they have great material wealth. They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer”
– Eckhart Tolle
Finding Quiet to Find Peace
So, how can we find happiness in the chaotic, external world we live in today? Is it even possible to focus inwardly instead of outwardly when we are constantly bombarded, day-in-and-day-out through all of the different sources of media, information, and external stimuli? The great author, Dani Shapiro says the answer is, “Yes” and the key to doing so is finding quiet. She writes, “Quiet is something we have to demand of ourselves, rather than being our natural state,” It seems, quiet can, not only be the source of happiness, but is surely the vehicle to finding it.
International Coach Academy provides a great “Power Tool” to help you understand how thinking inwardly requires shifting your mindset.
Looking inward: Solving problems, situations and dilemmas with the focus and intent on what YOU can do to manage the situation and find peace within that particular problem, situation or dilemma; changing your own behavior and/or viewpoint instead of focusing on changing that of others.
Looking outward: Solving problems, situations and dilemmas with the focus and intent on what OTHERS can do to make the situation more manageable for you and expecting OTHERS behavior to make you happy; trying to change other’s behavior and thoughts to something that is acceptable to you and to something that makes YOU feel better.
Quiet the mind, find awareness, look inwardly, find acceptance and appreciation for what is, and true happiness and resolution will present itself. We must look deeply within ourselves and find meaning in what we are and what we do. You must appreciate what you have and be grateful for what you have. Appreciate your inner strengths, or good qualities, and your experiences. Call on yourself to find resolutions and solutions in areas of life that bring you suffering. It’s all about introspection! By the way, the only external thing that can increase happiness is our experiences. Let go of everything external as a measurement of happiness. I promise it will never bring you true happiness or inner peace. It will only keep you as a prison, as a beggar to your life.
So, what are you: A beggar, or a wealthy individual filled with inner love and peace?
- Do you see yourself as a beggar? What are you doing that makes you feel this way?
- Are you addicted to your electronics and spending time online or “checked out” often? What might this mean about how you’re feeling inwardly?
- When was the last time you explored your inner self? Spend 10 minutes with your inner self now.
- What intangible things do you have in your life, and soul that bring you happiness. Express gratitude towards these things daily. See how it changes your life.
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