I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela
Facing our selves is, without doubt, the most difficult and challenging endeavour that we can take up, think about it no matter what decision it is that we make, no matter what direction we turn in one thing will always be certain, that you cannot escape yourself. Even if you elope to the ends of the earth (or beyond) that bundle of thoughts and karma that we think of as ourselves will be there like a shadow following you, constructing your reality in any way it sees fit. So let’s talk about what it means to come face to face with ourselves. I think it might be good to start by talking about what facing ourselves is not. For starters facing ourselves is not really any kind of achievement, milestone or win. Facing ourselves is not reaching a certain state or feeling a certain way. It can be pretty easy to get confused about what it means to face fear and come in better contact with ourselves, we are bombarded with the newest trends on how to become more fearless and live the life you’re meant to live and stuff of that nature, and its not that any of this stuff is wrong or ineffective its just that it is pretty likely missing the point of what it means to truly face ourselves at a very personal, existential level. So what does it mean to come face to face with ourselves? Well as I see it coming face to face with ourselves is the ability to be fully honest and accepting about how things are at this moment, that could mean feeling Happy, sad, depressed, angry, or indifferent. Its really easy to get caught in the cycle of attempting to manipulate life, to get one up on life, but long story short, you never win. So you see the mark of an emotionally healthy person is not someone who is constantly smiling, or someone who appears to be in some sort of ongoing positivity trip, it is simply a person who can accept what is happening no matter what, yes there’s still gonna be the way you want things and the way you feel it “should be” but the emotionally stable person has the godlike ability to not get caught in that mode of thinking and to accept his or her life as it actually is moment by moment. So without due let’s list a few common distractions that can keep you constantly at bay from that place of acceptance.
Media is a big one for us as a culture now when I say media, in this case, I’m really just referring to the constant stream of content, especially in the case of social media so mobile phones, television, or even magazines and gossip. These things become a method of distraction in the sense that they take the focus away from ourselves and place it upon other peoples lives and other peoples life situations, in other words, your less likely to be working on yourself if your primary focus in life is checking Kim Kardashian’s Instagram feed.
This one deserves a post all on its own as it is something that we have become so addicted to yet most people are not conscious of this being an addiction, but make no mistake an addiction to vedging out in front of your tv, or spending night after night mindlessly scrolling through any kind of social media is no different from any other kind of addictions, some studies are estimating that your average westerner will watch up to 6 hours of TV a day! And that’s without the use of a mobile phone and laptop or whatever else, if we add that up we can come to a staggering 42 hour a week mark (Tv alone), now let me tell you this, if you were to spend 42 hours a week working on yourself and facing what’s going on inside you, it wouldn’t be long at all before you were a completely different human being in ways that go far beyond the scope of this post.
Oh yeah its not just the stuff we know is bad, but even something as foundational to our society as our social interaction can be a huge distraction, by absorbing your consciousness into other peoples lives situations and the story of the relationship that you share with that person you are more than capable of conjuring a massive focal point that can deter you from your inner work.
One way or another you need to eat and I’m not saying that by eating any kind of food you are deceiving your self, I’m more so referring to the way we as a culture go about food and the way we idealise and place this short term pleasure on an almost godlike pedestool. Its not hard to see how many of us can succumb to this addiction, obesity is at an all-time high and it seems more the norm to be overweight, that weight is not there because people are eating a well balanced healthy diet, its there because we use food in the same way many people will use drugs, in fact, they are really two sides of the same coin, both compounds you put in your body to elicit are certain sensation, a certain temporary high that isn’t often worth the comedown.
Drugs and alcohol.
Another big-time one, and one I have definitely struggled with in my own way, these are your more classic addictions. They have a very direct up and down set of characteristics, but for the majority these are really just the same sort of distractions (Not that one could not use certain substances to go in the complete other direction) Its also a big cultural thing for most of us, its really not hard to see constant advertisement for alcohol for example. Also, many of us grow up in families who will drink and smoke or use drugs very casually.
This really is the most powerful item on this list without a shred of doubt. To most of us being engrossed in thought for the majority of our lives is not just the norm but the only way we know, there is very little education on how with proper focus and intention awareness can leave the mind and focus on the divine beauty of god itself, or life if you like. whatever thought based system you’ve accepted as truth in your life, deep down is really the same kind of thing, whether its a ceaseless absorption in exoteric religion, science, or most commonly just your own everyday life, these thought patterns are undeniably the egos favourite mechanism from distracting you from the inner or transcendental self.
So there you have it just a little rant on the topic of using worldly distractions to never face the true self. Id love to hear distractions you have found yourselves in or others you know of. Thanks for reading.