Running from suffering is itself a form of suffering
I love this idea of ‘The backwards law’ from philosopher Alan Watts:
It is the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.
The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more desperately you want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance.
The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you.
I think this is spot on.
We cannot use dissatisfaction with our life as a source of energy and drive. We cannot use it to motivate change.
If we give energy to our dissatisfactions and our disappointments, we energise them. When we meditate on how crap elements of our lives are in order to try and get away from them, we simply lock the crappy feelings associated with those elements into our body.
Lock it in, Eddy.
In the first instance, this is self-defeating. If what I really want is to be happy, then there’s no point dwelling on how unhappy I am. We’re locking ourselves into the opposite state of what we want. Most us don’t realise we’re doing that, even though that’s exactly what’s implied by ideas ‘pursuing happiness’ – like somehow happiness is out there needing to be caught.
Happiness is an inside job.
The real work involves tending to your inner emotional garden and keeping the weeds of poverty-mentality and despair out.
In the second instance, we start calling in the very things we’re trying to get away from. Like attracts like, and if we are highly energised around a feeling of lack, then we will manifest the life-circumstances that perpetuate that feeling of lack.
That’s why we need to be coming from a place of gratitude. In a place of ‘this is awesome, and I want more of it.’
Gratitude is power.
In the first instance, it puts us in the state we desire – in our happiness, in our contentment, in our mission, in our love.
We arrive before we begin.
In the second instance, we’re energising the good and the awesome, and therefore attracting the good and the awesome.
The universe can’t hear a request that says “I want different”. But it can hear a request of “I want more of this.”
And in my experience, is only more than too happy to receive that request.
So this is the backwards law. The harder you try, the less you get.
Funny ol’ cosmos.