While I was waiting for Mr BT Engineer today (his introduction) to fix my internet, and felt completely lost without the it, I instead started reading through my copy of New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, which I think is an amazing book overall, but I thought I’d share with you a part of the excerpt I read today, which is about the inner ‘background unhappiness’ that people often feel, but don’t even notice it because it is so common.
*Beginning of excerpt (paraphrased)*
THE BACKGROUND UNHAPPINESS
Do you often experience a feeling of discontent that could best be described as a kind of background resentment? Many people spend a large part of their lives in that state. They are so identified with it, but they cannot stand back and see it.
Here are some of the most common unconscious thoughts that feed the feeling of discontent or background resentment:
“There is something that needs to happen in my life before I can be at peace (happy, fulfilled, etc.) And I resent that it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe my resentment will finally make it happen.”
“Something happened in the past that should not have happened, and I resent that. If that hadn’t happened, I would be at peace now. “
“Something is happening now that should not be happening, and it is preventing me from being at peace now.”
THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS
All of the above are assumptions, unexamined thoughts that are confused with reality. They are stories that the ego creates to convince you that you cannot be at peace now or cannot be fully yourself now.
How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance.
The ego loves its resentment of reality. Opposition towards reality is one of the features of the ego. It creates negativity that the ego thrives on, the unhappiness that it loves. In this way, you make yourself and others suffer and don’t even know that you are doing it.
To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition, you have to start with yourself now. Ask yourself:
“Is there negativity in me at this moment?”
Then become alert to your thoughts as well as your emotions. Watch out for low-level unhappiness in whatever form that I mentioned earlier, such as discontent, nervousness, being fed up and so on. Watch out for thoughts that appear to justify or explain this unhappiness but in reality cause it. The moment you become aware of a negative state within yourself, it does not mean you have failed. It means you have succeeded. Until awareness happens, there is identification with inner states, and such identification is ego. With awareness comes disidentification from thoughts, emotions and reactions. This is not to be confused with denial. The thoughts, emotions, or reactions are recognized, and in the moment of recognizing, disidentification happens automatically. Your sense of self, of who you are, then undergoes a shift: Before you were the thoughts, emotions, and reactions; now you are the awareness, the conscious Presence, that witnesses those states.
*End of excerpt*
I tried to ask myself the question above “Is there negativity in me at this moment?”
And really, I felt a strange feeling of peace and being removed from it all when I acknowledged my ‘background unhappiness’ which was based on the first assumption, that I will be happy when I achieve this that and the other. I realised that I spend my life thinking this without really being aware of it…
Although that feeling of realising that I’ve had this thought really made me dissidentify from it, it’s hard to sustain and creeps back in. But I guess being aware of that it is there and reminding myself of it going forward is a start of becoming free of it.
Try the above exercise and let me know if you felt anything?