We all at some point or the other must have encountered the wise words that say, “The answer lies within you”. While most of us resonate with the innate wisdom in these words, we still seem to seek answers outside, for we don’t know how to access the answers within. This article is dedicated to those who are seeking answers that will allow them to move forward.
Let us first give an attempt in understanding what makes it so tough to find the answers that lie within us. The challenge here is that many a time we are not clear about the question itself, and even when we are clear about the question, we find it difficult to stay committed to the question till it reveals the answer to us. Why is it so? – It is because questions have the ability to unsettle our mind - this gives birth to unpleasant/uncomfortable feelings. To the extent we are unwilling to stay in the discomfort of these feelings, we find ways to distract ourselves from the question itself.
We also have a bias towards the answers. Not all answers or discoveries are pleasant ones. Some answers demand us to confront difficult truths; some demand us to act beyond our comfort, some put light on parts of ourselves which we prefer to be hidden. When we feel the heat of discomfort we find ways to distract ourselves from the moment (this becomes a subconscious pattern over a period of time).
The most common way of distracting ourselves from the feeling is by shifting the focus from the bodily sensation to the mind – we try to understand, fix, resist or push away the feeling. It is like we are willing to do anything about the feeling but feel it.
At this moment, our mind supports us to stay distracted by unleashing a chain of thoughts that allow us to take our attention away from our feelings. It helps us to stay confused and thus relieve us from having to take action. We also have many other ways of distracting ourselves, like phone, social media, unhealthy eating habits, focusing excessively on work, or anything that allow us to stay busy and distracted from meeting our feelings. Unless we meet these feelings and allow it to melt itself, we cloud our question and our way forward.
What can help?
The answer simply put is to STAY. Stay present to your feelings. Stay committed to your question. Stay in the midst of your confusion till the answers shed their veil before you.
Each time we succeed in our attempt to distract ourselves from our uncomfortable feelings, we are denying ourselves an opportunity to discover the answers that lie within us; we are denying ourselves an opportunity to discover ourselves – beyond the ideas we carry of ourselves.
For the ones who ask me to clarify what I mean by ‘stay’, or meet the feeling, here is the best I can articulate:
notice how you feeling at a physical level (the sensation that appears on your body), breathe consciously into the part of your body that is asking for your love and attention, know that no sensation would last more than 90 seconds and all it is asking is for your loving presence.
As you attempt this, notice how your mind steals your attention away from your body. Notice its tricks, notice what it says to get your attention, notice what feelings you are distracting yourself from – be curious, be fascinated. As you learn to embrace these feelings, they will become the doorway for you to discover yourself; they will reveal precious secrets to you, which nothing else has the power to reveal.