The Golden Nugget
As I have alluded to once before, I am an avid journaller.
I find that by regularly recording my stream of thoughts (and boy, there are many), I’m able to keep track of reality. (Of course, I use the word reality loosely as, arguably, there is no such thing. There is merely our own perception of events. But I digress.)
So as I write and ruminate, and I’ve had a good, hard look at “reality” from its multitude of angles, I underline all the lightbulb moments I have and then, at a later date, transfer them to a “super” journal.
Given I’ve been doing this a while, the number of these nuggets should have grown exponentially (you can see why my social life suffers). Strangely however, they have not. Instead, I keep stumbling upon the same nuggets in various disguises.
And as I analyse those further, it distills down even more, to, what we can call the golden nugget.
Before I share this, I’d like to tell you what happens when a person decides to become a Buddhist renunciate. On choosing to embark upon a life of austerity, only one instruction is given: to make yourself happy.
Let’s look at that again. They’re not told to serve, to save the planet, to turn vegetarian or find the meaning of life; they’re told to make themselves happy - something that, on the face of it, looks inherently selfish.
But as the Buddha knew, and I now know, it’s not selfish at all: when you are at peace with yourself, it radiates out all around you and creates an energy field that literally transforms your life.
And so, what my extensive distillation process has found, is that all I need to do to improve the quality of my life, is simply to enjoy it, without thinking about what anyone else thinks.
This sounds easier than it actually is – for two reasons.
First, because of the two basic needs that we’re born with: one is for attachment and other is for authenticity. When we are growing up, we often compromise our authenticity, so that we can securely attach to our caregivers (many of us even lose a part of ourselves in doing so).
But as we get older and more mature, we decide that authenticity is more important – even if we are left by the very people who we want to be attached to. (I guess this comes from a time when our safety and wellbeing depended on whether we were part of a tribe.)
Second, most of us don’t even know what we enjoy. We know what we should be doing, we know what we have to do, we know how to distract ourselves from what we don’t want to feel or do, and we know what is pleasurable. True joy is different (pleasure slows us down; joy does not).
But the good news is that once we have this, all we need is the courage to live joyfully and unashamedly.
It’s the whole reason that we are these spiritual beings having a human experience.