The first of these approaches is to feel fulfilled by working to fulfill the conditions that we believe will fulfill us. We do actions that we think that would give us happiness. Such as achieving goals, acquiring objects, creating certain experiences. The main characteristic of this approach is to believe that fulfillment has to depend on certain conditions that are outside ourselves that we need to fulfill.
The other way is to create fulfillment directly as the primary action that we are undertaking. In this approach, what we are doing is not of concern, we are directly creating fulfillment as our primary action.
Most of us are mainly taught the first approach initially in our lives to create fulfillment. We try to fulfill multiple conditions in our lives, multiple ideals; we work inside our mind, and in the world. We develop our perspective of the world, and the conditions we place on ourselves that we believe to be necessary for happiness evolve as we grow as a human being.
This first approach has also a limitation that most of us might be aware of. The fulfillment that we get is a fleeting kind of fulfillment, one that we must continuously chase after. There may be times of happiness in our lives, but there is a sense of a pursuit of happiness which is always somewhere that we haven’t yet arrived. Sometimes we can touch the happiness in moments, or we can feel pleasure or comfort that we think is happiness, but these are temporary experiences.
There is also a struggle aspect which we experience as we try to be more happy in our lives. The world somehow eludes many of our expectations that we place upon it for our happiness to happen. We work towards changing the world to fit our expectations, so that our happiness can occur, but this brings a struggle, because the world does not always work as we hope and it may seem that it resists us. What we want for happiness doesn’t happen when we want it, if ever it happens. A struggle ensues, where we work to get what we want by changing the world to fit our definition of happiness and fulfillment.
So, how to lessen this struggle and have this fulfillment that we are seeking? Is this even possible?
I believe so, and it has been increasingly my experience.
We can start this path by considering the idea that fulfillment can come from within and our happiness can be gradually less and less dependent on external circumstances. At the start of this approach, this is kind of developing a belief that we have a type of inner strength that is beyond the conditions of this world. We may attribute this strength to a creator God that is creating us, or we may choose to remain undecided about the nature of the source of the strength. The point is, somehow we start believing some kind of an inner strength that can be the source of fulfillment, that can be the source of creating some change in our life that leads to a picture of greater fulfillment and happiness. It doesn’t have to be a kind of belief that we don’t feel like believing, an unrealistic fantasy, a kind of self deception. I am saying that this first step is the willingness to explore the possibility, and there must be at least a semblance of belief about this possibility, or an intention to move into this exploration to even begin.
What is done in the second step can vary from individual to individual. But this is a step of understanding. How do we really find or develop this inner strength that is to be the source of our fulfillment now that we are open to the possibility that this could be done? Every individual can and should explore this step in their own way.
Since you have arrived at this article, I will mention about some principles and practices that I apply to cultivate my awareness of this inner strength that is leading into my day to day fulfillment and lesser struggling.
I have learned to focus within myself to my center and I am actively focusing on the center of my chest to a non physical location called the Spiritual Heart. This is a center that I was taught where life energy, or to put the term to be right, Divine Love, comes to our human self. As I focus here, some of my attention remains in my life, in my physical senses, my emotions and my thoughts. But this is a detached type of attention that I am cultivating. It means I am being aware of these aspects of me, but I am actively trying to stay aware of these activities without getting identified with them as myself. I am staying as awareness. I am giving an inner effort of attention and holding an inner attitude of intention that is keeping my attention on the Spiritual Heart and remaining aware, or staying as awareness of the activities that are going on inside my awareness.
Before I came to this point, I went through several years of confusion. And before this confusion, I was believing myself to be a person who believed in a certain identity. But as my life experience grew and as I searched for an unconditional way of happiness, as I explored this possibility while becoming more aware that even such a possibility exists, this identity became seriously shaken.
I had started with the first approach of seeking fulfillment by fulfilling external conditions, with the belief that the source of fulfillment is outside myself. I had built up my identity, worked to grow my personality. But at a certain point, I started to question the idea of personality, the idea that we are just persons who have personalities consisting of ideas, thoughts.
The effort led me to discover another state beyond mental conceptual identity. This is the state of awareness I am talking about. This is the state where you are just aware that you are the awareness. Thoughts, emotions, physical sensations are happening within your awareness, but you experience yourself disidentified from them, and as this awareness.
So let’s summarize the thought stream until now:
I mentioned about 2 approaches to fulfillment. One is the one we are familiar with, and the other is seeking fulfillment from within.
The first step of being fulfilled from within is the willingness to explore the possibility of fulfillment from within. This is taking responsibility, this is putting the intention to explore.
The second step is undergoing the stage of understanding in your own way. Your mind will be reorganized as you understand more about yourself and the world. And this will eventually lead you to the inner world in your own way.
I was explaining what I have been doing as a result of my understanding that had developed throughout my life. I gained conceptual understanding through research, and experiential understanding which is more than conceptual understanding by living my life.
I have encountered really valuable teachings that cleared much of my confusion and I studied them thoroughly, developing my understanding as a result.
The third step which is interwoven with the second step is to practice according to your developing understanding. I have made the real progress after I started practicing what I learned as mainly conceptual understanding. My practice now is staying focused on the Spiritual Heart and living as awareness with the intention to know myself, bring more of this Divine Love to this world and transform myself as a person and the world as a result.
The third step is your life experience happening. The third step is walking your talk. Honoring your intention and acting according to your freshly gained understanding as it continues to develop. This is a willingness to focus more on the new than the old. We need not condemn the old, yet we usually do. We judge ourselves, and this is what really hurts us while we are evolving. But even self judgment has its place from a higher perspective. We judge ourselves because we have learned to do so, because our understanding developed so. But is there a higher understanding that is more beneficial to our growth?
So, consider what is written in this article, continue from where you are at. Honor your own desires. If a desire is in your heart, this means you are truly desiring it to happen. So honor your heart’s desires so that you can create the life that you desire. If you feel that my experiences that I shared would serve you, examine the resources I shared.
So what happens as a result of following these steps?
My experience is.. I feel more fulfilled in every moment, because from my heart, my Spiritual Heart, I feel this Divine Love is pouring into my life. And as this pours, and as I stay in awareness, I become aware of the mental ideas that say there is not this Divine Love within me unconditional. They say that I should get Love from outside myself fulfilling certain conditions. I become aware of these ideas acutely, in my emotions and body as well, because focusing to the flow of this Divine Love and staying aware of the activities in my mind, emotions, and body shows me a conflicted situation. Here this Divine Love is coming unconditionally and here I am believing that I won’t have this Love unless I do this, or that. Sooner or later, I understand that Divine Love is what is real, and the ideas that create the conditional requirements of fulfillment are just temporary ideas which fall away when I thoroughly understand them.
In this way, I gradually feel more and more fulfilled and I experience lessening struggle as a trend even though there may be periods of intense inner conflict or struggle. These moments or periods are times of understanding and releasing of the temporary ideas of conditional Love that no longer serve me (my deepest desires, to what I truly desire).
More and more, by and by, I feel more and more free, more and more internally fulfilled. Becoming acutely aware of and releasing judgments of just about anything about myself is an integral part of this process.
May you progress towards your own heart’s desire.