“And in this game of life, we all search for ourselves. When I say selves, I mean ‘inner selves’, the thing that created the life in the first place. Now consciously, most of us are not aware of this. But if you’re searching for happiness; if you’re searching for tranquility; if you’re searching just to have a nice, peaceful, loving, understanding life… in actual fact, your searching for your inner self.”
– Sydney Banks
A few weeks ago, I was riding a rush-hour train into Central London (something I usually avoid). The carriage was jam-packed with harassed-looking workers steeling themselves in anticipation of the day ahead. I looked from face to face, imagining what was going on in their minds. Targets to hit, deals to close, conflicts to resolve. People to placate, stresses to manage, obstacles to be avoided, or overcome. Then suddenly it struck me:
They’re all searching for their inner selves, but few of them probably realise it consciously.
When you were a little child, you likely spent much of your time in a state of contentment and wellbeing. While you probably had many things that temporarily bothered you, you always returned to that place of peace and connection with your inner self; your well being. I’ll say that again: Your well being. That well being, who you truly are.
Then somewhere along the way, we were trained to believe that admission to that place of peace and connection was limited; that it had to be earned, bought or achieved. And that it could be withheld for bad behaviour. (That kind of training is necessary if someone has ambitions to control you.)
But it’s not true.
When you’re looking to something outside yourself for a sense of peace, security or happiness, you’re actually looking for your inner self. And when you’re concerned that your peace, security or happiness is at threat from something outside of you, you’re actually believing that it could stop you finding your inner self.
There’s an old put-down that goes something like “He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat”. It’s based on the fact that if you fall out of a boat, it’s pretty much impossible to miss the water. The water is such a big “target” that it’s impossible to miss.
Your inner self is such a big target that it’s impossible to miss. So you can relax.
The moment you realise that you already have what you’ve been searching for until now, you step into a different world. You’ll still have things you’re inspired to create, and you may use goals or objectives to achieve them, but you’re coming from somewhere very different.
Have a look at this excerpt from my book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results (Wiley, 2013).
Back in 2004, before I insightfully understood the principles of CLARITY, I used to run a workshop called The Art of Being. At the start of the first day, as people began to get comfortable, I would say something like this:
“You know that thing that you’ve been searching for… your heart’s desire? The thing you’ve been seeking for all these years? I’d like to invite you to open to the possibility that you can have it today… Have it here… Have it now…”
The moment they heard this, people would start shifting uncomfortably in their seats, and I would mimic their internal dialogue, anxiously saying:
“I really do want it… And I’m really looking forward to having it… But today’s a bit soon… See, I’ve got a busy month, and rather a lot on my mind… But I was thinking, a few weeks from now is looking really good… It’s what I want most in the world, so I’ll definitely make space for it… But if you could just arrange things so it arrives next month… That’ll give me time to do what I need to do… Next month will be just perfect…”
Whether you call it the self-image, the ego or superstitious thinking, there’s one thing it can’t stand: the knowledge that the life you desire is already here; that you don’t need anything else to be OK; that you can live a life you love, starting now. Of course, I understood that intellectually back in 2004, but I didn’t have an embodied understanding of it. So I kept on seeking. Kept on searching. Until one day I realized something for myself…
The search is over.
As you continue deepening your understanding of CLARITY, you’ll see that searching and seeking is inconsistent with the knowledge that you already have everything you need within you; that searching and seeking is just another flavour of the unwinnable game. The very feeling we’ve been interpreting as “there’s something I need to search for” is, in fact, the feeling of some superstitious thinking, and nothing else. There’s nothing missing. You were born whole, and you still are whole.
You already are what you’ve been searching for. What you’ve been searching for, you’ve been searching with. As you fall out of the boat of your conceptual thought-patterns, you can’t miss the water of your true self.
To your increasing clarity