Am I mistaken when I look for an external mentor?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
We often look for someone to help us out of the unpleasant moods we feel. Here there are two aspects: I want to get rid of what is troubling me and on the other hand I look for someone to tell me how to do it.
When I want to get rid of what is troubling me, it is as if I wanted to run away, to wipe out what I feel for ever. I do not want to be like that, I want to be well, at peace, and that is what I look for in a mentor, which may be a person or a book or a technique.
However, this attitude of denial towards what I am feeling, takes me further away from the peace and well-being that I seek. In this way I am reinforcing the malaise. Let us assume, that I have a bad headache and I am constantly complaining about it, remarking to everyone how bad I feel, how uncomfortable I feel, etc. and I do not get better. I just want this to change. I go to the doctor and take a tranquiliser. It may disappear. But when what is troubling me are my own moods, taking tablets does not seem like the best solution.
The issue of looking for shortcuts, whether they are tablets or the healing powers of others, makes me dependent. It implies that I do not consider that I am able to do something myself and that I am placing myself in the hands of others.
Our difficulty in understanding what is happening to us is because we are distracted, since our moods are ours alone and we are best placed to understand and change them. To get to that stage, I need to pause, stop looking outside myself, and observe what is happening to me without regrets, without judging myself in any way, abandoning haste in order to feel better. Can I perhaps escape my shadow? Can I perhaps overcome what I consider to be a failure by going to live elsewhere or changing the place I work? It is difficult, because the shadow of my feelings goes with me and if I do not pause to look at my shadow, I will continue to fear it and feel bad. These feelings are part of me and are giving me the message that something is not right: maybe my interpretations, maybe my fears, maybe my beliefs about how I should be and am not, etc. If I do not stop being distracted and look my shadow in the eyes with complete honesty, I will always feel excluded from my own life. I will not feel able to live at peace with myself. I will always be complaining and denying what I feel.
There are no shortcuts. There are no external mentors that can do what I fail to do. I will play the part of the mentor when I stop and do what I need to do. And deep down, I know that.