Why waste my life looking for myself even unto the ends of the Earth?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

When do we look for something?  When we have lost it.  If I look for myself, I will do it because I am missing something.  What can it be that I have lost?  Perhaps I am not seeking anything, except to get rid of something that I feel and that I do not like.  What is it that I dislike?

It could simply be that I am spending the day operating in a very automatic way.  Doing a thousand things that, sometimes, I do not find very interesting but that I must do.  Work, home, family or just the opposite, perhaps I no longer work and I feel disoriented and fill my time with displacement activities, doing dancing classes or meditation, macramé, black or white magic with the aim of being busy and active and to allay my anxiety.

Maybe it is this anxiety that impels many of us to look into ourselves in order to find peace of mind.  We read books or do courses that are recommended to us.

A friend who suffered from anxiety once told me that she was reading a book full of wisdom that talked about everything that was happening to her.  She loved the book, she felt bolstered by what she was reading.  When she did not have much of it left to finish, she told me that she did not want it to end.

And I asked her if she was not learning from it and doing what was recommended.  But it seems that she did not really know how to put it into practice, apart from certain exercises that gave her a brief respite.  And so she continued by then looking for another book.  Until one day when she took a different approach.  She stopped reading books and going on courses and to workshops and she remained on her own and let her usual fears emerge, which she used to avoid, through her great kindness, until they revealed themselves in tears and regrets.  She let them stay with her until they lost their intensity without running away from them.  She realised that through her kindness and the brave face she put on she was constantly seeking to escape them without success.  She understood that perhaps they were always going to be with her, but that she would no longer avoid them.  She would look them in the face whenever they appeared, she would accept them with kindness, without expecting that anything – partners, family or parties – would come and relieve her anxiety.  She was the only person responsible and the only architect of her state of mind.  She decided to make some changes that she would never have made, if she had continued to run away from herself and her fears.  She told me “now I really am happy, I am not running away, nor looking for anything, I am present in my life and I decide how I want to be at every moment.  She looked very well and I congratulated her.