I heard it a lot from people, millionaires, who had achieved their wildest dreams yet were still unhappy. I listened to their stories and attempted to change myself before I found myself in that same bottomless pit, 20 years too late. Screaming in silent rage at the unfairness of the world and how it had somehow let me down, even though I’d done all the things I was supposed to do. Only once I had found myself achieving the tiny, fractured pieces of success did my late night musings really become clear. True happiness is not in the external world, and it’s not even in positive thinking.
The conscious effort towards a new mind began two years ago for me. I realized the gravity of the inevitable – that my dream career would not bring an end to what I carried every day. Even though it would solve a great deal of other problems, it would also create just as many new ones. I had to learn that it’s ok. It’s ok to have hardship and it would be virtually impossible to not have it, especially when self employed. We all experience pain and some form of suffering, and it is a very individual experience. From a creative standpoint, some of the best art comes from those dark and gloomy crevices buried deep inside. Being happy to me doesn’t mean those parts of the mind don’t exist anymore. I’ve learned to enjoy the cycle of pleasure and pain. In knowing that each state is temporary, and as things go up, they go down again, and back up again, if I allow them.
That’s the key, I have to allow it. I cannot control my exterior world, where I only have whispers of influence, but my mind is my own. It’s my own little ferris wheel, a playground of experiences and interpretations. Each day I try to take some time to clear my thoughts and quiet my mind. Whether it’s in the bath, on a train, or laying in bed just as I begin to wake up or fall asleep. I allow the churn in my brain to quiet for a few minutes and let the chaotic storm inside settle to a gentle breeze. I focus on my breathing and inevitably even that drifts away and I am aware of nothing. I have no worries of clients, paperwork, emails, what time it is, how my body still hurts, my failing computer, the dust on my camera sensor that drives me crazy, or the stress of possibly not catching a flight, and so on. In these moments, even that dull ache floats blissfully away, and for a time, I am truly free, and all I needed was my mind to do it.