When we are born, we must become familiar with our senses in order to navigate the world. As we age, our work flips— we must learn how to avoid the temptation of being led around by our senses.
Our senses aren’t bad, they can inform our intuition. Senses are also powerful and we have strong associations with certain smells, sounds, images, tastes and touches that root from our life experiences.
If our reaction to those associations have a negative impact, that is when our senses can become dangerous. Addiction is when we feel we can no longer control our reactions to the sense association.
Of course, addiction is present in all of us, in varying levels, manifesting in unique ways. Bored? Pick up the smart phone. Uncomfortable? Fill that Amazon shopping cart. Celebrating? Eat the French fries. Drink that wine. Treat yourself. Drown your sorrows.
Once we feel helpless to a situation that’s come up again and again in our lives, it is easiest to stay in a cycle that looks something like…
sense – association – reaction – regret – shame
and then we re-cycle.
Over and over.
Until the end of time.
But not always, right? There IS a moment we can control in this cycle, and that is our reaction.
Our ego gets so comfortable with the cycle that to break it is scarier than maintaining the unhealthy, not-well-functioning cycle.
This might be the hardest long-term work we do as humans. Not to mention, as humans living in the most “instant-gratification” time in history, it has never been easier to indulge the senses, and fast.
Habitual reactions spanning 20-40 years can happen before we know it and moving through the end of the cycle— regret and shame— gets more and more familiar.
Kurt Cobain said, “There’s a comfort in being sad.” I’ve always took that to mean that it’s easier to stay in a habitual cycle even if we know it’s bad for us than regularly fighting our biggest personal battles and seeking a new way to live.
I see comfortable sadness in people who stay in jobs they hate and in relationships that are void of joy. I continue to experience, first-hand, the temporary comfort (then violent crash) of simple carb-rich food. I see this cycle strongly playing out in the lives of alcoholics, sexaholics, shopaholics, rage-aholics and every addiction under the sun.
It reminds me of how numb people can become in an attempt to protect themselves from new trauma and new pain. Numb is easier than feeling my feelings. Sitting with discomfort is one of the most uncomfortable practices I do. When I give myself the opportunity to pause, download and meditate, I am giving myself the gift of clarity. I give myself the chance to objectively observe where I have been giving into my senses to my own detriment and show myself empathy because I know it’s easier to do the easy thing in a hard, hard world. I also continually make a commitment to myself to start doing the hard thing right now and stick to the hard work for as long as I can because I know that work will help me evolve and grow. It may even eventually provide freedom from my senses, or what I like to call, peace.
And this is really only a small part of the work. We have so much personal work to do collectively, as a species.
And then we need to keep doing that personal work over and over again until we are in a place where we can start helping others.
Our biggest battles in life are rarely ever over. They resurface in new and interesting places and people, teaching us valuable lessons along the way. The importance lies in our ability to be open to the lessons.
Over time, the hope is that we will better understand ourselves in relation to the world and can objectively observe what the senses process without being so heavily influenced by them.
With this skill, we have the chance to experience a stronger sense of self and, therefore, a stronger sense of intuition. Then we can know peace.
I am starting to sincerely believe that our souls can accomplish quite a bit in one, simple human lifetime if we are willing to be vulnerable and open to the process of transformation.
Thanks for reading ~ Megan