When I first became involved in my own “movement” toward spiritual and mental freedom, toward innate well-being, I learned with some elation that the external “things,” or circumstances upon which (or in which) I had placed my well-being were actually not capable of providing well-being! So, for me, in my early twenties this may have been 1) having the right friends 2) getting published as a writer 3) making sure people “liked” me or 4) making money … When I learned that true mental and spiritual wellness could come only from inside of me, a great deal of “thought baggage” was released.
I realized I could stop trying to get people to like me. I could stop attaching my mood to whether I received a rejection letter or acceptance letter from a newspaper. I could let go of thinking too much about the past or future. Indeed, I learned that letting go of my personal efforts in Thought to try to “make myself happy” was the quickest route to actually being happy. Happiness was, and is, my natural state, as this formless energy (also called “Universal Mind”) that I Am.
As I heard of the depression, suicides and troubles of so many people, young and old (and I myself had suffered from depression), I was moved—and still am—to help relieve such suffering through sharing simple facts, or “principles” that comprise our mental well-being, and create our mental dis-ease, too.
For nearly 20 years now, in all sorts of settings, from jails and juvenile halls to school districts, health care facilities, communities and various organizations, I have worked to share the simple, formless facts that create our mental states. Facts that, when recognized and understood, help human beings become free from their entangling and restricting (often choking!) thoughts.
Over these years, I began to notice the more subtle ways we can “outsource” our well-being. I noticed that when we put too much dependence on a spiritual or self-help teacher, or even a “teaching,” a religion, or on our role or identity within such a teaching ... on practices or even spiritual places at which we have felt enlightened or “high,” these are all new ways in which we outsource well-being. In these more subtle ways, people on a spiritual, religious or self-help path begin, once again, to look outside of themselves for what they already are.
There is nothing wrong with any of this. And perhaps this human journey will necessarily involve our being “helped” by various forms of spirituality, and becoming subtly attached to them. Hopefully, we accept the eventual invitation to dis-attach—and discover a deeper freedom, again.
More and more, I have been discovering, and interested in what I call “Ground Zero”—this “full Nothingness”—that is always with us, no matter where we are, who we are sitting with, or what we “teach” or “learn.” This Nothingness is beyond, before and within all words, practices and teachings. It is beyond all individual teachers and religious figures. It is inside of YOU.
There is always a greater depth and breadth of mental and spiritual freedom to be discovered, and with courage, prayer (intention), and insight, these greater depths are revealed.
Ami will co-lead a retreat on the Island of Kauai, August 2-5 of this year (2015) with Gabriela Maldonado-Montano, “Unleashing Wellness Within,” click here for more information.