The pursuit of happiness.
When you are in pursuit of something, you either do not have that which you seek or you feel you do not have enough. Some things you can measure and count, like money. But does having enough of that stop us from pursuing more? While other things you may pursue cannot be measured, like happiness.
Our country was founded on this principle and we even have successfully exported it the world over; it is engrained in the very fabric of our modern culture. We seek; we strive. To be fair, without this indomitable spirit, this country would not have progressed and advanced as quickly as it has. It is part of what makes us unique and special as a people. But there is balance in all things. We strive to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads, and a few bucks in the bank for rainy days and retirement. Yet along the way, we get conditioned to believe that more is better: more food, more clothes, a bigger house, and a larger pot of cash in the bank. Happiness in the present moment and contentment for all we do have get lost in the pursuit for more; enough is no longer enough. We continue to seek to fill the void in our hearts with things that don’t have a chance at fitting.
Stop reading this for a moment and tune in to your breath. Notice… we inhale… for more; we exhale… for less. And right there in the middle is a space of stillness, of contentment. It is the sweet spot between more and less. It is enough.
In my office, I sit and listen intently to my patients. I piece together their stories with their symptoms and work to find a path toward relief. And when they lay down on my table and rest with the acupuncture needles in, they get an all too unique opportunity to lie still during their busy, seeking day. And no matter the message I am communicating with my point selection, one theme is always present: you have everything you need right in your own body. You heart beats by itself, your breath flows in and out by itself. Much of your body processes occur without your intervention. Yet, something gets in the way. Something pulls us out of balance.
The longer I am in practice, the more I see my role as helping to remove obstruction. When given the chance, the body, the mind and the spirit know what to do. When I can encourage stillness, when I can encourage my patients to simplify, to do less, to sit still more, greater health can be recovered and balance can be found. One of my teachers told me that when his patients ask him what they should do, he replies, “Do less.”
Sure there are many among us that truly lack for the basic necessities of life. But even for them, enough can be found in the love they have for their family and friends, the breath they have in their bodies, and the joy they have in their hearts for what they do have. And there are those of us that are fortunate to not be suffering for material needs. Yet we suffer still. It is the suffering that comes with the never-ending pursuit for more.
Take a moment. Sit down, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Pause and listen…
Pause and listen.