Life can get pretty rough. One day you’re riding high, the next you’re crashing back to earth. Just when you clear one set of problems, even more begin to pile up—finances, family, work, friends, health. The list is endless.
It can feel as though you struggle two steps forward, then get forced three steps back, never able to break even, let alone get ahead.
One way of dealing with your problems is to ignore them, to deny they even exist. What you don’t know won’t hurt you, you might say. Or that ignorance is bliss.
But sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich and hoping the problem will pass you by is probably not the best approach to solving your issues. Sure, some problems might dissolve on their own, but the chances are they’ll return stronger and more problematic than before.
As Einstein pointed out, you can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it.
As a doctor I learned very quickly that there are two prerequisites for solving problems and treating illnesses:
Firstly, you need to acknowledge that a problem or illness is present. Denying its existence or putting it to one side means nothing will get done to fix it. Once the problem or illness is acknowledged, you can then instigate treatment options.
Secondly, you need to have the will or intent to do something about it. Acknowledgment of the problem is important, but if you don’t want to do anything about it then you won’t. From a medical point of view, a patient must want to get better.
Wanting to get better may sound like plain common sense, but it is surprising the number of people that have a vested interest in remaining unwell. Pain and suffering to some, is beneficial.
Ignoring the issue or refusing to fix it, however, only makes things worse in the long run because the cause of the problem is not being addressed. If the cause remains, so does your problem.
A permanent cure of a problem therefore requires the complete eradication of the cause of the problem. There is no other permanent solution.
Yet, although problems outwardly seem to be the cause of disharmony, it’s actually the reverse: all problems are the result of some kind of disharmony. Disharmony is the cause; the problem is the effect.
This is true no matter the scale of the problem—individual, community, global. We are actually witnessing an epidemic of disharmony never before seen on our planet:
- Hunger and famine are rife throughout the world.
- Wars and torture continue unabated.
- Women are still physically, emotionally and sexually abused.
- Children die in the thousands every day from preventable illnesses and lack of potable water.
- Mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction are at pandemic proportions.
- Due to the over-exploitation of the planet’s resources, the rainforests are dwindling at an alarming rate and the oceans’ fish stocks are threatened with extinction.
The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that more than 3 million people worldwide died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016. This represents 5% of all deaths, or 1 in 20.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that 27% of the Amazon, home to 10% of the world’s species, will be treeless by 2030 at current deforestation rates.
According to the Fishing and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, over 90% of fish species are now fully exploited, over-exploited, or depleted.
Something is very wrong with the world.
The disharmony we share as individuals, communities and globally is having a detrimental effect on every single species on the planet, including humans.
The good news is, we can fix it. Despite the doomsayers and the threats of war, famine, epidemics, and global warming, the world can heal itself. As long as we acknowledge the problem and develop the will to do something about it.
The next bit of good news is that you already have what you need to help fix the problem. You already have everything you need to bring harmony back to the world.
Consider the analogy of a chamber orchestra. When the composer pens her music, when the conductor organises the musicians into an ensemble, and when each musician within that ensemble knows their role and what they need to play, the result is beautiful music.
But what has really been created is harmony. Music is the side-effect of that harmony, the physical expression of all three parts of the orchestral process uniting as one.
Music, in this instance, is what harmony sounds like. Music is what harmony feels like. Music is the experience of harmony.
We also know what disharmony sounds like. When the musicians play whatever they want instead of following the conductor, it’s no longer music, just noise. When the conductor is absent or incompetent and the musicians are left to their own devices, again the result is disjointed and lacking harmony. So too if the composer is a novice and unrefined, the music produced is sub-standard and unprofessional.
For harmony to ensue and to then be experienced as beautiful music, all 3 aspects need to unite as one and work for a common purpose.
Harmony can likewise be experienced within yourself. Like the three parts of a chamber orchestra, you too have three parts or levels of awareness—mind (conductor), body (ensemble), and soul (composer).
Harmony occurs when all three aspects of your awareness are aligned and functioning as a unity consciousness.
Only this harmony isn’t expressed as orchestral music, it’s expressed as the heightened sense of wellbeing:
- The joy of being alive
- Confidence and self-belief
- Self-respect and worthiness
- Clarity of purpose and meaning
- Creativeness and bliss
- Enthusiasm and zest
This is what harmony of mind-body-spirit feels like. As the French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, said:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
When we forget this, when we forget we are a spiritual being having a human experience, we lose clarity on who we really are. Ignoring or forgetting our soul diverts our focus to our body and mind only, which causes an imbalance and disconnection within our self—disharmony.
The resultant disharmony of this mind-body focus is expressed in a multitude of ways:
- Confusion about life and lack of direction
- Hopelessness and disillusion
- Cynicism and despair
- Worthlessness and self-loathing
- Powerlessness and lethargy
- Foreboding and fear
- Self-interest and righteousness
- Lack of purpose and motivation
It is these feelings that drive us to seek cures and remedies to make us feel better. Nobody likes feeling confused, helpless, or disillusioned, which is why we seek to resolve these feelings with alcohol, drugs, a different partner, a new job, money, and other quick fixes.
But to seek external cures for an internal problem will not solve the problem. In fact, it will only exacerbate the problem in the long run. We will need more alcohol, more drugs, more partners, more jobs, more money to make the feelings go away.
Which is the formula for addiction.
Christina and Stanislav Grof, transpersonal psychologists and specialists in addictive behaviour in the USA, argue that the craving for alcohol or drugs is, in actual fact, a craving for wholeness. In Paths Beyond Ego, they write:
“For many people, behind the craving for drugs, alcohol, or other addictions is the craving for Universal Self [Spirit]… For many people, drug and alcohol dependency and other addictions are forms of spiritual emergency.”
This ‘spiritual emergency’ is the disharmony you feel when you forget you are a spiritual being having a human experience.
On an individual level, this spiritual emergency is exhibited as addictive behaviours and needs, with detrimental effects on health, mental wellbeing, and social relationships.
As a local or national community, this spiritual emergency is exhibited as an epidemic of addiction, domestic violence, child and elder abuse, increasing rates of suicide, and other social dysfunctionality.
As a global community, this spiritual emergency is exhibited as the destruction of the forests, multiple extinctions of species, industrial-scale pollution, poverty, famine, and wars.
Yet the solution to all the world’s problems is internal, not external.
Imagine if every single person on the planet made the conscious choice to reconnect with their soul and discover the harmony of knowing you are a spiritual being having a human experience.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
It’s therefore up to you. It’s not that hard. All that’s required is for you to focus on one thing that would help you to find harmony as a mind-body-spirit being and work on that over the next 24 hours. The results will surprise you.
For instance, the joy of life will remain dormant inside you for as long as you ignore it. So if you need more happiness and joy, do something right now to make somebody else happy. Don’t wait for happiness and joy to come your way, give it to somebody else and you’ll feel the joy you already have immediately.
You can’t give something away that you don’t possess, so when you actively and consciously give joy away, you release the harmony of happiness and joy that already exists within you, as you.
Try it for a day. It will be beautiful music to your ears and the world.
The planet will thank you for it.