Tranquility versus Tranquilization

‘The secret to happiness is not to go out there and try and find it, because happiness is not out there. Happiness is within the consciousness of every human being.’ 
Sydney Banks

Since time began, or so it would seem, people have made every effort to move way from pain and suffering and transition as swiftly as possible back towards peace of mind. This is a natural and logical response: we have bad feelings; we want to be rid of them! We have a head full of thoughts we wish we could simply switch it off.

Modern western culture is brimming with examples from the media, culture and film, of people struggling with their lives and turning to alcohol or drugs for the answer; to innocently and temporarily feel better, to tranquilize their bad feelings away. Additionally, countless cultures from around the world have traditionally used meditation as an aid to help people towards a calmer state of being and a quiet mind. 

It is fascinating to look at intoxicants and recognise what it is that they actually do.  Essentially they switch off or temporarily shut down the neo cortex or frontal lobes of the brain. This action prevents us from engaging in the thinking that led to us feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed in the first place. Yet, of course this does not last and with the return of our old habitual thinking, comes the rather unwelcome resultant feelings too.

It is also worth noting that when we attempt meditation we endevour to calm the mind from its busyness and develop the habit of less bothersome thinking. This can sometimes have a good effect on our general mood, yet once under undue pressure or stress in life, our thinking can just as easily slip back in to old patterns of thought and we come unstuck.

Despite the fact that these two wholly different approaches seem to be worlds apart, in that one is natural and the other derived from chemicals, they both make the same assumption: there is something wrong with our thinking and it needs fixing. And of course it would be right to suggest that the world over has started to see the value in a more natural approach to health in every way.

However, if we take a closer look at this contradiction we find that just below the surface of all of the challenges that life seems to present us with, is an unlimited untapped source of tranquility. This natural state of our mind is what lies below the surface of our habitual personal thinking. In fact, as Sydney Banks always asserted: “we are all only ever one thought away from happiness” or any other state of mind. Because all states of mind arise in dependence upon the thinking we are doing in any given moment, therefore nothing is broken. Thought is working perfectly. It doesn’t need fixing; we just need to understand the simplicity and logic of the true nature of Thought.

Tranquility comes from within, and is what lies beneath our thinking. Ultimately with this understanding we are let loose into a state of total psychological freedom. We begin to see the true source of our tranquility and clarity of mind; that it really has little to do with our circumstances. That neither chemicals, nor techniques are a prerequisite to living in a beautiful state of neutrality; simply being alive and ever more presently aware of the simple fact that we create our own living reality via the power of Thought. 

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