29 February 2012

The Elephant in the Corner

There is definitely an underlying something going on. Just tucked beneath the facade of our everyday lives is something we can feel, but can't quite put our finger on. People seem somewhat agitated. No, you don't have to be the world's most perceptive person to sense that something just isn't quite right generally.

It's like everyone's got an itch.

I was discussing this global itch with a friend as he drove me home late last night.

"We have pretty much everything we need, nowadays."  He said, looking at me sideways and keeping his eyes fixed on the road ahead.  "Most of us have a roof over our heads. We have jobs, and if we don't have jobs, we have the resources available to find one. We've got clothes on our backs and we are fed and watered. Even those things that used to be considered a luxury are coming to us as standard, like cars and fancy holidays, for example. "

"That's true." I agreed, nodding at him.

"So now we have all these things that we thought would complete us, but most people still aren't happy. It's like there's something missing."

"Something we can't quite figure out?" I ask.

"Exactly." He says.
Sitting back, I let his words sink in and reflect for a moment on my own life. I am lucky enough to have a job. A job that means I can eat well, treat myself to nice things occasionally, go out when I fancy and put a safe roof over my head. Okay, so I might like to have a bigger flat, a more exciting job, enough money to jet off to sunny locations more than once a year, but right now I have everything I need to live comfortably. Should that not be enough? As that familiar uneasy feeling sweeps over me, I realise that actually, it's not.

My mind quickly scans all the people I have met recently who race around London consumed in the rat race, scratching their heads on how to feel fulfilled in their life. The guy from work who moans as he stirs two thick sugars into yet another cup of coffee, the girl on the train who forgets she's holding her Mulberry handbag, just like every other girl in that carriage. It lacks a big fat meaning, once you get down to the bottom of it all.

How are you?  

Need we ask...

I'm fine.

We hardly register the fraction of a second's pause that follows after those two words, 'I'm fine'. But next time, you might notice that your insides skip a beat.

How much attention do we really pay to our insides?  Not your stomach, liver, lungs and the sort. I'm talking about the insides we can't see. Meditation, inner reflection (or call it what you will) is the art of devoting a little bit of time conversing with your insides. My recent personal battle with sitting down and shutting up in order to converse with my insides hasn't been an easy one. There's always an excuse; a more exciting thing to think about, a distraction or two.
I have perfected the art of putting off facing my insides to the point of almost resenting getting up close and personal with who I truly am. We are taught from a very early age how to interact with the world outside us; to communicate with other people, discover new objects and experience an outward life, so much so that somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten how to communicate with ourselves.
Perhaps I'm a bit frightened at what I might find by staring directly at my true bare being. It would mean accepting myself for being very absolutely me. 
 A scary thought.  But one worth thinking about. 

It's a bit like the gigantic elephant standing in the corner.



  1. Being a caring soul as you are, it is not a surprise that living in a big city would reveal this unrest you see in people. I'm not saying that everyone there is asleep, but doesn't it feel like that sometimes?
    You are the light of consciousness where ever you are, keep shining brightly.
    Have you read THE CELESTINE PROPHECY (James Redfield)

  2. If anything lacks a big fat meaning it is the rat race. Sometimes I think it the monotony that drives that unrest, or the lack of a good book. The London rat race led me to seeking change - job/location/lifestyle - it made a bit of difference, but then led to more realisation.

  3. I agree with mo.stoneskin, I think it's monotony and boredom that makes people get restless and unhappy. As long as you're able to find your balance, don't worry about the coffee-shop people and the train people. They have to figure out what works for them by themselves.

  4. I agree with you and I like where you are going with taking time out to meditate and reflect on the bigger picture meaning of life.

  5. oooohhh...nice one and it does ring true for many...i do like the point you make on our placing of importance on the external parts of our lives but not really tending to, or knowing how to tend to the internal flora and fauna that at times can run rampant (perhaps we are too scared to enter that jungle)....but hey, at least you are thinking on it and hopefully making others think on it too...i am!
    Good piece and well deserving of accolades young lady! ;)

  6. Lovely post. Is everyone unhappy? Not everyone I don't think; but many are. I'm not even sure it a modern thing, more of a western thing. We have too much spare time. Too many belongings, but nothing spiritual? Im not sure I'm hitting the nail on the head with this, but I loved your post and the idea that you have put out there.

  7. A wonderful and profound post........I loved it.

    You are so right in what you say about our difficulty in facing our inner (true) selves......but why? Even if we are not what we wish we were, we are still something valuable.

    I will never forget my first real insight into this idea when I was so far down I finally accepted the premise that I was really a rotten and worthless human being........and then some inner voice told me...."No, you're not totally are kind to animals."

    Created a bedrock foundation of one single good stone. Changed my life.

  8. You're right - most of us have everything we really need but we still want more and more. I was just feeling sorry for myself because I don't have money for new clothes, Kindle and for traveling but then I read your post I realized that I'm fine. I should be grateful that I can study and that some day I will be able to have those things I can't have right now. But for now... I'm fine.

    Thanks for making me feel better and for opening my eyes. *hugs*

  9. I think I try to live a simple life, and then, I think it's much too simple, and then I wonder if I'm not just making excuses for myself, just because I'd really like a Kindle Fire. That's not the extent of my unrest, but it's certainly not helping the situation.

  10. Ah love, you've put your finger on the pulse that is just beneath the surface. I have this theory that it's connected to noise--with our phones and games and ipods, we never sit in silence anymore. It's within the silence that we hear our many have forgotten what that voice sounds like.

    Beautiful post.

  11. I think about stuff like this all the time and I agree with Chantelle that part of the problem for me has been the constant noise distracting me from thinking. I've tried to cut down and it has helped. I really enjoyed your thought provoking post and I hope you find some answers.