by Dave Ferruolo
Every day, I witness people leading chaotic lifestyles, responding like robots to the negative circumstances of their lives, creating more dissonance and conflict. They seek solace in the next best thing, person or position they can find, but always end up frustrated and wondering why they are not truly happy. It is a conundrum of sorts. Sadly, it is self-perpetuating. Stress, negativity and unpleasant reactions to everyday situations only beget more of the same experiences on a deeper level. This, of course, creates undue stress on your body, mind and spirit.
Letting the stress of unplanned or unwanted events influence the way you react to and view the world will always lead to turmoil. Living with a mind-set of negativity and fear will blind you to the miraculous flow of bliss, which is within and around you always.
I spent the better part of twenty years frustrated and unhappy with my life. Although I accomplished much more than I could ever have imagined possible, I still lived in a state of dissatisfaction. One would think being a Navy SEAL (the elite special warfare unit) would have been the pinnacle of my life, but I looked upon my military profession with disdain. Then I was living my childhood dream, playing guitar in a rock band, but irritability and aggravation permeated the mood of that environment. Years later, while running my scuba diving company, a day job that many people envied, I felt only petulance and exasperation. I dated many great women from all walks of life, but all my relationships ended in disaster. I moved from state to state, career to career and woman to woman, with no psychological or emotional liberation. I felt lost and I was suffering. I was wasting this precious life and something had to change. And one day, it did.
I often hiked to help temporarily alleviate the stress in my life. Being in the mountains took me to another place where I could, if only for a short time, escape the turmoil of my life. Waking up one morning angrier and more stressed than usual, I decided to forego work and hike a mountain near my home. As I stomped my way to the top, each footstep reverberated with anger. Hiking always helped relieve my anxiety, but I was finding little release this day. I knew I could not go on living like this. I had to figure something out, and fast. For almost a decade, I was unhappy and frustrated with wherever I was and with whatever I was doing. I knew my own choices had brought me to where I was, but that only made me feel worse. I had made the choices, so I must have deserved to feel that way. Despite my best efforts, I was not where I thought I would be. My business was extremely time-consuming and stressful, money always seemed short, my relationships were disastrous and I felt utterly alone in the world.
When I reached the summit, I found a quiet place to sit and think. I looked out and took in the beauty of the mountains and lakes. The warm summer breeze felt good on my face, and the many sounds of nature slightly quieted my mind and eased my tension. Exhausted, I laid back on a huge boulder to relax. I felt helpless and I prayed for an answer to come my way. My head was pounding so I closed my eyes and quickly fell asleep. I woke about forty minutes later, feeling kind of strange.
As I refocused my vision out over the breathtaking landscape, everything seemed surreal. It was so quiet, peaceful and unaffected by the chaotic state of the world. It was as if my worries and frustration were still sleeping. For a moment I thought perhaps I was just dreaming, but I was not. I wondered why life could not be this peaceful all the time. I took a deep breath and felt myself expanding into the vastness of the mountains. For the moment, I was on top of the world. Anything seemed feasible, and my mind was open to all the amazing possibilities of what I could do and be. I was elated—in a pure state of momentary ecstasy. If only it could last.
Quietly relishing the moment, I had what some might call an epiphany. I realized that all my problems were still waiting for me at the bottom of this mountain. Nothing had changed, yet something seemed very different. Why was I so happy here and now on the top of this mountain, but not happy at the bottom?
I sat thinking about this for a while, and then something occurred to me. I had heard it many times before, but never really grasped the concept. Bliss is a state of mind—a choice, a simple choice. While sleeping on the mountain, I had unconsciously connected with the flowing bliss of life. What if I actively chose to stay in this state as I hiked down the trail? Would it work, could it work? I decided to try. I figured if I could mentally bring myself back to this spot whenever I began to feel stressed or overwhelmed, I could reconnect with that feeling of bliss.
Before I left the serene summit for the turbid waters of normal life, I captured the essence of the moment in my head. I took a mental snapshot of the scenery, the smells, the sounds, and how I felt at that moment in time—empty of stress, full of peace. What I did next was the key to my success; in my mind, I created a Bliss Box—a special gold box for that moment to exist. In it, I put the embodiment of everything that helped to create the perfect peace I felt. I tied up the box with a gold ribbon and placed it on a storage shelf in my mind. I knew I could count on opening it later, and in the days that followed I was thoroughly amazed to find how well my Bliss Box worked.
Sometimes you can’t control the situations you find yourself in, but you can control your emotions and your actions. By creating your own Bliss Box, you can find peace and harmony any time you choose.
It is said that to be human is to suffer, and yes this world can be a painful, harsh place. But it is the way you look at things that dictates the circumstances surrounding your life and the way you perceive the world. Contentment comes from within, and no amount of searching or material gain will lead you to blissful living. You and only you hold the key to happiness—use it often.
David Ferruolo is the author of ‘Connecting with the Bliss of Life; Powerful Lessons for Living a Peaceful and Happy Life.’ He is a former Navy SEAL, who has chosen a spiritual path. A lifetime of interest in philosophies and metaphysics gives David a vast knowledge bank of information for his writing and success coaching practice. David's life has been nothing less than inspirational. For more information visit http://www.daveferruolo.com