Women are particularly challenged in today’s world because we have more opportunities and choice about how we live our lives than ever before. We may appear confident, but often lack self-esteem, and end up feeling anxious, stressed, or even depressed. We all seem to have too much to do, with never enough time for ourselves. We make too many demands of ourselves, trying to be perfect. We tend to doubt our capabilities and feel we’re not quite good enough. We can sometimes be envious of others’ seeming good fortune, comparing ourselves needlessly, or we may feel burdened and frustrated.
We often find ourselves caring for others, as home-makers, bringing up children, caring for elderly parents, or looking after grand-children, often whilst pursuing a career, but we’re not necessarily so good at caring for ourselves. Often we find ourselves trying to please others, find it difficult to say ‘no’, and as a result our own lives are less fulfilling than we would like them to be, and we feel as if something is missing.
Yet, deep within us all, exists a wellspring of joy. By getting in touch with this, we can have lives that are richer and more deeply satisfying. We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can seek a different way of dealing with what life throws at us. We can shift our perspective. When we create a space for ourselves to stop, slow down, and turn inwards, we begin a journey that leads us to joy.
So often we look to external things to make us happy, but when we look within, we are surprised by joy!
I’m reminded of a story that one of my teachers, Swami Muktananda, whose ashram at Ganeshpuri in India I spent some time at, told - about how we tend to look everywhere to find the joy we long for except the one place where we can find it:
The gods were arguing about where to hide the secret of life so that men and women would never find it.
‘Bury it under a mountain’, one god suggested, ‘they’ll never find it there.’
‘No,’ said the other gods, ‘they’ll find a way to dig beneath the mountains and find it.’
‘What about deep in the ocean?’ another god asked.
‘No,’ said the gods, ‘they are so clever – they will find a way to dive down and retrieve it.’
After some time, one of the gods said, ‘Why not put it inside their hearts. They would never think of looking there.'
And so the gods hid the secret of life within us.
I shall be exploring the subject of Finding Joy with Dr Pat Baccili on 1 March 10.00 am PT, 6.00 pm UK time - here's the link: