Breaking free of the lifestyle bubble

As a boy grows and enters life, the world is laid out before him, like a bizarre obstacle course or intense activity park. The world seemed to say: “If you look into the distance you will see the mountains of doom you must climb”; “Don’t forget the endless maze of complexity (aka higher education) you must navigate”; “Ah, and then how could we omit the sea of drama and struggle – it’s so deep!”; “Pick or choose your route but you must overcome and battle at all costs these elements to emerge the victor; Be a man my son – and proceed”.

And so we trepidatiously start to put our limbs into these tasks, aiming to be marked as ‘best in class’. As we fall and hurt our hands, we might think it’s a location or the challenge that’s fierce and mean – but truly it’s the philosophy that’s underneath. One that teaches us that life is one of peaks and troughs … a place where our whole aim is to ‘be a man’, battle through and whatever we do, keep our head above water. Those that shine in life are seen to be the strongest swimmers with the fiercest stroke who fight the longest, before they too must sink. We salute them and place their names on plaques and award boards as the plucky, powerful ones. These valiant soldiers maintained the status quo, fought the odds and had a go.

But what if these obstacles are not as real as we think? What if these great difficulties exist mainly in our head as a lifestyle bubble we have chosen? And what of that sea of struggle, lapping at our feet it seems, showing these words we read and hear?

As a 42-year-old man and recent father of a young son, I’m familiar as anyone with the feelings of stress and overwhelm. Just leaving the house with clean clothes on (hopefully in the right spots on your body) can sometimes seem a truly outstanding feat. Navigating the day and providing food, laughter, care and play, attending to what’s called for at work, not to mention the challenges that come in relationships and very often it can end up feeling like “if I can just get through today everything might be ok”.

Whatever our personal situation, perhaps we can all relate to a sensation where we are just pushing from one event to the next, hoping inside that it will complete so we can go home and get some rest. This momentum can carry on and on, to the point you wake up one day and realise you wished your life away, rushing from one relief to the next. It can be hard (a struggle in itself?) to break this way of living. When you are stuck in the rip and feel like you are seconds from being swept away it can seem very real – and anyone who questions it is easily dismissed.

But what if life and the sea in which we exist is not what we have been told and sold and lived? What if the waves are not our enemies? What if the current is not our foe? What if it’s not the sea that’s troublesome but our way of being in it that’s at fault?

If we are honest, we will admit that we ‘get by’ day-to-day using various coping mechanisms and routines that we think worked previously. We repeat these – oblivious to their true success – clinging to the familiarity and comfort they bring, as if they are invaluable life rafts. And so our days become a tense process of maintaining and protecting these comforting behaviours and beliefs at all costs, no matter what, keeping everything in place in an attempt to make us feel safe. But attempting to control the world this way in order just to ‘feel ok’ is never going to be sustainable and clearly stresses us out. We put out vibes that say, “I’ve put the objects in the kitchen in their spots and made sure everything is tidy and neat but don’t you dare move the salt or I will totally lose the plot!” This control is my coping mechanism . . . what’s yours?

So, like the proverbial fish trying to ride a bicycle, isn’t there a time in our lives when we have to stop and admit that what we are doing doesn’t actually work? We have advanced technology, science and academia, but we seem to be paddling as hard as ever just to stay afloat. So, what if the struggle we experience is just a serious misunderstanding (or will-full misinterpretation) of life on our part?

Do not be put off by the hurdles you may encounter through life from time to time. They are not difficulties and they are certainly not impossibilities; they are just higher and bigger steps we must learn to take. However, when a hurdle looks like a rat, and smells like a rat, then it is not a hurdle, so walk away knowing there is no growth in accepting deception.

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume II, ed 1, p 138

We are all born clairsentient beings, super aware of energy and life. Bring a baby into a room and you will see them register what has taken place and the slightest whiff of emotion or tension that is there. They scan and read life like the energetic ocean it is and are constantly looking to grow and learn. They exist free from time, to do lists or agendas, just relating to every moment with an openness, honesty and wonder. They follow their inner senses effortlessly without doubt or mental over-analysis. Then look at us, ‘the grown up’ ones, who are yet stuck in the mundanity of everyday routine, the drudgery of ingrained habits – what on earth has taken place?

Like me, throughout the day you will receive impulses and a sense of what you need to do next; an awareness of what is going on with yourself and those around you. It could be as simple as feeling you need to cross the road or call a friend right there and then, or sensing someone else is angry. But do we listen to these messages and act on them? Do we accept that we feel all of this so effortlessly? Or do we block this all out and decide to override it and do something else instead? It might seem that we get away with going ‘rogue’ and denying what we feel pulled to do . . . maybe we even get rewarded for our efforts too.

But could it be ignoring what we feel inside makes life unnecessarily hard to live?

For example just in writing this, the words and phrases came simply and quickly at first but as I ran out of time before I had to go to work I started to stress that I’d lose my ‘train of thought’ when I left off and not be able to pick it up later, so I started to jot notes down of things I should remember to mention. But in the process of doing this I over complicated what was simple and so naturally there... all out of fear. When I came back to finish this off it was hard and difficult to know what to write next – a struggle you could say. A small example, but imagine this way of resisting our natural flow over a whole day, a week, a month or even lives and the amount of simple impulses ignored starts to seriously add up.

The question is, when so often these feelings we receive are there to help us and do so beautifully, why do we ignore them in the first place?

We have fostered a society where being less is promoted and denigration actively encouraged. We are pressurised to critique, abuse, knock down those that shine, and disregard our inner senses as ‘hocus pocus’. We struggle and by doing so fit in and maintain a game we know isn’t right. Every part of our work, schools, industries and retail outlets is by design set up to prey on fears and insecurities that we are not enough as we are, and must fight with all our might to get through the next day and night. Without realising it, we can be easily swept along by the current of ‘dog eat dog’, as if this is the normal way to live.

Since I started to consider that my own struggle may not be as ‘real’ as it has seemed, I’ve started to experience new situations and scenarios, almost like dreams. Faced with a choice or decision I’ve started to listen more to what I sense and feel is the true way to proceed. What has taken place invariably are smooth, easy and supportive experiences where I am not stressed, or pushed or pulled. All I have to do I can do easily and often I receive support I could never have expected to come from others around me. I noticed my first response was not delight or joy, but a sense of bewilderment and questioning, ‘did I do something wrong?’ … ‘surely this is too easy? … too smooth?’ Surely I should be working harder, right?’. This goes to show the extent to which we have had it ingrained in us that life is meant to be hard, and is a battle that ultimately can’t be won.

When we are attempting to let go of the struggle we have lived, it’s essential to realise that we are up against all of this coming from every angle constantly – after all, this is how so many of us have lived for eons. It is easy to think that life is better with ‘the devil you know’ and by staying in our comfort zones where we feel safe. What I have noticed in myself is a tendency to think that something better should come along and improve this struggle I am in and lift me up out of it seamlessly.

Typically, we sit back and wait for something new to occur while we keep doing the same old routine. We want to have our cake and eat it too – but in my experience, ending struggle doesn’t work this way.

It seems to require a first step, a choice to prise our tiny finger from the life raft underneath. And bit by bit remove one more finger, then the next, till a whole palm is free. And then momentously we just let go and see what happens next. And then …? In my experience, things usually get worse as we perceive the life raft drift off into the horizon and we seem to fall even further behind in the great rat race of humankind. Everything that occurs seems to be the opposite of what we are led to want. Yet, it’s in these moments I have found that we often uncover things that are truly profound and important.

It’s here we might realise the sea wasn’t as scary as we thought – that we actually don’t have to push, we can just move with it, as it is not a dangerous rip we are caught in, but there is instead the possibility of a natural current carrying us to where we need to be. And then we have to admit that it has been this simple the whole time and the monster with the scary head we were frightened of was just a sock bobbing along we made strong.

Yes, society pressurises us to remain complicit and keep up the pretence that we are blind and directionless, but in truth we are not and we all have the choice to honestly admit we have the power to easily navigate life if we wish. We have all bought in to the recognition, praise, criticism or notoriety that struggle brings. We have let ourselves be shaped into repetition machines when in fact we are all expanding sparks of light – energetic beings. Whilst repetition may bring short term comfort, if we live our whole life distant from what we feel and sense inside, what have we truly achieved when we go to bed at night?

What if we are not designed for ‘just enough’ or repeating what worked yesterday, but for going deeper, being more aware, to constantly expand? Scientifically we know the universe itself is always doing just that, as a matter of proven fact. But are we as human beings also following suit? For example, from our rates of illness, disease, war, conflict, domestic abuse, drug addiction and depression – surely it’s clear we are not.

The key to any minor or major problem is to find the simplicity that has been ignored

Serge Benhayon Time, Space and all of us, Book 2 – Space, ed 1, p 125

Since I began to experiment with choosing simplicity instead of struggle there’s been some unexpected side effects. I have begun to feel a sense of depth and space that seems to have been waiting there patiently the whole time, underneath. There’s an easiness in me that comes, like there’s no race I need to win and often a warmth inside my body, especially around my heart. I’m not perfect at this by any means, and struggles, ideals and patterns can flood back in, but when I feel this way I find I’m able to handle challenging situations with ease, and other people’s emotions don’t affect me like they sometimes do otherwise. Without trying or striving to get anywhere, I’ve started to feel the steadiness and steadfastness I’ve longed for all my life. So, to the boys (and people everywhere) about to embark on life’s fairground rides I say:

This world is yours. There are no obstacles in your way, save your own resistance to accepting what you feel.

The pressure our world imposes on us to win the race and be the best stops us from opening up to love and living from our hearts. The fears we are fed have us focussing on staying in our lifestyle bubble instead of deepening how we live. But there’s nothing you need to do, no achievement that must be made, no task where you must prove who and how great you are. There’s no mission you need to complete, no game you need to win or beat. Just accept and live that we have everything we need when we connect to love. We exist in a great ocean of energy, divine particles passing through us constantly, impulsing us with all the wisdom, understanding and love we will ever need, all equally. When we understand our true power, we can see that it’s not the waves of struggle we ought to live in fear of, but that it is our responsibility for the quality of ripples we put out in this great sea of universal love. Everything in this universe is made up of energy, divine particles that flow through all, including you and me. It carries wisdom, grand understanding, stillness, and truth. Live feeling this and you will know that universality is our natural way. It’s not the sea that’s powerful, but us. For our every move matters and ripples out – and by ignoring this simplicity we pollute the seas with more difficulties. Thus, life is not about the rip coming to get you, but how you are choosing to swim in the current.

There is a magnificent flow to the universe constantly correcting and adjusting us to the truth. See this and you’ll realise the truth about the Sea of Life.

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  • By Joseph Barker

    To sketch, paint and question life. To cook, laugh and wonder why. To hug, hum and appreciate the sky, to look into another's eyes. These are some of the reasons Joseph loves life and is inspired to contribute to this amazing site.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd