Where's Your Paradise?
“Paradise is not a place; it's a state of consciousness.” ~ Sri Chinmoy
What is your idea of paradise? For some, it’s sitting on a pristine, white sand beach in the Caribbean, sipping on a cocktail under the shade of a palm tree. For others, it’s standing on the shore of an alpine lake at sunset, surrounded by pine trees and snowcapped mountains. We think of paradise as an ideal place where everything is perfect, all our needs are met, and there is no trouble or stress. The only problem is, as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “wherever you go, there you are.” Many people go on vacation to escape from their stressful lives only to discover that they are still the same stressed-out person that they were at home, the only difference is that the scenery has changed. What most people don’t realize is that paradise is not a physical place so much as it is a state of mind. You can go to the most paradisical places on Earth, but getting out of your own head long enough to resonate with the beauty and perfection of your surroundings is entirely up to you.
If paradise is a state of consciousness, then what can you do to cultivate it? It begins by being aware of how you spend your time. If your life is so unbearable that you can’t wait for your next chance to take a break from it, then obviously something needs to change. As inspirational author Seth Godin would tell you, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Probably the best way to find paradise is to practice being peaceful and content today. Afterall, if you are not able to let go of your stress right now, what makes you think you will be able to let it go in the future? Especially since, when that long-awaited future does finally arrive, you will inevitably find yourself in the present moment once again. So, don't fall into the trap of only living for your next vacation. While it’s nice to have something to look forward to, sacrificing your joy today only makes it more difficult to experience joy later on. Instead of dreaming about one day finding paradise on Earth, work on creating it within yourself first.
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About The Author
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.