What brings people into therapy? Depression? Anxiety? A diagnosis they recently received? Maybe they don’t even know exactly why. They just feel bad, want to feel better, and are looking for some answers. Who is to provide the answers to their problems, questions, or their simple desire to live a happier, more meaningful life? The answer may surprise you.
It is my firm belief that all people possess the innate knowledge and wisdom needed for emotional healing, contentment, and a life well lived. True happiness and the ability to lead a meaningful life are accessible to everyone. It is a gift we are all capable of giving ourselves.
Sounds pretty incredible, I know. However, my belief in this is not some pie-in-the-sky intuition. Likewise, it is not the result of some unshakeable faith in the goodness of all humankind (although I wish I could claim that it was either of these!). I am a pragmatist and very much a show-me-the-evidence kind of person. So, here it is-
A rather remarkable thing is often observed among terminally ill people. Perhaps, some of you have experienced for yourselves with lost loved ones what I am talking about. Those with little time left to live frequently report, paradoxically, that they have never felt more alive than at any other time in their lives. The problems, stressors, and anxieties of the past- things which plague many people most of their lives- suddenly lose the power to dominate their existence.
Often, people who experience this are communicating directly and with passion with their loved ones for the first time in years; perhaps ever. What is truly important and meaningful- what really matters- is suddenly revealed. It is as if a veil is lifted from their inner selves and self-awareness is the result. They realize all at once, sadly so late in life, everything they ever needed to know to live the good life. Their primary regret is not having used this seemingly new found wisdom their whole lives.
The message is that this inner wisdom is already in all of us. It is not, indeed cannot, be given to us from anyone or anything. Sometimes all we need is a little help to reveal to ourselves our own dormant ability to live a richer, fuller, more meaningful life. The lesson for all of us to learn is not to wait until a confrontation with our own mortality to use the knowledge we already possess to be happier now.