Everybody at some stage in their life gets a persistent, an ever-swirling question that resonates in their minds, that just doesn’t go away. One of them I think we all have and probably do have is “what’s it all about, me, life?”
Most of us find a purpose in life and that can fluctuate as you live your life, some people don’t. Some people are fulfilled with the different roles they play, like being a parent, then possibly a grandparent, the roles continue but there is a common thread of being a parent. Some find their fulfilment with the job or career they have. Others have a defining moment when something they do, create, invent has a dramatic effect that literally can define someone’s life. There are numerous ways of evaluating your life and the purpose of it, because surely there must be a purpose for us existing as individuals . . .
What happens to the many people who do not have that purpose, that defining moment or cannot think of a reason they are here? I’ve spoken before about mental strength and the hidden depths to our conscious and subconscious minds yet to be understood. In my life I have come across a vast array of people’s take on their ‘purpose’ and it is amazing the diversity of what fulfils people’s expectations and needs. For some, it is a lifetime quest and their life leads to an awakening that suddenly makes all the pieces fit together to create a scenario that offers the answer. Other people find a niche that gives them all they dream of; it is truly an immeasurable calculus, so the question that resonates is as individual as we are and can change at different chapters of our lives.
Often people get physical problems caused by a psychological disturbance or state. When you start treating a physical condition, the mental/emotional imbalances show themselves. Sometimes you know from the start that the problem is not physical, and it is just the manifestation causing the person to find treatment. The body stores our emotions, stresses and worries in the tissue and joints of our body. Tense shoulders, tension headaches, some so called IBS when you’re anxious, sleepless nights with a whirling mind fuelled by worry etc. When you start releasing the muscles and joints, emotions often flow; and many many a time, patients release during or after a treatment whilst still in the room. In Yoga too, the different breaths, stretches all release inner often hidden emotions, that when released, reveal a deeper labyrinth of layers to the true state of the body and mind. To take something at face value, in my opinion, is often a naive stance to ever adopt when treating patients.
To treat holistically means you have to be aware of these hidden layers, and have the ability to deal with them when they are revealed. You are taking that patient into your care, and you cannot leave them exposed and vulnerable post treatment. Sadly though, many of today’s ‘practitioners’ do just that.
When the body stops working as we perceive to be normal, questions flood the mind; ‘why’ ‘why me,’ ‘what have I done wrong’. Sometimes there are literally no answers to these questions, but some people cannot stop the questions rattling round their minds. Part of helping people is to listen, be patient, and show care and understanding without being judgemental.
That question, the one that comes back time after time, often when we are at a low state of mind, can be obsessively consuming. If a patient has a specific problem that, really to overcome it involves changes, be it dietary, physically, emotionally and those changes are not addressed, then on a return appointment, I am usually met with “I don’t know why its come back again.” Well, if something needs change to improve the status quo, and the change isn’t made, then the problem won’t go away. It has to be addressed at some stage; which stage is down to the individual and their own circumstances. Advice and guidance can help in the explanation of how the body and mind are assimilating the imbalance or problem, but no amount of counselling will resolve the scenario until the individual accepts and takes responsibility for whatever needs to be done for themselves. So many questions that resonate in our heads, and many I have heard over the years, can be resolved by change. There are still some questions though, that plague some people.
There are many a time when counselling during a treatment, I question the patient, why do they need to answer that question; what purpose would it serve to the here and now; if the answer was given, how would it better their situation. Some people try to find answers to questions that have no answers, in the hope, and often convince themselves the answers are the only way, to make their lives better. These sorts of questions can be very destructive to body and mind. This state of mind can be fragile, and therefore delicate. We are all different, and sometimes you can make it obvious that the search of some answers is futile, because the answer is only relevant to whoever is offering it; it wouldn’t answer to your own satisfaction, only create other questions. We can laugh at ourselves, trying to solve the questions of millennium, ‘what is this life all about’; there are no definitive answers, only the opinions of other people, and why should their opinion be any more correct that someone else’s that state the opposite, or indeed your own instinctive, intuitive opinion? No one knows!
The power of our minds is immeasurable, and as such no one can really tell or know the depths of another’s. So if something is playing on someone’s mind, causing distress, then it is real. It may seem insignificant to us, but to that individual it is something of importance and needs treating as such. Sometimes the questions breed uncontrollably in the mind, you no sooner ask yourself one question and half a dozen others rapidly follow it; spiralling that potentially becomes mentally all consuming. Fear, anxiety, loneliness, unhappiness, paranoia; there are dozens of mental states which start from the simple asking of a question that has no answer. Physical conditions can and do manifest from such mental distress. A question that cannot be satisfied no matter how you try or reword it, the fact is, there are simply no answers to some questions, they do not exist.
Questions like, ‘what’s my purpose for being here?’ being left unanswered can have dramatic consequences. One of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, depression, confusion, disassociation and often tragically can have suicidal consequences. When life cannot be justified because of a lack of answers to the questions, they often resolve themselves to the fact they are worthless, and they can resort to very distressing acts, self harming for example. So whilst we all experience the repetition of a question in our minds, if that repetition gets out of control it can destroy life, literally.
I don’t think anyone is exempt from questions that test us. As someone who was unable to have children, I have had my share of unanswerable questions, and what my purpose for being here is; questions about my body and the condition it has; questions about the twists and turns my life has taken, at times from circumstances not of my making nor of my choosing. I can find some answers, but if I am brutally honest, I have to shut down some questions that I know I cannot find an answer to, otherwise they would start burning a hole in me, become destructive to the life I have. There is sadness in not having the peace of mind answers would bring, but as I’ve mentioned in other posts, we have a vast array of emotions and feelings, and we have to have opposites to balance the scales of mental health. There is a narrow line and some days it is hard to stay on the right side of that line, when you feel tired, fed-up, resentful, a general lethargy in body and mind, when questions do raise their heads and often add to the negative vibe of the day. These days pass one way or another, and the sun shines again, but for some people the cloud doesn’t pass without help and support. They often are masters of disguise too. To the outside world they appear strong confident happy people, but behind closed doors, the mask comes off and they face their struggle alone.
For all the questions our minds may ask, take time to chat to your nearest and dearest; offer a sympathetic ear to help someone unload a burden they may have. You may not have the answers they seek, but by being able to verbalise the question out loud, sometimes lessens its grip. Often words said in passing can give a change of consciousness. A problem shared is a problem halved. You can also put out there your own questions, to see what other people’s thoughts are on the subject. It can be extremely liberating and fascinating to have other opinions and that feedback indirectly could answer your own questions anyway. Never be afraid to talk to someone if you feel a barrage of questions or merely a single one is swamping your mind. It is relevant and is important, we all deserve to have happiness of mind, a balanced equilibrium.
There is comfort to be had, realising that we all have questions we don’t have answers to. Knowing that doesn’t automatically make it easy to accept or deal with them, but it is part of life. However, at the end of the day, I believe, if we were meant to know all the answers, then we would; we just have to workout which are those unanswerable questions and which are not!