I watched this documentary on sugar last night. I’m not going to lecture you on liver or heart damage or how addictive it is or anything, but it got me thinking about chasing a high. You see, when you eat sugar it makes your brain feel good and then when it returns to its normal state you feel like you need more sugar. We are so accustomed to having loads of sugar in our diets (hidden everywhere) that we don’t recognize that we are on a constant roller-coaster trying to maintain that sugar high and that “happy place”.
That “happy place” is what struck me more than the physical ramifications of sugar. That happy place is not just a sugar induced place that we enjoy , but it’s something we come to expect and strive for. This whole business of inner-peace has nothing to do with happy. Did you know that? Happy is such an ambiguous term. We all want to be “happy”, but I think what we really want is to be content. Happy is fleeting. It is a feeling of elation and pure joy. It is a wonderful emotion, but you cannot stay there. Chasing this emotion is much like the reaction of the brain to sugar. When you aren’t high you crash. When you aren’t happy you’re down in the dumps.
But there is an in-between!
This has been a common theme in my mindfulness meditation class. Collectively, we have gained perspective on this emotion as something that swoops in and out, but not a state we need to chase.
One cannot have inner-peace while chasing happy.
I’m afraid I may have lost some of you. Think about a nice massage or a warm bath or even the feeling you have after running 5 miles (if that’s your thing). You know that relaxed, content feeling you have after. That is what inner-peace feels like. By practicing mindfulness you can obtain inner-peace anytime without other activities as noted above. You can tap into that place anytime, anywhere. Tools can help, mantras, meditation, yoga and as above, running, massage, baths, but the ultimate goal is just learning to “be” in inner-peace throughout your day.
Starting today I will recognize the moments where I can just “be”. The moments that I’m content, safe, free of fear, anxiety, regret, disappointment, anger, jealousy etc. I will observe these moments and I will relish in them. Who’s with me?!
Documentary on Sugar: