Miyamoto Musashi, a highly skilled Rōnin, authored a piece called "The Book of Five Rings." I often contemplate a specific part where he states, "There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself."
This sentiment closely echoes Byron Katie's words, "Nothing outside you can ever give you what you're looking for. We need to look into ourselves." My mentor Ruth often shared this wisdom with me during times when I doubted my abilities as a parent or when I evaded relationships, fearing I was too much of a "dork" to be successful in one. Such thoughts became my Achilles' heel, and my addiction-mind exploited them to torment me in various ways, striking me relentlessly, which is its basic nature and way of relating to the authentic me.
Through the practice and process of repeatedly turning inward in meditation and adopting recovery practices to liberate myself from the bondage of addiction-mind, I gradually became more aware of my true self. I learned to recognize my authentic identity, free from the agitation, irritability, and storms of doubt that my survival-focused mind would unleash. Without this practice of introspection, I believe I would not be alive today, either due to suicidal thoughts in my youth or the slow self-destruction of chemical dependency that I oddly sought solace in, despite the daily suffering it inflicted. My mother referred to this as a peculiar paradox.
And so it could be worth reiterating, "Nothing outside us can ever give us what we're looking for. We need to look into ourselves." Once we discover the truth and embrace our genuine nature, we will experience what I sometimes call "The first day." Everything and every-thing is new instead of an ongoing rut and routine, just kinda passing time til we're dead. As we are progressively freed from the "Psychic Friends Network" mindset that presumes outcomes without actually encountering the reality of each situation, we suffer less and smile more, not just through our faces but in life. Genuine freedom is the only real freedom. It's only the disease of addiction-mind's self-bout that tries to influence us into settling for less. The key to happiness lies in not settling for anything less than our authentic selves. After all, how many chances do we honestly think we're going to get at this version of life?
―May All Beings Be Free