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Cultivating Contentment: The Path from Seeking to Being


Life presents us with the choice between seeking and being. Seeking is the relentless pursuit of external goals, driven by the belief that in achieving them, we will find happiness. But what if the answers we seek are already within us, and everything else just leaves us disconnected, from the present moment, ourselves, and others?

In September, I began the Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy Certificate program, a 3-month immersion into a unified somatic approach to trauma-informed care. I was inspired to write this blog post on seeking and being after our most recent teaching, “Embodying Ancestral Wisdom,” taught by Ruby Gibson, PhD, creator of Somatic Archeology©. Ruby asked 3 questions, which prompted me to reflect.

  • What am I attracted to?

  • What draws my attention?

  • What pulls me in?

As I reflected, the answer that was revealed to me was “external sources of stability.” Then I heard, “men & money.” Our inner knowing is always spot on if we listen and my inner knowing was spot on. I didn’t have stability growing up. My mother did her best and today, we have a great relationship but what I needed and when I most needed it was safety and nurturing and it was lacking from early childhood through my teenage years. To cope with this internal sense of instability and lack, I chose seeking. I sought companionship, using my body as currency in intimate relationships. I sought financial stability through intellectual pursuits and achievements. Despite my successes, I never felt complete or satisfied and continued seeking ways of feeling whole, never realizing that the answers were within all along.

In this blog post, we're going to take a close look at the signs of seeking, why it can be a trap, and compare it to being present, seeking contentment, and nurturing connections.

This journey isn't just about us as individuals; it affects society as a whole. How does seeking impact our collective well-being, and how can being present enrich our lives on a larger scale?

We'll also explore the value of embracing our natural talents, the power of receiving from others, and how being in a constant state of seeking might make trauma worse.

Additionally, we'll examine how these ideas shape our societies. Seeking-driven societies often lead to competition and consumerism, while being-centered ones tend to promote cooperation.

It's important to remember that our choices have a significant impact, not just on our own lives, but also on the world around us. In this post, I'll dive into these topics, seeking to understand the complex relationship between seeking and being, and how they influence our lives and the world.

Reflection prompt: Now that you've explored the concept of seeking and being, take a moment to consider where you currently stand on this journey. Are you more inclined towards seeking external goals or embracing the present moment? Your self-awareness is the first step toward change.

Defining the Seeking State

Seeking is the perpetual pursuit of external goals, driven by the belief that they hold the key to our happiness. It's a constant chasing after dreams, accomplishments, and external validation, all in the hope that they will fill our inner void.

Characteristics of Seeking

  • Restlessness: There is an ever-present sense of dissatisfaction, a constant yearning for more.

  • Future-Focused: Life is lived for the future, often neglecting the present moment.

  • Comparisons: Self-worth is measured by comparing ourselves to others.

  • Temporary Highs: Achievements provide brief moments of happiness, quickly replaced by new desires.

Signs of Living in a Seeking State

  • Continuous Discontent: We are never content and are always in pursuit of more.

  • Impatience: Waiting for results or gratification can be challenging.

  • Fear of Missing Out: Anxiety about not experiencing everything life has to offer.

  • Chasing Validation: Constantly seeking approval and recognition from external sources.

The Seeking Trap

But why do we often find ourselves caught in this seeking trap? Society frequently promotes the idea that success, possessions, or relationships will ultimately lead to happiness. We're bombarded with messages that the next achievement will finally fulfill us. In our relentless pursuit of more, we may overlook the richness of the present moment. Seeking can lead to a cycle of unmet desires, leaving us perpetually unsatisfied. What if the answers we seek aren't found in what we acquire, but in how we perceive and experience life moment to moment?

Reflection prompt: Reflect on your own life. Have you ever found yourself in a constant state of seeking external validation or accomplishments? What were the driving forces behind your pursuit of external goals? Consider how this seeking state may have impacted your well-being.

Defining the Being State

Being is about fully immersing ourselves in the present moment and discovering contentment within, without the constant need for external validation. It's the realization that happiness can be found internally, without the endless pursuit of external goals.

Being is also about fostering a deep and embodied awareness of the present moment, both internally and externally. From a somatic perspective, being involves fully inhabiting our body, allowing us to connect with our inner and outer worlds in a profound way.

Characteristics of Being

  • Contentment: Finding peace and fulfillment in the here and now.

  • Mindfulness: Being fully present in each moment, without judgment.

  • Authenticity: Remaining true to oneself, regardless of external pressures.

  • Gratitude: Appreciating what one has, rather than fixating on what is lacking.

From a somatic perspective, being goes beyond mental awareness:

  • Contentment: Somatic contentment involves a deep and embodied sense of peace. It's like a gentle current of tranquility that flows through the body, connecting us to the present moment.

  • Mindfulness: Somatic mindfulness extends our awareness to physical sensations. It's the art of listening to our body's whispers, a dance between inner and outer experiences.

  • Authenticity: When we embrace authenticity somatically, our body becomes a vessel of truth. It expresses our genuine self without reservation, inviting us to move and respond authentically.

  • Gratitude: Somatic gratitude is a profound bodily experience. It's the warm expansion in the chest as we appreciate the richness of each moment, grounding us in gratitude's essence.

Signs of Living in a Being State

  • Inner Peace: A sense of calmness and contentment permeates one’s being.

  • Mindful Living: Engaging fully in each moment without distractions.

  • Self-Acceptance: Embracing one's strengths and weaknesses without judgment.

  • Meaningful Connections: Prioritizing authentic, meaningful relationships over superficial interactions.

When we embrace the being state with somatic awareness:

  • Grounded Presence: We feel anchored within our body, firmly connected to the earth beneath us. This somatic rootedness provides stability and resilience in the face of life's challenges.

  • Embodied Mindfulness: Our mindfulness practice extends into our physical sensations. We notice the subtle messages our body conveys, enriching our understanding of inner and outer experiences.

  • Bodily Wisdom: Somatic awareness invites us to trust our body's wisdom. It becomes a reliable guide in our life's journey, offering holistic insights that complement our thoughts and emotions.

The Benefits of Embracing a State of Being

Living in a state of being offers numerous advantages, including the ability to:

  • Find profound contentment in the present moment.

  • Cultivate genuine and meaningful connections with others.

  • Rediscover inner strength and resilience.

  • Discover joy in the simplicity of life.

Incorporating somatic awareness into our being state amplifies its benefits:

  • Deeper Contentment: Somatic contentment deepens our sense of fulfillment, like an internal embrace that resonates with the simplicity of life's unfolding moments.

  • Authentic Connections: Embodied authenticity fosters deeper connections with others. Our body becomes a conduit for genuine interactions, enriching the tapestry of relationships.

  • Inner Resilience: Somatic wisdom enhances our inner strength and resilience. We navigate life's challenges from a place of inner harmony, grounded in the unity of body and mind.

  • Joy in Simplicity: Somatic awareness allows us to discover joy in life's simplicity. Each moment becomes a treasure, and we find wonder in the unfolding of everyday experiences.

While the pursuit of seeking may promise happiness in the future, embracing a state of being offers the precious gift of fulfillment in the here and now. It's a shift in perspective that can fundamentally transform how we experience life. Incorporating somatic awareness into our being state amplifies the benefits of living in the present moment. It's an invitation to explore the depth of our inner and outer experiences, creating a harmonious connection between body, mind, and the world around us. Through this embodied being, we can discover a profound sense of fulfillment in the simplicity of life's unfolding moments.

Reflection prompt: As you read about the characteristics of being, take a moment to check in with your own experiences. Have there been times when you felt truly present, content, and mindful? What were the circumstances, and how did it make you feel?

How Living in a Seeking State Affects Individual Well-being

Living in a constant state of seeking can have several negative effects on individual well-being, including:

  • Stress and Anxiety: The relentless pursuit of external validation and constant goal-setting can lead to heightened stress and anxiety levels.

  • Dissatisfaction: The constant quest for more can leave us feeling persistently dissatisfied with our accomplishments.

  • Shallow Relationships: Seeking often prioritizes personal gain over the cultivation of genuine connections, resulting in superficial and unfulfilling relationships.

  • Burnout: The unrelenting pursuit of external goals can lead to burnout and emotional exhaustion.

Positive Effects of Embracing a State of Being

On the other hand, embracing a state of being can bring about positive changes such as:

  • Reduced Stress: Being present in the moment reduces stress and promotes mental well-being.

  • Deeper Connections: Authenticity and mindfulness foster deeper and more meaningful relationships.

  • Contentment: Recognizing that happiness resides within can lead to greater overall life satisfaction.

  • Improved Mental Health: Being present and mindful can contribute to improved mental health and emotional resilience.

As we reflect on how seeking and being influence our everyday lives, it becomes evident that the choice between these states has real, tangible effects on our well-being and the quality of our relationships.

Reflection prompt: Think about how living in a seeking state affects your daily life. Do you experience heightened stress, persistent dissatisfaction, or shallow relationships due to the pursuit of external goals? Reflect on any burnout or emotional exhaustion you may have encountered.

Recognizing and Using Our Natural Talents and Strengths

Our innate gifts, those unique talents and strengths we possess, often go unnoticed or underutilized. It's essential to recognize and embrace these gifts for several reasons:

  • Personal Fulfillment: Utilizing our natural talents can bring a deep sense of personal fulfillment and purpose.

  • Positive Impact: Our gifts have the potential to make a positive impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.

  • Authenticity: Embracing our gifts allows us to live authentically, aligning our actions with our true selves.

  • Empowerment: Recognizing our strengths empowers us to navigate life's challenges more effectively.

The Significance of Receiving the Gifts of Others

Receiving the gifts of others is equally important in our journey. Here's why:

  • Connection: Accepting help and gifts from others fosters deeper connections and a sense of community.

  • Mutual Support: Recognizing that we can't do everything alone allows us to support and uplift one another.

  • Collective Growth: When we freely share our gifts, communities thrive, and collective growth becomes possible.

  • Balance: The balance between giving and receiving is vital for harmonious relationships and personal well-being.

Life is not solely about individual achievements. It’s also about the collective strength that emerges when we exchange our unique contributions.

Reflection prompt: Consider your own natural talents and strengths. Have you fully recognized and embraced these gifts in your life? How might utilizing them bring personal fulfillment and make a positive impact on your surroundings?

How Seeking Exacerbates Trauma

Living in a constant state of seeking can unintentionally intensify trauma. Here's why:

  • Avoidance: Seeking behaviors may serve as a form of avoidance, preventing trauma survivors from addressing their trauma directly.

  • External Focus: Seeking often directs attention outward, making it challenging to explore and heal the internal wounds caused by trauma.

  • Unresolved Pain: Trauma survivors may use seeking as a coping mechanism, leading to temporary relief but leaving underlying trauma unaddressed.

  • Self-Judgment: The relentless pursuit of external validation can further reinforce self-judgment and feelings of inadequacy, which are commonly experienced by trauma survivors.

Why Trauma Survivors Seek

Understanding why trauma survivors gravitate towards seeking behaviors is essential:

  • Coping Mechanism: Seeking can provide a temporary escape from the pain and distress associated with trauma.

  • Validation: External achievements or validations may temporarily soothe the wounded self-esteem of trauma survivors, offering a sense of worthiness.

  • Distraction: Seeking serves as a distraction from the overwhelming emotions and memories related to trauma.

  • Social Pressure: Societal expectations and pressures can drive trauma survivors to seek external markers of success, often at the expense of their well-being.

Fostering Healing and Emotional Well-Being

Shifting from a seeking state to a being state can be transformative for trauma survivors. Here's how it can promote healing:

  • Embracing Authenticity: Being encourages authenticity and self-acceptance, allowing trauma survivors to confront their pain with honesty and compassion.

  • Internal Exploration: Being invites us to explore our trauma in a safe and supported manner, creating a foundation for healing and growth.

  • Resilience: Embracing a state of being cultivates resilience, enabling trauma survivors to navigate triggers and setbacks with greater strength.

  • Self-Compassion: Being fosters self-compassion, a critical element in healing from trauma, and encourages us to treat ourselves with kindness.

The path from seeking to being holds the potential for profound transformation. It's a journey that calls for courage, patience, and a steadfast commitment to one's own well-being.

Reflection prompt: Reflect on the section about trauma and seeking. Do you recognize seeking behaviors as potential coping mechanisms for trauma? What insights can you gain from understanding the connection between trauma and the seeking state?

The Consequences of Seeking-Driven Individuals

When a society is dominated by seeking-driven individuals, it leads to a series of consequences:

  • Competition Over Connection: In societies dominated by seeking-driven individuals, competition often takes precedence over connection. People may be more focused on outdoing each other rather than collaborating and building meaningful relationships.

  • Consumerism Culture: The seeking state perpetuates consumerism, where individuals relentlessly pursue material possessions, equating them with happiness. This consumerist culture fuels overconsumption and environmental degradation.

  • Strain on Social Systems: Seeking-driven behaviors can strain social systems. The pursuit of external success may lead to higher stress levels, increased mental health issues, and greater demands on healthcare and support services.

Escalation to Conflicts and Injustices

  • Societal Conflicts: Seeking-driven societies can escalate to conflicts as competition intensifies. These conflicts may range from workplace rivalries to societal divisions based on economic disparities.

  • Wars and Injustices: History shows that seeking-driven societies have contributed to wars, colonization, and social injustices. The desire for resources and power often drives nations to conflict, resulting in widespread suffering.

Contrasting Effects of Being-Centered Societies

In contrast, societies that prioritize being and cooperation bring about different effects:

  • Cooperation Over Competition: Societies that prioritize being and cooperation emphasize collaboration, empathy, and collective well-being. People in such societies are more likely to work together for mutual benefit.

  • Sustainable Living: A being-centered approach promotes sustainable living, as individuals focus on contentment rather than the accumulation of material goods. This reduces strain on resources and benefits the environment.

  • Social Harmony: Being-centered societies tend to have lower levels of stress, mental health issues, and social inequalities. The emphasis on well-being and connection fosters social harmony and cohesion.

At a macro level, individual internal states collectively shape the world we live in. It's a reminder of the interconnectedness of our choices, both on a personal level and within the broader societal context.

Reflection prompt: Ponder the macro-level consequences discussed here. Have you observed how individual states can affect broader societal dynamics? Consider examples from your own experiences or observations where seeking or being-centered societies influenced collective well-being.

Conclusion

It's clear that our individual choices carry great power, influencing society at large. The link between our personal mindset and the world around us is significant.

Whenever we seek external validation or success, it not only affects our lives but also contributes to a culture of competition, consumerism, and disconnection in the broader world.

Conversely, when we embrace being, living in the present moment and fostering genuine connections, we enrich our own lives and contribute to a more compassionate and harmonious society. Being-centered individuals promote cooperation, sustainability, and social harmony.

In conclusion, take a moment to reflect on your own state. Are you constantly seeking validation and achievement, or have you found contentment in being yourself? Recognize that your choices impact not only your life but also the world around you.

Our collective journey towards positive change begins with individual choices. Let's choose a path that values well-being, authenticity, and the pursuit of a fulfilling life. Together, we can shape a world we're proud to be part of.

Reflection prompt: As you conclude this exploration, take a moment for self-reflection. Where do you find yourself on the spectrum between seeking and being? How can your choices and mindset impact not only your life but also the world around you? What steps can you take to embrace being and contribute to a more compassionate and harmonious society?

 

The effects of trauma can be confusing, overwhelming, and isolating. You don't have to navigate this journey alone.

I offer three ways to support your healing:

  1. Empowered Healing Journey: Personalized one-on-one sessions to dive deep into your unique challenges.

  2. Collective Healing Journey: Connect, share, and grow alongside others in a supportive community.

  3. Self-Led Healing Journey: Explore my book, 'Living Liberated,' for foundational knowledge and actionable steps at your own pace. COMING SOON!

I'm here to help you find your path to healing and growth. Reach out when you're ready.


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