At 17, I remember first feeling an intense ache in my chest. I didn’t know what it was, and I couldn’t shake it by any of the physical, mental or outside distractions that I pursued. The ache was always there. There was no physical problem associated with it. I was quite healthy.
By the time I turned 29, I still did not have an answer for my restless heart. I’d already done my time with drugs and alcohol in my journey of personal development. Some people told me to ignore the hole in my heart, but I couldn’t. Others advised me not to dwell on it because it would make me crazy. That did not work. All of my social projects did nothing to ease the ache. People told me to get a good job, get married and have children, and I did all three, but they all failed to make the pain in my chest go away.
I realized that there was no external fix for the enigma of this internal ache, but I still did not know what to do about it. There weren’t, or at least I had not met, people who talked with any authority about this ache. I was disheartened. At 30 years old, I even left the city because I hated it. In my opinion there, was no life in it. Somehow, I missed the fact that the people, animals and plants in my city were full of life.
Together with my newborn son and his mother, we moved from Vancouver into a cabin in the woods, at 9,100 feet elevation in the mountains of Colorado. It was an idyllic place with morning sunshine, countless pine trees, powerful afternoon thunderstorms, air fresh with ozone after these storms, and quiet days followed by silent nights.
It should have been heaven, but that’s not what I experienced. Within a week of arriving, I realized that what I hated in the city was there with me in the mountains. “Oh, [email protected]#%!” I thought, “It’s me and my attitude that is the problem here”, but I did not know how I developed my negative attitude and had no clue about how to begin to dismantle it and develop a better one. This was a key insight for my continuing progress.
One evening, I expressed for the first time in my life that I did not have it all together, and that something was missing. Tapping my chest lightly with my fist, I said to the person I was with, “I know there’s a perfection within me. I know I’m not connected with it, and I need to find someone who can show me a step.” The next morning, while going out in the landlord’s pickup truck to get firewood for the cabin, I heard an announcement on the radio about an event and a teacher, and the words clicked with what I had on my mind. I immediately decided that I had to go there. It was about 200 miles away. At that meeting, a person much younger than I said, “The peace you search for in the world is within you, and I can reveal you that peace.”