Many people move—to a new house, new city, new relationship, new job, you name it—hoping to get away from stress and unhappiness. But more often than not, after some time, they find themselves still feeling stressed and unhappy. Why? According to Swami Rama, “Wherever you go, you will carry your mind with you.”
Much, or maybe most of our stress and unhappiness comes from our mind rather than from externals. The great Greek Philosopher Epictetus said, “Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.” These principles and notions are from the mind. So long as we interpret the world as in some way unfavorable to us, we suffer. Changing how we think is part of finding greater happiness and calm.
But on a subtler lever, if the mind is habitually agitated or disturbed, if it has a habit of feeling stressed, it if dwells in unhappiness, then how can we enjoy life?
Increasing enjoyment in life involves both retraining our thoughts, but also purifying the habits of the mind.
This is why moving doesn’t necessarily make us happier in the long run. Swami Rama advises working with your mind, wherever you are. He says, “If the mind is trained, you have attained. If the mind is not purified with a definite discipline, it will suffer from the age-old epidemic of hallucination. Those who do not know sadhana, go on quarreling with the mind until the last breath of their lives.”