“Wherever You Go, There You Are”

This is the title of a super book by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  As the title suggests, wherever you go, you take yourself with you!  The significance of this statement is that it can teach you to stop constantly wishing you were somewhere else.  We tend to believe that if we were somewhere else–on vacation, with another partner, in  a different career, a different home, a different circumstance–somehow we would be happier and more content.  We wouldn’t!

The truth is, if you have destructive mental habits–if you get annoyed and bothered easily, if you feel angry and frustrated a great deal of the time, or if you’re constantly wishing things were different, these identical tendencies will follow you, wherever you go.  And the reverse is also true.  If you are a generally happy person who rarely gets annoyed and bothered, then you can move from place to place, from person to person, with very little negative impact.

Someone once asked me, “What are the people like in California?”  I asked him, “What are the people like in your home state?”  He replied, “Selfish and greedy.”  I told him that he would probably find the people in California to be selfish and greedy.

Something wonderful begins to happen with the simple realization that life, like an automobile, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around.  As you focus more on becoming more peaceful with where you are, rather than focusing where you would rather be, you begin to find peace right now, in the present.  Then, as you move around, try new things, and meet new people, you carry that sense of inner peace with you.  It’s absolutely true that “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Taken from the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff:  Simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life” by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.



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